OpenMoko Challenges

Peter A Trotter peter.trotter at
Mon Feb 12 10:32:11 CET 2007

Thanks for keeping us in the loop guys.

I'll be happy to get my hands on the software for now!


On 12/02/07, Sean Moss-Pultz <sean at> wrote:
> Dear Community,
> We, the OpenMoko Team, have promised exciting news about our project
> today. We have some information that we think you will like very much,
> but also have some news we like less. Let us first address the
> unpleasant part, before turning to the more cheerful part of this
> announcement.
> After we announced OpenMoko last November, we were flooded with emails.
> Most were absolutely encouraging, thanking us for undertaking this
> project. And out of the many thousands of emails, only two requests came
> again and again: "Where's bluetooth?" And, "Why doesn't it have WiFi?"
> (We really do read _everything_ you write.)
> Originally, bluetooth was in our product spec, however, this was left
> out of our schematics in an early stage. At the time we were really
> hurting for resources internally, so we did not push. Making changes to
> a product while in the R&D stages can be quite painful. But after all
> the incredible demand, post-November, we felt it had to be done.
> We had a string of bad luck that really hurt our productivity. Each
> hardware revision takes at least one month of time. Each month without
> stable hardware means serious delays for software.
> One time we received the wrong memory from our vendors and we failed to
> catch this before production. Another time some key components ran out
> of supply. And as if all that wasn't bad enough, our baseband leader's
> mom died leaving a gaping wound in both his heart and our hardware
> team.
> But we moved on. Little by little our hardware started to come together.
> Around the middle of January we thought we finally found a stable
> revision. At this point, our software was seriously behind schedule, but
> as Alan Cox once said, "Free Software is always late."
> January's announcement bought us more time to fix some hardware issues
> still plaguing us. We also modified the position of the bluetooth module
> to make way for a JTAG port (we're trying our best to be hacker
> friendly). This required our vendor to design a special FPC to connect
> the module to our board. Something on the order of 3 weeks would be
> required to complete this "simple" task.
> One thousand little Murphy's seems to be what we have running around
> teasing this project. Less than a 7% yield rate is all that we got out
> of this new cable; not even enough to meet our Phase 0 demand. Needless
> to say, it was an incredibly depressing day for all of us.
> "Tormented" is really the only word that we can think of now to describe
> how we are feeling as a team, forced with making this decision: Do we
> delay again, wait for the hardware and software to be ready, or do we
> just open up now as promised without reaching our key milestone?
> Each of us, in different ways, have struggled with this decision for
> the past five days. We're all extremely demanding of ourselves when it
> comes to the quality of our work. Nearly every minute of our waking
> lives have been spent on this project. So to be at this state, now, is
> really hard on us.
> Mickey Lauer, one of our core developers sent an email, only a few hours
> ago, that put things back into perspective for us. He said,
>    "A lot of people will be disappointed by the state of the
>    software, but -- I may be a dreamer -- I prefer rough and truly
>    open solutions (where I have the chance to help shaping the
>    future) over cool, but already finished and closed solutions
>    (where all I can do is take the platform as it is or NOT.)"
> As planned, we are going to open this project up at this point. Within
> three days of this announcement you will all have access to our source
> code, Wiki, and Bugzilla.
> Hopefully you can understand why we're at this less-than-ideal state.
> But more importantly, we hope you understand that opening our code now,
> and letting you join us in making this dream of an open phone platform
> come true, is more important for us than mere appearances.
> Regarding our Neo1973 hardware, we will send out the first batch of
> phase 0 phones out around the end of this month. Sorry for not being
> able to give an absolute date. Next week is Chinese New Year (we're in
> Asia remember) and _everyone_ stops working for a full week. Having our
> newly designed FPC built before is really wishful thinking.
> All interested developers can purchase Neos starting late March. Please
> understand that phase 0 is a system of "checks and balances," so it
> simply cannot be rushed. We want to get the framework right, the first
> time around. Hopefully you all can live with the slight delays in our
> schedule. We're all super excited to be cranking again and eagerly await
> sending you hardware so you can join us in the party ;-)
> Finally, we will offer Neos to end users sometime in September of this
> year. People everywhere will finally begin to understand the real power
> of an open phone with a strong community behind it. Within this
> relationship between humans and Neos, a new kind of device will emerge.
> "Freed Phones", will have the potential to forever change the way people
> think of technology. This is the challenge that drives us. And it awaits
> each an every one of you, along with our full support.
> Now, "Free Your Phone."
> Sincerely,
> The OpenMoko Team
> _______________________________________________
> OpenMoko community mailing list
> community at
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