OpenMoko Challenges

Chuck Williams chuck at
Mon Feb 12 10:34:17 CET 2007


This is a great decision.  I'm sure the community will be supportive and
the end product will benefit from the early openness.  I'm looking
forward to getting early access to the hardware and software and hope to
contribute something to the software effort.


Sean Moss-Pultz wrote on 02/11/2007 11:18 PM:
> 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
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> OpenMoko community mailing list
> community at

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