Neither iPhone or OpenMoko are revolutionary

Sencer alisencer at
Thu Jan 18 11:17:17 CET 2007

On 1/18/07, Renaissance Man <renaissanceman at> wrote:
> Most of my phone calls are made at work and home, both of which
> already have WiFi,

Then for everbody's sake use the 350$ to buy two simple WiFi
VOIP-phones, one for home, one for work and stop whining. Here for
Even after getting two VOIP-phones, you'll still have 110$ left over
to get a cheap gsm phone even.

If you think openmoko is all about starting a hardware-revolution,
you're in the wrong place, sorry. openmoko is the software-platform.
FIC (and in the future hopefully others as I understand it) are
building the phones. There will eventually be all kinds of different
hardware configurations, I expect. From Everything and the kitchen
sink, to economic models.

Being the first to offer something also has very, very little to do
with whether you're going to get big market share, especially if it is
something that is so relatively "easily" (from an "innovation POV)
copied as a wifi-chip. And as soon as the manufacturers with greater
market penetration introduce a device with the exact same feature that
you claimed would differentiate your own device, you've completely
lost. As has been said before, the revolutionary aspects of the
openmoko lie in providing an open software platform - while that is
not a direct feature to regular users, it enables many, many
positives. linux is not the number one server-os on the internet,
because everybody using it needed the sources to hack on the kernel,
sure, but having everything open enabled many of the benefits that did
finally lead to success (stability, security, extensebility,
compatibility, wide variety of software etc.).

Renaissance Man, reducing the success or the "revolutionary aspect" of
openmoko to the aspect of Wifi is missing the point completely and
utterly. I made this comparison the other day on irc, it's like (let
me be very loose here with the historical facts to make a point) the
french revolution is starting with the goal to establish the first
democracy in the contemporary western world, and then there's guys
bitching that they are using pitchforks, when they could be using
trebuchets or slingshots, and how therefor that whole revolution is a
lost cause and not worth taking part in.

You also seem to lack the capacity to understand the fundamental
argument people are making. _Nobody_ is saying wifi is useless or
unimportant. That is not the question, but it seems to be the only
thing you're ever answering. (Just about) _Everybody_ (certainly
including the openmoko and FIC people) would prefer to have Wifi _if_
everything else was equal. Now that last qualifier is the fundamental
argument you seem to be missing: "if everthing else was equal". Here's
a message from the reality-based world: Reality doesn't work that way.
Everything has trade-offs, and that point has been repeatedly made
above, and has been ignored by you. Adding wifi to the first
generation device would come at a very very high cost, certainly now,
that the decision has already been made for a while, but to a similar
degree even at the point the decision was made. Do you understand the
concept of cost? And it's not just monetary cost I am talking about.
Let me illustrate it: Another absolutly revolutionary feature that
would make everybody want to buy the phone would be to have a star
trek like transporter and replicator. It would be endlessly cool, you
would just beam over and talk face to face saving a whole bunch of
money. Not to mention the savings on food. However on the "cost-side"
it would mean that the time to market for the device would have just
been lengthened by an indeterminate amount of time. Now, when it comes
to make the decision you have to decide, you have to weigh the plus
and minus side. While the plus side is alsmost "cool to infinity", the
minus side makes any reasonable person think: "well, let's not worry
about those features now, and get the revolution going first, we can
always add replicators and transporters later."

Now, if you insist on keeping this discussion about adding wifi to the
1st gen. device going, at least make an effort to answer to people's
arguments about the trade-offs and cost involved.   From your answers
it seems as if adding wifi only comes at the cost of raising the
end-price for a few bucks. Evidently that is patently "false" (or
rather incomplete). It would also mean:
- higher price (as mentioned)
- higher energy usage, less standby time
- all the time spent on getting wifi to work, is time that the
developers cannot spend on any of the other cool features of the
- all the time getting a proper VOIP application working is time that
the developers cannot spend on any of the other cool features of the
- no devices for many interested developers for an additional few months
- no other people starting to write cool software for an additional few months
- no testing from end-users for an additional few months
- more negative press and FUD that this another case of much promised
and nothing will be delivered (DukeNukem Forever syndrome)
- loosing momentum and interested people that jump to alternative
- ...

Now you say you are willing to sell body parts to get that feature. In
my book that proves that you've completely lost it and do not operate
from a reality-based world-view. So, go ahead and start selling your
body parts, I am sure that wifi appearing on an openmoko device is
only a matter time. But I am glad, that the people responsible, i.e.
those making the decisions have some concept, no, actually have a
pretty good grip of reality from where I am sitting. That to me makes
the success of the openmoko more likely in the long-term. And that
makes me want to spend money and time on it. Now if anybody was in
charge, that was selling body parts or making other equaly  dubious
trade-offs for meaningless "phyrric victories" with respect to
indivual aspects of the software or hardware, I would be running at
top speed in the other direction, because failure would be inevitable.

greetings from the reality-based world


More information about the community mailing list