Sean's Aim...

Steve Grevemeyer seg at
Sun Jan 21 23:38:49 CET 2007

> It would be nice to know if Sean's aim is
> 1. to satisfy his and our need for open source toys like Neo
> or
> 2. to earn money like almost everybody on this planet while exploiting
geeks like us to achieve his goal :-)
> I bet the second will prove as true...
> Milan

The great thing about a free and open platform is that these two aims
are NOT mutually exclusive!  

Frankly, I can't wait for one of these things -- and I hope that Sean
and FIC make so much money they get compared to Microsoft!

It costs a ton of money to design, test, and build hardware.  It costs
even MORE for software. :)   

The open approach dramatically reduces this cost, improves the product,
and increases the overall profitability to the manufacturer. And just
WAIT until the as-yet-unimagined killer app shows up!

Anyone who thinks these devices are going to be cheap needs to wake up.
(I'll avoid the banal "free as in beer" vs "free as in speech"
converstation) What these devices need to be is "affordable".  $350 w/
accessories?  That is actually CHEAP.  My Treo cost more then that
base, then I had to buy accessories!

The one idea I did see in the last couple of days that I think NEED to
get some serious attention is that of an upgrade path for developers.

I have zero problem with the cost of the device or its capabilities for
Rev1.  The old "Don't worry, be crappy" philosophy is perfect. That and
"churn, baby, churn".  Upgrade the unit continuously.

The problem is that it gets REALLY expensive to try to keep up.  Need a
way to recycle the units.

I'll throw out the following (going to need asbestos underwear for the
flames THIS will generate):

a) a formal developers program. Maybe modeled on the M$ partner
program.  A small yearly fee and formal registration.  Not that
developers are riff-raff or anything but motivation is a huge portion
of this kind of development. 

b) Formal developers get first crack at new hardware.  This concept is
already being espoused -- I just think that it will need to be
formalized at some point. 

c) An Upgrade path to
facilitate continued development.  Basically, when the new version
comes out I send the old one back along with a "reasonable" upgrade fee
and I get the new model.

Benefits to the Developer:
 - access to the newest, best hardware
 - preservation of investment $
 - credit and recognition within the community

Benefits to FIC:   
- information on active developers 
- targeted audience for feedback/evaluation.  I like open forums but sometime you
need things a bit more focused.   - Beta-test system!  Both for FIC and
for the community in general.

Of course, I'll get the obvious "what about all the developers that get
excluded since they don't/won't/can't spend the money".

The advantage of a formal program is that it is very easy to create an
"informal" program.  FIC/Some Vendor/Somebody can easily "sponsor" a
developer.  I.e. Somebody buys one of these units and shows they they
rock, someone can step up and help them out.  I've already seen stuff
about "getting units in the hand of select developers"...

The single hardest think in open source development is "keeping the eye
on the ball".  Everyone has their own pet thing, and ensuring that the
overall project is not derailed by a single aspect is incredibly hard.
I think the recent thread regarding WiFi is an excellent example.

The communities biggest challenge will be getting applications done and
fielded at the best possible rate. "Someone" is going to have to take a
lead role and try to identify the applications that have the biggest
need from the myriad of great ideas.  A little focus goes a long way in
getting things DONE.

Well, I've babbled enough for now.  :)

Steve Grevemeyer

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