Reactions From Other People to News of OpenMoko

Bryan Fink bryan.fink at
Fri Jan 26 14:37:47 CET 2007

On 1/25/07, Wil Chung <iamwil at> wrote:
> > > Finally, by far the largest camp is the indifferent class.  Many
> > > people are quick to ask, "Why would you want an open source phone?"
> > > Answers of the, "So I know exactly what my phone is doing at all times
> > > - no secrets," variety typically get you labeled paranoid.  Answers of
> > > the, "Because I will be able to modify absolutely anything about it,"
> > > yield further questions to which further answers like, "I don't know,
> > > but *something*," are not enough.  And, there's always the, "Well, I'm
> > > perfectly happy with what I have now," people.  My feeling is that
> > > these people won't be convinced until there's considerable buzz from
> > > many people who have actually tried OpenMoko and like some specific
> > > feature about it.
> > >
> > > Has anyone else had a different variety of reactions?
> >
> That's about what I'd expect, I think.  As developers, we have skills to
> create, so we are excited about possibilities, whereas your general user
> can't create, and therefore doesn't care about possibilities.  They just
> care that they can do whatever it is that they need to do, easily, quickly,
> and a nice interface if they've got it.

Actually, I should have specified - some of the indifferent crowd
*are* developers.  For whatever reason, they do not feel the draw of
being able to change and investigate the workings of the phone.
They're fine with being able to write a Java app to run on top of a
closed interface, and nothing more.

That's what stopped me - there was no desire to tinker.  But, I think
I may have come up with a possible explanation: some people are
confusing the ability to tinker with the requirement to tinker.
They'd rather not *have* to modify their phone, but they're not
thinking about how nice it would be to be *able* to.  I think this may
make sense if you think about much of open-source software's history.
For a long time, it was necessary to tweak and fiddle, rather than
just a possibility.

Or, at least, that's my best guess.  I don't easily understand those
who have gotten the taste for tinkering/creating, and yet don't crave
more freedom to do so.  The exception I can understand is when the
first taste was fraught with tedious tasks that did more to frustrate
than teach.

> "When geeks have open possibilities in their medium of choice, you get
> useful stuff, if not funny stuff.  And when geeks can get artists in their foray,
> you get beautiful stuff."

Excellent line.  I also love all of the examples people have posted in
this thread of things that grew out of open development.  I can't wait
to try out a few on the next person I find in the indifferent


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