Access relationships

Phil Schaffner P.R.Schaffner at
Wed Jul 18 03:38:21 CEST 2007

On Tue, 2007-07-17 at 05:42 -0700, David "Lefty" Schlesinger wrote:
> Phil Schaffner wrote: 
> > So, Lefty;
> > 
> > What can you share about Access and ALP and the relationship to
> > OpenMoko and/or other open source efforts (realizing that you
> > probably can't spill all the beans :-)?  Given your comments about
> > former employer Apple, and activity on this list, seems open source
> > software must be important to you personally.
> >   
> OpenMoko and the ACCESS Linux Platform are essentially independent
> efforts, although we have a lot of code--mostly GNOME-related
> stuff--in common. This gives us a lot of common interests, and
> representatives from both projects are involved, for instance, in the
> GNOME Mobile Initiative. One of the reasons for the differences in
> approach is that FIC sells hardware (and uses software to make those
> sales); ACCESS sells software to companies that _make_ hardware. Very
> different business models.

Point taken, except that OpenMoko has aspirations to run on multiple
hardware platforms as well; however, Access is clearly ahead in this
area.  Not sure about any FIC revenue-stream expectations for that
aspect of OpenMoko.

> In his presentation here at GUADEC today, Mickey Lauer expressed
> interest in getting components from the Hiker Project
> ( into OpenMoko, something I'd certainly think
> worthwhile for all of us, and which I'm encouraging.
> > Will the Garnet/PalmOS emulator be likely to be available on
> > OpenMoko?
> > 
> Nope. The Garnet ROM is proprietary to ACCESS. I suppose if
> FIC/OpenMoko wanted to come to some sort of business arrangement with
> us to make it available, that's something we'd certainly be willing to
> discuss, but Garnet VM is something we sell...

As a long-time Palm owner I'd be willing to pay for that.  Access could
conceivably offer Garnet VM as a 3rd-party app for OpenMoko platforms if
a significant market emerges.

> > The license certainly seems limiting:
> >   
> Yup. A funny thing happened to me last Friday: I got paid.

Fair enough.  :-)  I'm not such a rabid open-source advocate that I fail
to see a place for proprietary apps.

> > Access has lots of words about open source (e.g.
> >  Can we
> > expect to see real cooperation?  How open will Garnet OS be compared
> > to
> > OpenMoko?
> >   
> Define "real cooperation". You seem to be operating off of some sort
> of unspoken assumptions, and I'd be interested in hearing what they
> are; I'm thinking they're well off the mark.

Not sure what's off the mark.  Just wondering how serious Access is
about being involved in open source.  A google on "open source" certainly gives a fair number of hits - 316
just now.  Hope they're really as serious about it as some of the
material implies.

> Garnet, a proprietary legacy OS, isn't comparable to OpenMoko. The
> ACCESS Linux Platform is a mix of open source and proprietary
> components. We currently _are_ really cooperating, in GNOME Mobile,
> for starts. I've been strongly encouraging Sean to get OpenMoko
> involved in other relevant groups, such as the Linux Phone Standards
> Forum (, and the Linux Foundation, but that, sadly,
> hasn't happened so far.
> ACCESS is extremely active in industry and community initiatives in
> order to ensure that mobile Linux platforms don't get fragmented. I'm
> the chair of the Linux Foundation's Mobile Working Group, and
> vice-chair of the LiPS Architectural Working Group.

OK - didn't google enough to find that.

> > Don't see any "community" around Access of the vitality of OpenMoko.
> >   
> Hm. I don't know what you consider to be "vitality". Crafting
> marketing messages for a phone that won't be ready to be sold to
> anyone but hackers--a point Mickey made quite clearly this
> morning--for six months to a year...? I'm not sure, myself.

Not talking about the marketing.  I admittedly have yet to order a phone
myself as my real development days were decades in the past. I'm just an
old bureaucrat these days, and I need functionality now.   I may yet go
for another Linux-based phone in the interim and GarnetOS may be in the
running. Rather I'm referring to the level of enthusiasm on the various
OpenMoko lists.  Just didn't see that perusing the Access forums.

> > The Access forums seem rather limited.  Some real two-way-street
> > cooperation would seemingly be mutually beneficial to the two
> > efforts,
> > as well as to embedded/phone FOSS more generally.
> >   
> ACCESS has an active developer program which anyone is welcome to join
> and participate in. Our own main efforts, right now, are involved in
> working with various hardware manufacturers (and no, I can't name
> them: our customers don't like it much when I pre-announce their
> product plans for them). Our main community activity right at the
> moment is the Hiker Project (I'm presenting on this at GUADEC today,
> and I presented on it at Ottawa Linux Symposium late last month). Feel
> free to join in there if you like.
> For more information on the ACCESS Developers' Network, see
> As I mentioned above, ACCESS is very much involved in community
> efforts on a number of levels: beyond our involvement in groups like
> GMAE, LiPS and the Linux Foundation, we're sponsors of this year's
> GUADEC, and we sponsored FOSTEL. There are lots of ways that companies
> can contribute to the open source community. We're doing our share,
> I'd say.

Sounds like it.
> Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I feel as though I detect a tone in your
> message here suggesting that you'd like to somehow pit ACCESS' efforts
> against OpenMoko's. That surely doesn't seem like a way to encourage
> "real cooperation", does it...?

Sorry if it came across that way.  Tone is very difficult to convey, or
to detect, in e-mail without all the visual/aural queues we humans have
evolved with.  Just trying to get a feel from an insider on how "open"
Access Linux Platform is going to be on the spectrum between, say
Motorola-Linux phones that seem to do everything possible within (or
perhaps without - in some opinions) GPL limitations, and OpenMoko which
seems to be the most free (as in speech) corporate-sponsored mobile OS
to date.

Thanks for the reply and good luck to you and to Access.


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