OpenMoko != Neo1973 (Was: Openness (was RE: Concern for usability and ergonomics))

Rod Whitby rod at
Wed Jun 13 07:18:49 CEST 2007

Joe Friedrichsen wrote:
> Given that this phone is meant to be opened and tinkered with

I'm not sure that that is actually the case.  (Sean, please correct me
if I am wrong in the following - I will be pleasantly surprised if you
are able to do so).

Yes, the OpenMoko software is meant to be fully open and tinkered with.
 No doubt about that at all.

I haven't read anything in the OpenMoko "manifesto" (i.e. Sean's public
slides on what OpenMoko is all about) about the project having a
specific goal of designing the hardware to be open and tinkered with in

Yes, there are instances where it seems that hardware design decisions
have been made to allow access to standard interfaces like SPI, Serial,
JTAG, for the knowledgeable community hardware developer to use
(concidentally, those same interfaces are the ones that the original
device hardware designers need access to anyway, so it could easily be
just a happy by-product of good engineering), but that's very different
from a phone that is "meant to be opened and tinkered with" in a general
mass-market sense of that term (which may not be what you intended - I'm
 just making the distinction clear rather than disagreeing with you

All I'm saying is that it is very clear that OpenMoko (the software) is
meant to be fully open, and we should complain loudly if we see anything
about the software which is not open (both in the code itself, and the
development processes which create and maintain that code).

It is not clear at all that the same holds for the hardware (and the
processes required to design, manufacture, market and sell that
hardware).  We should be pleasantly surprised if *any* of that is open,
cause that is not what was promised by the OpenMoko concept.  We
certainly (in my opinion) do *not* have the right to complain when
something related to the development of the hardware by FIC (as opposed
to the development of the OpenMoko software) is not open.  Open hardware
development was never promised - only open software development was

You can bet that in the future there will probably be totally closed
hardware designs which run the totally open OpenMoko software.

-- Rod

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