Gphone and 850, perspectives

Mikko Rauhala mjrauhal at
Wed Nov 7 01:41:55 CET 2007


I'll just say my piece on these current events, among other things in
the hopes of getting some perspectives to people, perhaps calming some
storms a bit if lucky.

850 MHz:
1) Sucks for NA people, for sure. Luckily I have no intention of
traveling there (well, maybe Canada sometime), but I feel the pain of
those stuck there.
2) It _does_ seem like a big blunder on the part of FIC.
3) Hardly screws up the whole project, even if it is a blow.
4) No use crying over spilled milk. (Exception: Those who cry direct to
FIC, and not on lists, about returning phones should IMAO be
accommodated; they bought a quad-band device, even if it was a
development one. However, in the interest of expediency, it'd be nice if
those devices could find new homes directly instead. A wiki-page for
"I'll buy your triband GTA01 off you", perchance?)
5) Let's hope they can make a 850-capable triband in some reasonable
timeframe afterwards. (Or of course full quad, but seemed from Michael's
comments that the former was somewhat more likely, even if it's not
guaranteed either.)

1) Gphone/Android is still vapor, Neo/OpenMoko works as a rudimentary
phone already at least (using it as my daily phone myself since my ages
old phone died a week ago or so). The vapority of Android also makes any
statements (including mine here) about it very much guesswork.
2) The Open Handset Cabal isn't really very open in its attitudes as
3) Google's actual phone product seems likely to not offer users the
benefits of an open platform, just the system developers. This is
indicated by the FAQ above and Google's interest in pushing ads to
4) Android-using system developers seem to also otherwise be pretty much
encouraged to go proprietary as much as they like (and partners like NTT
DoCoMo do like). Also considering the presence of parties like Nvidia,
proprietary drivers are probably very much in game.
5) I would personally like, and expect, the OpenMoko team to push on;
the people here have earned my trust with respect to trying to maximize
freedom also for the indie developers and users, even if there have been
other sorts of issues on the way.
6) That said, if the core of Android will indeed be free, it should be
possible to grab useful stuff from it over to OpenMoko (for instance the
announced VM plus libraries) for compatibility and all that jazz, if the
platform will reach relevancy. Integration work would be required, of
course; it'd not be gratis.
7) Also, if/when there is a free core Android system to speak of
available, it shouldn't likely be overly difficult to port to the Neo.
Thus a Neo purchase is protected in relevance even in the case that
Android is all that it's hyped up to be and blows OM out of the water.
(Not implying anything about the likelyhood of said occurance, merely
pointing out that purchasers of the designed to be Linux-friendly Neo
aren't really threatened to "lose" anything here.)
8) In the same spirit as above, in the event that at some point in the
future FIC/OM would see Android rather than OpenMoko as the way to move
forward, I would hope and expect them to continue making sure there are
as free and open as possible mobile computing solutions available.
Meaning, they'd hopefully would continue the good work they've done in
designing the Neo, more spesifically the GTA02, not require (or ship
with) proprietary stuff on the Linux system side, with many in-house
developed free drivers to boot. If Android takes off, there will
certainly be largely proprietary offerings based on it (as there are
ones based on Qtopia). It is crucial that there will also be
freedom-maximizing products, be they OpenMoko or Android based. (Heck,
one could imagine an OM-branded 100% free Android system. But that's
getting ahead of things again; let's reiterate that Android is vapor,
and I'm still rooting for OpenMoko, merely not fanatically so.)

The road ahead will perhaps be more interesting than especially those
with heavy personal investments on OpenMoko would like. Let's try and
make the best of it.

Mikko Rauhala   - mjr at     - <URL:>
Transhumanist   - WTA member     - <URL:>
Singularitarian - SIAI supporter - <URL:>

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