No more optimization team

Olivier Migeot larrycow at
Tue Dec 16 13:46:01 CET 2008

On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 11:32 AM, Jeremy McNaughton
<jeremy.mcnaughton at> wrote:
> Hi,

Just wanting to bring some balance to your (otherwise respectful)
comment. Not affiliated to OM, blabla, things like that.

> I just wanted to chime in on this.  I bought the phone not realizing
> how useless as a phone it would be.  And now it's been months, and I
> still can't rely on it as a phone.

Well, maybe it's because I bought the phone "for later", still
planning to use my old Nokia as a regular phone until Neo's ready, but
I'm all in all pretty surprised. In a good way.

Of course there's been ups and downs. Every now and then, I tried a
new image/distro, and found it "awesome" at first. As days go by and
bugs occurs, I've been less and less enthusiastic, until I tried a new

With the release of QtExtended 4.4, I tried to put my old Nokia back
into the drawer, and use the Neo as my main phone. That whole process
was eased thanks to my "business" dedicated phone, so I wasn't
completely "left out in the cold" even when QTE failed. But for the
first time, I was able to put and get calls, without my callers/ees
complaining all the time about the echo. The sound wasn't that nice,
but it's a cellphone after all, and not so long ago every single
cellphone sounded like that.

Due to some rather irritating bugs in QTE (high-pitched loud noises
from the loudspeaker when answering a call - quite disturbing for
co-workers - and "duplicating" text messages), I tried to move to FSO.
And, quite frankly, I'm starting to believe I'll keep this one for a
while. I've witnessed no echo nor buzzing yet, been able to send and
receive text messages without my them mating like rabbits on viagra -
sorry for your antispams, guys) and so on. Of course, I didn't try
GPRS nor WiFi, and GPS isn't working as well as it could (well, not at
all for now, but I'm investigating it). But at least I can keep it
running 24h/day, ssh it and play with it when I feel like it, and
still having a working and (as far as I can tell) reliable phone.

> Until then it sits on a shelf, only getting used every few weekends to
> test a few images.  I'll keep checking the wiki and the lists to see
> how things are going.  But I want to write apps, not troubleshoot
> echoes and battery problems.

I don't know how much time you have, but things are way better when
you try it for real than when you read about it. The idea one can get
from reading that list is that nothing is working and everyone bitter.
>From "real life" testing, it's not that wrong, at least not for
everybody. I understand mileage may vary upon several factors
(provider, SIM model, Neo revision, lunar month, so on), but for me
it's worth the try.

> I think what Openmoko Inc. really needs is better community relations.
>  It seems that a lot of the dissatisfaction in the community stems
> from a feeling of being left out of the loop.  As a casual member of
> the community, it is really hard to keep track of what is going on
> with the project.

Once again, it's easier when you're participating, even when it's only
testing. Had a few problems posted here, and got some nice feedback,
even from OM Inc. people. It really should be hard to keep track when
"not in it".

> Looking from the outside, it really seems as though the Openmoko Inc.
> team is working in isolation, cathedral style.

Maybe you should start looking from the inside. The door is wide open :)

> I would love to see company engineers and developers in constant
> dialog with the community about the work they are doing on a daily
> basis.  Many open source projects have a blog Planet site, where you
> can read entries from developers explaining the bugs they are fixing
> and features they are designing and implementing.  This sort of daily
> interaction would beat a weekly single page of point form notes hands
> down.

Well, I'd rather see them improving OM than in constant dialog. What's
most people has been ranting about is the closed fashion of the
_design_. And that might be true, but I'm not involved at all in that
part (well, even less involved than in the other parts, to be fair)
and couldn't notice it.

Not that I don't like reading regular updates from developers, but I
much prefer running regular updates of their software ;)

> Sometimes it seems as though Openmoko is depending on community
> members to fill roles such as maintaining the wiki.  For the past view
> months that I've been reading the wiki and monitoring pages there has
> been a lot of stale, outdated and confusing information.  At various
> points it has been impossible for me to figure out which kernel to use
> with which filesystem for a particular distro release within the
> amount of time I can allot to Openmoko.

That's a good point. It's hard to guess what to use and how. But then
again, there are so many options out there (FSO, SHR, QTE, ASU and co,
Android, ...), with most of them not depending on Openmoko, that it's
might be hard for them to maintain documentation about it. Keeping up
with that information should be our (e.g. the community) job. And, if
you're willing to spend some time looking for blogs and reading them,
it's not that bad. Though it can of course be improved.

> It looks like the future phone GUI we'll be using is Paroli, which is
> part of Tichy.  Tichy looks really interesting, and will likely be a
> major part of the Openmoko development platform.  If that's the case,
> why has there been so little information about either project?

Well, for now - as an FSO user - I'm sticking to Zhone, which works
and is useable. Though far from perfect and not so convenient for some
common tasks (browsing through contacts/messages, for exemple). I'm
looking forward a Paroli/Tichy release, but I can wait.

> Openmoko you have this community of users who are still enthusiastic
> about your product.

Community, you have this Openmoko company who is still working on
their product some months after it's been released. Granted, the first
release was nowhere near astounding. But in closed world developement,
who could claim such dedication? ;)

>  Do yourself a favour and learn how to keep us
> interested by opening the lines of communication.  Look at other major
> open source projects that have successfully cultivated active
> communities around their products.  How did they do it?  Ubuntu's
> community didn't happen by accident, it happened by design.

Ubuntu's community isn't perfect either, and - as an hybrid
Debian/Ubuntu guy - I often find them difficult to get along with. Of
course, there are tutorials and walkthroughs for many common (or not
so common) tasks - but then there's orders of magnitude more users in
Ubuntu's than in Openmoko's - but when you want to tackle with
untackled problems, it's sometimes ... disappointaing.

Maybe I'm just too enthusiastic from what I recently saw in OM's
world, but quite frankly I'm starting to feel less and less like this
purchase has been a mistake. Well, actually, I don't feel at all like
it's been a mistake, but I must admit there's been a point when I
wonder, some weeks/months ago.


Olivier M.

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