In the press

Ken Restivo ken at
Tue Jul 15 13:10:16 CEST 2008

On Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 12:06:07PM +0200, Jay Vaughan wrote:
> > These are all great ideas and would be very helpful for us. We are a
> > small company. And really try to focus all we can on our products.
> > Community help to make these more approachable is something that would
> > make us all very grateful.
> >
> Well I'm certainly trying to help in any way I can, while I wait  
> patiently for my first Freerunner to arrive so I can get on with  
> developing some nice apps for it, too ..
> > Let me know if there is anything specific you think we (Openmoko)  
> > could
> > do to help get this all started.
> I think the main thing is we should set up a site thats just fanboix  
> oriented.. and I mean that in a positive way, not derogatorily.   
> Basically what I'd like to see is something similar to DSFanboy  
> (, which exists for Nintendo DS owners to check  
> regularly .. if we had such a site set up that could be easily  
> contributed to with stories and articles and whatnot, it would help a  
> great deal.
> I will continue to glean info from the mailing lists, and in a little  
> while will consider setting up, and maybe take it from  
> there .. unless someone else is more qualified to do so?

This kind of "fork" in the documentation and community is pretty typical in the case of a commercial product that isn't necessarily friendly to hackers. So there's an unofficial fan page where enthusiasts can discuss undocumented/unsupported features, odd uses, hacks, cracks, complain about the manufacturer, diss the users of competing products, and the like. The fan site is owned by the user commmunity and is somewhat isolated from being censored or easily closed down by the manufacturer.

In the Free/Open software world, it's usually very different. It's more typical for that user community to be an integral part of the project itself. There is a much blurrier line between users and developers, and that's pretty much the whole point.

Again, I'll point to the OpenWRT Wiki (and forums, and IRC channel, bug tracker, and mailing list) as a great example of what I consider to be excellent documentation and support for a free project.


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