Community contributions to core apps & features. (Was: Terminal for ASU)

Aaron Sowry aaron at
Sat Jul 26 14:01:53 CEST 2008

rakshat hooja wrote:
>     It is already linked from the front page, but clearly from not those
>     places it should be from :)
>     But you have good points. Openmoko is open, but its development is not
>     exposed in the open as much as I'd like for an open source project to
>     be. The Openmoko folks are still a bit "mysterious" to me, with the
>     exception of the few who regularly post on these mailing lists.
>     I think the line between Openmoko employee and a contributing, trusted
>     community member should be made more fuzzy. More SVN / GIT rights to
>     the people, more contributing directly to
>     instead of just "external" projects at
>     <> etc. 
> You are right but I think that the problem lies in the fact that 
> Openmoko has not been able to provide any entry point where new people 
> joining the list (after the release of the freerunner) can figure out 
> who and where to ask what question. The Openmoko people are pretty 
> open and if you will ask for something long enough you will get an 
> answer/ access from them. Michael Shiloh of Openmoko used to interface 
> with the community and answer their questions after getting the 
> information from the developers in a regular community update. I think 
> Steve and Michael still do that? Maybe we should have a page on the 
> wiki describing who does what at Openmoko and who to address what 
> question to and also an introductory email for new subscribers listing 
> out similar things.
> It has been almost an year since I wrote my first email to Openmoko 
> (actually to Sean  to which Michael Shiloh replied) I can assure you 
> that Openmoko people try their "hardest" to be open and responsive to 
> community suggestions/ questions. But often it takes time for the 
> question/ request to reach the correct person who can answer it / 
> respond to it.
> Rakshat
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> Openmoko community mailing list
> community at
This seems trivial but I think it is important. Even though open-source 
communities often strive to be non-heirarchical it is important that 
there be project leaders and that the people involved with development 
know these people and what their roles are. If you've just come on board 
(like I have) you could almost be forgiven for thinking that the 
Openmoko project is a loose-knit group of enthusiasts casually 
meandering from one platform to the next with no real direction for the 
past 12 months, and I think at least having a visible core team who send 
community updates on a regular basis is a step towards getting everyone 
singing from the same hymn sheet. These and other such details need to 
be prominently displayed on the wiki.

I guess the core aim of Openmoko is to liberate the mobile platform and 
put technology back in the hands of the end-user through open-source 
software, however people are only going to get on board if it works. I 
have to say that I am left slightly underwhelmed after a couple of days 
with my FreeRunner - as a development platform it is brilliant and the 
geek in me certainly doesn't regret the purchase, however it is 
frustrating that after a years worth of open development I am still 
unable to use it as my primary phone (purportedly the main purpose of 
the device) due to hardware and software issues. Remember that Linux is 
set to capture the mobile market in a seriously big way over the next 
few years so we are far from the only ones doing this, and I think that 
if Openmoko is to remain competitive rather than be relegated to a 
hobbyist device then progress needs to be made in leaps and bounds 
rather than dribs and drabs, at least in the usability department. 
Perhaps a little cohesion would be a step in the right direction.

Hopefully this is seen as constructive and not a whiny rant - I figure 
that this mailing list is intended for this type of discussion?

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