[openmoko-announce] Openmoko on Design

Jay Vaughan jayv at synth.net
Mon Jul 28 23:22:45 CEST 2008

> I can't speak for anybody else, but what were you actually expecting  
> of
> the Neo FR?  A finished SDK that you can develop against to build your
> app on?

Having worked in Open-Hardware for over 15 years now, I was, in fact,  
expecting a much more coherent strategy for the software platform on  
Freerunner than just "let the community decide".  Certainly, the  
community aspect of this project is huge; I am not saying that it is  
not valuable to have such great public influence on the design; just  
that: there *has* to be a rigid design approach to guide development,  
or else we end up with a torn map navigating fork-city.

>  To me this is Linux pre 1.0 with with no GNOME or KDE or XFCE
> or ... any evolved user interface.  I'm okay with that - it's early  
> days
> yet.  I can just about see what they are doing, but it's very early in
> the game.  Too early to expect a stable platform you can write your  
> apps
> against ONCE.

It may well be too early in the game, but there is definitely the  
desire among the community for a little more leadership on such issues  
as how to deliver the most basic functionality of the device.

Wasn't there some sort of design for what an "open MObile  
KOmmunicator" would try to achieve, or did it get as far as "lets make  
some expensive handsets and sell them without software to people who  
will write the software and do all the hard parts for us so that at  
the end of the day there will be users interested in the experience?"

> Ask yourself: WHY did you buy the Neo FreeRunner?  I'm curious.  Why  
> did
> you buy it after reading the wiki and just about every other piece of
> information about it said "I'm really new, not finished, alpha  
> software,
> may not work, etc, etc.".  I know why I bought it.

I bought it because I want to write interesting software for it, and I  
want to participate in the process of designing and developing  
interesting communications applications.  I'm doing that.  But to be  
frank, its not a very fun process when there are too many targets to  
shoot at.  It was terribly frustrating to learn that OM was the wrong  
choice for the phone and that a new start had to be made by those  
involved in delivering the basics of the distro for others - users and  
developers alike - to start targeting and using.

>> Please, for all that is merciful and mighty, *get a design* for the
>> current systems done, and make sure your team of superlative wizards
>> adhere to that design.
> How would you go about doing that?  You ask a lot of questions.  How
> would you start to answer them?

I would at least try to get all the basic phone functions working,  
even if it meant copying the designed functionality from another,  
commercial vendor, and focus on that, and only that, first and  
foremost.  I certainly would not have forked the distro and set things  
adrift vis a vis ASU/FSO/Qtopia/OM2007.2, anyway.

But look, I'm flogging a dead horse here, if only because Seans mail  
raised my ire.  I spent the whole day trying to make and take calls on  
a phone that is over 2 years in the making .. with terrible results.   
So tonight I'll try ASU, and then QTopia, and then .. ;/ and maybe  
I'll go back to OM2007.2, where I at least have a couple apps of my  
own currently, sort of (SDL is broken), running ..

Jay Vaughan

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