illume keyboard button (was Openmoko on Design)

Andreas Bogk andreas at
Wed Jul 30 15:01:52 CEST 2008

Dear community and OM Powers That Be,

I have read the "Openmoko on Design" thread with a certain alienation. 
I'll try to resist the temptation to pick up one of the many flame 
baits, but even after sleeping it over for a night, I feel inclined to 
comment on the issue here.

First, I think that the complaints of users about "the phone should know 
when it expects keyboard input, and automatically bring up the keyboard" 
are right.  The work going into this direction is correct.

However, there are situations when a manual override is needed.  The 
automatic detection could be wrong, for instance.  But much more 
important: the user could be in a situation where keyboard input is 
theoretically possible, but not currently desired, because the keyboard 
is taking away screen real estate.  This happened to me yesterday, when 
I was sitting in the train, and reading some code using the terminal 

So, in my opinion, the decision to remove the button is incorrect.  Even 
more so, the strong reaction of the users should have been an indication 
that the decision was incorrect.  It's always a good idea to listen to 
your users.

It has been said that, since OpenMoko is an open project, the community 
has the chance to come up with a different solution.  Now let's take a 
look at what the community (read: folks who actually write code instead 
of participating in lengthy discussions) did, the day the button was 
removed from illume:;a=blob;f=packages/openmoko-projects/illume/configure-keyboard.patch;h=589fe53f38afc59be95a13ed67a9f9d1fc452148;hb=HEAD

They re-enabled the feature in their branch, and went on with their 
life.  However, the patch stopped applying this morning, and I had to 
lock down illume to r170.

Raster: if you could make the keyboard button a configuration option, as 
  in the above patch, you'd make me and a couple of other people happy. 
  Thanks in advance.


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