FreeRunner delayed a further 6 months?!?!??

Kevin Dean kevin at
Tue Mar 18 17:32:38 CET 2008

I have to chime in here, I was trying to resist. :)

OpenMoko Inc. is a company that, right now, is treading unfamiliar
waters. On one hand, they're a "newcomer" to the phone market so they
don't have name recognition yet so they need to generate "buzz" in
order to get the word out around their product. At the same time,
they're made up of hackers who value the freedom and the openness of
Free Software and have been applying that mentality to their business
model. When a "bug" was found in hardware, it's relayed to us.

The problem is that "the rest of the world" isn't ready for that. The
general media isn't used to HEARING about a product before it's
"almost out the door". OpenMoko Inc has the RARE burden here of
building hype for a product, keeping true to the hacker community who
demands transparency and pleasing the "consumers" that will in the end
buy it's product. I think the "resentment" in general is caused by
conflicting paradigms - most people read and article and expect a
product in 6 weeks.

I won't exactly fault OpenMoko here but they should have counted on
that. I understand fully what people are saying - I resisted buying a
Neo1973 because I "knew" a better version was on the horizon. At the
same time, it's the user's fault as well for making the assumption
that a project that "breaks all the rules" would follow the rules. :)
What ultimately got my $$$ was self-evaluation of why OpenMoko was
important to me at all - Freedom.

The media is hyping OpenMoko as "the iPhone killer" and a LOT of
people are interested in it for that reason. Since OpenMoko Inc.
hasn't exactly been... willing to correct that assumption (for obvious
reasons) I think, like GNU/Linux, the entire point is being lost.
OpenMoko is a phone powered by Free Software - if you want that, buy
it, you won't find another phone that meets that criteria. OpenMoko
today is not the iPhone killer. When you see it on a store shelf, of
see a friend with one and personally believe it's the iPhone killer,
THEN you should buy it as the iPhone killer.

But since I got the point of OpenMoko - Freedom - I didn't feel like I
was spending money on what OpenMoko is today. I spent money to ensure
that Freerunner would come out because I have faith that what OpenMoko
will be next year.

At the same time, OpenMoko is also a software community. Sometimes
people get defensive when something they've invested time and energy
into is "under attack" but at the same time criticism IS as important
in many ways as plaudits. Companies make mistakes, but what really
retains customers is how they respond to those mistakes. Myself, as a
paying customer of FIC/OpenMoko, I'm confidant that they're working on
ways to make my experience better. By keeping true to the goals of
openness and freedom, they're building hype. And while I am reluctant
to phrase it this way, I'm not one to "be nice" for the sake of it -
the message of freedom has sold SKUs and most of the "feature"
complaints are coming from people who haven't put any money behind
their rants. Whom do you THINK they're going to cater to given that?

Viva Libre!

-Kevin Dean

On Tue, Mar 18, 2008 at 11:46 AM, Tilman Baumann <tilman at> wrote:
> Jonathon Suggs wrote:
>  > Why?  Don't know your exact situation but my guess is that even when the
>  > FreeRunner is initially released it isn't going to be completely
>  > polished anyway.  So rather than get all frustrated (and build some
>  > resentment toward the project like I did) don't put an artificial
>  > timeframe on them...they will release the hardware when it is ready, not
>  > when you are ready for the hardware.
>  You don't need Openmoko in it's first generation to have perfect phone.
>  You would need it because you want to hack it.
>  Everyone complaining that Openmoko is not ready yet, does not have a
>  clue what this is all about.
>  It will be ready some time, and it will be the greatest phone on the planet.
>  But this is something the community needs to make it happen.
>  The first gen freerunner will be a TOOL for making the greatest phone!
>  Well the delay sucks. But it sucks for hackers not for endusers.
>  And by the way, making phone calls will most likely not be a issue.
>  Since it is already rather stabele at the moment.
>  Regards
>   Tilman
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>  OpenMoko community mailing list
>  community at

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