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

Kevin Dean kevin at
Wed Mar 19 15:56:12 CET 2008

On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 10:29 AM, Lally Singh <lally.singh at> wrote:
> [snipping to keep it short]
>  [ for everyone who's tired of reading these -- sorry.  the community's
>  easily as (actually, more) important than the hardware product itself.
>   debates like this are as important (imho) as those debating how much
>  RAM the device has or what cell frequencies should be enabled. ]
>  I abbreviate here for brevity, not to ignore any points you've mentioned.
>  On Tue, Mar 18, 2008 at 10:25 PM, Kevin Dean <kevin at> wrote:
>  >  Perhaps you allude to this, and if so, I agree. If not, then I ask you
>  >  to tak a step back and recognize the varied and diverse reasons that
>  >  people value Free Software.
>  I agree.  The self-motivated, ready-to-go, already-commited ones
>  aren't the ones I worry about.  It's everyone else.  Two groups come
>  to mind: 1. The beginners who would be contributors.  2. The coders
>  who are looking for a project to work on.   A honey-vs-vinegar
>  approach would help in both areas.
>  >  The first day I installed Debian GNU/Linux I was told "Read the
>  >  fucking manual". Back then, they weren't nice enough to abreviate it
>  >  for me. :)
>  Responding to such a request like this:
>  RTFM: <url of documentation>
>  The old RTFM comment goes back to the older unix days, when you had
>  good printed documentation, but no google.   It's fair to assume that
>  people would look for documentation before asking...  They already
>  searched plenty to find the mailing list!
>  >  Every person told RTFM is a person being told to be responsible for
>  >  themselves. Where you see it inspiring a developer to avoid I project,
>  >  I see it inspiring a hacker to start hacking.
>  People still choose which projects to spend their time on, as we're
>  really competing with other projects for contributors.  It helps not
>  to treat them as spoiled, lazy children.
>  >  Again, I don't disagree with you here on principal, but I do question
>  >  the logic being asserted - OpenMoko is the ONLY platform advocating
>  >  use freedom and control so all of the evidence we have on one side or
>  >  the other is questionable at best.
>  Others have pushed conceptual products (in this case, freedom) vs
>  traditional functionality before.  E.g. OpenBSD's cryptographic
>  freedom (hence) and security as a cultural decision.  As they don't
>  bring (initially) any new functionality to the table at start, we
>  *have* to recruit heavily to build a community.  The ones who'd come
>  in for selfish reasons don't see anything for them until someone else
>  has made the system useful.  The few exceptions are folks who need
>  specific, easy-to-implement features easily built atop the existing,
>  raw, openmoko stack.  IMHO, not too many by itself.
>  It's like a compound interest equation for a savings account.  The
>  initial amount put in is how many people believed in the original
>  ideals of the project (remember the account starts at zero, so we only
>  have ideals to start with).  What they put in builds interest --- the
>  results of their work interests more people.  Those people's
>  contributions (even if it's just evangelizing) adds onto the balance
>  in the account --- building interest themselves.  The cycle continues
>  forward.
>  Maybe that metaphor made more sense in my head than out loud.
>  But, everyone's got their buy-in point.  The amount of work required
>  to make the device useful/interesting for them.  More work than that,
>  and they're not interested.  Any coder will tell you that they spend
>  as much time going through documentation and other people's source as
>  they do writing your own.  That's where the community comes in: if
>  it's easy to get help, the amount of work spent looking up
>  documentation/help reduces, and we have more developers who were just
>  waiting for the project to hit their buy-in point.  Open source
>  projects charge a price in hours worked, not dollars.  Never pretend
>  that the former isn't easily worth as much as the latter.
>  --
> H. Lally Singh
>  Ph.D. Candidate, Computer Science
>  Virginia Tech
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>  community at

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