The Lost Openmoko Community

Michael Frandsen mf1910 at
Sat Oct 4 18:23:48 CEST 2008

On Sat, 2008-10-04 at 15:56 +0300, Risto H. Kurppa wrote:

> Hi!
> After my previous blog post [1] about Openmoko 2007.2 distribution and
> the Openmoko community I got some comments proving that like me, some
> other people feel that the community is lost and uninformed. This post
> is a follow up to the previous post and the comments I got.
> I've understood that 2007.2 still ships with the phones. As soon as
> one gets his new c00l Freerunner linux phone they need to flash the
> phone with a new distro (2008.x or Debian, FDOM, SHR, Gentoo, Qtopia,
> FSO.. [6]) since the software it ships with is obsolete. OK, so you
> get your 2008.x there and find that it doesn't really do all the magic
> and would like to report a bug.
> I don't know how others feel but I really don't feel like reporting
> bugs in the bug tracker [3]. OK, I'm running an unsupported distro
> (2007.2) so there's one reason but I also feel that it's okay to post
> kernel bugs only there, not anything that a normal user would see in
> his GUI. Is this correct or just a feeling or misunderstanding?
> Remember that all Freerunner owners and people here in the community
> are not kernel developers. I don't even know how to save back traces
> or hack the source code but I'm happy to report if something doesn't
> work and then when someone more skillful finds what's wrong and
> eventually fixes it, I'm again happy to try if the fix works for me.
> For some reason I feel that there's no space in the community for
> users like me.
> So it's 2008.x now. No, wait.. there are FDOM [5] and SHR [2] around
> that are not far from 2008.x. Is 2007.2 still developed and lead by
> Openmoko or by the community? Do the community developers have access
> to the files so that new releases can be made or is SHR the closest to
> 2007.2 you can get to? My feeling is that there was a lack of
> information about why 2007.2 was forgotten and new 2008.x series was
> started and that something weird is happening in the official distros
> that creates a need for FDOM and SHR - why don't the developers feel
> ok to contribute directly to 2007.x and 2008.x but 'fork' their own
> distros?
> I think that what makes me feel lost is the lack of information about
> what's happening in the community. I don't know what's the development
> status of the software or what's the general direction the community
> and/or Openmoko is heading to? Having a better view on the general
> situation makes one feel much more comfortable and secure: now I feel
> that I just wait to see what the next release's like not being able to
> know what to wait for.
> People working at Openmoko and other software developers:
>     * Please check 'Community Management as Open Source's Core
> Competency' by David Eaves [4] and have a good look at the the
> Openmoko community. It needs management!
>     * Please write a blog post once a week or so to
> and the community mailing list telling the
> community what's going on. Five to ten lines is enough to help the
> community feel better!
>     * Please respect your community!
> Other community members:
>     * How do you feel about the current situation? How happy are you
> with the community?
>     * Do you feel well informed? Do you know what's the direction
> we're heading to?
>     * How would you like to contribute?
> Thanks!
> ps. I posted this also in my blog:
> r
> [1]
> [2]
> [3]
> [4]
> [5]
> [6]

I feel more or less the same way.

I am a software developer but have no experience in linux development,
not that I don't want too. 

My goal buying the neo was mainly to have a portable device with gps and
different means of communication. Since in my work I have become more
and more specialise in one area I wanted to expand my knowledge in a new

The first I did was flash 2008.08 and get usb and wifi up running but I
fast realise that the system software was to unstable to make it really
useable. It crash to often and drain battery to fast.

A week ago there were a call to get community to contribute in bug
tracking and yesterday I struggled to figure out how to build everything
so that I maybe could assist in bug tracking. until now I find it very
confusing all the guides follow a general approach where I don't really
know what is going on. I managed to build an image (took a few hours)
but I have no idea what image and where to find the source code. Maybe
it's me lacking experience from other linux projects I don't know but
normally I easy can get source install required libraries ./configure
and make change some code make again test it out but not here.

I have not give up but I really wish I could contribute more I keep on
trying and wait and hope for things to get fixed. that's most I can hope
right now.

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