(Some?) 3G support for Linux from Nokia - relevant for future models?

Fredrik Wendt fredrik at wendt.se
Thu Sep 18 23:16:05 CEST 2008

First off, I'd just like to say that this is a great discussion
(although it has very little to do about 3G support for Linux :)

tor 2008-09-18 klockan 10:14 +1000 skrev Lorn Potter:
> Mikko Rauhala wrote:
> > to, 2008-09-18 kello 05:45 +1000, Lorn Potter kirjoitti:
> >> Mikko Rauhala wrote:
> >>> Personally I'll be loathe to buy Nokia products anyway, they're just way
> >>> too inconsistent with their policies and have no commitment to free
> >>> software whatsoever.
> >> I would beg to differ. Trolltech is now part of Nokia, Qt and Qtopia 
> >> certainly are open source and I can tell you for certain, we are 
> >> committed to keeping them open source.
> > 
> > Sure Nokia has some products which happen to be free software. That
> > doesn't make them committed to free software, what with being eg.
> > hostile to free formats,
> IANAL, but... (nor am I a spokesperson for Nokia)
> > development in general through their patent lobby, very much clueless in
> > top level press comments about these subjects, 
> > and in general not being
> > very consistent in what they're up to in this area.
> Nokia employs thousands of _individuals_, we are not borg, nor do we all think and act the same.
> > 
> >> Maemo is quite good. That is pure Nokia. Qt and Qtopia are good, that is 
> >> now from Nokia...
> > 
> > The tablet OS has significant proprietary portions, both third party and
> > in-house - the latter having insiders commenting that it's difficult
> > (when at all possible) to get the go-ahead to free the code properly.
> > Not to mention the target hardware platform pretty much requires binary
> > blob kernel code and such (last I checked anyway).
> > 
> > Not meaning to start a Nokia flamefest here, it was originally just a
> > side comment, but since we have a (paid) on-list representative here,
> > apparently a reminder of the other side of the coin is in order.
> Not sure if you are aware, but I have my roots from within the community, [...]
> Change _will_ happen. But it will happen slowly.

I believe a fair part of the criticism (or skepticism) is based on
expectations. Now that Nokia bought Trolltech a lot of different things
could happen:

- Nokia believes in the future of Open Source and heavily invests in
Trolltech and tries to expand it's "business" and/or increase 
-- speed
-- width/breadth
-- depth (_100 % free software on the Qtopia stack, maemo, etc)
-- opens up hardware
-- tries to stop the cat-and-mouse game with patents

- Nokia bought Trolltech to charm a very important audience, the Open
Source world. This means keeping Trolltech somewhat happy (providing a
secure stable (non-expanding) financial future)

- Nokia bought Trolltech to get benefits out of 
-- people's skills
-- a platform (technically speaking)

- Nokia bought Trolltech to remove a potential threat

What I'm aiming for here is that if and only if (and hopefully), it has
to do with the first option. Nokia is willing to move to the open world
because it believes it's the right thing to do. If it was so, I guess
people expect that every step in that direction would be promoted and
besides PR you'd see Trolltech/Nokia advancing into new fields and

I guess and think a lot of people feel that they've yet to see proof
from Nokia 
- on their open source strategy,
- how they'll embrace and later adapt to a more open community,
- basically their belief in (F)OSS.

Until a critical amount of "hard evidence" is perceived by the
community, Nokia will be looked upon with suspicious eyes and people
will fear if not the worst at least not the best.

And (with all due respect) - with a Nokia label/t-shirt on, you'll have
to prove your credibility to the community not just once but every now
and then, probably every day. The (judging) majority doesn't know your
history, care to read up on it or even know how to. It has nothing to do
with Nokia per ser, only that you actually sold your freedom of speech
to a company (I'm pretty sure you can't talk about all that you know by
now because of the way things are with a "normal" company that sells
products - you're not allowed to talk to the market about products in
ways not approved by marketing/product owners).

My opinion is that Nokia brings money and it's put to use in way that
produces FOSS. That's good no matter what happens next.
I'm glad we have this discussion in the first place, and that wouldn't
have happened if Nokia weren't there - so for that I'm happy with Nokia
In regards to your last sentence "Change _will_ happen. But it will
happen slowly." I'd just like to add that you'll have to stick up with
skepticism until there's enough honest moves being made from Nokia. It
looks to me like the current state is not enough to convince a greater

My 0,00002 SEK.

/ Fredrik
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