The University of São Paulo's intent to join Openmoko development

Jon 'maddog' Hall maddog at
Mon Jul 13 13:02:48 CEST 2009

Dear Openmoko Community,

In light of the refocusing of Sean's company on consumer items, there
has been a perceived vacuum created in the Openmoko community's efforts
to create next-generation open cellular smart phones.

I happened to be working with Dr. Marcelo Zuffo, a full professor and
the head of the Laboratory for Integrated Systems at the University of
São Paulo, Brazil, on an unrelated project.  I asked Dr. Zuffo if the
university would be willing to join the Openmoko community and to
provide critical resources to the task at hand.

I subsequently have met with Dr. Zuffo several times on this matter,
have seen his facilities (which include a very modern and
state-of-the-art SMT line) and have discussed the goals of the community
to design and prototype a completely open design for a cellular phone.
Dr. Zuffo and the university understand your issues, understand free and
open source software and hardware and are willing to assist the
community with this project.

I might add that the university can bring several new capabilities to
the community:

First of all, Dr. Zuffo has discussed the Openmoko project with the
Minister of Telecommunications of Brazil, and the Minister is very
enthusiastic about the concept.  Having the support of the government of
the twelfth largest economy behind the project might really help us with
various negotiations with vendors.

Secondly the University has been working on several aspects of
telecommunications for a long time, and therefore has expertise in
telephonic security and codecs (among other things) that could be of use
to the Openmoko community.

Third, the university has the ability and expertise to design new
integrated circuits.  Recently they designed a a range of analog-digital
chips.  Therefore the possibility of developing, manufacturing and
freely licensing new chips to help reduce the cost of the phone is

Forth, while the facilities I mentioned are capable of producing up to
10,000 units at the rate of one circuit board every 30 seconds,  the 
purpose of the facilities is research, developing and support projects
that can lead innovation, the lab's charter does not allow them to
manufacture more units then the 10,000 because that would be "commercial
production".  Therefore the university has a goal of freely licensing
the design to companies for manufacture.

Fifth, the university would be happy to host the mailing lists and
forums of the Openmoko project.  If some of the software projects need
hosting and can not find hosting services other places, the university
will consider acting as a primary hosting facility for these projects.

Sixth, personally I would like to see this concept extended, of inviting
more universities and their facilities to help with this project
world-wide.  I hope that the leadership of the University of Sao Paulo
will help create the structure and inspiration for this to happen.

Finally, the university has a non-profit legal entity, LSITEC, which can
easily do the type of paperwork that Sean's company did (NDAs,
certification) so the community can leverage off that.

I know that there will be a lot of questions and considerations to take
before the community is comfortable with this relationship.  Dr. Zuffo
has asked that I help coordinate the joining together of the university
with the community, and in the interest of seeing Openmoko continue to
do the fine work started by Sean and all of you, I will be glad to help
in this capacity.  I am monitoring the community mailing list, and
people are also welcome to email me directly (maddog at with
questions that you do not (for any reason) wish to post to the list.

A copy of Dr. Zuffo's letter of intent is below.  I have the original
PDF if anyone would like to see it, but it was too big to make it
through the community's standards on mailing lists unmoderated, and I
thought you might like to see this as soon as possible.

Warmest regards,

Jon "maddog" Hall
President, Linux International
CTO of Koolu, Inc.


São Paulo, 8th July 2009,

Mr. Jon Maddog Hall
The Executive Director Linux International.

Dear Mr. Hall, according our conversation LSI-USP the Laboratory for
Integrated Systems at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, is interested
in hosting the OpenMoko Community to design innovative cell phone

We would like to offer the community the following facilities:
‐  State-of-art facilities for SMT (Surface Mounting Technology)
prototyping of complex electronics boards;
‐  State-of-art facilities and expertise for design HW and SW in
telephony and communications;
‐  Expertise in testing and certification;
‐  A new building located at a Center position at USP São Paulo, to host
community meetings, as well as computational infrastructure for email ,
WEB servers and project databases.

-LSI has a long term expertise in designing complex electronics systems,
including integrated circuits, and we would like to involve also our IC
design team that could eventually design some components of the OpenMoko

All legal procedures will be conducted by LSITEC, our non-profit
organization to help technology developing.

Finally I would like to be completely available for any further
questions and discussion.

My regards,
                                       Marcelo Knörich Zuffo
                                       Full Professor
                                       Laboratory for Integrated Systems
                                       University of São Paulo – Brazil

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