why openmoko is so slow? Is it a joke?

Joshua Judson Rosen rozzin at geekspace.com
Wed Jul 15 06:56:09 CEST 2009

mobi phil <mobi at mobiphil.com> writes:
> So... my question is ... is it a joke
> In this case I would really advice people to refrain in buying the
> openmoko, and better go for glofiish M800, that has a keyboard and
> radio as plus

... and that, it appears, also has a $300 higher MSRP. Almost twice as
much as the FreeRunner? A lot of people have expressed shock and
amazement that the FreeRunner could cost even $300; these are,
presumably, not the same people whom you would advise to `just buy the
glofiish for *$700*'. Or..., were *you* joking?

Maybe you mean that Openmoko shouldn't have bothered trying to keep
the cost of the FreeRunner hardware down, and should have just shot
for a wealthier developer-clientele? Maybe, if the FreeRunner was more
obviously `out of reach', not only would they have been able to budget
for more impressive components, but it wouldn't be attainable enough
for as many people to complain about whatever failings it would have?
Something like how Tesla Motors decided to start with the Roadster (is
that an apt example?)?

> and kernel support is almost ready...

`It's almost twice as expensive, but at least it's also harder to
develop for!'? :)

As others mentioned: if you buy a piece of Openmoko hardware, then
you're contributing to the `Open *Hardware* movement', which many
(myself included) would say has merit and should be supported.
*Especially* in its nascent state does it need support--I'm sure that
you can appreciate the relative frailty of infants.

I'm sure that many of us can understand, however, that the
significance of `open hardware' is difficult for many people to either
understand or appreciate. Perhaps we can help you understand :)

As maddog noted, porting open software to a existing (closed?)
hardware platform is a `different' thing than extending the system's
openness right down to the hardware; maybe I can help elucidate the
significance, by way of example. I'm tempted to say that the
open-hardware development is `more significant' than `just porting
software to a proprietary platform', but that's not quite the right
phrasing--mainly because I don't mean to imply that things like
reverse-engineering a given hardware-platform is merely some minor
labour. Any success in that endeavour, however..., is more likely to
be a *fleeting* success.

I consider Rockbox as analogous: I bought an iPod to run Rockbox, and
I gave my wife a Sansa to run it; both of those devices, in any
version that Rockbox has been able to support, are now long-since out
of production, and their replacements must be reverse-engineered all
over again. The project can never seem to run on anything that's
actually in active production for very long, because the targets are
(effectively) fighting them at every step. While their technical
accomplishments are admirable, the very premise of the Rockbox project
(and many like it) seems almost like some sort of `geek Fight Club'--
insistently trying to `work with' a hostile in preference to a willing

Openmoko is here with a hand extended, saying `let's work together';
what is Eten's position?

If Eten is making a comparable offer to cooperate, then by all
means--do support them! :)

If we cannot convince you to care about open hardware, and you `merely'
wish to contribute to development of Free/OpenSource Software systems,
then note that *that* contribution *is* also appreciated. Thank you!

If you are have no contribution to make at this time, then..., while
it may be difficult to say, Openmoko *may* simply not have much to
offer you yet, either--it's is a distinct possibility. As previously
noted, the project (or projects, depending on how you look at it) is
(are) still nascent in many respects, and it's entirely possible that
you are simply not the target-audience right now. I've had this happen
to me many times, with many things :)

My SHR FreeRunner, by the way, does already work quite well as *my*
daily phone, PDA, mobile Wi-Fi access-point, GPS navigator,
music-player, web-tablet, IM client..., etc. And it works, for me,
*much* better than the Motorola RAZR that it replaced (and which sold
for..., what was it, $500?) :)

On that note, perhaps I've read too far into your comments--maybe all
you're saying is, `I am upset that the FreeRunner apparently cannot be
all things to all people'?

Perhaps you, like many others (including myself, at some points) got
caught-up in what were, effectively, `internal' discussions and
pep-rallies with/for the developer-community. This seems to be one of
the things that Openmoko-the-company needs to be very careful
with--it's an interesting challenge for them to address `their
developers' without it seeming like they're issuing
press-releases. How hard /is/ it to broadcast a message and hit only a
very specific segment of the public? What's the right way of avoiding
the creation of `too much enthusiasm' that makes developers eagerly
tell all of their *non-developer* friends that they should be
interested in something? Have people in the pure-software world been
able to handle these issues more gracefully?

I apologise for writing such a lengthy reply--I fear that I lack the
skill required to make it it shorter; and I hope that it isn't read as
being hostile. Quite the opposite: those questions are not
rhetorical--they are genuine inquiries.

Don't be afraid to ask (Lf.((Lx.xx) (Lr.f(rr)))).

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