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

Warren Baird wjbaird at
Thu Jul 16 19:36:37 CEST 2009

Hi Jon,

Thanks for all this - like most people here, I think this is fantastic news
that gives me some meagre hope for the future of the freerunner.

On Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 8:11 PM, Jon 'maddog' Hall <maddog at> wrote:

> One of the issues here is that the project has not exactly been focused
> on one stack of software....ergo the number of cycles that it is taking
> to get any one stack ready has taken a long time.  IMHO this is both a
> blessing and a curse.  A blessing because the hardware and kernel are
> "tickled" in many ways, making the kernel more robust in the long run
> and a person has choice in the software stack.  A curse because instead
> of one intense effort we have several somewhat coordinated efforts.
> >My feeling is that the GTA02 device itself is in pretty good shape
> >compared to the software it runs. So how will the community benefit
> >from a GTA03?
> Yes, I agree the GTA02 is in "pretty good shape" compared to the
> "software it runs".  However, it is in "good shape" for the middle of
> 2008.....not necessarily for the year 2009 or even the end of 2008.
> Eventually the tide will turn and the software will be "in good shape"
> while the hardware is perceived as being "long in the tooth".

I hope you are are right that eventually the software will be in better
shape than the hardware.   I must admit that in my less optimistic moments,
I wonder about that.   The progress towards a stable, easily usable distro
for the FR has been slow.

I agree that finding people who can work on the phone software is a lot
easier than hardware, and I think that this current opportunity is great.
However, I also think that at the moment the software environment requires a
*lot* of work to be ready for more mainstream users.

I'm very happy to hear that there is an organization that can help move the
hardware forward...   However, until there's a software environment that is
feature-complete, user-friendly, and stable enough that a mainstream user
can use it, I don't think we're going to find that the 10,000 unit
production limit is a big issue.

Your goals about 100M units sound fantastic - but I think to get to even 1M
units we're going to need a rock-solid, but most importantly, a very
user-friendly software environment.  something at least as pretty and easy
to use as a Pre or an iPhone.  I'm not convinced that can happen without
more backing than any of the current projects seem to have - you need people
trained in usability, tonnes of usability testing across a wide range of
audiences, etc.

I know it's a lot to ask, but I don't suppose you've got another ace up your
sleeve?   A university with a usability lab and an interest in the usability
of hand-held devices?


Warren Baird - Photographer and Digital Artist
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