Freerunner's Future

Steve Mosher steve at
Fri Jun 5 21:12:19 CEST 2009

Thanks Christoph for your clarification.  I have a minor quibble with 
your characterization.
When Openmoko started as a project in FIC, it started with a Vision. 
That vision was to create a open mobile
phone. Its the job of marketing to message that vision to the customer. 
Thats what
we did. Very early on, however, we realized that  we could position the 
product ( not the company) in one of two ways:

1. Its a mobile Phone First, and a multi purpose platform secondarily

2. Its a multi purpose platform first, and a phone secondarily.

If you read carefully through interviews and materials we put out you'll 
see that
we chose #1 as opposed to number two. That is, we choose to emphasize 
the phone
aspects as opposed to the multi purpose aspects. Over an over again you 
will hear
us saying that its more than a phone. But, this message was not in the 

That was a marketing decision that was
hard to make. The problem with #2 as I saw it was this: When openmoko 
it started with Sean's Vision. Free the Phone. For me as marketing to 
insist that we market
this vision like #2  didnt make much sense. It's something that we 
struggled with throughout
the life of neo 1973 and FR.  Should we change our message about the 
phone and call it
a multi purpose device? should we change the vision of the company? If 
we suddenly
call FR a multi-purpose platform after years of saying it was a phone, 
what would the
community say. From late 2007 when Wolfganag and I joined to early 2008, 
before the launch of FR, Wolfgang, Sean and I debated this exact issue. 
And we even considered shipping FR with a Bootable linux and nothing 
else. The way I viewed it
was this. If we keep pushing down the phone path eventually the vision 
will come true.
So we tried everything to keep that vision alive, paring back on the 
software ( back to the basics)
the downside here was this: We might fail to deliver  according to the 
schedules we promised.
On the other hand, if I switched the message to " hey its multi purpose 
platform" then
people would ask "what about the phone you promised?" Its basically a no win
situation. On one hand  we promise a phone and come up short, on the 
other hand we change
our promise altogether. In the end I own this marketing decision and any 
blame you want
to ascribe to it. As I saw it as long as I work dilgently to keep the 
promise and vision alive
I am doing the right thing. So even now as I try to enable people to 
carry the vision
forward, whether its 5 guys working on Gta02 or other things I am 
working on, I am working
to keep that original promise. I could have choosen the other path. I 
could have said " hey, I know we designed it as a phone,
promised a phone from day one, but what the heck, lets just call it a 
multi purpose platform"
In the end at the Embedded systems conference we gave this message a try.

On a personal note. I'd like to thank you for your support and hard work. 

Christoph Pulster wrote:
>> the best path foreword is to turn the future of the Freerunner over to
>> the community.
> I always have problems to define "community". Speaking in numbers,
> I see ONE active Mailinglist (here) and nothing more worth to mention.
> The GTA03core list consists of 5 active people feeding some strange CAD  
> software, this community list has -lets guess- 1000 active everydayt  
> readers and 100 contributors, that's all !?
> Based on this, your idea to base the future of the Freerunner to a  
> "community" is a dead born baby.
> IMO you say "community" but you mean "VAR" = value-added-resellers.
> Openmoko's big marketing mistake was to announce Freerunner as a mobile  
> phone instead a FOSS based multi-purpose plattform.
> No VAR's, no sales. Thats the sad point we have reached now.
> Christoph
> _______________________________________________
> Openmoko community mailing list
> community at

More information about the community mailing list