Freerunner's Future

Sean Moss-Pultz sean at
Mon Jun 8 16:16:39 CEST 2009


I really appreciate your email. Your words cheered us all up at the office. 


Jeremy McNaughton wrote:
> Layoffs are always sad, and never an easy decision to make.  To those
> who are leaving the company, thanks for the great work.  I wish the
> best for your future endeavours and hope that you are able to remain
> in the community in some way.
> I know I haven't really contributed much to the project.  I'm not much
> of a programmer and only have time to poke around on the phone every
> other weekend or so.  Still, I've read almost every thread on the
> mailing list and have learned a great deal.
> I do have a fair bit of experience doing media relations for local
> grassroots organizations and non-profits.  My experience isn't with
> software or technology, it's with anti-poverty activism and social
> service work.  Nonetheless, I have some feedback based on some
> non-tech community organizing to share.
> Handing development of the Freerunner over to the community is a big
> deal.  There is a lot of opportunity here to get good press for both
> Openmoko Inc. and the community.
> The way I see it, giving the phone to the community is every bit as
> radical as launching an open source phone was in the first place.  The
> Openmoko community is now coordinating development of an updated
> Freerunner (using Free software), there are multiple distros, lots of
> apps, multiple phone gui apps.  Not only that, but the mailing lists
> are far from stagnant, and outside of, other parts of the
> broader Openmoko community have their own mailing lists, wikis and
> tracs.
> The key point here is that Openmoko succeeded in building a community
> around its product.  This is no easy task.  Companies and
> organizations with more resources behind them have tried this and not
> succeeded nearly as well as Openmoko has.  For this the company should
> be commended.  There's definitely a newsworthy story here as well.
> Naysayers might look at Openmoko handing responsibility for the
> Freerunner to the community as a death knell for the project, or proof
> that an open source phone can't work.  Instead, it seems the
> Freerunner is transitioning from a phone that was designed in house
> and then open sourced, to a phone for which the hardware itself is
> designed by an open source community.  That's huge!
> There's a big difference between how the Freerunner was developed and
> how the gta02-core is being developed, and that means that once again
> Openmoko is breaking new ground.
> It may be a little early to bring this message to the media.  It
> probably makes sense to let the community have a chance to formalize a
> bit, develop some structure.  A Openmoko Foundation maybe?
> Anyways, once the dust settles maybe Openmoko could make a big
> announcement about how the thriving community is in the process of
> taking over development of the phone.  It could be a chance for
> Openmoko to get some good press for being innovative and altruistic.
> It could also be a huge boon for the community, as it raises awareness
> about the work being done and reaches out to potential new members.
> Not to mention reminding people of all the incredible work that has
> been done with these phones so far.
> Openmoko is a success story.  Despite all the frustrations and delays,
> a new community that develops open source phone technology has been
> created.  In the FLOSS podcast interview a few weeks ago (I think)
> Sean spoke about how the Openmoko has reduced a lot of barriers to
> phone development, potentially allowing the kind of garage workshop
> innovations that led companies like Hewlett Packard or Apple.
> Facilitating the community and that kind of development just lowered
> one more barrier.
> Well, that's my 2 cents.
> Jeremy McNaughton
> On Wed, Jun 3, 2009 at 3:20 PM, Harald Welte <laforge at> wrote:
>> Thanks for your update, Sean!
>> It's more than welcome to see Openmoko Inc. is still very much in support
>> of the Freerunner/GTA02 and will provide the community with support in
>> areas like the hosting infrastructure as well as the legal side
>> (trademarks).
>> I'm happy to see this transition and willing to help wherever I can.
>> Regards and thank you once again,
>>        Harald
>> --
>> - Harald Welte <laforge at>          
>> ============================================================================
>> "Privacy in residential applications is a desirable marketing option."
>>                                                  (ETSI EN 300 175-7 Ch.
>> A6)
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