project customers

Carsten Haitzler (The Rasterman) raster at
Tue Apr 13 01:42:14 CEST 2010

On Mon, 12 Apr 2010 16:52:03 -0300 Werner Almesberger <werner at>

> Carsten Haitzler wrote:
> > too late for that. the others are in on the game. and now being "open
> > enough" is all that's needed. window of opportunity for om and the likes
> > has closed - or at the best is very close to closed.
> I think the advantage is still there, it's just harder to communicate.
> Also in this regard, Open Design Hardware helps: you still don't get
> anything like this from the now "open" players.

if it's hard to communicate - you don't have a sales point. if someone is to
spend money on something they need to be able to be told a simple thing and
"get it" and go "aha! that's just what we want!". until the market is actively
seeking the kind of freedom you want to provide (schematics, cad design, 100%
open source os in all ways), you are the guy in the street with a sign "i have
anchovie flavored chocolate. you really want some". the problem here is the
market is happy with "good enough". at least the market that buys millions of
units. :) (that's why i mean by market btw - ie the mass market. of course
niches will exist!) :)

> And from what I've heard and keep on hearing, there are lots of project
> customers who want to modify the hardware. They often also have the
> engineering resources to perform their changes. But also doing the rest
> of the phone would be too much for them.
> The "Open phones" would be sort of a reference designs created by the
> Open hardware development process, but not the one and only results.

sure - but it seems those project customers want to feed off a stable supply
line - and for that you need a mass market to consume it to have that
production and thus supply line run to keep costs down, ensure basic quality of
build, design, components etc. (thus why i focus on mass market).

> > depends on who is buying the units to make it scale - if it's a telco,
> > chances are they want it far from being open - that includes the hw design.
> > chaning that doesn't come from a small company like om screaming.
> A small telco may be happy enough to finally be able to brand their
> products, too. I wouldn't try to deal with large telcos for now.
> Don't sleep with a girl who eats more than your own weight for
> breakfast :-)

hahahahahahahahahhaha! :) maybe - the the small telcos are competing with
bigger ones. the big ones get to attract customers with "oooh we have an
iphone!" or "check out this droid". branding is a nice to have... *IF* you can
match the competition. you need to get there first before small telco might
consider it. remember telco is trying to sell these phones to average joes -
and those average joes see shiny sexy iphone, then see a "freerunner"... guess
which one (and which telco) they choose? :) i know that to you, or to many
freedom advocates all this "fancy eyecandy, sexy design, high end components
etc." seems all irrelevant to the goal of freedom - and if anything makes it
harder, and you have a point - but that point imho vanishes with the market
realities - to produce enough units to keep cost down, keep production flowing
etc. you need mass market appeal. and that means matching, or beating, the
competition in "ooooh i liiiiike that" for the average joe. that means sexy
swishy animations, beautiful graphics, good screen, responsive touch surface
(capacitive), nice case/design, powerful cpu/gpu to power all the sexiness, 3g,
and then "apps" and lots of them and so on... you need to at least provide what
people now EXPECT from a phone. yes... even make and receive calls from
reliably from day 1 the phone ships. :)

it's a tough spot. what i see as more viable is making those that already
produce phones, more open, and gradually prying things open. getting schematics
is likely to simply never happen - you are talking different cultures even
within such companies. the hardware sides just don't even want to hear the
arguments. the software sides either get it already (and fight internally
politically, or have tough tradeoffs to make - like making it more open will
make your big customers go away as they can't close it down as easily), or are
beginning to get it. life would be easy if they all already got it and did it.
but... that's not the case. the closest to an open production-level phone today
is the n900 - and it has been a pretty rocky start there.

------------- Codito, ergo sum - "I code, therefore I am" --------------
The Rasterman (Carsten Haitzler)    raster at

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