project customer

Jon 'maddog' Hall maddog at
Tue Apr 13 04:42:56 CEST 2010


We do go back a long way, don't we?  And don't worry...even though I
know a bit about the X Window System, I bow to you for the real

>all the players are closed with no signs of going open - unless you
>(maddog) can convince them?

It won't be me who "convinces them" will have to be their
customers who buy in large quantities....and customers who say "I won't
buy your stinking 3D unless you tell me how to program it so I can
maintain it into the future."

>that's the biggest issue. financing.

And here is where I saw a lot of disagreement, and could never see the
path forward to a sustainable design business plan.

Everyone wanted everything in Openmoko to be completely gratis (other
than being willing to buy the phone itself).

>From my viewpoint the circuit diagrams should be "open" and "free" so
people can comment, improve, etc.  I also liked the fact that the case's
cad design was "open" so you could change the case.

However, printed circuit board layouts, gerbers, etc. are grunt work and
could be licensed out with a decent license that would allow
universities to make phones for free, hobbyists could make a phone or
two (or even ten) for free, but companies that wanted to manufacture or
sell it would have to pay 1-2 dollars a unit license fee.  Then by the
time a mega-unit of phones were made (and it could be small factories
each making 100K phones) you would have the money to design and test the
next phone.

>i'd call koolu misguided. to me they were just uninteresting. why a
>freerunner when i can get a android g1 dev phone that was signficantly
>better hardware (though by todays standards its totally shot and

A "hobbyist"/developer might have been interested in getting an Android
G1 Dev phone.  Unlocked and Unsigned.  But each person could only buy

Imagine developing a kick-ass SMB application that could not just be
delivered as an app on top of Android.  You have to change the OS.

Do you tell each of your SMB customers that they have to sign up to be
an Android developer just so they can get one of those phones?

Now the Nexus One...different story.  It sells unlocked and unsigned.

The factory in Brazil was all set to completely buy out Openmoko's
inventory (if Openmoko could have told them how much inventory they
had), but then they started looking beyond that one could tell
them how many GSM modules were out there, and how much they would cost
as the quantities available dropped close to zero.

>the suppliers will be happy to talk to you and provide you
>with those.

Sometimes.  Other times they have simply gone "End Of Life" with that
part and they don't want to tie up their engineers and lines with old,
obsolete parts....because they are selling too much of the new stuff and
they are short on capacity to make both.

But if you are making your phone out of "beginning of life" components
that other people are also using and that have a bit of life to them,
you can sometimes get some components without having to buy 10 million
of them....particularly if you are a university...and particularly if
you have a business plan to license out the design to lots of small
companies for manufacture.

For example, it can cost one-half million dollars just to get TI to talk
to you as part of their partner program.  That half-million buys you
some TI's engineering consulting time, etc. but what it really does is
get rid of the "kids" and lets the "big boys" play.

>From what I saw, the FreeRunner was EOL, with EOL components.....and its
software was still a bit "undercooked" in places more than a year after
its design was done.

Everything else you said I agree with, and we both agree that it takes
lots of up-front money....or a smaller amount of money and a track
record of success.

By the way, I think that both the hardware team and the software teams
did a great job given the circumstances, and I have the greatest respect
for most of the community members.

So time we meet we can have a beer.


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