project customers

Werner Almesberger werner at
Tue Apr 13 12:40:48 CEST 2010

Carsten Haitzler wrote:
> if it's hard to communicate - you don't have a sales point.

Yup, that's why I wouldn't belabour that angle for now. Whether and
when the time for selling on open software alone will come depends
on how constrained people feel with the non-open choices, and how
many indirect benefits they get.

For now, I'll be happy with the niche of project customers who need
to tweak the hardware or who already understand why they cannot
afford a closed system.

That said, such a phone wouldn't have to be free from appeal to the
mass market. It should definitely be as attractive as possible, but
within reason.

> sure - but it seems those project customers want to feed off a stable supply
> line

Stability is indeed crucial. I hope to be able to compensate with
flexibility what we lack in sheer momentum. E.g., if you get, say,
Motorola to make a design for you, and then Motorola decides to
shut down or sell off that business unit, then you're left with
pretty much nothing, no matter what your contracts say.

With an open design, no mattern what happens with the makers of it,
you still have the design - down to the last detail - and most of
the information needed to produce it. You may still fail to recover
from a breakdown in your supply, but your chances are vastly better.

Also, since the supply is likely to be spread over multiple
companies and individuals (who, in the Open world, enjoy a great
deal of mobility) catastrophic failures that wipe out everything
are less likely.

Now, it remains to be seen whether prospective project customers
will agree with these arguments or whether they prefer to stick
with the traditional view and try to partner with companies that
are too big to fail.

In terms of numbers, I think cost levels out pretty well already
at only a few kunits. If you're competing on the last 5%, you're
already in the wrong game.

> i know that to you, or to many
> freedom advocates all this "fancy eyecandy, sexy design, high end components
> etc." seems all irrelevant

Heh, yet here I am, still using my sleek little Samsung X-830 as
my daily phone, while keeping the ugly pucks in the lab :)

The thing with bleeding edge components is that they cost you a
lot (in various ways) at very little gain. Yes, you may get that
extra push for today's fashionable effect, but by the time you
hit the market, fashion will have changed. Better find your own
style that doesn't come from the manuals of the Gigahertz war :-)

- Werner

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