WikiReader sales and the future of Openmoko

Timo Jyrinki timo.jyrinki at
Fri Aug 20 07:15:19 CEST 2010

2010/8/20 Jim Ancona <jim at>:
> True with respect to most phones, because hardware manufacturers don't
> release their drivers. Not true with respect to the Freerunner. In any
> case, Android is exactly as free as Linux is, because you would have
> exactly the same problem running any Linux-based OS on that hardware,
> correct? So Linux is not free by your definition.

I think the confusion usually arises from the fact that Android is
usually used to indicate devices sold with Android. No Android
shipping phone runs on just free software (on the main CPU) currently,
except if all the limits with HTC Dream, which I think people have
been hacking on the most, have been surpassed.

But there are also other aspects than being free or non-free, like
being a successful open-source project in terms of open development,
external developers in the core components (besides kernel) et cetera.
In that sense I and probably many others still very much prefer
GNU-userland / something-we-all-know-better type of distributions over
Android software. On the other hand, talking from hardware vendor
point of view, free and ready touch device softwares are still a bit
lacking, so Android could be a solution for "something to ship on the
device", similar to Om2007.2.

Remember that if doing some FreeRunner successor kind of thing, it
doesn't matter that much what is shipped with it. And if it frees up
developer resources to doing just hardware and kernel support by not
doing a huge effort like OE-based Om2007.2/Om2008/Om2009 on the
software distribution, I'm all for it. But if the vendor is going to
build some application software, I'd vote for doing that for some
other platform than Android stack, if for nothing else then for
increasing competition in the free software touch/mobile applications.

By the time any successor hardware would be available, MeeGo with
handheld packages is probably anyway a better starting place, since
it's a true GNU/Linux distro. I'm not saying Android has serious
flaws, I just strongly think that the longer roots in the open world
the better for the healthiness of the open software. Big piles of
code-dropped code takes time to become an open project, similar to
what we'll certainly see with Symbian that is now "all open".

Personally I'd go for Debian all the way but I know the real-world-use
touch applications will first arrive somewhere else and only later
will be packaged on Debian, like we do in the pkg-fso group. But if
the vendor would like to spend some time on the distribution software
as well, I think Debian is The way to go for longevity of the product
and its software. As a major component of it involves getting all the
kernel code upstream :)


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