[Gta04-owner] Invitation to indicate interest in next batch of GTA04A5 boards

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Tue Apr 30 10:03:01 CEST 2013

Am 30.04.2013 um 01:14 schrieb Christ van Willegen:

> Hi,
> What we could do is have a special offer at the next Fosdem. If
> _everyone_ (thousands of people...) (or 90% of the people there)
> pledges an $x amount of money, they will get a Free (as-in-speech)
> phone. That way, you can probably cut down the production cost to a
> 'reasonable' amount (300-250 EUR apiece?). If there's not enough
> interest, nobody loses money, but if there is, the cost per phone is a
> lot lower than in a batch of 200-300 phones.

Yes, sure. I think there are 5000 participants every year and 90% would
likely allow to reduce the price to 300 EUR most likely including an injection
moulded case.

What is very difficult to estimate is if really 90% would pledge or i it is 9% or
0.9%. 300 EUR is still a lot of money.

When looking into the subscription rate of this mailing list during FOSDEM
2013 there was no significant effect :( Maybe because we did only have
visitors who already did know about OpenPhoenux.

Another thing to think about is what kind of device (i.e. feature set) we
need to offer next year so that 90% of the FOSDEM users are willing to
pledge for 300 EUR. Maybe the same features as a Galaxy S4...

Well, it could be possible to get permission by the FOSDEM organizers
to use their visitor's mailing list to ask for user opinions or running an
online opinion poll.

Recently it became clear to me how community developed software and
hardware are inherently different compared to their non-community
development counterpart.

Software can be developed easily by a community through being open
source. And since distribution of open software is cheaper than for
closed, it has even an immediate financial benefit over closed software.

This is the main argument that running a GNU/Linux installation is
cheaper than running Windows.

For community developed hardware, development by volunteers is also
cheaper. But production and distribution is always more expensive, because
of lower quantities.

In the outcome free&open software is cheaper than closed and open
hardware is inherently more expensive. And therefore no $BRAND is
interested in opening the hardware - because it costs additional money
(starting with writing good documentation).

This fundamentally limits the success of community developed hardware. 

So unless this mechanics is better understood by society and free&open
enthusiasts are accepting that open hardware is necessarily more expensive
than closed, there will be no big chance for open hardware.

So we can't draw the argument that free&open hardware is cheaper.

Now you may ask why Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBoneBlack etc.
are so successful.

There is one difference: they are already cheap enough to scrap them if
they don't fulfill the requirements or if the student has learned something.

Then they are stripped down to some minimal function while nobody
would be interested in an open hardware version of a Nokia 103...

And some of these projects are part of the marketing strategy of the chip
vendor. They are interested to push their CPU to as many potential
*developers* as possible. So it is their "CPU Evaluation board".

While our kind of devices can not get into high quantities by aiming at
developers, learners and DIY enthusiasts only.

-- hns

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