Openmoko's downfall (was changing IMEI)

joerg Reisenweber joerg at
Fri Feb 21 09:15:27 CET 2014

On Fri 21 February 2014 08:26:59 Radek Polak wrote:
> On Thursday, February 20, 2014 08:38:35 PM Michael Spacefalcon wrote:
> > I am also convinced that the *real* reason why "Openmoko = failure" in
> > the general public's perception is precisely because of that NDA and
> > no one having broken it during the years when it mattered the most.
> That's your point of view. Point of view of a firmware hacker.
> But there are other points of view. E.g. some people expect the phone ring
> when friends/wife/customer calls. I had many phones before and 2 phones
> after (N900 and now Jolla). None of them had any problems with SMS and
> telephony.
> Openmoko is different - they never provided SW for reliable phone. Openmoko
> never provided stable maintainable kernel - instead they wasted their time
> on doing 4 ugly unusable distros while at the time they had perfectly
> stable usable and working Qtopia.

Granted, but then QTopia never been a "true linux" in my book. IIRC it had no 
X11, thus according to my definition of >my dream companion< it's as useless as 
Sailfish is now, and android ever been. And do you suggest any of your other 
phones provided a "maintainable kernel" so far? I have some of them too and 
know a bit about their kernels, I don't think they are any better than what OM 

A question to Michael S.: the heck which dang NDA are you talking about? OM 
allowed all reasonable individuals access to all the docs and specs and 
schematics we ever had, on request (yes, including the calypso sources we had 
- which not been much and not been maintained by OM at all, basically). We 
were just not able to put it on fileservers or P2P since that would have taken 
us out of business immediately. That's business, sorry you don't like to 
accept reality in that regard, probably caused by your communist ideology. But 
then, why don't you start a company in Russia? OOPS, they also went capitalism 
now. Maybe China, with their copycat capitalism, is the best homebase for you? 
Anyway OM never promised to help you bring communism to world dominion, 
neither at large nor in hw manufacturing. OM just started to bring you best 
you can get regarding openness and freedom. No use in stating "man should be 
able to fly" and do a basejump from Eiffel tower dressed in a funny suit to make 
that happen. When OM would've taken that approach, absolutely zilch of all 
that's been achieved ever had reached the community.

> And even 5 years after there is no good kernel for Freerunner. 2.6.29-rc
> seems quite stable but the patch against mainline is horrible, besides
> it's power management is worse then it could be. 2.6.39 has hardly nearly
> unreproducible problem with resume.

Well, you can't deny the fact that *not* a *single* "phone" has a clean 
mainline kernel. That's because mainline - sorry to be frank here - has NFC 
about power saving. Neither about handling "realtime" requirements in resource 
limited embedded environment (admittedly not kernel's fault)

> Now we have free firmware which is cool, but the usablity of the phone
> hasnt changed much.

Well, my take on that is: it's up to you, the community, to come up with such 
systems designed to provide improved usability. Look, even Nokia announced EOL 
for any maemo fremantle maintenance only 2 years after roll out of N900. You'd 
have to pay a yearly fee probably even higher than the initial purchase price 
of the device, to make any group of professional paid developers continue 
support of a finalized product longer than a year or two, since otherwise 
there's simply no budget for such effort.

Freerunner been *free* in that it absolutely allows community to pick up on 
that task, you got *all* the *needed* *info* and docs, and that's what OM ever 
been about. *NOT* about liberating the *GSM* radio stack.

It has been mentioned in one of the last 5 posts to this thread: indeed, 
depending on your definition of free, you possibly never will find a "ONE 
HUNDRED PERCENT FREE phone" since no chip manuf will give you the masks and 
process step specs, nor the detailed internal structure description of chips, 
not even for ARM CPU. And the perceived liberation of FreeRunner now with that 
pirated GSM stack is a delusion as well, there are still things like WLAN 
firmware and glamo drivers, not to mention the maybe disclosed but not at all 
understood source code in the undocumented calypso chipset GSM stack itself. 
Heck I bet there's a whole lot of kernel stuff that's been provided by some 
chip manuf in BSP for the CPU/SoC and never reached the level of "understood 
by community so it could get done again for next similar chip". When you 
(whoever) call that rather unexciting and irrelevant achievement of pirated 
GSM radio stack the frontier line between a free and a proprietary embedded 
device that allegedly been crossed now, then I dunno what's your benchmarks 
and philosophy at large.

()  ascii ribbon campaign - against html e-mail     
/\   - against proprietary attachments
(alas the above page got scrapped due to resignation(!!), so here some 
supplementary links:)  (German)
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