GPLv3 and Mobile Phones

Arthur Marsh arthur.marsh at
Fri Dec 29 14:37:44 CET 2006

Josef Wolf wrote, On 20/12/06 09:01:

> Unfortunately, the details about the neo hardware are not disclosed yet.
> But AFAIK, the module in question is a separate "modem" communicating
> via AT-commands over a serial connection with the main CPU.  I don't
> see a big difference to the types of modems that were common two decades
> ago.  You ever blamed trailblazer/us-robotics/zyxel for their sources
> not beeing GPL?


You should have seen what happened when Telebit/ITK/Digi abandoned the 
Telebit Fastblazer within the warranty period for the unit I purchased 
for AUD$1850. I had no joy from the manufacturer and eventually won a 
small claims case against the distributor/retailer who sold me the unit.

If parts of the firmware are closed, as I imagine would be the case, 
there needs to be some kind of code escrow and a commitment that if the 
developer of the closed code is no longer supporting the code, that the 
code gets released.

Other projects involving some open source software/parts and some closed 
source parts (e.g. hardware from a single supplier) have failed when the 
supplier of the closed source parts ceased selling those parts. Having 
just had to ditch a Nokia 3810 handset after 9 years of use due to Nokia 
no longer supporting them, I would hope that the OpenMoko platform would 
be ongoing, so that if some hardware parts become no longer available, 
there would be other hardware available that the existing software could 
be ported to, so that developers and users don't lose the use of the 
software they have developed and become accustomed to.



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