Reactions From Other People to News of OpenMoko

michael at michael at
Thu Jan 25 18:46:21 CET 2007

On Thu, 25 Jan 2007, Bryan Fink wrote:

> Hi all.  I've been talking up OpenMoko to everyone I know, and I felt
> like there may be some people around here who would be interested in
> the reactions I've gotten.
> The main camps are as you would expect: positively-excited,
> negatively-excited, and indifferent.  What I think is interesting, is
> why people put themselves in those camps.
> Surprisingly, few of the positively-excited people I've "recruited" so
> far are coders.  They're actually more interested in the fact that
> it's open, and not "controlled" by some faceless corporation.  They're
> excited that they won't have to be stuck with Nokia's/Motorolla's/etc.
> crappy software and forced upgrade path.  As I'm in the U.S., they're
> also surprised and excited to hear that it's naturally "unlocked" so
> they can choose whatever provider they want.
> I did have one person who ended up positively-excited, but hesitated
> briefly before that.  I had been talking up the "freedom to tinker"
> line, and they got worried that you would *have* to be a tinkerer to
> even get the phone working.  Assuring them of out-of-the-box
> functionality and the "OpenMoko Certified" download center was
> crucial.
> Also surprisingly, the one truly negatively-excited person I met said
> exactly this, "Great, so I'll have a phone that just randomly crashes
> for no reason."  I know that he has run Red Hat Linux, and codes for a
> living.  But, he has had poor experience with linux stability -
> specifically around crappy drivers for new graphics accelerators.  So,
> just as a warning, mentioning linux in an OpenMoko discussion will not
> automatically win you friends.
> Finally, by far the largest camp is the indifferent class.  Many
> people are quick to ask, "Why would you want an open source phone?"
> Answers of the, "So I know exactly what my phone is doing at all times
> - no secrets," variety typically get you labeled paranoid.  Answers of
> the, "Because I will be able to modify absolutely anything about it,"
> yield further questions to which further answers like, "I don't know,
> but *something*," are not enough.  And, there's always the, "Well, I'm
> perfectly happy with what I have now," people.  My feeling is that
> these people won't be convinced until there's considerable buzz from
> many people who have actually tried OpenMoko and like some specific
> feature about it.
> Has anyone else had a different variety of reactions?

Thanks for your observation, Bryan. This is a very interesting thread. I'll
pay more attention to the various responses I get. (So far I've been so excited
by what I'm describing that I didn't really listen to their responses :-)

Regarding your comment about mentioning Linux to someone who had poor
experience with it, you may be amused by today's Dilbert:


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