[gta02-core] The University of São Paulo's intent to join Openmoko development

Álvaro Lopes alvieboy at alvie.com
Sun Jul 19 18:28:01 CEST 2009

Jon 'maddog' Hall wrote:

> I certainly see them joining as community members, and I think that Dr.
> Zuffo might encourage some of his students and professors to join our
> ranks even outside of this arrangement.

Not trying to be paranoid here, but I do believe the University will also want some return from their involvement. Not necessary financial. Universities are
usually not interested on projects unless it fits on some R&D project, hence it must be innovative.

> I certainly see the university as "sponsors" of the project, in the fact
> that it does cost money to run such an SMT line, to do some of the legal
> work, etc.  I would like to find a way to help compensate them for this
> work, to make the project truly self-sustaining.  Dr. Zuffo and I have
> discussed government grants and other funding ideas.  Please see below.

Government will also want some return. I don't see clearly (yet) how a project like ours can give them that (like OLPC and portuguese's "Magalhães").

> But in the end, I would like to see the community "drive" the project,
> and from my conversations with him, I think that Dr. Zuffo is on this
> page too.  However, I will warn you that he is serious about this, and
> will expect capable leadership.  From my experience with FOSS groups, I
> believe that that the community is capable of giving this leadership.

We can, as long as we stay focused. So far we seem to be working on same direction. And thanks for your support :)

> As to CC-SA, as I mentioned above, I would like to see the project
> self-sustaining.  Under Openmoko there were a series of things that were
> paid for by Sean's sponsoring company, and when they shifted direction
> things started to get a bit dicey.

You and Koolu can help us here - if we can have a fully working phone out in the market, we might be able to get some ISP to at least have the product on their
shops (although I think this is a very very difficult thing to accomplish).

> In order to fund the Openmoko project, I would like to suggest that
> *all* the things that Openmoko made "open" *up to this time*:
> o circuit design
> o case design
> o circuit board layout
> o testing issues.
> o plans for future, etc.
> be completely open and published as before.
> But (for example) the "gerbers" be licensed with a small royalty (1-2
> dollars per phone, with a cap of 500,000 to 1,000,000 USD) only if the
> party will make *over* 5,000-10,000 phones.

Interesting idea, but would defy the openness of the project IMHO. I however agree that this must be profitable for someone, otherwise it will be condemned.

> This way universities, small companies, etc. can get started, but if the
> producers start to make and sell large numbers of phones, the university
> will make some money in royalties to keep the project going.  We could
> subsidize this with grant money available from various sources.

If we can offer something that no other "vendor" can, we might be able to get some money. Expertise might be one of them, although I'm not exactly sure how we
can sell those "improvements/reworks" to them.

> Companies would need to spend millions in designing a new phone, so they
> would not be offended in paying for a design that would save them money,
> yet small companies, researchers and hobbyists would be able to use the
> output freely, even the "gerbers".

The problem here is we are not developing a "state-of-the-art" phone. Competition on this segment has risen quite a bit in last few months, since iPhone came
out. We are competing with them, whether we like it or not. And to be competitive, we must match them and offer something more. We cannot beat them on
production costs, we might be able to beat them in other areas though.

OR we are focusing on the wrong market, and we must refocus. The idea of having some sort of stripped-down phones (no wifi,no bt,no gps) has come to me often in
last few days.

> I feel it is EXTREMELY important to make sure the Openmoko project is
> self-sustaining.

And for this we need to sell. There's where you come in, and Koolu. :)

And btw, I bought my GTA02 (shortly) after you seeing your Neo. So you indirectly sold one to me :P



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