Illume config?

Shawn Rutledge shawn.t.rutledge at
Wed Aug 27 03:25:04 CEST 2008

On Tue, Aug 26, 2008 at 5:34 PM, Joel Newkirk <freerunner at> wrote:
> It seems clear to me that someone in authority at Openmoko is trying to
> make a smartphone, without regard to the fact that probably 95% of sales to
> date are to developers who want to help MAKE that smartphone plus
> potentially much more, but have requirements which that authority is
> ignoring. (IE, they want pocket computer functionality, ready access to
> extensive configuration options, and - oh yeah, a usable keyboard that
> doesn't vanish at random)

But they already told you go to ahead and fork if you don't like it.
:-)  Maybe the "official" images are eventually going to become less
relevant than the developer-sponsored ones.  Just like Opie was way
better than the official Zaurus image.  (And the Zaurus also has
several possible OS distributions and graphics toolkits, so the focus
was spread out too much, and none of the possibilities really lived up
to their potential.)  But this project has way more people involved
than the Zaurus ever did.  And Sharp was really quite closed, did not
take any community contributions at all - they threw a couple
QTopia-based releases over the wall and that was the end of it, so the
community had to start over in many ways to make improvements.  After
this experience I'm quite a bit happier with the way OpenMoko is
going, although of course nothing is ever as good as it could be.
Maybe they will eventually react in a positive way to some of the
feedback about the keyboard etc., although the vision makes sense...
is it really too much to ask for a UI toolkit to hide and show the
keyboard depending on whether the input focus is in a widget that can
take input?  There are only a few widgets into which you can type,
anyway.  But we have several toolkits so the work has to be repeated.
And in the meantime I don't see what would be so terrible about having
that button... but it's amazing how much heat such a small thing
generated, too.

Of course FreeRunner buyers had good reason to expect more than us
GTA01 early adopters, but it's obviously still a work-in-progress.
There's not much to be done about that, except that everyone needs to
keep working, not just the employees.  (If you've ever used Linux on a
PC, you don't blame the PC maker for any annoying UI quirks... you can
fix it yourself, live with it, report bugs and/or keep trying distros
until you find one you like.)

> This falls under the heading "how to kill a great product".

I hope that turns out to be an exaggeration.  At least there is
revenue... and support from the mothership... and I hope they planned
for this multi-year ramp-up, and have a low enough burn rate that they
can support it without running out of money.  But while we are feeling
disappointed that more has not been done so far, I wonder how much
disappointment they feel over having to do the lion's share of the
work.  Maybe they were expecting more traction from the community to
get them there quicker.  Personally I find time to work on it
periodically, but I'm off doing my own thing, and too slow... but if I
ever get there, I'm OK with having to fork if necessary, and I will
thank them for making available the hardware and OS support for it at
a sortof affordable price, even if whatever GUI they ship ultimately
sucks, because hey I can develop my own... that's what it's all about.

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