[Gta04-owner] Business strategy

Bob Ham rah at bash.sh
Sat Nov 19 02:39:36 CET 2011

On Fri, 2011-11-18 at 08:29 +0100, Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:

> So let me ask questions to you and the list:
> - what is your view of a typical Openmoko user?

Someone who is proficient with computing and/or hardware hacking who
wants to carry a phone in their pocket that isn't restricted by the
manufacturer.  Reduced UI polish or even the absence of major
functionality is a seen as a good deal in return for the freedom of an

> - what makes you interested so that you did subscribe to this list and
>    start this discussion?

Your manifesto was very much a description of my own values.  In
particular, you mentioned that you don't assume the GTA04 user needs to
be protected from themselves.  This struck a chord with me; it's
something I feel strongly about.  This assumption on the part of
mass-market manufacturers is one of the reasons I seek alternatives; it
is an insult.

When I were a lad, the manual for a piece of electronic equipment, no
matter what it was, would contain highly detailed technical information
in appendices at the back, including pin-out information for any
connectors.  I was introduced to MIDI protocol in general and also its
mechanics and gritty details by reading the back of a manual (for a

By comparison, manufacturers of modern electronic products seem to be
eager to use proprietary connectors wherever they can and rarely publish
information on how to interoperate with a device, hoping to generate
revenue by restricting access.  You never get a manual, instead you get
a document called a "user guide" that describes only the simplest of
user actions, providing useless information on, or completely ignoring,
the advanced functionality.  I question the competence of any company
that puts a product on the market with only this kind of inadequate
documentation.  Unfortunately, there don't seem to be any competent
companies out there.

Except Golden Delicious :-)

The above are quite grounded concerns about the products that
manufacturers produce but I would not want them to overshadow my main
concern: what I see as a moral imperative in the freedom of (1)
information about devices and (2) the source code that executes on them.
This moral imperative is by far my biggest concern and is why I take an
interest in the GTA04.

Congratulations on achieving general availability.


Bob Ham <rah at bash.sh>

for (;;) { ++pancakes; }
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