[Community] Releasing GTA04 hardware source files

Sven openmoko at maricon.de
Sat Aug 24 13:50:38 CEST 2013

Hello wranglers,   ;-))

>> There is no shared
>> repository containing the source files for the schematics or the PCB
>> designs.  Nobody can commit design fixes.
> Is this a requirement for FLOSS that you can commit anything directly to the
> original repository? Do you have commit access to the master branch of
> kernel.org?
> Anyways, you can make change proposals and there are others who
> "sign off" and accept your patches into the master if they fit into the
> project goal and fit to some design style and rules.
> So if you want something to be changed, please write me an e-mail (in
> natural language) with your patches. Or propose it here on this list.

I definitely like Bobs idea. Why not offer the sources of the schematics 
and even the layout sources within a git repository? The fact that in 
the past this has not been done even by Openmoko is absolutely no 
argument why not to do it in future.

>> The community is not
>> iterating the GTA04 design.  The community is not working together to
>> create a free phone.  Instead, all we do is discuss and argue about one
>> company's product.
> The community can help much better in other areas, e.g. marketing, spreading
> the word, software, etc. because high density PCB design needs a very specific
> type of knowledge that isn't widely available. And, the PCB must be 100% correct
> or even 100.000000%. so it is better to have a very small team.

This is an circumventive answer. Bob is right to state that there's no 
directly iterating of the hardware design by the community.

>> A lot of people have come up with various ideas for modifications to the
>> GTA04.  Some of them simply require some soldering which is no problem.
>> However, some require a redesign of the board.  To my recollection,
>> nobody has ever pointed out that this isn't possible unless Golden
>> Delicious do it.  The fact that only Golden Delicious can do it is bad.
> No. Because you can do it as well.
> You can start to learn how to design PCBs, aquire some PCB design tool,
> capture or convert the schematics, and make your own layout. Then, find
> someone who does production for you.
When I remember how I learned computer hardware more than 20 years ago, 
I also didn't go that way proposed by Nikolaus. I followed the way Bob 
proposes: With knowing nothing more than only how TTL logic works, I 
took a complete existing computer - a severe damaged TI-99/4A - and 
analyzed it by disassembling it up to the last resistor. After that I 
build my own machine. You can see the result here:

No book or expensive seminar would have been a proper alternative to 
that approach.

>> Despite describing the GTA04 as "Open Hardware"¹ and stating that the
>> aims of the community are for DIY hardware², Golden Delicious does not
>> release any source files for the hardware it produces.  There is no
>> community of hardware hackers contributing to shared PCB designs.
> Because designing such a difficile and miniaturized device is more challenging
> than the average hardware hacker is capable to do.

Please take my statement one passage above as counter argument: After 
you have done it once, you're able to do it. And in the end you learned 
much more than you think at the beginning. In my case it was some 
lessons about EMV...  ;-))

> What is stopping you from taking the GTA04 schematics and
> documentation and run your n900-revival project as described above?
> Money? Courage? Disbelief in the existence of a "market"?

Sorry for being such directly, but what is *really* stopping you 
Nikolaus from providing sources of schematics and layout? Is this the 
*belief* in the existence of a market?   :D

What do you fear? That any major company who currently builds LTE phones 
with OMAP5 could copy something from an OMAP3 design of an UMTS phone? I 
guess you can forget that sorrow. Or is it that any minor company could 
copy it as is and produce their own phones for half of the price? Then 
indeed this would be the case that Bob likes and you fear: Community 
would clap and you would worry about how to fill your refrigerator in 
the future.

So the one question superior to all other questions indeed is: Market or 
not market?

Best regards

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