[Community] Releasing GTA04 hardware source files

Sven openmoko at maricon.de
Sat Aug 24 17:03:09 CEST 2013

Hello Nikolaus,

thank you for being such straightforward clear and honest. That's the 
right basis to continue the discussion.

You know that I'm an employee of a medium-sized company that produces 
microelectronic boards for industry - note well in Germany. For a long 
time we did the same as you say: Selling boards together with printed 
schematics and extensive manuals. But recently we started to also 
provide sources of schematics and layouts at least for some special 
socalled OEM-boards. Meanwhile we do offensive marketing for that. When 
I asked the manager why on earth he made this decision, he switched on 
his beamer and showed me that meanwhile there're tools online in the 
internet with which you're able to click together even highly 
sophisticated circuits with only some mouse clicks. Simply put a 
processor together for example with some interfaces for ethernet, USB 
and SD card, click on a button like "finished" and you'll get the whole 
sources of a complete single board computer ready for download and 
without any costs, ready for production.

So please let me be the one who rises his finger in order to explain 
you, why Bobs idea is the one for which you're asking:

Based on the sight of someone like me, who doesn't have time and due to 
this reason also not the knowledge to contribute the GTA04 project by 
development, the progress of GTA04 project currently got stuck at two 
fronts: Hardware and Software.

Software: The most advanced software for GTA04 is QtMoko v55. The main 
person contributing this made the strategic decision to focus on 
Replicant now. For a long-term-view this decision might be right, 
because it ties in more developers into the whole project. But the short 
time result is, that since nearly half of a year there's been no new 
release of QtMoko. Especially we don't have a v56 with working camera. 
This extenuates desires of non-developers very much, resulting in very 
few preorders for you. This problem cannot be solved, because I think 
Radek refuses to be cloned.   ;-))

Hardware: This problem is well known by you. Every aspects have already 
been discussed largely within this list. But I disagree heavily with 
your claim, that you will not have any benefit when you share your 
sources. Would we ever have Linux if Linus would have argued the same 
way? No! Never! We all know that Linus up to now states that the best 
decision in his life was to put his first sources under the GPL. And how 
great was/is his success!

So I tell you: What Linus did with software, please follow him with 
hardware! That's the solution for the problems! It even will fill up 
your refrigerator the same way, because you're still the one who has all 
the knowledge about production of someone, who is and will still keep a 
member of our community! Or in other words: If for example I would have 
the time again like more than 20 years ago to grub through all this 
stuff and then develop my own ideas, who would be the person/the company 
to which I want to commit my results? Of course you and GD!

Of course it would be up on you to live with the same problems that 
Linus has: The commits offered to you will not necessarily be of the 
same quality you expect. But that's your chance to develop yourself and 
GD: Find a way to manage this!

I even offer you the first step. Please make the following intellectual 
game: You're the manager of TI in the early 1980ies and be proud of 
offering a computer named TI-99/4A:

Now I come to you and proudly present you my perfect working further 
development of your machine. I even gave it a name. I call it TI-99/Proton:

What will you do? How will you react? Will you still insist on your 
claim that it's better to do all hardware development by yourself? Or 
will you be able in 1985 to prevent TI from having to make the decision 
to cancel the whole TI-99 project?

Best regards

On 24.08.2013 14:20, Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
> Am 24.08.2013 um 13:50 schrieb Sven:
>>> 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
> :)
> I simply think it will not change anything for the community, because it is no additional information and does not help to find anybody asking for the device to be produced. Essentially we have a price/feature-level/production cost problem. Not a problem in the design.
> And I will have additional work with no benefit.
>> So the one question superior to all other questions indeed is: Market or not market?
> That is indeed the question. And my conjecture from the previous experiences, number of preorders, analyses of the tapping mechanisms in the networks, and now the failure of the Ubuntu Edge is that there is no market. And that it will not suddenly appear because design files are available in a more convenient form.
> Rather, we need something fundamentally different.
> And that is where my hope comes from, that somebody is raising his/her finger with a really new idea. And that would create a really new market.
> As alluded previously, anyone can start a git and push a copy of the PDFs. And convert it to any convenient format. But I will not do it.
> BR,
> Nikolaus
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