[Tinkerphones] [Gta04-owner] New LetuxOS Kernels and some tricks and thoughts

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Tue May 21 18:33:09 CEST 2019

On Tuesday 21. May 2019 15.48.06 H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
> > Am 21.05.2019 um 15:13 schrieb Jonas Smedegaard <jonas at jones.dk>:
> > 
> > Speaking for myself, I got discouraged when we met in Bavaria and it
> > became clear to me that your avoiding OSHW certification was a
> > deliberate business choice.
> No it was not about avoiding it. It was about not seeing any benefit
> for anyone.
> Just more paperwork and discussions. And some requirements that are
> difficult to fulfill. And nobody covering additional expenses.

Personally, I am increasingly skeptical about associations that collect 
membership dues and merely do advocacy with a bit of extra lobbying on the 
side. It seems like a great way of siphoning money away from the actual work, 
albeit one that some corporations might like due to questionable tax 

Confirming that someone happens to license their work in a particular way 
might provide some benefit to end-users, but if that isn't a continual process 
then it is just easy money for some persuasive branding. I also remain 
concerned about the effect of certification on the perception of works that 
are genuinely licensed appropriately.

No-one should act as a monopoly who gets to decide whether works or projects 
are merely perceived as being acceptably licensed, casting doubt on those who 
do not wish to be certified by some self-appointed authority. The FSF might 
have an authoritative view on whether some software actually complies with the 
GPL, but they don't implicitly undermine random GPL-licensed projects on the 
basis that those projects failed to sign up for some FSF money-making scheme.

> My key learning came from a discussion before that meeting where some guys
> urged me to publish the schematics. I did finally say: ok - here are the
> EAGLE source files. What happened? NOTHING. Nobody did apparently
> make use of this information. The device did not become better. Nobody
> had needed this for writing software - a PDF of the schematics was
> sufficient.

The only argument I can make excusing those asking for the schematics (or even 
the layouts) was that Eagle is proprietary software. There has been a 
discussion about such topics on another list I follow recently, involving 
software that is also presumably expensive as well as proprietary.

But then again, I feel that there are people out there who just want to "tick 
the box" and feel good about the hardware being "open source". I believe that 
such people do not appreciate the investment involved in getting to a point 
where the hardware can be made. Something similar might also be said about how 
people perceive software, thinking that "open source" means lots of free-from-
cost stuff that magically gets made, too.

I recall Nikolaus getting quite a bit of hassle from people who demanded full 
access to the materials around projects like GTA04. I wonder if those people 
are currently pursuing projects in a way that is consistent with the demands 
they made of Nikolaus (and others) back then.


> > but you decided to compete with LetuxOS
> > instead of joining and improving Debian :-)
> Where does LetuxOS compete with Debian?  It does not modify or fork any
> Debian package. It just *adds* a handful of config packages to Debian and
> builds installable packages for a handful of devices not supported by
> Debian. Or in the case of QtMoko or Replicant or QuantumSTEP it compiles
> application software.

I wouldn't mind a clarification of how LetuxOS is somehow competing. One might 
claim that there are ways of doing similar things with Debian tools, but given 
that the toolset seems to change constantly with the latest fad tool for 
building, bootstrapping or whatever being introduced, advertised, outdated and 
abandoned within the season, perhaps there is a valid argument for just 
writing something that will do the job regardless of what other people think 
about it today.

Maybe the reason why there is such a constant parade of tools is that people 
struggle to persuade the right people within the Debian community. And, of 
course with all these projects, the people who get to decide have their own 
pet projects and ideas about how things should be done. When they get round to 
it, naturally.


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