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

Jonas Smedegaard jonas at jones.dk
Tue May 21 20:15:04 CEST 2019

Quoting Paul Boddie (2019-05-21 18:33:09)
> 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.

Perhaps I misunderstood you back then.  I sure hope so.

> > 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.

I am one who wants to "tick the box" it seems:

I prioritize OSHW not because I plan on rewiring things myself but to 
encourage a World where I can hire someone to rewire if I one day need 
it - similar to how I prioritize Free licensed software not because I to 
reprogram it but for the possibility of eventually maybe hiring someone 
some day to do that.

I have spent quite some time getting an understanding of what it 
requires for software to be "free" and am gaining similar knowledge for 
hardware.  And I realize that for both it is quite difficult for me to 
explain to friends and family with less time devoted to this geeky 
research what exactly they need to look out for.  For software I tell 
them to use Debian (where others might instead refer to FSF) and for 
hardware I tell them to look for the OSHW brand.

I buy certified organic food.  I am not geeky enough to judge 
sustainability of unbranded food.  So I recognize how it must be 
similarly difficult for non-technical folks to not be able to judge 
sustainable hardware without a brand.

Yes, the brand does not concretely gain enyone - it is purely branding.  
But for users that branding can be helpful.  For me it is, even if I 
personally can bypass it and check directly if hardware ships with 
sources for the schematics, I cannot explain my lesser geeky friends how 
to avoid the traps of hardware promoted and "open" or "free" with 
different watered down meanings than the sustainability which I consider 
"getting out of the vicious circle".  What we were discussing here.

> > > 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 am not the one seeing competition here:

When I talk about collaboration and plural distributions, Nikolaus wants 
to to discuss how to "prioritize LetuxOS over other distributions"

> 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.

Which of the more conservative tools are being abandoned?!?

> 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.

Sounds like you are grumpy about Debian.  I generally appreciate your 
reflections, Paul, and am genuinely curious to learn more about this!

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

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