[Gta04-owner] Some thoughts about customer attraction

Mario Barcala email at mario.barcala.name
Mon Jun 23 11:22:44 CEST 2014

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
> Hi,
> Am 21.06.2014 um 16:44 schrieb Mario Barcala:
> > Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
> > 
> >> Well, in my view, there are no "new" directions yet. It needs to be discussed
> >> and based on what the community wants to know, achieve and is interested
> >> in.
> >> 
> >> The original objective of the gta04 project was to get new features into the
> >> existing GTA02 (Openmoko Freerunner): faster CPU, UMTS and some other
> >> improvements, and capable to run latest Linux. So it started as a motherboard
> >> upgrade.
> > 
> > It would be very important for me going towards a manufacturer
> > surveillance free phone (using free software). GTA04 model, therefore,
> > has "problems" with Wifi, GPU and GSM/UMTS in this field.
> Not really. The "manufacturer" of the GTA04 devices does not want to do any surveillance.

I know it :)

> But there is the assumption that some components *could* do it, although nobody
> has proven that they really do. Or that they don't. It is simply unknown to the
> public - and to the user.
> So it is the 0.1% of confidence missing to 100%.

Yes, I was talking about this case.

> > Disabling
> > GPU seems not to be very problematic, but I think disabling wifi means
> > to avoid using a very valuable functionality. GSM/UMTS modem seems to
> > be a hard question, because there is not alternative one which include
> > free software firmware.
> > 
> > So, what I would do, or in a more clear way, what would motivate me
> > to get a phone/motherboard like this and what would get me ivolved in
> > this project would be to read in the objectives of the project.
> > 
> >  "We try to get the most manufacturer surveillance free phone"
> > 
> > Which means the same for me that to get the most free software
> > phone/board, that is, to build a phone/board with as free software as
> > possible.
> The GTA04 designs appears to be the best what is currently possible.
> Possible in the sense of really building it (not thinking about practically
> unobtainable components).

That's great!. I was reading something about Neo900 which demonstrates
Neo900 people interest for doing things as good as possible also.


> Supporting the project today also helps to make it better in the future.
> Otherwise it becomes a deadlock :)
> * not enough support because it does not develop
> * not enough development because it does not get enough support

Of course :)

> > 
> > And then I would try to replace in sucessive GTA versions as much
> > "conflictive" components as possible: wifi adapter, GPU firmware
> > and/or GSM/UMTS modem. If it was not possible to replace all of them
> > (due to there not exists any better alternative), I'll maintain the
> > same component and explain that there isn't any better alternative.
> Yes, that is exactly the status with the GTA04 (incl. GTA04b7 = Neo900).

So, finally Golden Delicious will produce Neo900? Neo900 forums seems
to point to this but I don't know how last reorganization affect to
Neo900 UG and Golden Delicious kind of relation.

And, a more important question for me at this moment, if I make a
donation to Neo900, will it help Golden Delicious or even you,
Nikolaus, in some way? Sincerely, I like Neo900 full device project
idea more than current GTA04 one as a replacement for my current
phone, but I like how Golden Delicious and all people in this list is
carrying out GTA04 project. Therefore, I don't know if both projects are
a crossroads or if they are, in fact, the same road :)

> We all are trying for approx. 3 years to find good replacements, but
> there was no breakthrough yet.
> This is also a reason why there don't come new successive GTA versions
> as you suggest. There is simply no known path to improve towards
> the goal (which I think many of us share).


> And the newer devices currently being developed (Neo900, Pyra-Handheld)
> are not different.

> [...] 

> > If I understand well
> > GSM/UMTS seems not to be a problem because you can "limit" access from
> > it to the system data, but you cannot assure the same for GPU or wifi.
> There is no difference in access limitations.
> But there is one difference: the GPU and the WiFi system need a binary
> "Operating System" that is sent into the subsystem at boot time.
> Technically it is not important if it is stored on your SD card and loaded
> by the driver or if it is stored inside the subsystem in some NAND flash (like
> for the UMTS modem) and available after power-on.
> The issue FSF points out is a completely different one. It is not even about surveillance
> or getting access to your personal data. It is about you being able to reconstruct
> the binary "OS" from some source code. If you need to maintain it or add new
> features. And if the original manufacturer stops support. So it is about freeing users
> from despotism by the original manufacturer.

I know FSF is focusing on that but I think free software and
surveillance risk are related. I believe that solving FSF wishes would
solve surveillance potential risks.

> Thanks for sharing and having interesting discussions!

You're welcome. It is being a very clarifying discussion :)

Best Regards,


Mario Barcala

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