Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 19th Jun 2011 18:26 UTC
Windows Way back in old and boring January of this year, Microsoft announced they would be working together with the Windows Phone 7 homebrew community, with the goal of creating a stable, supported way for homebrew developers and people interested in homebrew applications to enable side-loading on their WP7 devices. Well, they took their sweet time, but the ChevronWP7 team (Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh, and Long Zheng) and Microsoft have just announced the results.
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RE[5]: LOL
by tomcat on Tue 21st Jun 2011 20:59 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: LOL"
tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

So you think that being able to program programmable hardware that has been designed to be user-reprogrammable is some sort of magnificent privilege that people should pay an extra for ?

I mean, I'm okay with paying an extra for reprogramming my microwave and fridge, because it requires special hardware and doc and all. But to reprogram a phone, all the homebrew community needs is a command line tool that enables application transfer to the phone, or does it itself if there are fears of DRM breach etc. This takes 20min to code or so when you know the hardware, and it is almost 100% sure that the WP7 team has already had to develop such a tool for internal use anyway. Why should you be charged a significant extra for it ?


There are engineering costs associated with not only opening up a closed phone but providing any kind of programming architecture. Not opening it up means that your test matrix is a lot smaller. You don't have to worry as explicitly about malware trickling into the ecosystem. You have tighter control over the quality of the apps running on the phone. And you can recoup some of your engineering costs by charging a developer license fee.

While that may be anathema to people who are used to giving away their time for free -- or expecting others to do so, that's simply the way that most consumer electronics devices work. If you want to play in their sandbox, open up your wallet and dust it off. These are for-profit enterprises. PCs are not analogous because they can be built with off-the-shelf components. Try building your own phone. It requires significant engineering investment.

Edited 2011-06-21 21:00 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: LOL
by Neolander on Wed 22nd Jun 2011 05:40 in reply to "RE[5]: LOL"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

There are engineering costs associated with not only opening up a closed phone but providing any kind of programming architecture. Not opening it up means that your test matrix is a lot smaller. You don't have to worry as explicitly about malware trickling into the ecosystem. You have tighter control over the quality of the apps running on the phone. And you can recoup some of your engineering costs by charging a developer license fee.

I'm not comfortable with that reasoning for some reasons :
1/You'll need a documented and tested low-level interface for device manufacturers to code drivers anyway.
2/People pay quite a lot of money for their phone, either directly or through their phone plan (with a nice premium in the latter case). Shouldn't part of that money cover the engineering costs of the operating system ?
3/If the hombrew interface is sufficiently obscure, you don't lose control on the app market. Jailbreaking exists, yet I don't think there's anyone here ready to argue that Apple keeps a tight grip on everything related to iOS. By creating a standard way to do it, manufacturers keep control on the jailbreaking process itself, instead of having customers who randomly break the security of their device in an uncontrolled way to get it to work.

While that may be anathema to people who are used to giving away their time for free -- or expecting others to do so, that's simply the way that most consumer electronics devices work.

You're right, my belief that software development can't be both enjoyable and profitable at the same time in the world we're living in may be influencing me there.

PCs are not analogous because they can be built with off-the-shelf components. Try building your own phone. It requires significant engineering investment.

I will invoke laptops as a counter-example. If you believe that laptop design is all about putting well-known components together, I'll ask you why a lot of Acer laptops make the noise of a turbofan while sometimes still overheating to death, whereas many designs from Asus (including, IIRC, Apple laptops) manage to be quite cool and quiet under use. I'll also ask why laptops exist in a very wide range of thickness, from Lenovo's ultra-thick designs to those Adamo and other Macbook Airs which take pride of fitting in an A4 envelope.

Like with phones, laptop manufacturers have to do a part of the design themselves (motherboard, battery, airflow and case, I guess) in order to produce a convincingly good product. Yet somehow, they manage to make enough profits that keeping those devices open is financially doable. Why can't phone manufacturers do the same ?

Edited 2011-06-22 05:42 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[7]: LOL
by tomcat on Thu 23rd Jun 2011 23:39 in reply to "RE[6]: LOL"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

1/You'll need a documented and tested low-level interface for device manufacturers to code drivers anyway.


No, it's completely different. You're talking about a very small set of driver DDIs for a limited set of devices; whereas, opening the engineering specs exposes the device to a potentially unlimited set of partners. That will increase your costs.

2/People pay quite a lot of money for their phone, either directly or through their phone plan (with a nice premium in the latter case). Shouldn't part of that money cover the engineering costs of the operating system ?


No. You buy an expensive car, you don't get schematics for the components in that car, either. You don't get schematics for your DVR or your Blu-Ray player or virtually other kind of consumer device.

3/If the hombrew interface is sufficiently obscure, you don't lose control on the app market. Jailbreaking exists, yet I don't think there's anyone here ready to argue that Apple keeps a tight grip on everything related to iOS.


The reason that hacking isn't more common is that manufacturers will void your warranty if you're running a jailbreak device. And I don't blame them. Who would want to support a broken device that's the result of hacking?

Reply Parent Score: 2