Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 24th Jul 2017 23:22 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Michael Lauer, employee #2 at OpenMoko, has written a detailed article about the project and its eventual demise.

For the 10th anniversary since the legendary OpenMoko announcement at the "Open Source in Mobile" (7th of November 2006 in Amsterdam), I've been meaning to write an anthology or - as Paul Fertser suggested on #openmoko-cdevel - an obituary. I've been thinking about objectively describing the motivation, the momentum, how it all began and - sadly - ended. I did even plan to include interviews with Sean, Harald, Werner, and some of the other veterans. But as with oh so many projects of (too) wide scope this would probably never be completed.

As November 2016 passed without any progress, I decided to do something different instead. Something way more limited in scope, but something I can actually finish. My subjective view of the project, my participation, and what I think is left behind: My story, as OpenMoko employee #2. On top of that you will see a bunch of previously unreleased photos (bear with me, I'm not a good photographer and the camera sucked as well).

Mr. Lauer ends the article on a sad but entirely true note:

Right now my main occupation is writing software for Apple's platforms - and while it's nice to work on apps using a massive set of luxury frameworks and APIs, you're locked and sandboxed within the software layers Apple allows you. I'd love to be able to work on an open source Linux-based middleware again.

However, the sad truth is that it looks like there is no business case anymore for a truly open platform based on custom-designed hardware, since people refuse to spend extra money for tweakability, freedom, and security. Despite us living in times where privacy is massively endangered.

If anyone out there thinks different and plans a project, please holler and get me on board!

We'd all love such a project to succeed.

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Self-important doesn't mean Important
by Odwalla on Tue 25th Jul 2017 13:59 UTC
Odwalla
Member since:
2006-02-01

"For the 10th anniversary since the legendary OpenMoko announcement..." (emphasis mine)

Word count to hyperbole = seven. How was this announcement "legendary"? Where was it covered, what corners of collectively went, "WHOA"? What industries immediately felt threatened and disrupted by the presence of a mere announcement?

The implication that the project failed only because people were unwilling to pay a bit more is intentionally hiding the real truth. People are, rightfully, resistant to paying a higher price for a product that isn't as good as its competitors. That isn't a fault with the consumer.

Reply Score: 0

dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

"People are, rightfully, resistant to paying a higher price for a product that isn't as good as its competitors."

Heard about this philosophy formerly from Toyota. Essentially goes like this:

IF Your paying market doesn't value that feature or expense, THEN is doesn't have VALUE.

Fundamentally wrong. Many of our MOST CRITICAL problems at IT can be related to this lack of PROFESSIONALISM.

(Market "asked" for cladding with plastic filling, just one example , stick all the yellow warnings you like, will be miss-used).

Edited 2017-07-25 14:26 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

It is self evidently true that if no one will pay x amount for something, then it may well be that thing is not worth that much.

With smartphones, this is quite clear. The market is not clamoring for infinite configurability. Most people want a phone they can pick up, browse the internet, send messages with and download their favorite apps.

Being able to code on a smartphone is not a feature most want and unsurprisingly, no high end phone promotes that as a feature.

So what you think is rubbish is straightforward economics.

Reply Parent Score: 1