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Estel's Avatar
Posts: 5,029 | Thanked: 8,597 times | Joined on Mar 2011
After the:
...blink of a crisis, all people who - like me - keep thumbs for Neo900 project from the very beginning, were able to sigh with relief, apparently. There might be an uncomfortable need to get a refund and donate to Neo900 project again, but what we won't do for making a 100% open device (as per Neo900 announce post[1]), right?

But, wait a second. As we see from result of my question[2], [3] to Neo900 project leader, with results as per [4], [5] is it - as per this threads title - still fair to call Neo900 a "100% open device"?

I'm pretty sure that promised openness was a major factor for many pre-orderers out there. In Maemo community, many hold the Free software and Free hardware - both Free as in Freedom - in a very high regard. For many of us, Neo900 was meant to fulfill dream of "as free as in gets" (minus things that can't get free software running them,legally, like modem firmware, due to regulations in all countries around the world), real pocket computer/phone combo in our pocket.

Instead - up to now - we're getting very disappointing results in the "openness" department. While dos1 - performing as in promptu spokesman for Neo900, as it seems - is doing whatever he could to communicate with Community, the rest of development is as murky as it gets. We have some behind-the-scenes problems with "who is the project leader/decision making guy", that ends in unprecedented (in community-funded hardware projects) situation of need to refund all pre-orders - something that, usually, mean project becoming dead. Almost three hundreds of pre-orderers will lose on conversion and transfer fees - *TWICE*, if they decide to support project again - and it's basically seen as "sorry for the inconvenience" by (apparently, as we don't know anything for sure, when it comes to Neo900...) current project leader, Joerg Reisenweber. Now, thats "understatement of the year", especially, considering that - from my personal point of view - Joerg's inability to agree on passing leadership to party developing Neo900 hardware (Golden Delicious Computers) is the reason for all this mess. Well, its us - donors - who will pay (and banks who will profit...) for his need of being official leader, not he. No wonder the cheerful approach.

The thing about Neo900 project files was murky from the beginning, too. First called simply "files to feed the fab" in opening post os Neo900 thread, (it got edited, without keeping history change) it was always stated as "maybe". Despite asking in the first days of project, I never got clear answer on why those files should be kept propertiary. The elusive comment I got, was that its due to "wanting to keep Neo900 done in big batches, instead of small parcels". What it mean in practice, is that Neo900 team doesn't want [/b]*you*[/b] being able to, easily, replicate Neo900 in your warehouse, if you happen to have the equipment and source parts. So, no arduino-like approach here, forget it.

Now, when it got specified as Eagle project files, I repeated the question, with very discouraging results, as per links from this very post. Not only the project leader put off the mask and shown his rude "face", as answer to sincere and cultural question but - more importantly - he shown complete lack of respect for and understanding off the Free ideals.

Frankly, we could have seen it coming. When getting "blessing" of Free Software Foundation was considered, Joerg was disdainful when talking about FSF, or Richard Stallman, ad persona. As some of you may remember, the problem with FSF "thumb up" for Neo900, was about FSF dogma, that modem software should be "set in stone", irreplaceable in any circumstance. In their theory, it would ensure, that no carrier/government/anyone will overwrite firmware "over the air". Guys from Neo900 team had a good point - such dogma doesn't guarantee Freedom, as backdoor could be implemented in such firmware at factory level.

Neo900 had a great chance of getting more recognition, by "challenging" - in a civilized way - this FSF dogma, and try to convince FSF guys to change it (which happened in the past, FSF rules aren't set in stone, too). Now, that would be something - project which would catalyze upgrade in FSF rules would get a hell of interest in Free software/hardware circles. If FSF would fail to get convinced - well, it wouldn't hurt trying. Succeeding, on the other hand, would ensure not only benefits mentioned above, but would also double by making Neo900 FSF-approved device.

It could bring pre-orders up from less than 300 to 3000, or who knows how much. Hell, in good circumstances, it could make Neo900 - and it's possible successors - a role model of Free mobile computer/phone. It would surely bring the final price down, making device more accessible to common people, that doesn't sleep on money. Worth trying (especially, for free... As in beer, this time ), wouldn't you say? After all, Neo900 had good technical reasons to back their "claim".

Again - thanks to Joerg, the guy that doesn't get the Free world - concept of trying to convince FSF and get their "blessing", after all, was completely abandoned, without even trying (for real). Again, it's *our* - current or future pre-orderers - that get to pay more for a complete device (compared to one made with FSF thumb-up, in muich larger quantities), not the egocentric "leader" of the project.

If the vector of less openness with every step continue, Neo900 projects, suddenly, become less and less "sexy". Especially, compared to similarly (little less) pricey projects like OpenPandora's Pyra - which seem to have leadership much more sensible to *real* openness.

Summing it up, I want *YOUR* input. Does the "Free'nes" of Neo900 matter to you as much as it matters to me? Are you worried by the recent events? Maybe you have some suggestions to Neo900 team? Or, you would just like to show them all the support with their decision, and see my reasoning as BS? All (civilized, filled with arguments) input welcome.

And, as per Poll, given the above problems - do you think that it's fair to call Neo900 "100% open" project, or it seems as only semi-open thing, that want to profit on "100% open" term, catchy in Maemo community?

This post is meant as constructive critique. AFAIK, it's first real, well-documented critique and polemic with what Neo900 turns to be, amongst all-around praises and cheers. I did it to share my thoughts/worries/feelings about the project, and to gather other's opinions. Orgasm for brain, food for thoughts.

Please, keep the "people mean well" motto, and respect the others, (myself included) while writing comments, no matter how you love/hate the project.


(quotes beneath links, in case posts get edited afterwards, which happened in the past)

Originally Posted by joerg_rw View Post
Plus the whole device is 100% open
Originally Posted by Estel View Post
I'm very interested why decision about publishing Eagle project files isn't a sure thing? If it depends on something, then what it is, any particular reasons for not doing it, *if* the project comes to fruition, eventually?

It seems to me, that it would nicely play along with "FOSH(ardware)" spirit of the project.
Originally Posted by Estel View Post
With all due respect, you've avoided answering the question. The fact that Mr. Nikolaus owns PCB layout, doesn't expand why you couldn't not want to release it.

In my understanding, "We might consider making it one", means that you have some reasons/arguments against it. I'm sincerely interested in what those are.

Of course, if you just don't know, or is it the (typical in hardware production business) memento of "it's better to own something exclusively that don't, even if we don't know why, yet", I'll accept that as answer.

I would just like to hear it, officially, from the Neo900, this or other way. Believe it or not, but there are people, that consider eventual FOSW of the project as very important factor, before making pre-order/support decision*. Even if it can't be guaranteed now, knowing the reasoning of project Creators is useful when deciding if one want to "take the risk" of jumping into the bandwagon now, before releasing/not releasing those files in some Free license is confirmed/denied.

Respect, love, and pink chocolate flowers

*Including two people, that I'm personally trying to convince into pre-ordering - well, at least as soon as the new donation method is up, as it's not quite reasonable to do so now and get refund, losing on conversion/transfer fees...
Originally Posted by joerg_rw View Post
please read the quote in your question, it has the answer to your question already. Also: And no, this is not exactly a FOSH project in the sense you use the word. Never been. We might consider making it one, eventually. When we agree that we all want to do that.
Originally Posted by joerg_rw View Post
what in "we might consider making it one, eventually" you failed to grok? We didn't care about that detail yet. period. You're free to consider this a negligance but it's not relevant for us right now. It's not a product property requirement spec. Please stop pestering.
N900's aluminum backcover / body replacement
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Measure battery's real capacity on-device
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