Bill McGonigle <> writes:
> Still, all kinds of providers go through leadership changes and ousters
> all the time - this one is being done open-source style.  That seems to
> have some media people freaked out.

The whole `open-ness' idea still seems to be `new and unsettling' to a
lot of people; even people who are accustomed to open development in
software still get freaked-out when the open methodology is applied in
areas other than straight-up software development.

Openmoko, for example, has repeatedly had issues with the open
development model that they've used for their smartphone/palmtop/whatever
hardware and software: a bunch of things that were more like `team
status meetings', `team morale-raising sessions', etc. were all
mis-taken as being `press releases' and `marketing promises'. When the
`expected release-dates' slipped, the onlookers cried doom because the
company had `failed to deliver on its promises'; when the `mass production'
version of the hardware became available without readty-to-go,
everyman-UI smartphone /software/ preloaded, a lot of people called
foul on that. A `review' video appeared on Vimeo, called
"OpenMoko Train Wreck", where the `reviewer' said things like
"the software is so rough that I'm surprised that they're charging
this much for the hardware" (what?), "I know the bezel's there to
keep the screen from getting scratched, because they couldn't afford a
glass screen..." (what?), and ultimately concluding that it (paraphrased)
`doesn't stand up to the iPhone, and anyone who tells you otherwise is
playing a cruel joke on you'.

But /of course/ the software wasn't going to be finished until after
the hardware became available, and /of course/ the addresses to the
engineering-teams were optimistic. There's actually been nothing
damning, or even unusual, in their development-process--except that
the things that are usually hidden away in the corporate bowels have
been happening out in the open, and the `engineering teams' have been
distributed throughout the same general-admission seating as the end
users and the press (so a challenge being faced is to communicate with
one segment of the audience without having the rest of the audience
hear it--I guess that's called... "politics"?). One of their more
notable communication-failures was when Sean Moss-Pultz announced that
a speculative project in an early planning stage was being cancelled,
and the news-articles that resulted from that bore headlines like
"opensource phone company goes out of business".

People keep comparing the Openmoko project(s) to the iPhone,
also--quite unfavourably. Mainly, I think, it's just because the
iPhone `appeared fully-formed' where everyone's been able to watch all
of the Openmoko developments happening out in the open. But if you
look at the events that were hidden inside Apple leading up to the
iPhone's release (and the start-to-finish timeline), the pace of
Openmoko's progress is actually pretty impressive; even moreso if you
consider other factors like the relative amounts of funding that they
had, and the final prices (without carrier subsidies) of the different
products. And /of course/ the Openmoko devices don't compare to the
iPhone--it's (forgive me) Apples to oranges; The iPhone doesn't
compare very well if what you want is a FreeRunner, either ;)

So, yeah--the world at large is seemingly still, ever so slowly, coming
to grips with the notion of `transparency'.

Don't be afraid to ask (Lf.((Lx.xx) (Lr.f(rr)))).
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