[maemo-developers] No more 770 bug activity?

From: Andrew J. Barr andrew.james.barr at gmail.com
Date: Tue Apr 3 23:34:14 EEST 2007
On Tue, 2007-04-03 at 16:17 -0400, Acadia Secure Networks wrote:
> David,
> your "pain" is that of the proverbial pioneer in the old West (US) that 
> ends up with a few arrows in his/her back. Similar in concept to the 
> "pain" the people are feeling who paid 2X for HDTV's a year ago that 
> were of less resolution/quality/size than the ones available today for 
> 1/2x the price.
> As I see it, with respect to product support, Nokia is finding its way 
> in this product category, Internet Tablet Computers, which are 
> positioned somewhere between a smart mobile phone and a full fledged 
> server but priced more like a smart mobile phone.
> It could be worse. As far as I know, for the Windows Mobile OS, there 
> are no patch releases, and, it seems, at most one feature pack upgrade 
> per major release (e.g. 2003=>2003 SE, 5.0=>5.0+feature pack whatever, 
> etc.).  Not only that, because of the vice-grip that the hand-set supply 
> chain (manufacturer=>distributor=>mobile service provider) has on the 
> product, it may not even be possible for a given end user to get a 
> Windows Mobile feature pack, because someone in that chain is not 
> supporting it on the specific handset/mobile service provider combo in 
> question.
> In comparison, what Nokia has done is a step forward in my opinion, 
> although Microsoft, of course  is no paragon of perfection when it comes 
> to product support.  I do think Nokia could mitigate this hw 
> obsolescence problem for some customers, by having a very generous 
> trade-in price to go from the 770 to the N800. In fact, from a marketing 
> perspective this could make a lot of sense for a new product category 
> like the Internet Tablet. That way Nokia would not have to leave its 
> pioneering customers for dead on the "great plains" of product innovation.
> !

I'm sorry, but while this may be perfectly acceptable from a commercial
standpoint, the open source community, the embedded OSS community in
particular, looks at things a bit differently: Look at the market for
Sharp Zauruii on eBay, and look at all the people putting Familiar and
OpenZaurus on things like old iPAQs. While the consumer electronics
industry has an...interesting idea of the depreciating value of my
several-hundred-dollar handheld device purchase (to say the least), the
fact remains that the 770 is still a very nice peice of hardware that
many people paid a lot of money for only to see some things never work
and now no hope of having those things fixed (if there ever was any in
the first place, which is doubtful).

On top of all this, the 770 was sold as (and the N800 continues to be
sold as) an open "Linux" device. The cold hard reality is that Nokia,
for whatever reason, has opensourced enough to get application
developers to come to their platform. This is a proprietary
approach--with open source there would be an opportunity to hack on the
system to it's core and make it do things the creators never intended.
This, after all, is a big part of what Linux and open source is all
about. Sadly, "Linux" and "open" seem to be a marketing terms with
respect to these tablets--they are not at all open in the sense most of
us have come to expect.

Sooner or later, however, this is going to be a moot discussion, and it
may already be on it's way to becoming such. Capable people are going to
get tired of non-answer answers (or silence) from nokia.com and start
reverse-engineering stuff like the power management to get a truly open
distribution onto the 770--and not this VNC stuff (however cool it is)
either. I'm a bit surprised, honestly, that this hasn't been happening
already (at least that I'm aware of).


> Best Regards,
> John Holmblad
> Acadia Secure Networks
> dave.neuer at pobox.com wrote:
> > On 4/3/07, quim.gil at nokia.com <quim.gil at nokia.com> wrote:
> >> Hi,
> >>
> >> >Is there any chance to have a community maintained release? If
> >> >I remember correctly some drivers are missing to get there,
> >> >any chance to get the open sourced?
> >>
> >> >From a Nokia 770 customer point of view, any solution around this 
> >> device
> >> needs to come sooner than later, since devices get old quite fast
> >> nowadays.
> >
> > Absolutely right.
> >
> >> From a Nokia Corporation perspective open sourcing components
> >> might be a slow process even if all the parties involved have a clear
> >> and common wish opening a specific source code. If we are talking about
> >> hardware drivers, the process might be *really* slow. Therefore, there
> >> are little chances that the solution for 770 customers comes from Nokia
> >> opensourcing components, really.
> >
> > Understood.
> >
> >>
> >> The current hacker edition looks like the best candidate to become a
> >> more continued solution. Some people here have got a deep look at it.
> >> What do you think?
> >
> > No, that's totally bogus: a binary-only distro that's supported by a
> > community which doesn't have access to the source? Give me a break.
> >
> > Instead, how about Nokia get every bit of source used to build the
> > last IT 2006 release which it has permission (both internal and
> > external) to release in source form together in _one_ _repository_ and
> > then let the community maintain that.
> >
> > It would end up being a sort of fork, and we'd need some help from
> > Nokia to understand what proprietary components we'd need to replace
> > (even if it's just in the form of hints like Igor's about power
> > management that I posted a while ago) though obviously real
> > documentation would be much better. Additionally, keeping it
> > compatible with N800 OS releases would be challenging to say the least
> > (maybe Nokia employees could help w/ that little bit, like backporting
> > fixes to bugs in the public source).
> >
> > Anything else, from both a end-user and a non-Nokia developer
> > perspective, IMO, is just crap.
> >
> > I mean come on, there are now users of $450 one-and-a-half year old
> > devices out there (which didn't work well at all for 1/3rd of that
> > time even for basic stuff) that are now being told they also won't get
> > "official" fixes for KNOWN BUGS, ever.
> >
> > Give me a break.
> >
> > Dave
> > _______________________________________________
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