[maemo-users] Nokia: Linux Needs to Learn Business

From: Graham Cobb g+770 at cobb.uk.net
Date: Sat Jun 14 00:23:15 EEST 2008
On Friday 13 June 2008 21:28:09 Steve Brown wrote:
> We/I want
> to buy, and work on open devices. It's really as simple as that. 

I would like to do that as well.  But I don't see any such devices being 
created.  (I would also like a flying car).  Android most certainly is not 
that.  And no GSM device which was completely open would get type approval to 
be legal in the EU.

If you do not want to use or contribute to a device which is not completely 
open that is, of course, your choice.  I, on the other hand, am willing to 
work on a device which provides an open application environment and an SDK -- 
that is the key thing for me.  US-style application locks (which, 
fortunately, have always been rare in the GSM world) are what I really object 

Of course, you are entitled to think that I am selling out a point of 
principle.  And I may think that you are being unrealistic.  Agreeing to 
differ is perfectly fine -- but please do not speak for me.

> And you 
> know, it's fine if Nokia doesn't want to take the risk of being one of the
> first, but it just makes me sad to see how misinformed Jaaksi is to think
> he can reason us out of what we want and how he doesn't see the potential
> of what open source can bring Nokia (and he's the head of open-source
> operations!!). Now he just wants to get and not give, but I can understand
> that, it just seems to be the viewpoint of someone who doesn't know alot
> about how this open source thingy works, that's all. Maybe Nokia should
> have someone in that position who understands F/OSS...

I think he/they do understand it quite well.  F/OSS is a broad community with 
many different views, including yours, and mine (and many others).  Much of 
the community (although not you, and many others who share your views) are 
willing to contribute without complete openness.

My personal "rules" (which define what I will or will not do, but which I do 
not try to impose on others) is that I am willing to tolerate the notion of 
commercial subsidy with some restrictions: I tolerate sim-locks, which allow 
the toys I want to be made available to me for less cost in exchange for a 
reasonable restriction (like not using it on another operator for 18 months).  
In practice, I accept it if it seems like a fair deal: I insist that the 
device is also available not locked, for a reasonable price and that the 
discount for the sim lock is considerable and the lock for a limited time.  
In those circumstances I think sim-locks are perfectly reasonable.

On the other hand, I do not tolerate DRM in its current form because it is not 
a fair deal.  Typically the content being protected by DRM is not available 
for a reasonable price without DRM, the DRM does not provide me with a 
considerable discount, and the DRM restrictions do not expire after a 
reasonable time.  My objection to DRM is not one of principle: it is one of 

I would be interested in engaging in a dialogue with Nokia to see if they 
would espouse some similar sorts of fairness principles, in exchange for some 
of us accepting the things he talks about and contributing to devices which 
include them.

> I'm just glad that, in the meantime, I'm going to have open alternatives.

What open alternatives?  That is a serious question -- I personally know of no 
manufacturer making devices which are more open than the Internet Tablets and 
would be interested to know what is/will be available.


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