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

From: Dave Neary bolsh at gnome.org
Date: Sat Jun 14 12:24:17 EEST 2008

tanguyr wrote:
> source:
> http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/jun2008/gb20080612_288518.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_global+business
> the killer quote:
>     Jaaksi admitted that concepts like these [DRM, intellectual property
>     rights, SIM locks and subsidised business models]"go against the
>     open-source philosophy", but said they were necessary components of
>     the current mobile industry. "Why do we need closed vehicles? We
>     do," he said. "Some of these things harm the industry but they're
>     here [as things stand]. These are touchy, emotional issues but this
>     dialogue is very much needed. As an industry, *we plan to use
>     open-source technologies but we are not yet ready to play by the
>     rules; but this needs to work the other way round too*."

I see no problem with this position. Linux doesn't need Nokia, Nokia
doesn't need Linux. If Nokia uses Linux it'll be because it suits their
needs and satisfies their constraints, or because they believe it can do
so in the near future with their help.

When I am using my cellphone, I'm mostly unaware of the OS. Every Linux
phone out there has a bunch of closed components, including, usually,
the GUI. Through maemo and GNOME Mobile, I'm happy to try and understand
the needs of mobile device makers and contribute to making a software
stack that suits those needs, without compromising my standards on freedom.

But I'm not going to insist that someone use software which doesn't
cover their constraints. Currently, free software does not meet all needs.

In the mobile industry, if you're a handset manufacturer, a big part of
your constraints is "here's the hardware we're putting in the phone.
Here are the regulatory constraints we have. Here are the conditions
under which I can have this hardware on this date at this price." And a
completely free software solution does not meet those constraints.

I'm happy to see companies like Nokia invest in R&D to create a free
software stack that moves closer to fitting their needs. It's a lot
better than companies like Motorola, shipping a Linux kernel with an
in-house stack on top, or even Android, the "we swear, it'll be free
soon" javaish-based proprietary stack.


maemo.org docsmaster
Email: dneary at maemo.org
Jabber: bolsh at jabber.org

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