[maemo-users] Diablo's Modest/Email

From: Theodore Tso tytso at MIT.EDU
Date: Wed Sep 10 01:57:58 EEST 2008
On Tue, Sep 09, 2008 at 03:58:26PM -0600, Mark wrote:
> This sounds like going to a whole lot of work to do something that
> I've been doing for years with POP3 without any additional server or
> software...

It's actually very hard to do this robustly using POP3 because you
don't have stable identifiers for e-mail addresses.  Qualcomm dealt
with this problem by adding a unique ID into the mail headers (thus
modifying the message), but (a) not all POP servers do this, and (b)
it means you're modifying the mail message, which is aesthetically

The problem with not having a unique message identifier is that if
some other application deletes a message, it's very easy to confuse a
mail synchronization program.  So such schemes tend not to be very

Still, if something worked for you, great!

> In other words, f*** off! This is exactly the attitude that will
> always keep open source from gaining significant market share. Only
> the projects that actually listen to such concerns ever make any real
> impact (Mozilla, anyone?).

Mozilla gets millions of dollars from Google every year; it's nice
when you can have that support.  Otherwise, you can always get
together with other folks to sponsor someone to write a feature, or
you can implement the feature yourself.  Open source is not about free
features that people can get just by whining about them.  It's about
having the freedom to change it --- either by yourself, or by paying
someone to do it for you.  It means you're not beholden to a single
source supplier to make those changes.  

As Bob Young once said, proprietary software is like buying a car with
the hood welded shut, so only the dealer can work on it.  Open source
allows you or someone you pay, like a neighborhood mechanic, to work
on the car, not just the dealer.  But that doesn't mean you get your
car fixed for free!  And as much as you threaten a car manufacturer
that you won't buy a car unless they provide free car customization
services, just try it and see how far you get.  

Similar, with open source, by itself it does not mean the software is
better, just that over time it is likely to get better as more people
work on it, not just the company who owns the software.  So yes, Open
Source is not a magic bullet.  But I'd much rather have an open
platform than a closed one.

> Bull hockey! The Nokia tablets are sold as consumer devices, but are
> severely lacking in software functionality. I didn't lay out several
> hundred in cash just so I can carry yet another device around. The
> whole point was to replace several devices with one. This amounts to
> false advertising, and ensures that the the tablets will never take
> off or make any real impact with consumers, especially since Nokia has
> been rumbling for some time about orphaning the devices completely and
> leaving them to their fate with the community. In other words,
> resigning them to a fate of never being anything more than developers'
> playthings.

Actually, Nokia has been very clear that the only thing the N800 was
ever meant to be was an Internet Tablet.  So web browsing really was
its primary goal.  Communication progams were always secondary, and
PIM functionality, not at all.  They've always been very clear about
that, and you can see it in how much they bothered to spend in
development dollars improving the mail application or the instant
messaging application.  The advantage with Open Source is that it
allows the N800 to be expanded beyond what Nokia was willing to invest
development dollars to improve.  So there is at least a *chance* that
the PIM functionality will one day get better than what the Palm Pilot
offers, as opposed to "not at all" which would appear to be the case
with (a) any Symbian based cell phone, or (b) any other closed-source

If you're not happy with that set of priorities, then maybe you
shouldn't have purchased an N800 in the first place.  I'm sorry you
feel that open source developers or Nokia somehow owe you to implement
whatever functionality you happen to want, but unfortunately, it
doesn't work that way.  I have may pet favorite enhancements that I
wish Apple would implement for the ipod, or Canon in their digital
SLR's.  But having proprietary software doesn't mean I get my favorite
features, even if large web sites like Luminous Landscape has been
whining about certain features (like an easy way to implement mirror
lockup using a single button push, instead of several button pushes to
navigate through multiple levels of menus) for years.

> If you want anyone to use your software and are using them for alpha
> and beta testers, then you *have* to expect some feedback. If you
> don't want feedback, don't distribute your software. It's that simple!

It's not the feedback, it's the attitude.  With that kind of attitude,
you'll probably be generally very unhappy in life, regardless of
whether you use open source or proprietary software.  Sometimes asking
nicely will get you much farther than asking with a snarl.

Best regards,

						- Ted

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