Cancellation of GTA03 / thoughts on OM Inc.

As you can see at lwn and h-online, as well as slashdot: Openmoko Inc. has discontinued smartphone related development.

It's good that there is now some official statement from the company. They way this came about was less than pleasant, though. There would have been a number of ways to avoid the need for discontinuation.

For me, things now finally come to an end. I still very much believe in the idea of having more open mobile phones, both on the software stack as well as on the hardware side. I also believe that there used to be a number of very good people inside Openmoko who could drive the development to create such open products. But over time, I have started to have severe doubts whether Openmoko Inc. is really the most productive and/or best environment to do this kind of development. Priorities and directions changed a lot.

So as of now, even though Openmoko Inc. states it wants to re-start smartphone development at some later point, I am happy that I can finally let go. I do no longer have to hope that Openmoko Inc. gets their act together to actually get an (to my standards) acceptable product out into the market.

The pain and suffering is over. The engineers behind the 'open smartphone project' are all "free" now, and they are more than ever interested in continuing the mission that they once set out to get done. Very much like me some time ago. I've never stopped believing in the idea of building more open mobile phones. I just started to doubt if Openmoko Inc can do that, which is one of the key reasons why I left a very key position at the end of 2007. Now my doubts are "complete". People can move on and try to find a way to get what they were fighting for - probably with less interference and no side-tracking and constantly changing priorities.

Now some people might argue that I'm trying to do Openmoko-Inc-bashing here. That is not the point. I, as an individual, have just expressed my doubts and my assessment of the situation. I've held back a lot of grief for a long time, trying to not interfere with the business of Openmoko Inc. But since the Openmoko project is an open source project, and it is developed and supported by a much larger community, I feel more connected to that community than to the company. I feel obliged to let them know my opinion, since I have more insight into the project than most other people have. It's a personal opinion, I don't claim that it is "the one and only truth (TM)".