Why the OpenMoko isn't an iPhone killer - yet

This is a sequel of sorts to my previous Free Software rant regarding their stance on the iPhone. I caught this on the PlanetMoko planet from zecke's blog:

The Ugly
Oh well, QA asked us to not release due the stability issues they see during their heavy testing. We do not meet the quality standards our QA team has for an ordinary phone (the good thing about hiring someone that didn't know Linux and Free Software). On the other hand they didn't see the OM2007.2 factory image. I think OM2008.8 enables a Freerunner to be used in friendly user trials, maybe OM2008.8.1 will make QA more happy. Until then we will release ealry and release often.

To a programmer, this makes perfect sense (after all, "release early, release often" is considered a best practice for open source developers), but when you're releasing something on a consumer-level device that wouldn't pass the muster for Joe Average Consumer's expectations of a device called "phone", you're not going to be able to compete with a device that takes Joe Average Consumer's picture of "phone" and kicks up those consumer expectations much higher.

This isn't meant to slam the OpenMoko project, who I think are doing great work in developing a completely open phone, but I think it's unreasonable for the FSF to make the claim that the OpenMoko Freerunner is ready to replace the iPhone.

On the plus side, I congratulate OpenMoko for enlisting a separate team for handling their QA on the phone. I look forward to the day when they enthusiastically pass your efforts.


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