Almost back in Germany

Taipei by day

你好! My stay in Taipei is almost over and I want to update you all on some news around my work here in the OpenMoko, Inc. office. During the past couple of months, I have dedicated lots of my resources to improving the current incarnation of the software stack for our existing users, the GTA01 early adopters. We have now come to a point where the OpenMoko SmartPhone Stack is almost there. Especially Telephony, PIM and the mediaplayer have gotten much better throughout the last months. We even have a nice new webkit-based browser with a slick and simple interface. All in all it’s getting better every day and I’m very confident, we’ll iron the last problems out within the next couple of weeks… and this is where the actual fun begins — once you guys can implement all your crazy ideas on top of this platform.

Fun in the OpenMoko Apartment

To support this, the management and me agreed that for the remainder of this year, I suspend my position as overall platform architect to become the head of the new tools group. As such, I’m going to concentrate on improving and streamlining the developer’s experience (read: SDK). Once the most important problems in this field have been solved, I will get back to my original role. As for the future of GTA01, we have yet to ship a GSM firmware update and a working GPS driver. This is pending some legal issues at our end which I would have hoped were resolved by now, but once the ball is in the court of the lawyers, it’s rolling very slooooooooooow.

Structure-wise there has been a lot of friction — disagreement, fear, uncertainty, doubt, you name it — while OpenMoko migrated from being that crazy open source project inside FIC to being an independent 50-something-people-company whose upmost priority is to stay in business. We grew so fast that we couldn’t scale, hence the only way that got us back to operational mode was to impose a renewed and improved structure on it. I guess this is an almost inherent effect of rapid growth.

Taipei by night

The actual outcome of it is that we engineers can now safely step down from being part-time network administrators, product managers, marketing experts etc., since we now co-work with dedicated people that perform these tasks. Which is good. Even better is that I really enjoy working with the local engineers. It took us a while to get started communicating well, but now it’s great. We have so many bright guys in this company that I’m proud of being a part of it. With the improved structure and a respectful passing of ideas, specs, and code forth and back, our engineering teams will perform much better implementing exciting new software products for OpenMoko.

All in all I have enjoyed this stay in Taiwan very much, a lot of my pleasure courtesy to the great weather, my health, and all the nice buddies in the OpenMoko Apartment and the Office. Thanks guys, you know who you are — 谢谢! :D

Comments (6) left to “Almost back in Germany”

  1. cribe wrote:

    Thanks for the OpenMoko news !

    Cannot wait until you guys have a stable/normal user usable phone. Keep the progress news coming I check planet.openmoko almost every day just to get a hint at whats going on with the Moko!

    Keep up the great dev work !

  2. Asher Pat wrote:

    will the phone be available in London UK?

    Will the phone have “horiszontal” mode for browsing and watching clips? What does it take (explanation for a non-computer guy like me) to be able to use YouTube fully?

    How difficult it is to have a Wi-Fi chip (this is a real question, not a “jab”)?

  3. Esben Damgaard wrote:

    @Asher Pat
    Right now the phone is in development. When it is finished, it will be sold from within EU, support horizontal mode (already does actually), and right now there are people working out the YouTube thing to make it easy to use. So all you have to do is install a program, and all of youtube will be at your fingertips (when on the internet).

    It will have Wifi.

  4. Neilen wrote:

    Oh, the memories. I took a break from my postgrad E&E studies to teach English in Taipei. Had a blast, I love the place to bits. Oh, and all the best with OpenMoko, I can’t wait :)

  5. Gerry Gregoire wrote:

    sounds like great experience

  6. Bryce wrote:

    I hope you enjoyed your stay and good luck getting back to Germany!

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