On February 12, I went to check up on the status of the OpenMoko project. With my likely disappointment on the iPhone, I’ve been looking for a replacement for my aging four-year-old Nokia 6600. Based on my set of ideal features for an 802.11 phone, I’ve been looking seriously at the Nokia E series, but they are quite expensive. The recent announcement of the “i” models in the E series lineup (E61i, etc) has shifted my allegiance slightly. I’ve been working with an E series, but it has limited battery life and a flaky SIP stack. My thoughts increasingly turn towards OpenMoko, since it would embrace SIP and open telephony in a way that is still alien to the telcos and their big suppliers. Unfortunately, the project has been delayed a short while. There are good reasons for this, namely that the team is dedicated to having a completely open system from hardware specs up through the toolchain before finally getting to the phone software itself. All commendable, but it doesn’t make it sting any less.
One of the curses of OSS is that you must live your life in full view of the world with a transparency that is a bit jarring for those accustomed to hiding delays and flaws in commercial software. (I’ve come to the conclusion that big government IT projects are no worse than their corporate counterparts, just much easier to see. A similar analogy would seem to hold for open source projects.) I’d like to than Sean Moss-Pultz for his honesty. I still want the phone just as badly as I did before the delay was announced. Touching the phone last week at the Emerging Telephony conference only made my desire worse.