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Subject: Re: How to get them to manufacture for us: An idea and a draft
From: Björn Stenberg (bjorn_at_haxx.se)
Date: 2004-03-21


David H. Straayer wrote:
> I've done a (very crude) first draft of such an article, below.
> Let's pass it around and comment on it. I'll dredge through my
> old notes, and Google around to try to find placement for it.
>
> What do you think?

An interesting initiative. I think you should be wary about painting a too rosy picture, however.

> An international team of open-source software writers has
> entirely re-written, from the “ground up”,

Nitpick: We haven't re-written anything. We've just written it. Re-written would mean we've done it before. :-)

> Here are some of the key advantages of this approach:
> 1. No software/firmware development costs. Obviously a big plus

This is only true if the device they make is an exact Archos clone, which is unlikely. After all, the Archos design is pretty old by now. Most new designs will want to use better components and perhaps different features. These changes, whatever they are, need to be supported by the firmware.

A manufacturer can not depend on Rockbox, or any other voluntary team, to write this for them, for free, on schedule. Open Source software is, by definition, not written on schedule.

What Rockbox provides them with, rather, is an "mp3 player starting kit". For a small price (their changes), they get a complete mp3 player firmware. All they need to do is adapt some of the drivers to their hardware. (Which of course they could do by contracting one or more Rockbox developer.) This will cut down their firmware development cost greatly, but it won't eliminate it.

I think it is important to stress the sharing part. The price they pay for using our software is that we get all their modifications in return. This is sometimes overlooked by companies who seem to view Open Source code as freebies they can grab and use however they like.

> the Rockbox team at
> http://cool.haxx.se/mailman/listinfo/rockbox

I would suggest linking to our front page http://rockbox.haxx.se rather than the mailing list info page. If you like, you can list me as contact person.

> They probably will even be
> happy to provide some preliminary schematics,

Do you really mean this? Or do you mean we'll be happy to _review_ preliminary schematics? I'm not aware of anyone offering perliminary schematics.

Overall I think it's an exciting initiative. I just want to make sure we don't misrepresent the nature of Open Source Software or write something that's "too good to be true".

-- 
Björn
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