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Subject: RE: How to get them to manufacture for us: An idea and a draft

RE: How to get them to manufacture for us: An idea and a draft

From: Carlos Astrada <>
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2004 00:03:12 -0500

I would definitely be interested in pursuing something in the spirit of
open source further. I agree with Mathias that involving a company in
the development process would open a whole can of worms, conflicts of
interest, legal ramifications, etc.

Mathias, good ideas, but it will be absolutely critical to choose a
manufacturer / assembler very very carefully. US manufacturers already
have huge problems with Asian manufacturers ripping off technology and
reselling here. I am sure that Europe has the same problems. One idea
could be to choose a manufacturer with limited market for a rip-off and
who does not have the infrastructure to successfully market overseas. To
do this will require a lot of work, however.

A few alternative possibilities to do this would be to

1. generate some steam by accepting donations for the project via paypal
(don't know how successful this would be; probably wouldn’t be able to
gather enough money to even put a dent in what is needed).

2. Procure a strategic alliance or sponsorship with a company friendly
to open source (the question is who! and we're back to Mathias'

3. Gather some support from a university with resources that could be
beneficial to the project.

I don't mean to sound pessimistic in all of this, but I think that the
only way to successfully do this is to follow a shoe-string strategy and
get as much as possible done "in house" by Rockbox hw / sw developers,
via donations, sponsorships, etc. Then pursuing a manufacturer to bring
the costs down would be MUCH easier.

To that end, I will gladly help in any way possible, as this is
something I would like to see happen. I even have some contacts
throughout the manufacturing industries of Brazil and Argentina, if we
are in fact interested in this.

What do you all think?

Regardless of what ensues with the above, I don't think it to be
outlandish to start a Rockbox donation account for future development

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Matthias Klumpp
Sent: Wednesday, March 24, 2004 12:17 PM
Subject: Re: How to get them to manufacture for us: An idea and a draft

I listened to that discussion with great interest quite for a while.
First of all I want to point out some things, that will be of interest
the suggestion I'll do below (it's my personal opinion, but I would very
like to hear about yours):

Motivation for such a topic:

a) Could be because of financial interests:
IMHO that is in contradiction to the idea of open source. If anybody
follow up because of that reason, there will be no other way than define
"leaders" out of the Rockbox crew, that take over responsability and
project/financial management.

b) Because of interest in the matter of fact (not financial):
That's what I'm talking about.

Some of you pointed out to get in contact with companies, that will
hardware upon Rockbox specification and using Rockbox as open source SW.
If the product (HW & SW together) is good, that company will try to make
own product out of it.
I suppose they will take the open source SW, re-write it or restructure
and then put a own copyright on it.
Still they will get new input (at least ideas and parts of SW), they
take from the open source that might be developed in parallel.
I don't see any reason why an involved company should not get to that

Furthermore, there is a legal problem in this constelation of
Who is the contact person on the open-source side ?
Who will be responsible for warranty, who manages
information/decisions/finances and so on ?
Who will do the distribution ?

I think (long term) this has a big risc to kill the open source project

Well, coming back to b).

I thought to my self:
- Rockbox does have SW developers.
- If there aren't already: When Rockbox was able to join "softworkers"
shouldn't it be possible to join "hardworkers" too.
- Target should be, having possibility to modify HW to the needs of
(as you already do with SW).
- Another target should be to have a "cheap" HW available, or at least
reasonable price (compared to the features included).

So we need the company only for assembling the unit.
Technical aspects of SW and HW remain inside the open source/hardware
The manufacturer gets layout/SW updates when necessary and produces that
"revision" on demand (by the end customer).

Such a company should be located in a place, where working cost is
but technical know-how is rare.

- Rockbox realizes the SW/HW development and supports the technical
of SW/HW.
- Rockbox also updates the manufacturer with necessary
information/modifcations and so on.
- The manufacturer does not need to employ expensive specialists or to
up a lot of know how, because he's (only) interested in selling the
assembled hardware, that makes his money.
- That manufacturer gets the order by internet and ships only HW to the
final customer (no involvement of Rockbox here).
- Final customer updates the shipped unit with downloaded SW and it's
to play.

How about that ? (all your comments are welcome)



I could make a contact with some guys in Brazil, that could have ability
assemble these units, if there is any interest.
Of course this would not be the way to produce large quantities, but
be enough to handle "individual" quantities.

Sent by: Matthias Klumpp
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Received on 2004-03-25

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