[Arm-netbook] Flashing the NAND

luke.leighton luke.leighton at gmail.com
Sat Dec 7 15:22:19 GMT 2013

On Sat, Dec 7, 2013 at 12:42 AM, Siarhei Siamashka
<siarhei.siamashka at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, 06 Dec 2013 18:30:10 +0100
> "Aaron J. Seigo" <aseigo at kde.org> wrote:

>> ok, cool. for you, evenings (UTC) and weekends work better than daytime,
>> correct? i’m thinking of something in early January to get this started ...
> Just a question to avoid any possible misunderstanding. Are you trying
> to organize and manage only the Rhombus / EOMA / Mer people? Or is it a
> larger scale ambition?

 siarhei, i'm the maintainer and instigator of the arm-netbooks
project, and the creator of the EOMA standards.  i invited aaron here
because he has a significant amount of both business and software
libre project management.  he's also QiMod's first main client.  we've
been talking for over a year now however it's only been appropriate
for him to surface from private discussions once the decision was made
to bring Improv out.  so there's been a lot going on in the

 regarding your questions: i have a completely different kind of
leadership style from aaron.  my style is one that comes from
experience in "leading by technical example" software libre project
management, over the past 15 years.  so that means less structure,
continuous availability (response to mailing list questions within
minutes or hours), more hands-off and inviting people, within certain
guidelines, to basically do whatever they want.

 with the samba tng project, that worked extremely well.  the nature
of the project meant that some highly gifted and highly self-motivated
individuals joined - elrond, matthew chapman, jean-francois micouleau
to name a few - and contributed significantly based on the
infrastructure that i'd put in place.

 again, until it was hijacked, that approach worked extremely well
with the pyjamas project.  i took over "by default" - after luke
howard had abandoned it - and several highly-motivated extremely
competent and independent people again began to contribute, loved what
was being done: i set the rules, and people followed them happily
(until some idiot decided he didn't like them, encouraged others to
hijack the domain, and now the project's cohesion and reputation has
been destroyed).

 with the xanadux project (the HTC smartphone reverse-engineering
one), that was different: there were no "leaders" there, only peers.
we kept in touch every day (pretty much without fail) over several
years, coordinated via #htc-linux on freenode, and assembled a vast
amount of information on the xda-developers wiki which is still
relevant and useful for those devices we reverse-engineered, even

 this project however is, i have to say, radically different.  the key
difference is that like many of the other seriously-heavy-duty
technical projects i've been involved in i'm pretty much literally
*the* only person with the skillset and motivation to get - let alone
keep - things going, and this time it involves not just writing
software but designing the hardware as well.  i don't know anyone else
who would, after making the mistake of not putting easy access to JTAG
on a board that had *zero* software on it, and having no UART either
to do debug printout messages, persist blind for *four weeks* in
compiling up an entire linux OS stack *including* u-boot.  with no
debug output methods of any kind.  it was only the persistence and
patience i learned from the xanadux project that kept me going at it
until i suceeded.

so that's a short version of some of my background.  all the relevant
bits of experience, none of which is helping to attract people to help
out on a day-to-day basis because the skillsets required are too high,
and the goals likewise.  remember: the project also involves fixing
some of the GPL-violations and respecting software freedom.  that
means that i also have to respect software freedom and software libre
principles... *including* doing things like staying away from github
and groups.google.com because they're non-free proprietary services.
[yes i'm aware i have to stop using gmail, but i have over 45,000
messages stored on it, which makes it an immense task that i'm

now we have a client who is extremely skilled with people, believes
not only in the project but also in the EOMA68 standard *and* respects
and understands why software freedom is important, *and* has a
successful business that is critically dependent on software libre and
its principles.  those principles extend out in a multitude of
not-immediately-obvious ways, including how he and his associates
interact with people, and, typically, they are so impressed and
grateful at the [often unpaid initial] help provided that they soon
become extremely loyal clients.

so given the critical phase we're at right now, where we're
transitioning from 100% proven prototype to first serious production
run, i need all the help that aaron's offering, and more.  and, given
that there's nobody else really responsible for this project except me
(because of the high technical bar at the moment), then, as terry
pratchett says: "i'm the man, and i've got the vote" :)

so that's some of the background. coming back to your question, let's
cover it from the different angles you've raised.

1) as far as the rhombus tech side is concerned, it's fine.  i need
all the help i can get!

2) for the sunxi-community, i cannot speak for them because i was not
invited to participate in that initiative, and they're running on
non-free proprietary infrastructure so i cannot, in good conscience,
participate directly in their community even if they asked me to and
also say that i uphold the very founding principles which i have as
good as vowed to honour.  so until they fix that, i am forced to
either communicate privately and solely with individuals in that
community, post on this list and hope that they notice, or use
#linux-sunxi freenode irc.

3) as far as EOMA68 (and the other EOMA standards) are concerned, i am
its creator and guardian.  nobody - EVER - will be permitted to
represent the EOMA standards.  i've already had to bring one or two
people to task for misrepresentation bordering on fraud that could, by
their mistakes, bring the standard into disrepute as well as open
themselves up to mis-selling and consequent lawsuits (in their own 3rd
party wholly-independent businesses)

NOBODY else will be given the authority to represent or speak
authoritatively on the EOMA standards.  i may at some point review
that, including setting up a strict charter for the development of
future standards and the custodianship of the existing ones at the
time: we will have to see, but i first have to find people who can be
trusted, and who are far-sighted enough, to do that.  it's actually
amazingly hard to design decent mass-volume-targetted standards, and
i've yet to encounter anyone else - in the entire world (this is not a
joke) - who is capable of doing that.

along the way, i will be happy to take input, contributions and
considerations into account into the EOMA standards, but, ultimately,
i am their guardian: once i make a decision and once a standard
reaches a critical point, it's final, and that is the non-negotiable
end of the matter.

so does that rather long answer help explain matters, siarhei?


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