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Re: [Fsuk-manchester] Project Novena

From: Leslie I'Anson
Subject: Re: [Fsuk-manchester] Project Novena
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2014 18:43:45 +0200

On 4 April 2014 17:29, Bob Ham <address@hidden> wrote:
> On 2014-04-04 14:40, Leslie I'Anson wrote:
>> On 4 April 2014 10:37, Bob Ham <address@hidden> wrote:
>>> I am totally dumbfounded by what they've done.  We could have had a free
>>> hardware laptop.  Alas.
>> I understand your concerns Bob however, I fear that if the Novena were
>> not referred to as a "laptop" it may not have received the same amount
>> of publicity/interest.
> I appreciate your comments and taking the time to engage on this topic.

Likewise, these are all good, valid points you are making and I
appreciate that too.

> However, I don't understand your argument here.  You're right, it wouldn't
> have received as much attention but that's as it should be; what's been
> produced is nowhere near as noteworthy as a free hardware laptop.  And
> that's what's crazy: it *could* have been noteworthy.  The prototypes *were*
> noteworthy.
> You seem to be arguing that the project should receive more attention than
> it would otherwise be worthy of.  And if that's the case, I do wonder why?

It clearly wasn't a mistake to market the product as a laptop, it was
(either rightly or wrongly) a decision made by the project purely for
impact.  My point was simply, that had it not been marketed in this
fashion I, and very probably many others, may not have heard about it.
 The fact that the project promotes freedom is what's most important
to me.  You're right, many will question the validity of the term
"laptop" however, I'm not saying that's a bad thing.  I want people to
view it and say, "that's not a free hardware laptop", "that's not what
I want" because I'm hoping that they will be the kind of proactive
people who will take the sources and change it into something they do
want (be it a traditional laptop or whatever).  Thus recognising and
embodying the importance of freedom.  If the sources were not made
available then yes, I would completely agree with you but given that
they are then I view it more as a platform than a finished product.
After all, you're never going to get everyone to agree on a single
design but what you can get them to agree on however, is the freedom
to change that design.

>> "...Huang says this is actually what most users he's talked to prefer."
>> I wonder who these users are...?  Who knows, maybe they're lapless?
> Yeah I saw that and scratched my head about it.  There's another quote which
> is quite critical as well:
> "That might make it hard to actually use the laptop on your lap"
> Right, it's not actually a laptop :-)

I agree, it would make it hard to actually use on your lap but maybe
with the sources being available it will evolve/fork into something
that is.

>> Anyway, to my mind, the project should not be discredited on account
>> of bad wording.
> I think the project *was* admirable.  I'm just amazed and overwhelmed with
> disappointment over what they've ended up producing.
> I also think there's a serious problem in their use of the word "laptop" to
> advertise it but that's a problem with the business rather than the project.

And you're welcome to take this view.  To put a more positive spin on
it, I for one actually quite like the design.  The ability to open it
up and see all of its components is a good educational tool and is
something I view as novel and I'm sure others will too.

>> The fact is, it is open source hardware so if you
>> don't like it you are free to change and improve it!  As the article
>> states;
>> "You can also buy just the motherboard for $500 and use it with your
>> own case."
> Putting aside the fact that I don't have the time to do this, buying a
> motherboard and making a case wouldn't be enough.  I'd also need a display
> controller and most critically, the battery controller.  Those items aren't
> available as a kit.  In order to get hold of them, one has to buy either the
> crazy box or the ridiculously-priced luxury object.

This is a valid point and one I had not considered.  I too agree that
the kit should be extended to include these items. Perhaps you have
the time to vice this opinion to the project?

>> You could always start your own Crowd Supply project for a laptop
>> chassis which includes an integrated keyboard and right-way-up
>> screen...
> Again, I don't have the time.  Bunnie had the time.  Bunnie produced a
> laptop prototype.  Bunnie was close to making a free hardware laptop.
> Bunnie decided to do make something else instead.  Alas :-/

Which is a shame however, like I said, I'm hoping that others will use
the sources provided by the Novena project as a head-start to
something else, maybe something more like a traditional free hardware
laptop - one that you can actually use on your lap!

I've enjoyed discussing this with you Bob however, it's deadline day
so I fear I must get back to work.  We can talk more when I return.

Best wishes to you and the rest of the group,

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