An interesting article on LWN about the “WONTFIX. No fixes to N770 anymore.” dispute and Nokia’s closed / open source dilemma:
Two examples of abandoned hardware (subscription required, non-subscribers have to wait a week.)
“It’s tempting to say that, since the 770 is a Linux-based device, the community should be able to support it into the future. As long as people care about the platform, it should continue to work. The problem is that the 770 contains a fair amount of non-free software at all levels. [..]“
“That will severely limit the degree to which the community can support the platform; it’s a slow death sentence for the 770 tablet. [..]“
“There are hints that more components will be opened in the future as well, but no promises. The end result is that the 770 will, for many users, hit the end of its useful life much sooner than it should have, and that the N800, while hopefully lasting longer, may well encounter similar issues. This state of affairs is unfortunate, it makes a nice piece of hardware less valuable than it really should be.”
It’s a chicken and egg problem, though. Developers and users claim that they would like to work on the 770 sources to extend the hardware’s usefulness beyond Nokia’s support.
But do they? Nokia counters that even those driver sources they did release haven’t found much response from outside developers.
In the meantime, users enjoy insulting Ari Jaaksi in his blog because of this issue. Yeah, I’m sure that will help the community making friends at Nokia…