For months we have been reporting on the dire situation of the Improv board as there was little official communication to their backers. The poor turnout of the Improv led to a ton of in-fighting and disgruntled open-source/Linux stakeholders.
Carl Symons on the behalf of Aaron Seigo and the rest of the Improv crew have sent out an email to the backers saying the project is over, they will issue partial refunds, etc. It's only a partial refund right now as they had already invested some money into buying long lead times with their Chinese manufacturer. There were also credit card processing fees, etc, but they're working out a path for full reimbursement. It's also said Aaron invested $200k USD into the project.
Embedded below is the full email that was sent to the Improv backers.
With much regret, we are wrapping up the Improv project.
We greatly appreciate everyone's support, whether it was purchases, donations or words of wisdom and encouragement. There was simply not enough support to make the project work, despite having fully functional, production ready devices and a strong commitment to succeed.
The Free software community does not seem ready at this point to make a concerted stand on the pressing issue of hardware freedom (for more, see this Dot story . In addition, we did not do a good enough job of communicating. We continue to believe that free and open hardware is one of the critical issues of today.
In order to produce Improvs at the expected level of production, we purchased long-lead-time components from a Chinese supplier at a total cost of $5545. There were also some fees incurred for on-line payment processing. Other than those, no other money has been spent and will be used for partial refunds over the next few days. Aaron is considering ways to cover the remaining balance, but there is not a firm date for completing this.
The end of the Improv project also means a disappointing end to the KDE Tablet project, as Aaron was funding both projects out of his own pocket (almost exactly $200,000 spent).