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The KDE Improv Project Has Announced Its End

KDE

Published on 01 July 2014 07:56 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in KDE
15 Comments

The team behind the KDE Improv ARM development board that was supposed to run Mer and be a great open-source piece of hardware is no more. The developers have sent out an email to their backers that they've thrown in the towel.

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 [1]. 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.

Refunds
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).

Carl Symons

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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