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An Interview With Zlatan Todoric, Open-Source Developer & Former Purism CTO

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  • An Interview With Zlatan Todoric, Open-Source Developer & Former Purism CTO

    Phoronix: An Interview With Zlatan Todoric, Open-Source Developer & Former Purism CTO

    With the early Librem 5 smartphones now shipping from their "Aspen" batch and recent Reddit discussions about the Librem 5 roping him in, former Purism CTO Zlatan Todoric has agreed to a brief interview on Phoronix...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...oric-Interview

  • #2
    Very biased but an interesting read! Purism can’t work with Qt because of the CLA. A social purpose company shouldn’t be pressured into non-free.

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    • #3
      Everyone is biased, but reality backs up his bias on this topic, negating the qt deal. For them to design a phone, bulk purchasing is required, which means funding rounds from investors. But you must have a clear architectural goal, or they'll tell you to piss off.

      I suspect this will be a stepping stone for another company to not make the same mistakes. Tux games to Steam. I just hope they don't nuke what they've learned if the business capsizes.
      Last edited by ThoreauHD; 10-20-2019, 10:47 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 144Hz View Post
        Very biased but an interesting read! Purism can’t work with Qt because of the CLA.
        It's always the same dumb story with open source. Anything commercial is going to have a CLA for maximum flexibility. You can't have legal problems that might wreck your company's ability to operate because someone contributed code to you and doesn't agree with the direction you want to go in. This is common sense business but that doesn't seem to be understood in the free software world. The company is always more important than the code because it employs the coders. I don't think people in open-source understand the business perspective very well.

        Around this time Todd started to get more engaged and started to micromanage people with a lot of meetings, a lot of talking on his side but they were and probably still are very one-sided and unrealistic. "We will announce this and that, we must maintain this growth and grow even bigger because we need investments etc" on which we pushed back regularly saying this things are not only unrealistic but also will harm our relations with public because we can't keep such promises. The end results was we were always trying to do damage control and things became stressful. Couple of more people joined but then it started to go down.
        I respect the honesty but this is painfully naive. We live in a hype-driven economy. No one is doing anything sustainable, and you aren't interesting if you aren't growing 1000% year on year. The goal is the same everywhere, hype yourself up until either investors or one of the major companies is fooled into believing that you have something valuable, and then wait until the money starts flowing in before you scrap the junk you were working on and start over. You survive and create "brand awareness" until you look like a real company, and hopefully don't piss off too many people in the meantime. This is not an environment for honest people who want to make a sustainable business, it is for grifters and idealists who care more about image than substance and will say anything to get their way.

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        • #5
          He recommended the Pinephone. Will it have its baseband separated from the CPU and be able to deliver the same privacy/security promises made by the Purism crowd?

          It would be nice if someone could also state by when they are planning to finish designing that Pinephone, and even start shipping it.

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          • #6
            Appears to be absolute validation of the only conclusions that anyone--who has any common sense, and the ability to "...read between the lines..."--can possibly arrive at, regarding all the shenanigans at Purism over the past several years.

            Thank you, Zlatan Todoric, for your candor, openness, and honesty.

            ...And courage.
            Last edited by danmcgrew; 10-21-2019, 11:00 AM.

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            • #7
              I can understand his frustration with 13 hour days but we should not forget that Cellphone market is a impossible hurdle for Opensource Market. Canonical a much bigger company totally failed at getting anything done for mobile. So them keep it going and making stepstone after stepstone is very impressive.

              And are they not keeping their dates sure BUT they deliver in the end, more than you could say about Jolla.

              There is a very prominent saying in the US about "fake it till you make it" and so far they made it in the end.

              Also the critique about the price I find stupid, because it's how business does this things, I mean as long as they find enough people to buy it for that prices to fund them self go for it. It's normal that you first create innovation in the high-end sector and then you slowly bring that down to the beginner market. That's how the car industry does that first a feature lands in their 100.000 Dollar car or even more expensive ones and then a few years later you have that features in the low end or mid range sector.

              And so far pinephone has not delivered, not even the hardware and no talk about the software at all.

              - they have no delivery date, till it's out they have to compete with the v2 of the librem5.
              - they talk about that "it runs" on mainline Linux, does that mean that all hardware is supported without any blobs? Probably not.
              - They have no UI, Plasma is not ready I tried to get to their get repository you need a login to even see their code I have question to even call them opensource. But it's never proven to run on any hardware good. Heck they have till this day no good DE for normal computers.
              - UBPorts pff really horrible slow ugly platform
              - Sailfish OS, proprietary
              - "Single board soc" which probably means that the modem has access to the memory and spy on users.

              He is not part of the project for 2 years in that time much can have changed as he himself described the project changed nonstop very radically.

              Can they always deliver their very wide going promises? No of course not, show me one Kickstarter project that never delayed something or had to make some compromises. I am stunned that they even deliver 80% of what they say... Because my default stance would be it's just absolute impossible to reverse engineer all that horrible firmware's and shit.

              I rather have idealists that fall slightly short in the end than people that don't give a shit about software freedom like Canonical or Jolla.

              Is any of their products (hardware) for me? No, but the software infrastructure they create is great, The plasma team didn't get anything working for like 10 years they delayed their release dates for years and Librem get's in what 2 years? Gnome running on phones?

              They did the same as Nokia a huge company was able to do, and even if they go the same route financially the software work they have done the foundations they created will long live on even after they filled bankruptcy (if they do).

              They deliver end of 2019, so well nice maybe you get something good till then, but till then probably the librem 5 v2 is out... and Librem HAS DELIVERED stuff including a phone what has pine delivered so far except some marketing? Except a Arm Notebook that is just standard hardware.

              They seem to only care about hardware and think the software happens that magically by third parties which is the much bigger lie. Without the vendor creating the software around it nothing get's ever done at least the basics sure 3rd parties can create apps.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by blackiwid View Post
                I rather have idealists that fall slightly short in the end than people that don't give a shit about software freedom like Canonical or Jolla.

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                • #9
                  E Zlaja, nek' si im rek'o

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                  • #10
                    Well, that was an article with a one sided view. Real journalism actually tries to get both sides of a story. You could at least have tried to reach out to Todd Weaver to give him a chance to respond.

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