Ideas from Symbian Ideas

27 11 2009


In the previous post I was writing about openness, collaboration and sharing. I also mentioned, the place where community members can exchange ideas. I looked closer what is going on at and what kind of ideas are there and how they may support in creation of “nimble environment that permits innovation”.

Ideas that Support Collaboration

Sophie Yim has posted idea about Starting and running a Symbian development IRC-channel. The real-time communication with community members would help community members to share ideas, ask questions regarding to software development challenges and not to forget other topics that are related to Symbian Foundation.

Emre Can has posted idea about “crowdsourcing” and how community could give valuable feedback. I think that “crowdsourcing” is good example of collaboration and this idea can be refined forward. We can take wider look to “crowdsourcing” and how Symbian Foundation members can utilize it.

For example some member company has a challenge and they publish challenge to community. Some community members start solving the challenge and after they have solution they submit solution to company who requested help. Company rewards winning solution and they can profit from it. In theory this should be win-win situation where company and solution provider profit.

Ideas that support Openness and Sharing itself is good example of openness and sharing. Community members are openly sharing their ideas and hopefully we have momentum to implement the best ideas.

Mike Kinghan has posted idea about build and test results portal where developers can see the status of platform builds and tests. This is example of openness and how community members can access to this data. I am not sure how much this is overlapping with Quality WG’s activities and Quality dashboard they created.


This idea have not been posted yet to and it is related to sharing, collaboration and openness. There are currently services like, NineSigma and InnoCentive where companies open their product development challenges and utilize talent outside their company borders. They seek solutions from on-line communities, like services listed above.

If companies get solutions from the community they reward the people behind the solution. I was thinking that this would also work in Symbian Foundation where members could seek solutions to their R&D challenges. I must post the idea to and see if it gets support 🙂


That’s all from this week, let’s keep in touch!



5 responses

27 11 2009
A grumpy old subcontractor

About the crowdsourcing… there’s this site called that has been running for years (at least since 2001 or something). On that site anyone can publish ‘jobs that need to be done’ and coders for hire can make bids on how cheap and what terms they will do the job. The buyers can then select who they want to hire. There probably are other similar sites.

What bothers me the most in this idea is that how many people are actually willing to risk their time and effort by starting to contribute for these ‘challenges’ with a vague promise of ‘reward’. Given how keen the ‘member companies’ *cough*Nokia*cough* are hosing their subcontractors and customers I wouldn’t waste my time doing something without a real contract that states explicitly states the requirements, deliveries and the reward. Even then I wouldn’t feel very comfortable. There’s a reason why white box is the standard mode of operation in the industry. And if we go into that it’s just subcontracting.

Someone might argue: “but people do it for free in projects like Mozilla, Linux and what have you, so wouldn’t even a small reward encourage them?”. Yeah, that’s true, but there’s a catch. First of all people contributing to those projects feel enthusiastic about the projects. I’m sad to say but that’s not the case with Symbian (Why? I can rant about this some other time). Also in those projects you can almost immediately enjoy the fruits of your labor in the next release (that are released relatively often compared to Symbian releases). No such luck in mobile phones. Maybe in some rare cases you can post install your improvement to your phone or encourage others to do so, but generally that’s not the case. I think this is also a reason why we won’t be seeing too many non-corporate non-sponsored contributions to Symbian Foundation. There’s no guarantee that you will ever see your contribution working somewhere so why bother?

Also producing mobile phones is a cutthroat business. It’s all about roadmaps, time to market, deadlines, etc. How could a company that needs to meet targets on time (even by skimping on quality) trust the community to produce a feature that they need. I just don’t see the model working too well here.

I don’t think the crowdsourcing is a bad idea – not at all. I think crowdsourcing would work best on these “it’s ready when it’s ready” type of projects like the Mozilla that I mentioned earlier. In this case the financier could be some foundation who sees the progress of the project important to the common good, not the balance sheet of a company.

sincerely yours,

27 11 2009

GOS, thank you for your excellent comment!

2 12 2009

I’m along the lines of Mr./Mrs. Grumpy Old Subcontractor.

Ideas are good. But they’re not enough alone – who will implement the orange ducks and cartoon toasters (and don’t get me wrong, I like those)? You can’t make a phone with fluff and visions.

The belief seems to be that the crowd will suddenly step in and help multinational corporations implement their central-command dictated product programs, while the said corporations dramatically reduce their R&D costs. Sounds plausible? No.

At the moment, SF is not a proper open source community. It is more like a semi-walled garden with a hazy proposition of what the benefit for the crowd really is. Maybe this will change after full EPL compliance is reached and there are some cheap phones out there.

Perhaps I’m too skeptical about this, but it really isn’t clear to me exactly who is it that will implement the stuff, and what exactly will those people get out of the whole thing. And I doubt I am not the only one thinking like this. Until those issues are clarified in detail I remain skeptical, and assert that not many (unpaid) people will be arsed to feel that awesome loving feeling of developing for Symbian.

3 12 2009
Learning to Symbian Foundation « Petri Poikolainen's Blog

[…] to Symbian Foundation 3 12 2009 My previous blog post was a historical because it received two comments from its readers. Both comments were excellent […]

30 12 2009
Importance of Communication « Petri Poikolainen's Blog

[…] and it has very good points how to get people to participate. As I mentioned previous posts that openness, sharing and collaboration are in major role when “creating environment that permits innovation” Lars has very good points […]

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