An update of the waiting game

Discussion in 'Pyra News' started by EvilDragon, May 3, 2018.

  1. Zwerg01

    Zwerg01 Member

    Feb 15, 2017
    I make an exception for you. You are also allowed to call me a jerk. I dont care how you guys call me. I am not able to help ED with the development. I am in this forum since 11 years to know about why it takes so long (4ever) with the pyra. The lessons from the past where not learned. It became even worse.
    darkborn likes this.
  2. sebt3

    sebt3 homebrew player (P. & C.)

    Sep 9, 2008
    Indeed, you havent learned the most important lesson from the past of the project : things are either going to take a long time or cost a huge bunch.
    Since nobody want to pay a pyra 800€, ED have no choice but to take the slow road...
    Djhg2000, Yori, jeeks and 1 other person like this.
  3. T.T.

    T.T. Master of Lightning

    Oct 8, 2010
    Somewhere between the Sun and Pluto
    You're not the only one who didn't get your pandora. Demanding source files before they're ready is just obnoxious and unhelpful, but by all means, constructive input is welcome.

    (also, I can now call you a jerk if I so choose, you gave me permission ;) )
    Yori likes this.
  4. Binky

    Binky Death's Steed Staff Member

    May 28, 2003
    16A (TO)
    What are you hoping to achieve by complaining? That ED will suddenly realise that design for manufacture is easy, and he's been doing it wrong all this time?

    I might also point out that unscrupulous knock-off merchants couldn't care two hoots for licensing! You must have seen those "POP Station" things?
    Yori and error like this.
  5. Swordfish II

    Swordfish II Very Active Member

    May 20, 2015
    You havent lost anything unless you cancelled your order and didnt get the money back.. You didnt cancel, did you?
  6. Young Ace

    Young Ace Still Fresh

    Oct 20, 2015
    United States
    I knew what I was getting into. We're in it for the long haul, folks.
    Djhg2000, Yori, remjey and 1 other person like this.
  7. ashdjones

    ashdjones o_O

    Mar 13, 2008
    I'm willing to give my Pandora away to anyone who didn't recieve theirs, on the basis that ED is able to fix it, and I've upgraded to a Pyra. In the name of fairness though, it would have to be a random lottery and people on the list tell me what their order number was (irony much).

    Someone on this forum gave me a GP2X for free. I owe you guys a favour for sure.


    The unit case is slightly worn, but has the 'first batch' sticker inside. Wether or not that pleases anyone who has been waiting 10 years, I don't know. Being a first batcher is more of a traumatic scar than anything, since I associate it with multiple returns and endless faults. And then of course stressed out devs screaming that I couldn't possibly have a third broken unit and doing a public ritual sacrifice.

    I got called crazy by The Roth for saying the unit should do openoffice and firefox. Except almost all android tablets are used for this now? Sigh... Peeps don't like honesty huh.
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
    FBnil likes this.
  8. EricB

    EricB Member

    Jun 14, 2016
    Yeah most of us knew what they were getting into. The wait is worth it. And nobody "Lost" money on this project as far as know.
    Djhg2000 and remjey like this.
  9. ClockworkCoder

    ClockworkCoder Chaotic Neutral

    Jan 21, 2016
    While I don't understand Mr Zwerg's points, I've appreciated the entertainment value it's added to the thread while waiting for the next update.
    Djhg2000, Yori and tarator like this.
  10. Magic Sam

    Magic Sam Forever Homebrew

    Aug 10, 2007
    Innsmouth, MA
    Hi all :)

    I'm going to pay something really close to 800€ for my Pyra (and I'm sure it's going to be worth it !!! ) :p I don't think the retail price is relevant here. If I remember correctly, @EvilDragon stated once that the limiting factor was the amount of money he could invest. With more money from his investors, things would have been different. That, and I think most of the companies ED is working with are considering DragonBox as a small player. It's no big deal if they put his products on the back burner for ever, hence the delays (IMHO).

    Cheers, Magic Sam
    Lightkey, Djhg2000 and ClockworkCoder like this.
  11. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

    Oct 3, 2008
    Yes, "Linus put Linux in 1992 under GPL." He did so when he was comfortable that he had something to publish and it had reached a state where he was ready to do so. He was probably working on the thing still in 1991, but did not put his work in progress under GPL. What you are asking for is that ED take time away from work and this project to document and publish incomplete work. I.e. you seem to want him to publish stuff that isn't final and thus doesn't exist yet to publish.

    If he were to publish those pre-completion files, a for profit competitor could potentially beat him to market with his own product. Right now ED has hundreds of thousands of Euros of his own money wrapped up in this - in addition to hundreds of thousands of Euros of forum members money. It is in his and ours best interests for this project to not get usurped when we all have so much riding on it.

    I'm going to have to unpack that a bit.

    Please define, "lost."
    Losses to C*X

    Losses to C*X were in £ not € and are completely unrelated to ED, his company or this project. If you're sore over losses on a Pandora C*X order or ICP2 or whatever else he was into, that is between you and him. ED was gracious enough to help build and partially fund Pandora production to help make up for the other businesses mistakes. Doing so was not and is not his responsibility. That is all very well documented.

    Losses to DragonBox Shop or ED
    I am unaware of anyone who has actual losses from money paid to ED or DragonBox shop. There are a few more than a thousand of us who have effectively screamed at him to, "Shut up and take my money!" To that end many have prepaid into purchasing a Pyra by buying what amount to gift certificates to DragonBox shop. To my understanding, the money paid into these is not restricted to purchasing a Pyra and could be spent down on anything sold in the shop. There is also precedence for refunds - with most quietly transacted in the course of normal business. I do not represent DragonBox shop or ED. I am making these statements to show reasons why I'm comfortable with the money I have fronted to ED's company for my Pyra.

    Allowed to call me a Jerk.
    Name calling is one of those things that isn't overly tolerated here. Our mods give us a certain amount of latitude, which has clearly applied to you. In your rantings you have repeatedly implied that ED is unscrupulous. You keep dancing around this, not quite saying it outright, but listing the reasons you think we're all fools for being here. But, you never seem to come to grips with one thing: Why are you here? If you bought credits toward a Pyra and are unhappy, talk to ED about a refund. If you paid someone else who's name starts with a C for a product that C* failed to deliver, that is between you and C* and is not relevant to ED's reputation or trustworthiness. Either way, though, why are you here?
    Djhg2000, spud42, rygD and 7 others like this.
  12. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

    Oct 6, 2008
    Somewhere off the coast of the EU
    Back in the Early days of linux before version 2 or something, you absolutely needed the source code if you got a binary kernel. The kernel just got you bootstrapping the system, you then needed to rebuild the kernel from source to include support for all your peripherals. I'm not sure quite how this is relevant, but there you go.

    The GPL itself dates back to 1989, based on earlier GNU Emacs licenses from 1984 and on. The point was if you got a binary release on it you absolutely had to have the ability to modify those binaries using the source code, and helpfully by then you could also get all of the build tools needed to do that under the same license. You needed was a computer running a POSIX OS to run them, although you pretty much needed that to even run Emacs then.

    It's rather different for hardware projects, because even with the means to use a product and the source files, you don't have access to multi-layer PCB production facilities, pick and place machines and wave flow ovens for free. But apart from that it's roughly analogous perhaps.

    Most of my spare time projects are up on github, but a few of them I've not got to a testable state yet are just on my local machines and some of them on my offsite backups. Now I've not made videos of them on youtube like ED has of his prototype parts, but I'm not sure that makes a difference in terms of the GPL and other free as in freedom licenses. I'd say the equivalent of a binary release is a production part, so as of yet the project has been announced and funded (mostly) but not released.

    Re the GPL this is taken from wikipedia's emacs page:

    Stallman himself considers the binary drops to be the product. You don't need to show your working between releases, but you absolutely have to once to publish it and put it in the hands of end users.

    Note I'm not sure what license ED has already put the project source files in, if any yet. I wouldn't absolutely expect him to release those when he sends the first production units out, but I hope he's able to do that before too long.

    It may be worth mentioning EEVBlog's Dave Jones' extensions to the Open Source Hardware license, where you can specify if you release schematics and gerber files and so on in addition to the base license. People using that license don't always mean the same things by it without these extensions, which is a problem if it ever gets tested in court, but there you go.
    Djhg2000, Grench and AnimatedFreak like this.
  13. ashdjones

    ashdjones o_O

    Mar 13, 2008
    Last time i read the legal text for a Linux 2.6 system (Sony Xperia) it stated at the end the GPL was invalid and replaced by GPL lesser, via legal loophole library names 'conversations', 'darpa chat' and 'expat'. The exact legal gibberish states if you use 2.6 and don't improve it, the company is breaking a patent by Microsoft for a level script in Halo called 'The Library'. The company (MS) is then entitled to wipe your entire computer and take all your future profits. It honestly says this, and furthermore in strained Stallman speak moans endlessly about said situation being wrong. I read the GNU blurb in 97 when i was 15, very boring teen I was.

    Erm moving on.
  14. sm0kew0n

    sm0kew0n Very Active Member

    Apr 13, 2016
    This thread has got too waspy

    There is a wasp stuck in my TV, ffs
    Djhg2000, Yori, EricB and 5 others like this.
  15. Letalis Sonus

    Letalis Sonus Advanced Member

    Mar 5, 2009
    You don't need the GPL to do that, you don't need any license to do that. If you've got the source code of something, you may do whatever you want with it - except sharing it with others, the license only regulates the terms of redistribution. If you only use it for yourself, you don't have to do anything, not even if it's GPL code - that spans whole companies as well, take Google's heavily modified data center Linux kernel as an example, you won't get any access to it if you're not working for Google - and as long as you don't have a legal copy of the binary kernel you are in no position to demand access to it.
    Lightkey, Djhg2000 and levi like this.
  16. ashdjones

    ashdjones o_O

    Mar 13, 2008
    I tend to use Linux code which doesn't even have a licence. For instance when direct accessing the mouse driver there's code examples from the mid 90's on plain html sites, and no legal text. The general idea around this time was, do what you want if it helps you. And in nearly all cases you would test the example, then alter most of it to your needs having learned what it did. Even rewrite it from scratch. Honour amongst codesmiths? Mostly at the time I was doing Qbasic and there were many hundreds of such html listings on Geocities complete with tutorials. And mainly it was women - so to summarise why this eventually sucked? Despite a community of 1000+ girls trying to rewrite Doom or Windows in slow motion interpreter code, we couldn't cooperate to make something like Slackware or Redhat. So when Mandrake with KDE came out, it was very glam and impressive. Essentially it was a corset craze. How slim can you go.
    Djhg2000 likes this.
  17. WizardStan

    WizardStan Mega GP Mania

    May 24, 2008
    Any of them, all of them. Literally, from the moment it hit you were able to get the "end product" and under the license you had access to the source code and the right to modify it.
    You do not have access to a finished Pyra therefore, under any and all license agreement that could reasonably exist, you do not have the right to anything related to it: none of the files used to generate the hardware, none of the modifications made to the software, you have neither a legal nor moral right to any of it. And yet here you are, complaining that you can't download something you have no right to.

    No, you cucumber. You aren't ABLE to modify it because you do not have the "it" to modify. You are not allowed to download it because you do not have any rights to it. How is this such a difficult concept for you? Under THE definition of the open source initiative, if you have a "thing", whatever that thing is, then to be open you need to have the right and the access to modify it. Since the Pyra does not yet exist for you to have you can do neither of these things.

    Is that in the license agreement? I didn't accept that. If you're going to act like a jerk people should be allowed to call you so. You don't get a free pass just because you're wrong.

    He's referring to the Pandora fiasco. Again, he's wrong, it's like complaining to Target that you never got the game you ordered from Walmart, but there's no helping some people.
    rygD, Akko and levi like this.
  18. Kippykip

    Kippykip BFG 9000

    Sep 6, 2016
    I pretty much have no reason to get a Pyra, since I have a GPD-Win now and a hacked PSP. But I’ve heard only good things about the Pandora (well other than the launch of it).
    Basically I see the Pyra compared to the GPD-Win as a much more comfyier emulation device with a lot more I/O + 3G/4G support and more importantly, more stable.

    Plus this is my first chance to really try Debian Linux, I probably couldn’t use it as my main OS or anything but I still have so much fun toying around with it. Especially in a portable form.
    I’m really really excited for the device and I’m not pulling out anytime soon. :)
    Yori and CommanderB like this.
  19. sebt3

    sebt3 homebrew player (P. & C.)

    Sep 9, 2008
    Hi Sam,
    In my 800€ tag I wasnt including all the bells and whistles. And surely, that would make your device over 1000€.
    I still believe the price tag is revelant, but that's probably because I'm broke...
    Magic Sam likes this.
  20. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Oh well, what did I miss here...?

    I guess it's time I give an answer as well.

    OpenSource / GPL

    First of all, as some noted, according to the GPL, the sourcecode does NOT have to be released as long as nothing has been released to the public.
    You can take any GPL'ed software and do what you want with it, modify it, enhance it without having to release it.
    Once you make your modifications available to the PUBLIC, you HAVE to release the sourcecode to it as well.

    That said, it has NEVER been said anyways that the Pyra hardware will be GPL'ed. The sourcefiles will be released, yes, but that doesn't mean it's a GPL license. This has been stated a few times already.
    You are allowed to do anything with the released stuff non-commercially. For commercial use, you need to contact me first and ask for permission.
    I will be pretty open giving permissions, you can be sure of that. I will gladly allow new CPU board designs, improved cases (even mass produced), etc.
    But I won't allow to reproduce the exact same product without any modification.
    So yes, unless you plan to make a simple copy of the unit to sell it commercially, I won't have any objections.

    Lessons learned from the Pandora

    Well, what has been learned from the Pandora development?
    I think there are some VERY important lessons. Some of the most important in my opinion are:

    1. Don't give a certain release date if you are unable to do so.

    One of the biggest issues was that the Pandora was promised to be released for christmas the SAME YEAR the preorders started. That made a flood of orders of customers thinking they would surely receive it before christmas.
    Because of the delays the Pandora had, there were tons of unsatisfied customers and requests for for refunds.

    For that reason, it is clearly stated on the product page that we DON'T KNOW YET when it will be finished. And we CLEARLY state that all the money from the preorder could in theory be lost, as there's ALWAYS a risk it won't work out.

    So customers now know what they're getting into. That's one VERY important lesson, in my opinion.

    2. Don't hide anything that goes wrong

    One of the issues with the Pandora was that I was not allowed to post anything that has gone wrong - because OP UK was worried that will lead to more cancellations (which could've been true, as many were expecting that the Pandora was already final when they ordered it).

    For the Pyra, you have also been informed about stuff that DIDN'T work out and needs to be corrected. That might look like we have no clue what we're doing (though other companies have the same issues but don't tell you during development), but these are the very reasons the Pyra has delays and also shows why we couldn't give an accurate release date.
    We're a small team, not a company with 10+ workers simply dedicated to the hardware design and fixing the flaws.

    3. Don't close down your shop!

    Well, it's not a lesson I learned but something that was very important regarding the downfall of the Pandora:
    OP UK Ltd. had a well running shop (GBAX) which had a lot more sales and profit than I had back then.
    They closed it down as they wanted to concentrate on the Pandora - and they saw products like the WIZ or Caanoo as direct competition.
    They also wanted that I do the same, but I refused.

    The result: Due to the delays of the Pandora, the refunds and the monthly costs with NO source of income, OP UK Ltd. was doomed and ran out of money.

    I could easily pay out all refunds and still can pay the few Pyra refund requests I receive.
    The shop is running well, at least 50k EUR of profit within the last half a year has been used to fund the Pyra.
    So yes, unless everyone cancels at the same time, there is no real danger that the Pyra won't be made.
    We're making enough profit to cover prototype production runs and pay other companies to measure Wifi issues or analyze what exactly is going on with the 4GB RAM on the CPU board.
    These things need time, but the money is there.

    4. Use companies in Europe as much as possible

    Choosing a new company for a production is always a hit or miss, regardless where the company is located.
    As it turned out, the company chosen to design and produce the case isn't much better than the one we used in China. It's not a total miss (as they try to fix all the issues for free), but it certainly is not what I had hoped for.

    However, there is one big advantage: I can easily visit them. I've been there a couple of times already, It's only a 2 hours flight away and as it's within the EU, I don't any special documents to visit there.

    If the same had happened with a CHINESE company, things would've been a lot different... visiting there is expensive and not especially easy. And then you've got the language barrier...

    And in worst case, if you need to start a lawsuit if all else fails, it's a lot easier doing that in Europe than in China as well...

    What went well, what didn't?

    Even with all those lessons learned, there's still a lot I am myself not happy about.
    One of the biggest disappointments for me is the case: It took a LOT longer than planned and didn't turn out as well as I hoped it would. The transparent case shows it's robust, doesn't break and there have been improvements compared to the Pandora case, but it has taken WAY too long, they didn't really know how to properly design shoulder buttons and the case could have been at least 3 - 4mm thinner.

    That's where I'm not happy at all - but there wasn't much I could do. Switch companies? Well, yes, for production, when the mold exists, this is possible.
    But otherwise, I would've thrown 80k EUR away (design and molds). No big deal for a huge company, but almost impossible for a small team as us.

    Also, I didn't expect THAT many issues with the hardware development.
    First the rotator issue, then the 4GB RAM, bad Wifi, etc.
    It all adds up to a LOT of delays.

    The fact that TI stopped the software development for the OMAP5 and a lot of features aren't properly implemented didn't help as well. Never knowing if a bug you encounter is hardware of software doesn't make debugging easy - especially not for small teams.

    Thanks to members like zmatt, we got rotation working without the special chip, but it still delayed everything for at least 10 months.

    Then there's the 4GB RAM issue... with the old OMAP3, everything was a lot simpler. Less picky. But the faster and smaller designs get, the more picky they are regarding their environment.
    I didn't expect that - Nikolaus didn't expect that.

    But it added a lot of delays as well.

    So, what could I have done differently?

    Well, in my opinion: Not much.
    Choosing a company is a hit or miss, but unless you have a lot of money to spare, you cannot simply switch a company inbetween, so the best thing you can do is try to deal with it and keep at them so that everything will be eventually finished, even though there will be delays.

    Sure, I could've scrapped the case company and look for a new one during development.
    But that would've caused at LEAST 50k EUR loss AND you don't know upfront whether the new company will be any better.
    BUT you add the risk that you run out of money. Not a good idea, is it?

    So my approach was:
    Continue, try to work everything out as good as possible, keep the shop running so that you won't run out of money and tell the people what's going on.

    Was that a bad approach?
    What would you have done in my place?

    The other option would've been to give everything up, as it didn't work out... which means that all the work that has already been done would've been for naught and the money of most of you who preordered would've been gone as well.

    That's not really an option for me.
    Lightkey, rSl, JustSimon and 44 others like this.

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