Essential shut down; HMD, this is how to stop supporting a phone

Hi HMD product team, I'm sure you've seen that recently the Essential phone company shutdown:

Essential shut down; HMD, this is how to stop supporting a phone

madbilly madbilly
Super User  / 

Hi HMD product team,

I'm sure you've seen that recently the Essential phone company shutdown:

In their post about this they say that:

For developer fans, a prebuilt of our vendor image and everything else needed to keep hacking on PH-1 will be hosted on our github.

So, this is a phone which will have no more support, at least not official support from the vendor. However, this is a company which values its enthusiastic, technically minded followers enough to give them additional source code beyond what is required by open source licenses, to allow those followers to continue to update the software on their phones themselves.

There are many ways to stop supporting products, and recently we've seen various ways of doing this. The Essential way is a good way. A bad way is something like what Sonos recently did, and the industry standard approach is what HMD is doing. Just because it's industry standard doesn't mean it's good, in fact I would say that in the world as it is today it is detrimental to HMD to continue to follow archaic practices like this. I'm specifically referring to the Nokia 6 Amazon edition and the Nokia 2, both of which are no longer receiving any security updates.

A good way for HMD to stop supporting these phones and others in the future would be to:

  1. Provide an official method of unlocking the bootloader
  2. Publish all copyleft source code - in practice this means the linux kernel plus a few other utilities and on KaiOS phones the Gecko rendering engine code (note that HMD still don't publish this)
  3. Provide additional source code, e.g. for drivers etc, where legally permitted - all copyleft licenced code should already be published, so this leaves open source permissively licensed code, e.g. under BSD, MIT or similar licences, and anything developed internally at HMD which they want to release to help the community continue to support a phone; this could include build scripts, for example
  4. Ensure that all source code posted publicly actually works - the stuff posted for the Nokia 8 doesn't, so technically is not compliant with the GPL v2 as it can't possibly be what is used on the phones
  5. Provide binaries for drivers etc where the source code can't be provided, e.g. like what is done for the Sony Open Devices programme.

In fact, AFAICT Sony still lead the way with their approach to cooperatively and openly working with the development community, HMD could learn a lot from them.

Cheers 🙂


  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 

    Hi @GTR12,

    You mean you think that Google prohibit bootloader unlock as a condition for Android One branding? Why do you think this? I thought there are other Android One phones which allow bootloader unlocking, aren't there?

    Cheers 🙂

  • user123 user123
    ✭✭✭  / 

    @HMDLaura @juho

    @madbilly Atleast if they provide BOOTLOADER Unlock which will be helpful.

    I don't know what happened to HMD, they started BOOTLOADER Unlock program and suddenly they stopped.

    Even HMD is very silent regarding this, they were not ready to say their decision regarding this.

    Any how for out of support devices its better to provide all the essential things for development so we ourselves upgrade the devices by having custom ROMs because company is stopped support for the device officially.

    Looking forward for Reply from HMD regarding this.

  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 

    Hi @user123,

    That seems to be HMD's PR approach - don't reveal anything about internal decisions which could appear detrimental to the company's reputation. This is why they won't tell us why they won't officially enable more bootloader unlocks. It is also why they will never reply to any topic on this subject.

    Cheers 🙂

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