1x65: Soft Bricking


How about a pine float? (a toothpick in a glass of water) :smile:


Then… we agree?

Was someone arguing that?

That’s a very, very small most towards a solution. But a move nonetheless. I’m all for that.

Here’s the only spot where I’m disagreeing with what you’re saying in this thread. There’s no reason we can’t shine that spotlight right now. And we are, at least in a minor way, by having this conversation.


I wish I would have said something very similar during the episode. Cell phones should never be tied to a specific carrier. Doing so directly harms the person who owns that cell phone.

But I did not. Because I am dumb and didn’t think to make that point until after we hit the stop button. :slight_smile:


I actually disagree with the fundamental premise that a piece of server software, that was (by design) fundamental to the very operation of a piece of client software, couldn’t be made available in a way that would be useful for the owner of the software/device – while not harming the company producing that server software.

Echo and Mycroft are great examples here. Clearly there are bits of functionality that would require internet connectivity, at a bare minimum, for the device to perform the functions. And I see the usefulness, in designing the software, to have a server package that it connects to to perform some operations outside of the device.

In that case, the server software itself should be made available for others to use in the case that the central server is unreachable (for whatever reason).

It doesn’t need to be super simple to setup. But it needs to exist and be available in order for the device to not be, inevitably, bricked by the passage of a few short years (or months depending on the product or company).


Ah, that’s the point. The company don’t wanna do that. They could do, certainly, but they don’t want to. If you think they should be forced to regardless of their opinion, then that’s options 1 or 3.


It absolutely does. Nobody who buys a phone thinks, I want this to only work on one network. This is a good analogy to our present discussion. No customers want this. There are good reasons for a business to do it (in essence, it’s enforcing the hire purchase agreement). It’s possible for a savvy consumer who knows what they’re doing to buy phones that aren’t locked. People have been complaining about phones being locked, loudly, since mobile phone networks were first invented. And it hasn’t helped; phone operators still do it. This is a good demonstration: loud discussion doesn’t often work. I suppose you might make the case that the loud discussion hasn’t been loud enough, but that’s like building a space rocket powered by vanilla ice-cream and after it inevitably fails claiming that the solution is to use more ice cream.


Oh, there are so many more options.

And, even if there weren’t, what is with the arguments against discussing a perceived problem?


Just to be clear… you are advocating against speaking out when something bad is happening?

I don’t mean that in a dick-ish way. 100% serious. That, from what I can tell, is the stance that all three of my adorable, lovable co-hosts are taking. Our entire reason for existence is to talk about issues. That’s what this show is. A show. Where we talk. About things. Why, on this one issue, are all three of you fighting against talking about an issue?

It’s… really weird. I’m not trying to claim there’s any malice or anything crazy like that. I’m just not sure I understand what the opposition to discussing the issue is.

Because that’s all that was done. I said what my stance is (that the companies who do such thing are doing something unethical and immoral) and then I was told that talking about it was bad. Repeatedly. In multiple different ways. It was also stated, very directly, that if the companies didn’t act in that particular way (that I objected to) that we would be back to the stone age.

Which is, also, weird. It was a huge logical leap. Almost to a conversation that I wasn’t a part of or involved with in any way.


Hrm. We appear to be seeing this from different sides of the mirror. From my perspective, we said “we need some sort of brand mark that people can understand and get behind”, and you said “no, we don’t need that, what we need is to make more noise about these problems and people will hear that”. That is, I was attempting to state " I don’t think talking works, so we need to do stuff other than that" and you’ve heard that as “talking doesn’t work, so you must not do it”. This may be bad phrasing on my part, perhaps, for which apologies if so. I’m certainly not trying to stop you loudly discussing these issues. I think it’s largely a waste of time and your limited time would be better spent on things I think will be more effective because they have a better chance of actually fixing the problem, but that’s not the same thing as trying to prohibit the approach!


Hell. Maybe my recollection of the segment in the show is wrong. What I recall is that there was this weird moment when a few logical leaps were made that made no sense (someone implied that I said we should pass laws outlawing companies that do this… then there was the whole “without services that brick hardware we’re back in the stone-age” thing). Maybe that was me inferring all of that and maybe nobody said those things.

I’ll go and re-listen to it tomorrow as I sit on the train to LinuxFestNW. Maybe I’ll come away with a fresh insight after that.

This I understand. And I think Jono was the one in the episode that mentioned that advocacy/activism/etc effectiveness would make an interesting topic. Which I agree with.

I need to ponder on this a bit (plus pack for Linuxfest). I’ll stop talking for a little bit to let others chime in and drive the discussion. :slight_smile:


Some phone operators do it. T-Mobile will unlock any phone you buy from them, and no longer offers service contracts in exchange for phones.

AT&T and Sprint will both allow you to bring your own unlocked device.

In the U.S., only Verizon remains staunchly opposed to customer freedoms. It’s part of why the’ve fought tooth and nail to not support SIM cards but only integrated radios (and thank goodness the LTE standard is forcing them to come along). Unfortunately, they’re also the largest carrier, so arguably their strategy has worked. (Although I can’t help but point out that T-Mobile’s recent moves have accompanied huge increases in market share.


I don’t know where that perception came from. I certainly never said talking or speaking out was bad. I don’t recall anyone else doing so either. To me we have a case where we all roughly agree there is an issue. A good step one is indeed talking about the issue. What I was attempting to do was take it to step two. That seems to be where the disagreement/disconnect in the segment started. To be clear; talking is good. Even when there is disagreement. Speaking only for myself, I typically learn more from a situation where there is civil discourse than a situation where everyone agrees out of hand.



@bryanlunduke It’s not often that I find myself in total agreement with you but today is an exception. We change the world one mind at a time and anything we can do in the park, at a bar, at a protest is worthwhile. If your world views agree with mine brilliant, the more voices I can master the better. If they don’t then obviously I would prefer you to be more quieter but your voice is just as important as mine and you should feel justified in expressing it. Hopefully the winning argument will be the better one and not just the best produced and financed.


I’m going to listen to the segment again myself. Perhaps what I meant to say and what I said were not congruent. Enjoy LFNW.



This is what I’m wondering of myself, as well. :slight_smile: (Wouldn’t be the first time that what came out of my mouth was not at all the thing that was in my head.)


Regarding soft-bricking I agree that in most cases we’re buying the service, rather than the device. The issue is that the way equipment is sold makes it seem like we’re buying the gear. If we’re really just buying the service, should the cost of the equipment just be baked into the monthly service fee we’re paying?


This is a valid point but because I know I can get a cheaper phone if I tie myself into a particular network but if if am happy to do the math(s)I get a better deal if I own my own handset. I am not tied to a single network.

This is not a difficult idea to teach. You just have to consider the total cost and people just need to be made aware of this. To be clear this does not explain why my current phone is an Ubuntu phone, though it does what I need it to. I suspect my needs are minimal.


Remember when analogue networks in the UK were switched off in favour of GSM? Every, and I mean every, consumer analogue handset in the country just stopped working. Completely.

I know that that’s less likely to happen today, but you never know …


The mobile phone model, IOW, yeah. However, IoT people have discovered a new wheeze, which is that you can charge full price for the device and charge a monthly fee, which is even better, rather than subsidising the device cost as mobile operators do…


Was @bryanlunduke missing in this segment? I cannot recall hearing his views. If so, I would like to hear his views. Perhaps when he listens to the show on his travels, he can throw in some thoughts.

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.