Freedom Scientific Gets Aggressive, Pursues PDI Folk

Sabahattin Gucukoglu mail at
Wed Mar 17 03:20:24 MST 2004

Good peeps,

Talk about bloody pretentious!

See the following article:

It's a press release from Freedom Scientific, PulseData's main rival.  
They are - illegally, perhaps - making trade-in offers for competitive 
products from PulseData International, namely the BrailleNote and 
VoiceNote series.

"Closed" and "Proprietary", gentle readers, is - I regret - a rather 
accurate description of the BrailleNote.  Not wishing to turn this into 
another lecture on why FreeSoft is going to be so great, I'd like you all -
 those in possession of BrailleNote and VoiceNote products or even anyone 
considering making a purchase - to consider whether you *really would* 
give up this product for a PackMate, given Freedom Scientific's 
description of it as a "Modern, mainstream platform".  Bare in mind that 
Windows CE, on the Pocket PC architecture Freedom Scientific are using, is 
no less proprietary than the version running on BrailleNote - they refer 
to "Open" and "Mainstream" as a way to make clear that you are supposedly 
able to run any Pocket PC application - including the native productivity 
applications - on these devices in their graphical representations using a 
custom-built screen reader - Jaws for Pocket PC.  Forgeting for the moment 
any personal dislike you may have of the PackMate for any reason not 
related to features, such as the use of JAWS, size and bulkiness, I'd like 
to spark a small discussion among you by asking:

Do you understand, and approve, of PulseData's working philosophy?  Is it 
clear to you all that PulseData is concerned with seemless integration and 
exceptional ease-of-use, which cannot be said of the PackMate?  Is it that 
you picked the BrailleNote because of its menu-based structure, it's 
application consistency, it's online help and it's target squarely at 
Blind/VI individuals, and would you be willing to give it up?  If you 
approve of PDI's blindness-oriented philosophy, do you prefer that the 
ambition of the FreeSoft project is more one of cloning (and, naturally, 
improving) KeySoft than of providing the ability for you to run other, non-
FreeSoft applications on your BrailleNote?  If the PackMate had been 
available at the time you bought the BrailleNote, would you have instead 
have chosen the Packmate?  If you would, please tell us why.  If an effort 
had been made in the beginning to use Linux for the PackMate, either begun 
by FreedomScientific or another open source advocacy group, would you have 
supported them?  Is it, quite simply, that you love the open source model? 
 If PulseData had gone straight from DOS to Linux, would it have been a 
better product?  Most importantly: are you going to take this opportunity 
from Freedom Scientific, and - if you do - why?

We have already made clear our wish to bring you the benefits of open 
source purely by using an open source kernel and tools - those of Linux 
mainstream distributions.  This is a great advantage in and of itself.  
Even so, we would like to know that our efforts are what we believe to be 
the correct ones for our audience.  So, we want to be assured that those 
reasons, above, really were the ones which propelled you into buying the 
BrailleNote.  If they are, then we will deliver - we sincerely hope - what 
you are already used to, and more.  Naturally, we will make it possible to 
run other applications for Linux power users - in no way will your 
horizons be restricted, as far as it is possible.  Community assistance 
should make it possible for you to fix your BrailleNote or VoiceNote, if 
it goes wrong, with the same power.

Please write back to the list and speak your mind in lieu of this latest 
below-the-belt blow to the "PDA" market for the blind.  We're interested 
in your comments!

Thought for the day:
    A penny saved is ridiculous.

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Sabahattin Gucukoglu
Phone: +44 (0)20 7,502-1615
Mobile: +44 (0)7986 053399
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