Freedom Scientific Gets Aggressive, Pursues PDI Folk

J. R. Westmoreland jr at
Sat Mar 20 00:00:29 MST 2004

If you go back in to the past a bit you will remember that PDI once tried to do the same thing to FS with the BN/VN... <grin>
I guess it goes to show "what goes around comes around...".

Anyway, I suspect that I will be a lot like Frank and support with tech help but not testing since I now am a PM owner.
The discount is considerable.

Second, I do not agree that one is going to another very closed system.
The development environment for the PM already exists, if you can spare the disk space for it, and the facilities for scripting new applications is freely available.
I have already done a few simple and sample applications using the development environment.
The processor is a ARM xScale processor, for which linux is already ported and supported.
Also, the devel is on-going since it is the same for the Ipack.

Fs seems to be quite willing to allow development for the device.

Yes, there are still a few problems but FS is working hard to fix them.
Also, others are working on outside development to overcome the shortcomings.
Finally, there are many applications that will run with no/little fiddling.

The hardware list that one can put on the PM is extensive.
Usually if you can find a ppc2003 driver for it it will work.

I like the FreeSoft idea and plan to continue to help where I can as well as persue the same for the new device.

Since I had both devices for almost 2 months side by side I can try and asnwer any questions listers might have.

I'm committed, or manbe should be committed, to the cause... <smile>

On Wed, Mar 17, 2004 at 10:20:14AM -0000, Sabahattin Gucukoglu wrote:
> 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!
> Cheers,
> Sabahattin
> -- 
> Thought for the day:
>     A penny saved is ridiculous.
> Latest PGP Public key blocks?  Send any mail to:
> <PGPPublicKey at>
> Sabahattin Gucukoglu
> Phone: +44 (0)20 7,502-1615
> Mobile: +44 (0)7986 053399
> Email/MSN: <mail at>

J.R. Westmoreland  (W7JR)
E-mail: jr at

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