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[Request] Please don't use crowdfunded money to pay for extra patent licenses! [answered]

asked 2014-11-28 19:41:45 +0200

shmerl gravatar image

updated 2015-09-23 14:12:14 +0200

chemist gravatar image

A lot of people support Jolla because of your contribution to advancing mobile Linux and related open technologies. Using crowdfunded money to pay software patents' licenses to MS (such as for exFAT to support SD cards larger than 32 GB or the like) is not the investment many of your supporters would like you to make. That's like promoting further proprietary lock-in and funding MS software patents grip.

Please revise your stretch goal and instead of using those funds to pay MS, propose some goal which is in line with openness and innovation (may be contribute some resources to F2FS development and use it as well)?


One good suggestion how to address this issue without hurting usability came from a Reddit user @haagch:

Why is nobody speaking about the obvious solution? exfat support should be a paid "app" and cost exactly what it costs to license it from microsoft and it should say so in the app description. It could also be an "upgrade" for $XX that you select when buying the device.

I don't care about making an account there, but the reply to "If you want this to end educate your friends/relatives/whatever" should be to make a pop up: They will just plugin their sd card and get a pop up: "Want to use this sd card with exfat? Microsoft requires you to buy an exfat license for $XX to do that" and then allow them to easily buy such a license.

This way those who need it and don't care about giving their money to MS, can pay for it. And those who don't need it won't be forced to have it. Plus crowdfunded money won't be used for it as well. Which still would mean that the stretch goal should be about something else.


I missed the comment from @Fuzzilogic which essentially proposes the same thing. I'll add to the answer.

exFAT-support could be purchased and installed from Harbour. Those who need it can pay for it.


Some suggest, that exposing exact price that MS wants for the patent license might be problematic either because MS requires an NDA from company which uses it or because the price isn't fixed and is for example set in bulk depending on the number of devices. In such case Jolla can set whatever price they want for the end user, and pay to MS on their own. At least this will be kept as a conscious opt-in, and not a forced feature paid with crowdfunded money.


Some other concerns brought by Reddit users:

@scottywz: I think the issue is that they would be committing trademark infringement by saying that they support >32GB on SD cards but not supporting exFAT. Yes, trademark infringement: the SD Association only lets you say that you have an SD card slot or that you support certain sizes of SD cards if you follow the spec, and they use trademark law to enforce it. So of course you can format your card with another filesystem (at least I hope Jolla doesn't put in some arbitrary restriction on it), but Jolla still has to say they don't support cards greater than 32 GB in size. (Although I don't know if they can say why....)

@TheFlyingGuy: The SD association actually has their trademark licensing agreement such that you must support no more or less then the SD, SDHC or SDXC standards (which all include the previous ones). If you support more, then you lose the right to call it SD. So supporting SDHC with non-exFAT SDXC cards (which because SDXC demands exFAT technically aren't SDXC cards anymore) means you lose the right to call it SD or license any of the other patents.

@TheFlyingGuy: You can [support additional standards implemented on SD-class hardware] on an additional socket that is not SD compatible (because the SD standard socket is patented) so you could add in an additional MMC socket (which is mechanically incompatible but electrically and protocol wise share a common subset) with 128GB ext/4 support. Note, all the major memory manufacturers are SD concortium members, so MMC cards tend to be slow and use last-gen memory (hence smaller). And legal, perhaps not in the EU, but fighting this, good luck, many smaller vendors use MMC for a reason if they can deal with the limitations.

This surely is a major mess, which only strengthens the point that paying any money to MS to support this nightmare is an extremely bad idea.

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The question has been closed for the following reason "the question is answered, an answer was accepted" by r0kk3rz
close date 2015-08-26 15:29:58.646655



I agree on that, yes.

Besides, who needs to format anything with any DOS-compatible fs'es (fat, fat16, exfat, ntfs, whatever) since simple and effective license-free solutions like ext4fs exist .)

juiceme ( 2014-11-28 19:49:50 +0200 )edit

Yeah, I've gotta admit, they should go into greater detail about exactly what is going in to that first stretch goal. If people start associating it with paying a M$ tax, it might turn _off_ more contributors than it would attract...

Copernicus ( 2014-11-28 19:55:39 +0200 )edit

If you want this to end educate your friends/relatives/whatever to alternative filesystems.

Oh wait. They don't care and they will just plug in their brand new 128GB SD card and expect it to work as is. To their phone, their win8 machine, mac to the neighbors phone anywhere.

Sad situation but Deal with it. Nothing to do. Jolla has to offer features not satisfy FSF and RMS. If they become big enough we will be able to forse btrfs on everyone. Until then ...

ApB ( 2014-11-28 19:57:56 +0200 )edit

It's not about educating anyone. It's about using contributed funds to goals which are in line with contributors' expectations.

As for filesystems - you can format your card with NTFS and your non technical friends will read it just fine on their Windows systems. Another option is UDF.

And if you want this to end, the last thing we should do is funding MS lock-in and software patents.

shmerl ( 2014-11-28 19:59:28 +0200 )edit

Full ack. I purchased my perk I did it to support Jolla, even I was "a little bit disappointed" after I bought the Jolla phone with the expectation that really everything is open source. I still hope it will happen and I will still continue Jolla until I will lose my hope that this will happen. But as I read the stretch goal about 128gb SDXC I thought "WTF". Pay a license for unfree unnecessary feature is full the wrong way! Why not include a format when insert a >32gb card (of course with question to the user) if the card is exFat. Why not mount and make well links automatically? Please Jolla, think why people buy Jolla and support Jolla. What is the expectation of the customers. For me it's clearly I want to have open source firmware, and open hardware. I want transparency and control over my devices.

DiosDelRayo ( 2014-11-28 20:05:39 +0200 )edit

6 Answers

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answered 2014-11-30 13:33:00 +0200

eric gravatar image

updated 2014-12-03 15:33:00 +0200


Please, read this post and contribute to this poll.

Thanks a lot in advance for all your ideas and valuable input so we solve this together!

Dear Jolla community,

We hear you loud and clear and appreciate your feedback which we take with utmost respect.
Please allow us some time to consider and prepare further options within the first stretch goal.
We'll update you shortly, hang on there!

<3 The Jolla Tablet team

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Thanks for comment, which was missing!

I do also like to avoid paying license fees to that big player but did not vote up as I see the necessity in that patent world we live in.

peterleinchen ( 2014-11-30 14:11:02 +0200 )edit

In case of: Should Jolla remain on its course to expand microSD-card capacity... by paying royalties... why not punch another hole (size of FULL SD-card) into the hull. Meaning both SD- and microSDreader as separate devices on the tablet. No joke.

freshwater_crawler ( 2014-11-30 15:14:53 +0200 )edit

Thank you for the statement!

DiosDelRayo ( 2014-11-30 16:44:40 +0200 )edit

It is really nice to see feedback from the community being taken into account, definitely #unlike! :)

MartinK ( 2014-11-30 16:48:13 +0200 )edit

Thanks for chiming in. Please clarify this situation further to avoid unnecessary confusion and speculation.

shmerl ( 2014-11-30 19:36:36 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-12-06 13:19:04 +0200

John Haynes gravatar image

No, actually do. As a normal end user I don't agree. I just want the regular cards I use in my digital camera to just work. It's no use to say, "Oh just use another open source file system" because my digital camera isn't going to understand those, nor is any other consumer device.

Open source is good, useful, etc., and yes it is a shame that the standard chosen for high-end SD cards is currently subject to license fees, but at the same time I want my device to be practical and useful and to live in the real world, and also ultimately I'd like other, non-tech people to use it (e.g.: maybe I gift one to them) and to be encouraged to adopt it, so enhancing the . That's never going to happen if it doesn't "just work" (to coin a phrase) on the basics...

There is a phrase in English, "to cut your nose off to spite your face". This would apply well here in this particular context of digital purism... It doesn't really serve the end game well of giving life to the ecosystem and ensuring it's long-term viability of the platform and device as a whole.

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It is the Micro SD version (originally designed for use in mobile phones) not the larger Standard SD card for camera, laptop, desktop computer which you do hand to a friend without fear that dropping it on the lawn will make it lost forever.

Do you or any main stream user looking for convenience really use a Micro SD card with adapter in your camera so that you may put it in your tablet / phone?

And which "just works" option do you prefer to explain to non-technical users:

A) tell the users that unlike with Apple, Amazon or cheap Nexus tablets they can extend the memory of their Jolla tablet up to 128GB by simply putting any Micro SD card , agree to the pop up formatting warning and dialogue.

B) SDXC!!! Tell the users that unlike with Apple, Amazon or cheap Nexus tablets they can extend the memory of their Jolla tablet in line with true SDXC standard (what's that card is card, no?) up to 128GB by simply putting any Micro SD card.

And benefit from following options:

  • -remove the Jolla tablet Micro SD card from the device, put it in a computer or other device like camera (provided they brought the Micro-to-normal-SD adapter) in order to copy files from and to it.

    • Micro SD Cards camera and computer can be swapped with the one in the Jolla in order to copy docs and foto's to the tablet (to internal 32GB memory of course, as the SD memory is temporary unavailable).

    -or just not extend the Jolla memory and make putting computer or camera Micro SD cards in the Jolla even more easy to copy pictures or docs to the large 32GB internal memory.

    Don't forget to also thouroughly explain "safe removal" of exFat cards when swapping them from tablet to computer and back.

Fact is that an honest company designing a tablet with and for its users cannot exclude an extendible memory option without being suspected of "obsolescence by design" intentions.

Jolla did already deliver here, period.

vandersmash ( 2014-12-08 11:03:59 +0200 )edit

Hi there,

Thanks for your comment. And my apologies for taking my time to reply: been a bit busy the last few days due to sudden appearance of water in my apartment in a place where it shouldn't be.... :s

So, firstly, yes you are correct the slot is MicroSD, and my post perhaps wasn't very coherent in that regard. All I can say in my defense was I wrote that one while half asleep and not overly well in bed Saturday morning, so I fear my brain wasn't fully engaged. Let me see if I can clarify...

So yes, of course a full-sized SD won't fit in the actual slot, and for those one needs to plug a full-sized SD card adaptor into the USB slot. But the same principle would supply there (as it would for a USB key or other USB drive) in terms of compatible file system support. I also do have other devices (tablets, phones, etc.) that do have MicroSD slots already and I already have ExFAT formatted cards I'm using with those and I want to be able to move my data back and forth simply.

So yes, I am saying that ExFAT should be supported for interoperability reasons with other devices and PCs, both for the card slot and for connected USB storage devices.

Absolutely other fully open-source formats can and should be supported: no disagreement there, and indeed as many as are reasonable for Jolla to support and maintain (and there's a bunch of great suggestions over on the poll as to which ones), for again interoperability reasons. But yes, ExFAT and SDXC should be supported also because a lot of users (including me :) ) just want that (relatively low-level in the modern age) stuff to work without hassle. There's basically other ways I want to spend my time than having to mess around much with file and disk formats :) . This is of course my opinion, and I suspect your opinion there may be rather different and that's fine. Each to their own... :)

John Haynes ( 2014-12-10 20:37:19 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-12-04 18:40:16 +0200

this post is marked as community wiki

This post is a wiki. Anyone with karma >75 is welcome to improve it.

updated 2014-12-04 18:50:14 +0200

AbyZThomas gravatar image

Microsoft has announced a new licensing program for its Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) technology. For certain device categories, such as cameras, camcorders, and digital photo frames, the software giant is charging a flat $300,000 license fee, while companies that want to use the format in devices such as phones, PCs, and networks will have to pay a volume-based license fee.

Edit: Here are some more info

Microsoft License notice.

It is part of SDXC spec. I bet the association got bribed by Microsoft.

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i am so angry!!! arrrhg.. i don't want to do anything with microsoft=\ @#$@ that company and there "standarts".

virgi26 ( 2014-12-05 11:13:17 +0200 )edit

Standards are good, especially in grammar. The reason is that many users are able to understand the information, not only the minority of users that think "standart" means standard. SCNR ;)

the_mgt ( 2014-12-05 15:31:45 +0200 )edit


Nokia N900, advertised to be supporting up to 16GB SD Card

From manual N900:

Use only compatible microSD cards approved by Nokia for use with this device. Nokia uses approved industry standards for memory cards, but some brands may not be fully compatible with this device. Incompatible cards may damage the card and the device and corrupt data stored on the card.

-Nokia does not advertise SDHC (2G up to 32GB) compatibility and the world kept on turning, at least for a while. -Their manual says: your "standart" be what it may, we support only what works in our device. -the standard is what works, not what should work depending on some label and license fee. Nokia certified, FTW, if you try something else, you are on your own.

Finally 5 years later SDXC 64GB works fine on the N900.

Cool.. Let's apply this on Jolla.

Support 32GB (already mentioned the SDHC standard) well enough and let those who want more memory take care of themselves, off the record.

Micro SD Cards are the insert and forget type and it suffices they are formatted once with an OS supported file system.

No need for this exFat license in case of Micro SD in this scenario, especially not when you have already USB OTG.

Jolla please make sure users don't eject the card by "holding the tablet wrong" ...

vandersmash ( 2014-12-08 22:55:56 +0200 )edit

@vandersmash: Nokia, as a company, did not need the N900 to be a major success, they had enough diversity with other devices in 2009. Jolla has two devices and they deserve that they are a major success. So advertising 32gb internal memory + 128GB sdxc cards is a huge benefit. Consider yourself a shareholder of Jollas success, would you rather see Jolla succeed or would you rather satisfy your personal hatred against MS and standards? The other thing is, large USB devices are formated exfat by default nowadays, so USB OTG without exFat just introduces another level of incompatibility.

the_mgt ( 2014-12-08 23:38:39 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-12-05 18:37:17 +0200

unlikeyou gravatar image

updated 2014-12-05 18:38:05 +0200

Why not pay license fee to Microsoft to have skype instead of exfat, your jolla phone and tablet after all is about internet call, and video internet call

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Don't do that ! Support Firefox Hello for example. Or any free (as in Libre) alternative. Not closed source blackbox (and not MS).

alci ( 2014-12-05 18:50:10 +0200 )edit

Why not? Because proprietary, centralized protocols should be avoided.

Fuzzillogic ( 2014-12-05 20:01:53 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-11-20 06:25:35 +0200

playjot gravatar image

updated 2015-11-20 06:27:14 +0200

Wow, but in Pakistan qmobile offering these all facilities with low prices even then smartprix, and other manufacturers, lets have a look Qmobile

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@playjot you saw that this question is one year old and CLOSED, right ?

ced117 ( 2015-11-20 09:48:48 +0200 )edit

Wow, but in Pakistan qmobile offering these all facilities with low prices even then onlineprice, and other manufacturers, lets have a look qmobile

raaga26 ( 2017-06-22 09:17:36 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-12-10 09:17:28 +0200

Twinklestar1792 gravatar image

In India we have tablets with calling feature(3G/4G), Wi-Fi, memory card support which is lower price than Jolla.

Expect Jolla tablet to be more precaution before announcing its price.

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various pricelist are available only at

avnisharma ( 2018-06-06 09:02:45 +0200 )edit

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Asked: 2014-11-28 19:41:45 +0200

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Last updated: Nov 20 '15