Open letter and petition to Fisker Automotive regarding CIU Software
We, the undersigned, are Karma owners and enthusiasts. Some of us bought our cars from Fisker Automotive in 2012 while others began their ownership experience more recently, and many of us were also investors in Fisker Automotive. What we all share is a deep and abiding passion for this unique car and its prominent place in automotive history.
For many of us, our devotion has been severely tested over the last four years through Fisker Automotive's fall and the Bankruptcy proceedings that followed. However, despite the hardships, such was our loyalty that we kept our Karmas on the road through dogged determination, and often at great expense, with the help of a few former dealers and repair centers.
As part of our efforts, we formed a community where we supported and assisted one another by sharing information and our experiences with the owners, enthusiasts, prospective purchasers and even skeptics. We encouraged and helped like-minded individuals who were tempted by the beauty and excitement of the Karma and wanted advice on buying and keeping a Karma. We were advocates and cheerleaders for the technology and the brand throughout the dark times, and served as ambassadors for the brand by talking to anyone who was interested in our cars, attending events, and promoting the Karma as a transformative development in transportation.
We were all thrilled when new investment and commitment promised the revival of the Karma and the development of future products. We all watched with great interest as the darkness of the great fall began to abate and the company began to move forward again, and greatly appreciated the support we received, particularly in the form of updated software for our Karmas, that the company provided for our cars free of charge.
As part of the natural progression, we were recently informed that the most recent Central Infotainment Unit ("CIU") software release will be the last for our Karmas. We understand that because of the limited number of Karmas that run the current version of the CIU software, continuing to develop it does not make business or technological sense, and that upgrading the Karma's technology requires transitioning to a new CIU platform and new CIU software. But we also believe that abandoning the current CIU software is not the only viable option. Third party independent software developers, some of them Karma owners, could continue to enhance and update the CIU software to provide the very limited number of existing Karmas with better and additional functionality and bug fixes at no cost and almost no risk to Karma Automotive if they could have access to the software's source code under appropriate Open Source license.
We are writing to request Karma Automotive to release the source code for the CIU software that Karma Automotive will no longer support or upgrade, under an appropriately drafted Open Source license to any interested developer that agrees to abide by the terms of that license. The terms could include, for example, indemnity provisions for Karma Automotive for the use of any third party software.
In making this request, we acknowledge that Karma Automotive has legitimate concerns about releasing the CIU software. As Karma Automotive has previously stated, the inherent complexity of the CIU software, combined with reliance on an archaic development platform and the loss of expertise during the tumultuous bankruptcy period, present enormous challenges to continued development of the CIU software. But in our view, these factors argue even more strongly for opening up the development opportunity to third party developers to tackle the complexity and arcane environment and attempt to create an improved version of the software while Karma focuses on the future products. We suggest that there is no downside for Karma. If a third party developer can successfully create working CIU software, it will help the existing owners at no cost, and without any distraction, to Karma Automotive. And if they fail, they do so at their own cost and we are no worse off than when we started.
We also acknowledge that the CIU software represents Karma Automotive's intellectual property that deserves protection. But if Karma Automotive plans on abandoning the software due to a move to a new CIU platform, allowing third-party developers access to it, under an Open Source license, in order to extend and enhance the software would benefit both the owners and Karma Automotive. The benefit to owners is obvious, and Karma Automotive would also benefit by helping keep first-generation Karmas on the road longer as a testament to the robustness and flexibility of the design. In addition, there will be little or no competition between the updated Karmas and the Revero because the Revero's enhanced capability will far exceed any possible upgrades to the old CIU software. To the contrary, the longevity of the first generation Karmas would enhance and further validate the allure and credibility of the Revero design.
Karma Automotive has gained tremendous goodwill among the existing owners by reviving the company, supporting us, and most importantly actively listening to us. It is in that spirit that we submit this request for consideration by Karma Automotive management. Everyone involved shares a desire for continued improvement of the entire product family, past, present and future We believe that providing the CIU software source code to interested developers under a properly drafted Open Source license would be a win-win-win for the owners, for the company, and for the Revero.