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Cellphones Linux

Jolla's First Phone Goes On Sale 307

jones_supa writes "Jolla, the mobile phone company formed by ex-Nokia employees, has officially launched its first phone. It will be initially available in Finland, paired with the local telecom operator DNA. After that, it will be made available in 135 other countries. The Jolla handset runs the Sailfish OS, which is itself based on the former MeeGo platform developed by Nokia and Intel several years ago to produce Linux-based smartphone software. Sailfish can run Android apps and it also integrates Nokia's Here mapping and positioning technology. Looking at the hardware, the device sports a 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor, 1GB memory and 16GB of flash storage, plus a 4.5in 960x540 IPS touchscreen with Gorilla 2 Glass. It has the usual mobile network support, including GSM/3G/4G, 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth, 8MP autofocus rear camera and 2MP front camera. SIM-free pricing is expected to be €399."
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Jolla's First Phone Goes On Sale

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  • Paired with.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Apotekaren (904220) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @02:52PM (#45541713)

    Paired with here means that the phones are sold by the telecom operator in their stores(first the pre-orders are fullfilled), but there are no requirements for contracts and no sim-locking.

    The online shop is Jollas own. I just paid for my pre-order phone through their website.

    • No offense intended... but either you're bonkers, or I'm missing something here....

      Looking at the hardware, the device sports a 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor, 1GB memory and 16GB of flash storage, plus a 4.5in 960x540 IPS touchscreen with Gorilla 2 Glass. It has the usual mobile network support, including GSM/3G/4G, 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth, 8MP autofocus rear camera and 2MP front camera. SIM-free pricing is expected to be €399.

      On reading this, from TFS, my immediate reaction was "so, basically like the HTC Desire 601 I have, only for about $200 more than I paid"... sure, the Desire only has a 5MP rear camera, but otherwise on paper appears to be almost identical in every way.

      While I appreciate that these folks are trying to do something important, and I do think that having a viable alternative to IOS and Android is a good thing, I honestly don't s

      • Re:Paired with.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mirix (1649853) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @09:18PM (#45545477)

        It isn't android, that's the whole point.

      • by dbIII (701233)
        Yes but will you still be using your HTC as long as I've been using my N900? This proposes to fill that niche of an updatable phone so that you don't want a new phone every two years. In the long run it may be cheaper.
        • by exomondo (1725132)

          This proposes to fill that niche of an updatable phone so that you don't want a new phone every two years.

          But do you need a device more updateable than the average Android phone? Given your comment about usage of the N900 I would say the answer is probably 'no', and if OEMs get on board why would you expect the update schedule for Sailfish to be any different?

          • by dbIII (701233)
            But the average Android phone is NOT upgradeable and eventually gets locked out of the newer apps.
            • by exomondo (1725132)

              But the average Android phone is NOT upgradeable and eventually gets locked out of the newer apps.

              Is that really the average though?
              Given your comment about the N900, does that even matter?
              Why would it be any different with Sailfish than Android?

              • by dbIII (701233)
                Because it's not locked down and you can boot it with something other than the original software, just like the N900. That gives the option, just like the N900, than if the original supplier loses interest there may still remain a community of people providing updates and current applications.
                All those android phones that need to be cracked just to install some apps and are fixed on a specific version (sometimes quite an old one on a new phone) do not have such flexibility. Personally I think that limits
                • by bingoUV (1066850)

                  All those android phones that need to be cracked just to install some apps

                  I don't see too many of them. Samsung and HTC have vowed to keep the bootloaders open, since 2-3 years. They have been true to it. Sony have an application downloadable from their own website to open bootloaders of their phones, the application works for most of Sony phones (though not all).

                  • by dbIII (701233)
                    That's a very positive trend but there still seem to be quite a few not following it.
  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:01PM (#45541821)

    ... can it run Linu ... Yes? Oh, right. Nevermind.

    • Re:Yes, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:32PM (#45542213)

      There's more GNU/Linux in this thing than most if not all Android computers.

    • You passed a good opportunity to imagine a beowulf cluster of them, too bad.

    • When I saw that my N900 had an xterm installed by default, I knew I was in love.
      How open is this Jolla phone? Do I have to jump through hoops to get root? Does it use a standard packaging system with repositories?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        As far as I can tell it's more open than Nokia N9 (Meego), and on my N9 I just had to enable developer mode from the options to get a terminal and root access. Now, N9 came with a security system called Aegis which partially crippled the root account, but Jolla will not come which such 'features'.
      • by KiloByte (825081)

        Sadly, this Jolla thing has no keyboard and thus is a non-starter for me.

        But add one and I promise to be the first in line to buy it. My N900 is starting to fall apart...

        • by dbIII (701233)

          But add one and I promise to be the first in line to buy it. My N900 is starting to fall apart...

          There's still new ones at places that do repairs. I got one a replacement one for a friend about six months ago when repair was considered to be too difficult.

        • Re:xterm? root? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by c.r.o.c.o (123083) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @11:54PM (#45546253)

          Sadly, this Jolla thing has no keyboard and thus is a non-starter for me.

          But add one and I promise to be the first in line to buy it. My N900 is starting to fall apart...

          As the owner of two Nokia N900s, HTC Desire (Nexus One), HTC Sensation, and LG Nexus 4, as well as a former owner of a Nokia N9, I can say the hardware keyboard on the N900 is highly overrated. Yes, when the N900 came out touchscreen keyboards were garbage, and the small screen and low resolution of the HTC Desire made typing on it an adventure. Same went for the Nokia N9 by the way, I loved the swype interface, hated the lack of keyboard. Fast forward to the HTC Sensation and LG Nexus 4, and I can type MUCH faster than I ever could on the N900.

          I can think of a couple of reasons a hardware keyboard may be useful, such as typing in a terminal where sharing half the screen between the keyboard and the command line output IS a pain. And also using the phone in cold weather with gloves is much easier with a hardware keyboard.

          But writing off the ONLY new phone running a real Linux distribution, with real native apps, open ecosystem from a company that is not interested in stealing your private data just because it lacks a keyboard just seems like trolling to me.

          I personally will buy one as soon as it becomes available in Canada without being on pre-order.

        • Re:xterm? root? (Score:4, Informative)

          by temotodochi (3447019) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @02:08AM (#45546849)
          Jollas concept about "the other half" actually includes plans for keyboard add-on. At first the other halfs (back covers if you like) just change the look, feel and settings of the OS for example red cover for work and blue for home. I haven't tested the phone myself, but this concept sounds cool. Later on Jolla is adding more physical gimmicks to those covers, hardware upgrades, keyboards, etc.
  • ...to Nokia phones, such as Lumia and their other brand name phones??
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:05PM (#45541869)

      First things first. Let them get themselves established, away from the history of Nokia's self-dealing CEO, and show that the direction the company was going before he sabotaged it is a viable business model. Then maybe they can consider whether they can afford to attempt to rescue Nokia's current customers.

    • by jovius (974690) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:09PM (#45541919)

      Phones capable of running Android are their major target. Interview [talouselama.fi] of the CEO from today:

      In addition to applications, Jolla exploits Android’s ecosystem also in another way. Jolla’s Sailfish operating system works in almost any Android device. Due to this Jolla can subcontract its devices for a reasonable price from any smart phone manufacturing company in Asia.
      One more plus for Jolla is that the Android compatibility makes it very easy for other smart phone companies now using Android to change their OS to Jolla’s Sailfish.
      According to Pienimäki, Jolla is also planning to let individual users to download Sailfish operating system into their Android-devices.

      • by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @04:15PM (#45542789)

        It's also interesting to note that Wayland just shipped on a device. So much for it being "hard to fit into a mobile device." Thanks to libhybris, they just wrap the Android blob for the GPU and continue on like a standard glibc-based Linux system.

        • by unixisc (2429386)
          Incidentally, what display manager does Sailfish use? X11? Wayland? Something else?
        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          Did anyone say that Wayland was "hard to fit into a mobile device"? Presumably you're digging at Canonical, but I never heard that argument. I thought their line was that they had some requirements in order to get their "seamlessly switch from phone GUI to desktop GUI to TV GUI" features working which were being blocked.

          Most smartphones are more powerful than the X11 desktop computers of just a few years ago; I don't think anyone has realistically been claiming that they wouldn't be able to to run a normal

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        But is this going to be particularly useful to people? The issues with gesture-based OSes (Meego Harmattan and Blackberry 10 in particular) is they are not discoverable and the spatial awareness problem is tricky, add to that the fact that swiping from the edges gets in the way if you are playing games - which is the key reason Apple had to add the ability to turn off the iOS Control Center swiping gesture. But most importantly the gesture based interface doesn't really add anything of value.

    • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:11PM (#45541935) Homepage
      Lumia phones have an encrypted bootloader. Windows Mobile is the only operating system that can be installed. While there may be a way around this, it has not be discovered by the hacker community yet.
      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        In addition, buying Nokia phones to run other operating systems on would give them money.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Jolla offers licensing of Sailfish: https://sailfishos.org/about-alliance.html [sailfishos.org]

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      you can just forget lumias - locked bootloaders.

      it should be pretty portable to pretty much any android device though(afaik they built it to use the same kernel drivers, that way they can subcontract phones way easier from any manufacturer that does android phones). they made some press release about this couple of months back if my memory serves me right.

  • Hmm I might get one (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ickleberry (864871) <web@pineapple.vg> on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:04PM (#45541859) Homepage
    I am sick of the Android+iPhone duopoly and never liked either of those OS to begin with. Now if they could only make a phone with a hardware keyboard
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:12PM (#45541963)

      It's called BlackBerry Q10 (or Q5 if you're on a budget)

      • by phoenix_rizzen (256998) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @06:12PM (#45543955)

        Portrait keyboards, like on the Q10, suck. You lose half the screen to the keyboard, all of the time, making it worse than an onscreen keyboard.

        Landscape sliders are where it's at. You get a full-screen device, with an onscreen keyboard, and access to a full keyboard in landscape without losing any screen space.

        It's just too bad there aren't any QWERTY sliders anymore. :( Was really hoping Motorola under Google would release a Droid5 with flagship hardware and the Photon Q keyboard. Alas, I'm still waiting ...

    • by Apotekaren (904220) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:20PM (#45542057)

      One of the most important features is the "Other Half" or whatever they're calling it, which is basically a back cover with a digital interface. There are already projects in motion to produce back covers with slide-out keyboards, extra batteries, among other things.

      This feature has been seriously underplayed, it's one of the most exciting things about the whole phone!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No. There will be no hardware keyboard "other half." The back of the phone has a camera right in the fucking middle of it. There's no way for a hardware keyboard to fit without doing some shitty folding-butterfly effect to go around the camera.

        Jolla intended for this phone to not have hardware keyboards. They want it to be a proprietary, NFC-enabled "flash drive" that they can patent and team up with artists for exclusive albums and movies. It is only intended to be a new type of media storage, but slow bec

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You open the keyboard from locked, exposing the camera, and incidentally, the actual physical shutter button on the side of the keyboard.
          As one possible design, for example.

    • by marcello_dl (667940) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:55PM (#45542579) Homepage Journal

      As a political choice, or long term strategic move, you might want to support the neo 900 [neo900.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:06PM (#45541875)

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  • Why such low specs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:06PM (#45541879)

    Why are the specs so low?
    This is like a phone from 3 years ago.

    • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:18PM (#45542023) Homepage

      Why are the specs so low? This is like a phone from 3 years ago.

      Is that really a problem for a phone that is here announced on a News for Nerds site? It's a phone open to tinkering and running Linux software, which should interest us all. I know that I've breathed new life into my old Nokia N900 by discovering how to work with Emacs on it, which as the old saw goes, is a great operating system. Of course it has always had support for most audio formats (including libre ones), so it continues to satisfying me as a music player. Watching videos, video conferencing, extremely complicated web stuff, well, I can do that on a desktop.

      Sure, one can make the point that the phone does not have features state-of-the-art enough to appeal to a mass demographic that could keep the company afloat, but I'm a bit surprised to see Slashdot denizens complaining that it isn't whizbang enough.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        My phone is open to tinkering.
        Heck, Ubuntu for it exists.

        I want both. I might be convinced if all the drivers are in mainline, but we both know that is not the case.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Thomas Miconi (85282)

      The crazy thing is, even though you are right that these are low specs by modern standards, these are still basically laptop-level specs. Hell, it would beat a 2006 MacBook *Pro*:

      http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/specs/macbook_pro_1.67.html [everymac.com]

      The convergence between phones and computers is nigh. The Ubuntu Edge concept was ahead of its time, but soon enough smartphones will have enough computing power to fill 95% of people's needs. When that happens, who would want to buy a huge, noisy desktop

      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:29PM (#45542155)

        It would not come close to a 2006 macbook pro.
        ARM cpus are not that performant. Ghz is not something you can compare that way.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          It would not come close to a 2006 macbook pro.
          ARM cpus are not that performant. Ghz is not something you can compare that way.

          They're not as fast as x86 yet, but they're catching up. Intel's latest Bay Trail Atom CPUs are fast (outclassing the old Atoms, but benchmarks put the Apple A7 at a bit faster [arstechnica.com].

          Some of it can be explained by CPU speed (the Bay Trail ran at 1.33GHz vs. 1.4 for the A7), but it also means the speed advantage at the low end low cost x86 is being rapidly reached by ARM CPUs.

          In fact, Intel

      • It might compete with a 1996 MacBook pro. If they existed?
        A 1.4GHz Netburst core is more powerful than a 1.4GHz ARM core. Don't even think about comparing it to a modern x86. They're more like a factor of 10 better.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Personally, I don't really care about the specs of my phone. I think you're much better off getting a cheap phone and then getting a tablet to do all the stuff you'd normally do on your phone. As long as the phone can make calls, send messages, and act as wifi hotspot for my tablet, I'm fine with it. Phones are either too small to do any real tasks, or too large to just be a phone. I'd rather just have a phone that does it's job, and have a tablet to do my actual mobile computing.

      Although one thing wr
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I would rather have a slightly larger phone. I am not going to carry a tablet around in public at all times.

        I agree the price is too high for what it is.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @04:09PM (#45542727)

      The specs are "low" because it's what you can get to manufacture and sell for $400 when your order is not in the millions of units. It's already amazing they managed to sell it at less than a $1000 each for such a small order.

      • Fairphone manages to do pretty well on specs for €325 per phone, with an initial production run of 25,000 phones, while using ethically-sourced minerals, recycled plastics, reasonable wages and working conditions and so on:

        http://buy-a-phone-start-a-movement.fairphone.com/en/specs/ [fairphone.com]

        Admittedly there's no 4G, it hasn't actually shipped yet (they should start shipping out in December) and it's running Android, so the software development costs are lower. But building a decent phone at those sorts of prices

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @04:17PM (#45542807)

      The specs are actually quite close to the iPhone 5C (at half the price), and are low only if you compare them to Android phones specs, which are so huge because of two things: 1. Android is a resource hog, 2. due to Google's tight grip over Android, the only way OEMS can differentiate is through specs.

      The Jolla folk are actively trying to fight the second point, and the first point is not applicable to them since they use a "standard" Gnu/Linux stack (Systemd, Wayland, dbus, Qt, zypper).

    • They're about in line with the Moto G, itself a pretty capable phone. Frankly, it's the sweet spot for most people, especially when you factor in non-subsidized prices and power consumption. My Nexus 4 sure is powerful, but the thing can chew through 25% of its battery in less than 10 minutes when doing intense stuff like updating the OS or changing runtime libraries.

  • This could've been a nice proposition a few years ago but I think Motorola beat them to the punch with the G. Unless you really, really want MeeGo/Sailfish (or you value a 8mp camera that much), the G is just a better proposition. Better screen (720p), Gorilla Glass 3, quad-core, plus vanilla Android which is pretty great, all for less than half this phone's price. The only unclear thing is whether "4G" means LTE or not, because that's probably one of the biggest things missing in the Moto G.

    On the other
  • The N9 successor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ecuador (740021) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:08PM (#45541903) Homepage

    I switched from an N9 to a Galaxy S3 about a year ago (because the N9 lacked some apps I needed - thanks to Nokia abandoning it and alienating developers) and I still think the N9 was a much superior experience to both my Galaxy and my company-issued iPhone.
    I' ll keep an eye for this. Hopefully if it catches on it might get a lower price-tag (given that it doesn't use very expensive hardware). The hardware does not seem very high-end, but the native apps are fast (the single-core N9 seemed faster than dual-core Android phones). Plus you get to run Android apps, if they run without problems this should allow people like me who had to switch to Android for the apps to get the phone.
    One thing I don't like that much is the IPS screen. I don't mind it has a lower resolution than the current flagship phones, but I would prefer the S-AMOLED that the N9 had (with an always-on clock that did not use almost any battery power!).
    Oh, there is also some talk that they will develop replace-able backs, e.g. you will be able to remove the back cover and put in a slide-out qwerty keyboard N900/950 style.
    So, keeping an eye out for this, if it is really better than the N9, it could be the phone to have.

  • ... watched it and makes me think: is there any reason to build another phone OS? "Yes" probably only applies to the same crowd giving "Yes" to yet another Linux desktop variation.
    • Re:The video... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:37PM (#45542275)

      i doubt you'd question this, if you had owned N900 or N9

    • Re:The video... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @04:11PM (#45542753)

      Yes, because the moment we decide "we don't need any more OSes" is the moment we decide that "innovation" is done and nothing new is to be had unless it comes from Google, Microsoft, or Apple. And that's a bad, bad state to be in.

    • Microsoft makes more money from Android than it does from WindowsPhone due to patent royalties. Perhaps Sailfish will be free of such royalties? If so, I can see hardware manufacturers getting behind it (or Tizen, etc) in a big way, especially considering that Android apps will run on it.

      Maybe HTC, which has been foundering lately, should produce a Sailfish handset. They could set up their own app store and make some cash that way...

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      Currently it's a race between two- iOS and Android. I don't think two is enough. There are more than two brands of car, more than two types of beer, more than two mobile phone carriers in every country worth talking about. We could do with more than two.

      And what's your choice for number three? Blackberry? Windows? Personally, being a Slashdot reader, I'm definitely more in favour of GNU/Linux taking the next slot. Whether that be Jolla, Ubuntu, Tizen, or something else- all fine options. Android could use s

  • I don't know if supporting Android apps is a good idea. Won't that kill any chance of having native apps?

    • by Teun (17872)
      When the native apps are better or just simply faster?
      • by exomondo (1725132)

        When the native apps are better or just simply faster?

        It's unlikely they would perform any different than they do an Android device, sure a native app is likely to be faster still but if you can get the same experience on Sailfish as you can on Android by targeting just Android then why explicitly target Sailfish? Better to spend that effort on more established platforms to get a larger audience.

      • by walter_f (889353)

        When the native apps are better or just simply faster?

        Hopefully, this might be a crucial point.

        Still, the sheer number of android apps could turn out to be overwhelming in the eyes of some aspiring developers of native ones.

        (And yes, I'm massively biased in favour of the Jolla/SailfishOS. Bon voyage, brave little Jolla dinghy!)

    • by foobar bazbot (3352433) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @04:29PM (#45542973)

      I don't know if supporting Android apps is a good idea. Won't that kill any chance of having native apps?

      Not necessarily. That issue's widely credited with the failure of OS/2, but that was a time when you drove to a store and bought a boxed application off the shelf, or mail-ordered it. Either way, you wound up with some removable media and installed the software -- there was no other way in practice. (Yes, I know modems did exist.) That means there's no incentive for someone with a Windows app to make an OS/2 port, because it's equal trouble for the consumer to acquire and use my Windows app or my competitor's OS/2 port -- I don't suffer lost sales for my lack of a port, so I I'd be a fool to dedicate the resources to one.

      With smartphones, though, the normal method is to go to some app-store and download the app you want -- and this permits differentiation. If the Jolla app-store only carries Jolla-native apps, so that using an Android app requires downloading the .apk with a web browser, then my competitor with a Jolla-native port will get more market share than I do with my Android app, because there's less effort for users to install his app -- I'll have to do my own Jolla port to get in the Jolla app store and compete on an equal footing.

      (I'm not sure that's exactly how the Jolla app-store situation will be -- maybe you can just install e.g. the Amazon app store APK, and have two app stores, one for android and one for jolla -- but you can see how that sort of thing lets you have the benefit of using existing Android apps while still giving developers a reason to bother with Jolla-native apps.)

  • Ex-employees? Any bets on how long it'll take for the first suit to be pressed?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @04:08PM (#45542717)

      Na ga happen. Nokia actually funded this company with contributions towards a federal goodwill program that provides funds for nationalistic (Finnish) startups. Jolla has access to Nokia's full patent portfolio under this program, as well as Nokia HERE maps.

      The Jolla spinoff was a way for Nokia to continue development of Meego without Microsoft oversight. After the Microsoft acquisition is completed, Nokia cannot make phones until January 2016, after which, a merger between Nokia and Jolla is possible. Nokia has retained its brand, image, and importantly, the "Nokia ringtone" sound. It may be able to get by for a few years on patent royalties. Microsoft only gets the Lumia and Asha lines, and production centers, which were outsourced to Asia anyway.

  • by StripedCow (776465) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @05:18PM (#45543417)

    After *I*-OS, you can now buy a phone running "Selfish-OS".
    The question is: who needs a phone in a self-centered world?

  • by tokiko (560961) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @05:58PM (#45543835)

    Maemo [wikipedia.org] / Moblin [wikipedia.org] -> MeeGo [wikipedia.org] -> Harmattan -> Mer [wikipedia.org] -> Tizen [wikipedia.org] | Smeegol [wikipedia.org] | Sailfish [wikipedia.org]

    Or, in other words, lets rename and start a new project every other week!

    I got my N900 because it was based on the same GTK and Debian that I was familiar with on my desktop. But I never touched app development on it because of the promise of the "new" project completely obsoleting anything that I would create on the old. Why bother creating a GTK interface when the new UI gets rewritten in QT next month? Why bother creating Debian packages when the new system uses RPM? Meanwhile, the Osborne effect [wikipedia.org] ensures that no mainstream apps get written for the current code base.

"One lawyer can steal more than a hundred men with guns." -- The Godfather