OwnCloud is open source and does the same things as Dropbox (although in really crappy PHP on the server, so you'd better have a lot of spare cycles to burn - it's the first time for several years I've seen file transfers across the Internet be CPU limited).
The problem is that they're comparing apples to oranges. Of course a direct local connection will be faster than two devices sharing the same Internet connection and going via a server, but most of the time that I want to use a server as part of a sync workflow it's because the devices aren't together and I want to do it asynchronously. The equivalent for BitTorrent Sync would involve having a central server somewhere (possibly in your own home) that's always on and is a party in the sync.
Problems with that.
Cell frequencies are licensed and pretty much anything that touches those frequencies needs to be fully approved by the FCC.
The carriers aren't going to allow it on their networks.
Presumably the whitebox device would include as core components all of the FCC-approved hardware necessary to use said frequencies. Upgrading the GPU, the amount of RAM, or the battery shouldn't have anything to do with this.
When you build your own PC from separate components, you don't have to worry about whether it can be powered by 60hz AC. The power supplies sold in this country are built to handle the electric supply found in this country and come with all of the UL (etc.) approvals.
Isn't it more important to do cool and interesting things with a computer rather than everything obsessedly being open source?
The idea is that open source and the freedoms that come with it facilitate and ensure that you can continue to do cool and interesting things, often things the original designers didn't think of. It's certainly easier to be creative when you have the full specifications, source code, and documentation. It's easier to share your creativity with others when you can legally redistribute your derived works without violating someone else's copyright.
Obsession with anything is not good; on that I agree. However I haven't seen that in this thread. To cry "obsession" merely because someone points out a controversy isn't helpful (and ironically raises the question of whether you have an obsession with the perceived obsessions of others). All I saw was someone stating that they wish to avoid certain Broadcom hardware because it does not provide the degree of open source access that he or she desired. That people have their own criteria and express a desire to choose products that best suit their own needs is a good thing. Your own priorities being different is not surprising and doesn't indicate fault with anyone else.
Microsoft poisoned them killing the company
Bullshit. Nokia mismanaged itself to death by promoting infighting and sabotaging other product groups (rather than competing with other companies) until adopting Windows Phone and killing internal OS development was the least bad option.