back to article Linux on mobile: manifest destiny?

When the Linux Foundation emerged from the collision of the Open Software Development Labs (ODSL) and the Free Standards Group in January 2007, cynical observers described it, with some justification, as "yet another Linux knitting circle". Probably more than any other software phenomenon, Linux has generated a plethora of …

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Anonymous Coward

I don't know... I just think my N800 kicks ass...

It's essentially a ultra-tiny Linux box running a Debian variant. Nokia has put an impressive amount of resources into it, and their developer site at maemo.org is a shining example for such things.

Being able to write apps quickly and easily in standard Python, with GUIs in mostly-standard GTK, is valuable beyond words to me because it means I can now toss my crappy old Palm out the window.

http://home.cfl.rr.com/genecash/nokia/index.html shows what I've been able to accomplish so far.

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Gold badge

Woooow - slow down, Tonto

"The key development here is that smart mobile devices - and this increasingly means cellphones - will become the primary method of accessing the Web."

That's a cute assertion, but if memory serves me well (it's late Friday so I'm not counting on it) this statement is not exactly new. Yet it didn't happen, probably because it sucks typing on a small keyboard and staring at a small screen.

It's either that or getting questions "are you glad to see me or is that a tablet in your pocket" - something has to give. In addition, the phone companies were awarding themselves generously for a data connection (trice if you were data-roaming, occasionally given another name) which didn't help either, so I'm not quite a believer - been there, seen it fail, laughed as Microsoft came up with Mobile Windows etc.

Speaking of keyboard - why did we never get a device with that laser keyboard built in? Or was there too much risk of zapping a hole in your eardrum if it went off when you were listening? :-).

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Hmm

Hmm, it does have one ultimate cost advantage over it's commercial rivals , and being an age where margins between profit and loss on the sale of all mobile devices are razor thin , and tit for tat warfare between the makers is pretty vicious.

With the commercial rivals the usefulness and continuing security comes at a steep price set by the software supplier which in turn can make the difference between profit and loss for the first generation machines as the rivals play catch up and run past at the same time !

Open Source on the other hand means , security is more stringent , bug fixes done faster , and functionality can increment by degrees as required !

Or , I suppose one can behave like Apple , sell the product at a premium price plus big margin and then bind the user to the crappiest Telcom and lousiest conditions they can find ! If the user finds a loophole in their poorly designed and executed proprietary software they may get get a security update some day or may be not as the case may be as the priorities are moved like a pack of playing cards either on a whim , but mainly driven by maximum profit at the highest cost to the end user!

An interesting conundrum indeed , smart astute geek end users fixing the myriad of software problems for you for free with useful additional add ons , or paying the licence fee up front and then per unit ! The promised new additions in the pipeline may or may not appear , and just maybe some of the inbuilt security bugs may be fixed at some time in the distant future , or new ones added !

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm

"their poorly designed and executed proprietary software"

While I wouldn't dispute every other assertion about the iPhone - I'd even add that the virtual keyboard is another example of Apple's tendendency to put form over function. But I would dispute this. From a user point of view, the execution is brilliant.

As for poorly designed - I'm presuming this is meant in a technical or architectural sense, as of course these are the only ones that actually matter - but who really knows - it's mostly closed source in a language that few people other than OS X developers know anything about. Well apart from the BSD core, which is of course open source, so therefore cannot be poorly designed or executed. Or is it only the GPL that ensures excellence? So where does the idea that it's poorly designed and executed come from??

An unsupported philosophical position that open source development must result in superior software?? (Less bugs - certainly, there is evidence for that).

IMO - the first thing these phones will need isn't Linux, but a piece of Windows client software a la iTunes to make it easy to roll out software updates / synchronise data, together with a commitment from the phone vendors to support whatever distribution they have rolled in a timely manner. Or not to charge data rates for software updates.

Otherwise you're in the same situation as Apple and BSD (open source fixes taking their time to get to end users machines), or worse still, the situation with existing phones where updates are never applied by users because there is no easy mechanism to do it.

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