back to article The LINUX TABLET IS THE FUTURE - and it always will be

The year of the Linux tablet is, like the year of the Linux desktop, destined never to arrive. That doesn't mean we won't see Linux on a tablet, but you'll see Linux on a tablet the way you see it on the desktop - clinging to a tiny percentage of the market. There is of course Android, which does use a Linux kernel somewhere …


This topic is closed for new posts.


  1. Steen Hive

    "Having used a Samsung Windows 8 tablet for a few months, I have a theory as to why: you think you want a full desktop computer on your tablet - I certainly did - but you don't"

    Be that as it may, what I REALLY don't want, is a half-arsed mobile OS interface shoe-horned onto my desktop, kthxbai.

  2. edge_e


    The article was bollox.

    I'm guessing that the only reason there's so many comments is because every one else is as bored as me, which leads me to the point of this:-

    Christmas is even more bollox than this article

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What this author denies is that Android IS Linux. I even have a vm with Android ported over to X86. Android is eating up the mobile phone market, including Apple.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...What this author denies is that Android IS Linux..."

    Au contraire. What this author does is almost unique for El Reg. He admits that Android: "...does use a Linux kernel somewhere under all that Java..."

    I'm as keen to see a 'real' Linux running on phones and tablets as the majority of commentards here but unfortunately Android isn't it.

  5. John Savard Silver badge

    What Counts

    But try running GCC on an Android device without having rooted it first. Android is not a means of running most Linux applications not specifically written for Android.

  6. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Re: What Counts

    "......Android is not a means of running most Linux applications not specifically written for Android." But Google are smart enough to have realized the average consumer does NOT want a Linux device, they want an easy-to-use phone or tablet. Techies may want full-blown Linux because they want full control, they want to hack stuff, but the average consumer needs a simple interface with the hard stuff done for them, hence Android. And that is why more tablets will be sold with iOS, Win8 and Android than with "proper" Linux.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eating up?

    I've got Windows XP running, in a VM on my OS X laptop. At work, we have got windows 7 running in VMs on Linux servers and vice versa. I was unaware until your post that this meant that XP is really a version of OSX or that Windows 7 is just Linux Redhat in disguise. Odd, after all these years in IT.

    What's all this nonsense about? I suspect if you had even 10% of the mobile market for just your firm (I assume you are in business as you seem so au fait with how to read market figures), selling just one current edition plus a couple of older hardware versions all able to run the same OS, you would be very happy and somewhat rich if you had more business sense thatn your apparent understanding. In fact, IOS has got much more than that and, in the segment where it matters (those that spend money rather than those who have not got it or who prattle on about their technical ability while unable to explain why they themselves are not astoundingly rich and successful market leaders), it seems that IOS has much greater penetration.

    But anyway, so what? Does one over the other enrich your life? Or the lives of others (I gather that Samsung, for example, is singularly unbeloved in S. Korea because of its employment practices)?

    If you like the vagaries of the Android suppliers, lovely. Make the most of it, buy shares in that supplier market, build vast collections of their hardware and interfaces, write books, articles, paint them in pictures, make accessories. Just do it.

    If you like a rather clearly defined environment with a stable interface, consistent across models (much as standards for pedal, gear and steering wheel layout in cars), good for you. Do the same. Even, have both. Jail break both, use them as they came. The world is your oyster.

    Do you go around rubbishing other people's cars or houses because they are not your taste? Or were you one of those slanging off IOS users as "sheep" when, actually, the "sheep" according to you are buying something else?

    It is the season of Good Will. So have a present: use your freedom to do what you will and let others do the same, free of your pointlessly denigrating unpleasantness. Be glad that IOS came out and gave your favoured system a boot up the arse to get into the market and improve. IOS users can also be happy that Android and Windows and even Nokia keep Apple on their toes. App writers can write for the love ot if for Android and for money for IOS. We all win.

    The wonderful thing is that we have got the choice.

  8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  9. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Eadon - Re: Android is a Linux distro

    Close but no cookie for you. Technically, the Linux kernel + GNU userland makes what we all should call GNU/Linux while Linux kernel + various non GPL licenses makes Android. So Android is not a Linux distribution as you are hastily implying (you have RedHat Linux, Debian Linus but I haven't heard of Android Linux or Google Linux). With any GNU/Linux distribution I have the freedom to remove and replace any software component or application while my Android tablet gives me no possibility to remove the pre-installed apps the hardware manufacturer decided that I should swallow, in the same way that Microsoft does not allow you to remove Internet Explorer or Windows explorer from Windows. This difference is big enough from a FOSS point of view to sat that Android is not GNU/Linux

    Actually, the success of Android is the clever combination of FOSS kernel with various open source and proprietary licenses. While large masses of users don't give a damn about software freedoms, hardware manufacturers and software vendors actually do want to make sure you don't get them.

  11. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  12. Allison Park
    Paris Hilton

    Re: What Counts

    I am thinking the answer to tablets is IBM's AIX operating system.

    Seriously AIX is bullet proof, never fails, has thousands of mission critical applications.

    Yes and none of those thing matter to the after tablet holder who just buys an ipad and

    holds the power/home button to fix whatever is wront.

    Microsoft is the next HP tablet...forget what is was called even thought i bought one...then gave it away

    face it Microsoft/Intel "WinTel" is dead and HP is and apple ownt the mobile mkt.


  13. DoctorNine

    Re: Eating up?

    Let me just say, that I agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly. And I'll also offer you a round if/when we meet for showing such equanimity. Well done.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Christmas is even more bollox than this article ..

    I totally concur ...

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Hmmmm a rather ho-hum article....

    If I could have a super computer, the size of a shelled peanut, with all the software that you could ever possibly think that you could want, with an atomic battery that ran it for 10,000 years, with an IBM Model M keyboard, and a 23" screen - if not 3 or 4 of them....

    And it had a recording studio quality PA system - with a thousand plugs, jacks, 5 miles of leads and cables, and lots of really nice speakers and all...

    And a set of super dooper High Def spy satellite cameras....

    And I could run at least 19 different operating systems on it simultaneously, with a trillion Terror Bites of infinitely incorruptable storage..........

    And it had news paper printing press capabilites of volume and speed, in photographic grade imaging, with ZERO TCO in terms of ink, paper and toner supplies.......

    And it would fold up into a match book sized device, and weigh under 5 grams, and sit in my wallet beside my credit card - I would be immensely fucking happy.

    But tough shit......

    We live in a world filled with compromises.....

    And fuck it - this is just how it goes.

    (glumly accepts reality check to fantasy)

  16. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Re: What Counts

    I'll happily admit that I'd take an AIX workstation (or laptop - ah, the RS/6000 N40 - pretty nifty for 1994) over a tablet running anything.

    But then I'd take a Solaris, HP-UX, IRIX, etc workstation (or laptop) over a tablet running anything. I'll even take a Windows laptop over a tablet running anything.

  17. toadwarrior

    You didn't read the article or you'd realise he said Android is Linux underneath all its own stuff. That said Android lacks a lot of stuff, like X, and has an incompatible C lib iirc so it's not the same as all the other Linux distros. It's not completely genuine to say linux is making inroads on tablets.

  18. kissingthecarpet

    Re: Android is a Linux distro

    Exactly - It seems that few understand this.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The one thing that unix does well is 1982.

  20. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    And the one thing Windows does well is............. Nope, sorry, it's gone. I had it there for a second.

    Oh, wait a minute....... Nope, gone again.

    Ah ha! I have it!

    It gives you time to make a cup of coffee while it starts.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hate to feed the troll, here, but on my SSD systems, Win7 *cold* starts in about 9 seconds. Not sure what a new linux distro will do under those circumstances, but I doubt it's a whole lot better.

    OTOH, maybe you can just make coffee really quickly, in which case I salute you.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The one thing that unix does well is 1982"

    I think 1982 are where you get your jokes from.


    1998 is calling...

    > The one thing that unix does well is 1982.

    So that's why it's in your phone, in your tablet, in your TV, in your cable box, in your BluRay player, in your PVR, at your bank, managing your paycheck?

    The entire article is silly troll bait. Linux is already in tablets. It's presence will likely blunt Windows.


    The Lemming fixation with startup times....'s like Windows users don't do anything else with their machines but start the OS and start applications.

    Are they constantly crashing or something? Otherwise that metric should be pretty meaningless in 2012.

    Also, Windows has a nasty habit of appearing to be started but not being really terribly useful. So these startup metrics can be intentionally misleading. They're a bad thing to judge anything on.

    When is it useful?

  25. Rampant Spaniel

    Re: The Lemming fixation with startup times....

    One big plus point of win 8 (the only one?) is that startup is fast and thats to the point of actually being able to work, not just watching more stuff load. It's more a factor for laptops which see more on\off action than destops. It's definately less of an issue since windows got rid of the need to reboot every time you changed font in word. Mitigating that is the suspend \ hybernate options. Ultra fast startups are nice, but probably not all that important for most people.

    Proper support for increasing pixel density is something I'm looking forward to!

  26. Rusty 1
    Thumb Up

    '82 was a good year

    As were the years before, and the years after. With the passage of time, the quality, functionality, and usability only gets better.

  27. amehaye

    Re: The Lemming fixation with startup times....

    The Win8 'fast startup' is actually a return from hibernation, only you are not told about it.

    That fact made me spend a while trying to find a bug in a device driver I was working on. Apparently, being back from hibernation, it did not go through the 'Miniport Loaded' state as the driver was already loaded. Which is pretty obvious if you know that.

    Next time I will RTFM.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 1998 is calling...

    A lot of DVRs actually use VxWorks, not Linux.

    I'm sure most banks still run on IBM mainframes. ATMs ran OS/2 until they moved to XP.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The Lemming fixation with startup times....

    Maybe people don't want to leave their computers on, or even in sleep, still sucking power. Sure, there is hibernate, but as he said, he has a SSD. With a SSS, I wouldn't want to be writing out a hibernate file constantly! Why bother anyways when it starts up so quickly? Now who's trolling?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 1998 is calling...

    "The entire article is silly troll bait."

    I could not possibly tell. As soon as I saw the author's name I skipped the whole thing. Still, I though there might be something interesting in the comments--there often is, even when the associated articles are utter shite.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 1998 is calling...

    ...mind you, so far I haven't managed to get past the Windows vs Linux vs Android vs Iphone vs OS/2 vs Atari idiocy. Is this a tech news site or Chavs'r'Us?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: @AC

    Sorry... I let my inner twat out. He's back in his bottle now.

  33. Orionds

    Linux does it ...

    in no more than 15 seconds using a good, old-fashioned hard drive.

    The real test of boot-up speed is how long it takes from start to the opening of, for example, the browser. Windows continues loading startup programs, drivers, etc. even after the desktop appears and applications, though clicked, hang around until these have been pretty much loaded.

    Try it. See how long it takes from cold start to the opening of the full browser window - I guess, Internet Explorer - in Win 8.

    I don't know about Win 8 because I don't use it but when the desktop is boot up, when I click Firefox, it responds immediately and begins loading.

  34. TheOtherHobbes

    Re: 1998 is calling...

    "So that's why it's in your phone, in your tablet, in your TV, in your cable box, in your BluRay player, in your PVR, at your bank, managing your paycheck?"

    No, that's lack of imagination. And the fact that GPL makes it possible for corporations to snarf working code for projects without paying for it.

    *N*X is adequate for utility computing, and especially interesting to the kinds of developers who think command line scripting is the most exciting thing ever.

    What it isn't is an innovative or interesting OS for the kinds of developers who think aping Apple and MS is setting the bar really, really low for 21st century computing.

  35. Eponymous Cowherd

    Re: 1998 is calling...

    *N*X is adequate for utility computing, and especially interesting to the kinds of developers who think command line scripting is the most exciting thing ever."

    What are you gibbering on about?

    Linux and Unix can be found running everything from the worlds fastest supercomputer [The 17590 TFlop Titan Cray XK7] right down to educational computers like the Raspberry Pi and consumer electronics like TVs and set top boxes.

    Apple's OSX is, itself, a Unix [developed from BSD]. You probably use, or make use of, Unix or Linux several times a day without realising it. Windows may, still, be the most prevalent desktop OS, but everywhere else is *nix.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My corporeal self, my basic diet, furniture, housing, lawn, coast .... Hey, they have not changed the way they work since then either. Better complain and change them. Perhaps 1982 is before you were born. But actually, life existed then and did rather well, for some people, rather better.

    UNIX then was rather good: makes even Android look bloated. Well, Android is bloated. UNIX still is rather good, though it has put on a lot of weight. Now, clicky-pointy-drag-and-drop: that is so 80's, inefficient, slow ... Ugh.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Linux does it ...

    "Try it. See how long it takes from cold start to the opening of the full browser window - I guess, Internet Explorer - in Win 8."

    Sorry but I've better things to do, not many I'll grant you but they're slightly more important than tuning the restart times of my chosen operating system. Providing it starts without falling flat on it's arse and I can do the very unimportant stuff I need to keep my life ticking along, I'm happy. I get my stuff done and I can then go outside and do something far more interesting.

    All this time you lot are saving being able to restart your operating systems at lightning speeds, are you spending it wisely? Doesn't sound like it to me!

  38. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  39. Mark .

    Re: Linux does it ...

    My Amiga 1200 booted in 5 seconds on a much slower PIO 0 IDE drive - is that therefore better than Linux?

    Comparing boot times is pointless, and the idea of Windows being slow to boot is pretty much a myth, or a leftover from the NX/2000 days. I don't remember if Linux boots faster on my system - maybe it does - but then, I also note that my Clevo boots quicker than my Android Galaxy Nexus, so is Android crapper than Windows? (Same with the myth that Windows always needs rebooting for updates - Ubuntu seems to have far more updates, and also needs rebooting. Same with the myth that Windows is unstable - all modern OSs are pretty stable, but Windows 7 even survives graphics driver crashes that take down Linux and OS X, and I've had black-screen-on-boot when upgrading Ubuntu due to driver problems.)

    I like Windows, Linux and Android (and Amiga back in the day), so I'm not taking sides. The idea that GNU/Linux isn't ready for ordinary users is also nonsense.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 1998 is calling...

    Most banks run on mainframes, AIX, Solaris, Linux, Windows and HPUX.

    Also, they use other stuff.

    Take out any one of those OS's and you'll probably take the bank down. I even caught a bank installing a new copy of Windows 2000 for mission critical internet services not so long ago.

    Do ya feel lucky, punk?

  41. toadwarrior

    I'm on a 6 or 7 year old thinkpad running Ubuntu. The only change to the system is an SSD and my boot up time is easily in line with that, possibly less. The bios is arguably more of a wait than anything else.

  42. Rampant Spaniel

    I took the plunge and put win 8 on an old laptop after trying to get used to it on a vm. It's faster than vista and boots faster (to a useable state) than win 7. Apart from still swearing a hell of a lot at it being awkward to use I have found it solid and reliable.

    I'm genuinely curious (not in a bitchy commentard fashion) as to how it is buggy? I'd love to know before I start risking (or being forced) to use it for actual work and find out I just wasn't testing something.

    Win 8 seems ok for casual non work use, even better than vista and on a par with win 7. It works well with a touch screen if your activites are going to basically be facebook \ hulu \ gmail but it's clunky for actual work, especially without a touch screen. Depending on what you want to do it's either great or abysmal.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2 have been decent. My Server 2012 VM though, every time I RDP into it, I get a screen telling me my server was restarted due to an error!

  44. The_Regulator

    "Win 8 seems ok for casual non work use, even better than vista and on a par with win 7. It works well with a touch screen if your activites are going to basically be facebook \ hulu \ gmail but it's clunky for actual work, especially without a touch screen"

    I sort of agree with you on a par with Win 7 but not sure why you would say its clunky for actual work without a touch screen....Unless you actually need a touch screen working in the desktop environment of Win 8 is either the same or better than using the same computer for windows 7. Unless your in a field where you require a touch screen to test your work I can't think of many reasons why you would need a touch screen for work purposes right now?

  45. RICHTO Silver badge

    Re: Reliability

    Try upgrading from the beta....That Hyper-V issue was fixed a year ago....

  46. Graham Dawson

    The writer seems to have an odd view of linux as basically just Gnome + Unity. KDE (yes, yes, I went there) is wonderfully touch-friendly and a very different user experience to gnome. Just as widespread, too.

    But then, you see, that still makes the mistake of thinking Linux = UI. Android is Linux. Simple as. It's a fork of the kernel - but it's slowy being merged back into the trunk - sitting under all the same userspace tools, or at least a large subset of them, and it has a fancy Java-based UI on top. In that sense it's no different to Ubuntu, it just has more market penetration in the tablet space.

    So the Linux tablet is already here. What we don't have is a gnome tablet, which is an entirely different kettle of fish. I don't want a gome tablet. I'd be rather keen on a KDE/Plasma tablet, but I have an android tablet. And they are all (or would be) Linux tablets.

    Now back to the boxing day belly-ache. Turkey sandwich anyone?

  47. Mikel

    Came here to post this

    The author is still trying to declare victory in a battle that was never fought.

  48. MountfordD

    Absolutely right. The writer is confusing Linux with the desktop (that's what years of using Windows does to you).

    Furthermore, he says:

    "Pair a Linux tablet with a hardware keyboard and mouse and you'd have a great little three-piece laptop replacement"

    ... already done - the Raspberry Pi.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same userspace?

    I'm sorry, but you're dead wrong. While it still uses the same kernel, that's where the similarities stop.

    The C library is Bionic, not the GNU one. The shell is mksh, not bash, etc.

  50. Karl H

    re "I don't want a gnome tablet"

    and since gnome3 , I dunno if I want a gnome desktop on Linux.

    gnome2 was pretty good with ubuntu's 10.04 implementation

    and then it all went wrong . Oh why did they break it so badly ? Even forgetting about Unity the classic gnome on Ubuntu 11.xx onwards is pretty broken to me.

    At work I'm now on Ubuntu 12.04 but with XFCE , which is okay , but in my opinion not as nice as Ubuntu 10.04 and gnome. At home I've left Ubuntu 10.04 with gnome on my desktop.

    I couldn't stand Windows 7 on my daughter's ex-laptop ( which is now mine, she gets the upgrades in my house, sumin going WRONG there ! ), and it is about to be Ubuntu 10.04-ed.


This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018