back to article Remix OS: China's take on an Android operating system – but for PCs

Jide’s Remix OS is Android for a desktop or tablet OS: with multitasking, overlapping windows and the shortcut conveniences you need for productivity-style work. And the firmware tweaks to make it run well on x86 processors. I’ve seen what the next billion internet users will be running. Jide was founded by three Google …

Linux

Finally!

The Year of Linux on the Desktop is at hand!

???

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Anonymous Coward

@tony72 - Re: Finally!

Small correction here: The Year of Linux Kernel on the Desktop. The rest is OK.

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Linux

Re: Finally!

Will we be getting an equivalent SadNad moment?

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FIA

Re: @tony72 - Finally!

Small correction here: The Year of Linux Kernel on the Desktop. The rest is OK.

<pedant>

Erm, that /is/ Linux. The rest of the stuff is GNU, but everyone forgets that most of the time.

</pedant>

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Re: @tony72 - Finally!

On my systems, something over 80% of the packages do not originate from GNU. I'm sure that's typical.

It would make as little sense to call it LibreOffice/Linux as GNU/Linux.

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Re: @tony72 - Finally!

Well there are questions being asked about Remix OS and whether it violates the GPL and Apache licenses by not releasing full source code...

Additionally, I note that the standard release of Remix OS for Windows doesn't come pre-rooted...

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Disappointed

Every "new" OS these days still uses Linux for most underlying functions. That's fine, and I'm sure it speeds up development immeasurably, but it's not really new.

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Re: Disappointed

True, maybe because its more secure than a MS Windows OS and its Open Source and it works :)

although I will stick with Linux Mint on my Alienware Laptop :)

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jzl

Re: Disappointed

> "True, maybe because its more secure than a MS Windows OS and its Open Source and it works :)"

I think @Buzzword's point isn't that it's better than Windows. It's just that it's not new.

I agree. All the major operating system kernels have been around for ages now. It'd be nice to see something genuinely new spring up and gain traction, just for a bit of variety.

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Re: Disappointed

@jzl

I assume it's the cost, you get estimates of anything from 1bn to 3bn USD and up to develop the 2.6 Linux kernel, it would take a lot of balls to start from scratch and try to leap frog iOS, Android or even Windows, better off with a new wallpaper job and a big marketing budget.

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Re: Disappointed, no "new" OSes

Well, a new non-Linux, non-Windows, non-BSD OS is a tall order. Look at Kolibri for an example -- after years and years of work on what appears to be a helluva concept, it runs. it runs very fast, apparently, having been written in assembly. But it doesn't run much; the ecosystem of applications is quite sparse.

Haiku, based on BeOS, is still in alpha release after 14 or 15 years. But it runs some BeOS R5 applications.

It's tough to make something genuinely new, and even tougher to get an application ecosystem built.

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Re: Disappointed, no "new" OSes

>Well, a new non-Linux, non-Windows, non-BSD OS is a tall order.

Nor is QNX new (indeed, it is long battle-hardened in safety-critical systems), and it underpins BB10 which can run some Android apps (with some voodoo).

QNX's small size and real-time nature actually make it a better fit for most IoT applications than Linux. However, it is not open source, so organisations will build their wares on the potentially sub-optimal* but cheaper and more convenient starting point of Linux.

*sub-optimal in the horses-for-courses sense. I'm not knocking Linux per se.

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jzl

Re: Disappointed, no "new" OSes

Oh I agree. It's definitely the cost, which is massive.

Still a shame :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Disappointed, no "new" OSes

Minix and GNU Hurd are even older than Linux. Neither have a particularly large application ecosystem.

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While I'm happy to see Jide's Remix OS doing well, and undoubtedly PC compatibility is huge, I feel rather salty that their support of the ultra-tablet (Which was their first devide) was so short lived. It was released last year as a kickstarter campaign and has not recieved an update to Remix OS 2 (the one in this article). You can kludge that OS onto the ultratablet, but you have to wipe the device to do it. Can't be a**ed doing that as I bought it as a productivity device. Jide have a lot to learn about the 'real world' of productivity where devices need supporting for more than 8 months, and not everyone buys new devices yearly.

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Promising

If successful, it would achieve what MS wanted with Windows 8 all together.

I keep finding the lethargy of google on this area quite amazing, there is an enormous opportunity for an unified android for phones tablets and desktops. Also with phones which can be used as PC.

Combined with google apps, google could offer an alternative for Windows PC's which would be hard to ignore by CFO's.

Maybe they have some kind of agreement with MS not to do this.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Promising

Android N goes further than Marshmallow with side by side and freeform windows. they just need to add the "start button and tool bar" and a windows 10 competitor is ready to roll.

;-) and it has the Google Play store or other alternatives as well. which actually have apps unlike the Microsoft one.

If it can run a "desktop" browser and MS office for Android thats all a lot of people will need.

Motorola Bring Back an Updated Axrix running Modern Android on some Powerful CPU.

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Anonymous Coward

@naive - Re: Promising

Android on my desktop ? Not in a thousand years from now!

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Re: @naive - Promising

>Combined with google apps, google could offer an alternative for Windows PC's which would be hard to ignore by CFO's.

Android is a bugger to keep up to date and patched. Some technical reasons dating back to Android 1.0 mean that keeping Android promptly updated and patched is a mess. Hence Google's ChromeOS, which can be kept up to date very easily.

>I keep finding the lethargy of google on this area quite amazing, there is an enormous opportunity for an unified android for phones tablets and desktops.

Android apps are largely geared towards a touchscreen interface. ChromeOS apps are more geared towards mouse and keyboard. ChromeOS is more modern than Android, and was no doubt designed with knowledge earned from the development of Android. i.e pitfalls were avoided.

>Also with phones which can be used as PC.

Meh. So say MS and Ubuntu. I can't be arsed. Much better user experience from buying discrete SoC-on-a-HDMI-stick - the bill of materials is pretty low. Software should be used instead to manage syncing active documents etc between phone and stick. More akin to Apple's (actually existing and used) 'Continuity' feature twixt iOS and OSX machines. It's the better idea - so steal it.

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Re: @naive - Promising

"Android is a bugger to keep up to date and patched. Some technical reasons dating back to Android 1.0 mean that keeping Android promptly updated and patched is a mess. Hence Google's ChromeOS, which can be kept up to date very easily."

That's wrong. Native Android devices (Nexus) for example get security patches on a regular basis. Only the screwed up Carrier controlled forked versions of Android are like you are saying, That's not Google, that's the carriers fault.

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Re: @naive - Promising

>"Android is a bugger to keep up to date and patched...

>>That's wrong. Native Android devices (Nexus) for example get security patches on a regular basis

Sorry, I mean that Android is a bugger for the *vendors* to keep patched and up to date.

Google release the new code, Platform Development Kit, to the chipset vendors (eg Qualcom) who then release a Board Support Package to the ODM (in the case of Nexus, that might mean LG or HTC or whoever). Test, and repeat if needed. With Nexus devices is no carrier involved to slow things down further, but the update might still have to be tested by regulatory authorities. Repeat if needed.

So updates for Nexus devices will be quicker than for others, but it still requires more effort on the part of the involved parties than it would if Google were to create a mobile OS from scratch today.

Or course this is transparent (not a bugger!) for the end-user, so you're correct in that way.

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Re: @naive - Promising

Android on my desktop ? Not in a thousand years from now!

Well, sure. I don't think anyone expects to be running Android on anything in 3016.

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I wonder how much data slurping it will do, mind you it will still be less than Win 10 does !

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Boffin

kernels and...

if you are reading around, you will have observed reports of "converged kernels" are now available.

In other words, you can boot linux as normal and could run this "remix" or android apps, as a normal app.

Of course this has been available for a while (libhybris? chrome apps), but it is nice to finished product arise...

P.

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LDS
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The Chinese government would like an Android OS...

.... all the user data slurping facilities are already built in. They would love Windows 10 also for the same reason, if only MS allowed them to modify "telemetry" to be redirected to China's own "support teams".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Chinese government would like an Android OS...

"if only MS allowed them to modify "telemetry" to be redirected to China's own "support teams".

wont be long: on customer data protection grounds or national security or probably both. China will say that if MS want to sell Windows 10 in china they will have to install a "support team" and data centre in China.

then they will move on to Android which being more fragmented will be a lot harder to control.

Then they will hit Apple. But by then Apple will say fine BUT even with support and data centres on Foreign soil with the updated security we have introduced in 2016 due to the FBI attempted to force us to hack one of our devices and end to end encryption there is NO way for us to access the data or re-engineer the firmware on a device to hack it. we will happily give you full access to the encrypted data have fun decrypting it yourself.

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Re: The Chinese government would like an Android OS...

LOL "Have fun decrypting it yourself" and that's the attitude they all should have taken to totalitarian regimes years ago.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Chinese government would like an Android OS...

who is to say what is and what is not a totalitarian Regime.

should be the attitude all OS and Tech firms take in all cases in all countries.

If its a Black box to the company that made it "hopefully" its a black box to everyone else.

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Totalitarian regimes

The US government does all the stuff we were told when I was a kid that totalitarian regimes like the USSR and East Germany did that made them bad and their citizens not free, and us good and free because we didn't do them. If it quacks like a duck...

Spying on everything, check: PRISM (and whatever code name has replaced it doing the same thing)

Informing on your neighbors, check: "If you see something, say something" - US Homeland Security

Forcing companies to support government spying, in progress: See Apple/FBI case.

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Boffin

Re: The Chinese government would like an Android OS...

'if only MS allowed them to modify "telemetry" to be redirected to China's own "support teams"'

They don't need to redirect it, they just intercept the packets passing through the Great Firewall.

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Why x86?

Why not just produce cheaper laptops running on beefed up ARM chips?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why x86?

they do both:

the tablet (NVIDIA Tegra 4*1 A15 Processor 1.81GHz) and MINI(1.2GHz quad-core cortex A53 (64-bit) Allwinner) are Arm based, they are doing X86 software to expand their market in to existing PC and laptop architecture that is already out there.

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Re: Why x86?

Because most of the cost of a laptop or PC isn't in the CPU; if you want to match the features of current x86 laptops (comparable screens, SSDs, construction etc), there wouldn't be as much cost savings as you might think from using ARM instead of x86, even before you get into economies of scale. It seems like they are working on ARM hardware, but I'll be surprised if they're much cheaper than equivalent x86 machines.

And of course, the x86 laptops and PCs already exist in vast quantities, so why not take advantage of them?

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Great but...

How do you install the 32 Bit version to a netbook HDD without an OS, being as the installer needs to run from within Windows...

"NOTE: Currently, installation tool only supports Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10, with a minimum capacity of 8GB. Users of other operating systems, please install on USB flash drive."

As the netbook is USB 2.0 it runs like a dog off the key...

Fix that and I might revisit.

Ended up using Android-x86 5.1.1.-rc1 instead.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Great but...

If you have a look on the many forums, Google groups, XDA there is an answer to most questions.

to install on a HDD as the only OS:

boot the ISO file

Select RESIDENT on the boot menu

Hit TAB

Add: INSTALL=1 to the last line and hit enter

Havent managed to get it to work on my eeepc yet but looking forward to see how this progresses,

I want to keep it as far away from Google or other slurping as possible without play store and only side loading the apps i want im hopeful but will need network monitoring to be sure,

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Re: Great but...

@AC I got it installed on an old eeepc last week. I created the RemixOS USB then booted into a live Xubuntu drive on another port and DDd the image onto the HDD. Worked a treat. Only problem is I can't think of anything I need to use it for - it doesn't load or run as quickly as a lightweight Linux distro.

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Hmmm, Intel and Android...

... a dead end shirley. My money is on Linux and ARM. Time will tell...

(Could pedants please point out there is AMD as well as Intel in the x86 sphere and that Android is Linux, thanks...)

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Happy

Re: Hmmm, Intel and Android...

Yes, I agree regarding AMD, competition is good as they say. But Intel was not mentioned in the article even once. Android is Linux, I agree there too, but then again the "name" Linux has never, I think, been used in marketing and was it not rather similar with Unix, was it not more like HP-UX, Aix, Solaris and so forth.

Around 2000 I started to follow how Linux started to take over the top500 supercomputer list. I asked the guys why they did not mention the OS used and they kindly responded that they just didn't. Eventually they changed their mind. By then I think one in two run Linux.

In this article:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/03/15/serious_unboxing_dell_unpacks_230_node_cluster_at_csiro/

Linux is not mentioned because it has become the default.

Some of you might remember the huge excitement when Apple got one into the list (for a while).

The reason Linux is not mentioned is simply that there is no marketing behind Linux, it's not necessary.

As for HPC it's not only Linux but but a hell of a lot of software developed for the task by many companies.

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Re: Hmmm, Intel and Android...

>there is AMD as well as Intel in the x86 sphere

There is AMD, but they have been struggling to match Intel's performance/Watt for a while now, making them sub-optimal for mobile applications.

The trend over the last few years had been for laptops et al to be sold on the duration of their battery, as opposed to how fast they are outright. Since the tasks that most consumers put laptops to are already fast enough with existing CPUs, it seems a sensible choice.

- http://www.anandtech.com/show/10000/who-controls-user-experience-amd-carrizo-thoroughly-tested

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Re: Hmmm, Intel and Android...

If you want fast graphics with low power requirements, an AMD APU craps all over the Intel + separate graphics card equivalent.

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Re: Hmmm, Intel and Android...

>If you want fast graphics with low power requirements, an AMD APU craps all over the Intel + separate graphics card equivalent.

That's as maybe, but are you going to be using your fast graphics 100% of the time? Probably not.

If you use high-performance graphics for most of the time (you're a gamer, or run engineering simulations etc) then you'd do well not to stray too far from a wall socket, regardless of your CPU vendor.

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Android is Linux with cruft.

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Anonymous Coward

Android is Linux with cruft that's popular.

There, fixed that for you

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Android is Linux with cruft that's popular.

There, fixed that for you

Popular in the same way that Jeremy Kyle, Justin Beiber, The Sun newspaper and fried chicken shops are popular.

Fixed it more.

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"Android is Linux with cruft that just works out of the box.

Fixed the fix...

(And yes, I've tried Mint).

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Anonymous Coward

MS android TAX

I wonder if Microsoft have hit Jide with the old you are infringing on our patents with this Android software pay up or go to court line yet?

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Re: MS android TAX

I doubt it, Jide are based in China...

MS will wait until a major business or government in the US or a Trade Treaty area start to use Remix and pay them a visit...

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Re: MS android TAX

Trade treaty area? You mean like a country covered under the TPP?

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Re: MS android TAX

Trade treaty area? You mean like a country covered under the TPP?

Not specifically, basically anywhere the USA have a trade treaty that recognises US IP and provides for the means for US companies to shakedown users and enforce US patents... So that includes Europe, NAFTA, TPP etc.

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another desktop linux

Woo hoo - finally someone's really committed to making a usable linux for the desktop aimed at non-techie users.

Now stick it in the pile with all the others and wake me up in 5 years if there's any more than a few techies using it ("0.2 probability" as Gartner would say)

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