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 …

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  1. Steen Hive
    Facepalm

    "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.

    1. edge_e
      Unhappy

      comments

      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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

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

        I totally concur ...

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. 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.

            1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          2. kissingthecarpet
            Linux

            Re: Android is a Linux distro

            Exactly - It seems that few understand this.

      2. 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.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          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.

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          2. 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 deader....samsung and apple ownt the mobile mkt.

            e99

            1. 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.

      3. 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.

        1. DoctorNine
          Pint

          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.

      4. 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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      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)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The one thing that unix does well is 1982.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          The Lemming fixation with startup times....

          ...it'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?

          1. 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!

            1. amehaye
              Facepalm

              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.

          2. 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?

        2. 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.

          1. 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!

          2. 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.

        3. 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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC

      "The one thing that unix does well is 1982"

      I think 1982 are where you get your jokes from.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @AC

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

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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?

      2. 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.

        1. 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?

      3. 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.

        1. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      1982?

      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.

  3. 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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Reliability

      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!

      1. RICHTO Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Reliability

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

    2. 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?

  4. Graham Dawson
    Pint

    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?

    1. Mikel
      Happy

      Came here to post this

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

    2. 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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Asus Transformer?

        1. Graham Dawson

          > Asus Transformer?

          Marvellous machine. Mine is still going strong after nearly two years. I think. I've written an entire novel on it. I'm considering replacing it with a padphone or one of those fancy slender models Asus do, at which point I'll likely start experimenting with some version of Linux + KDE just to see how well it works.

        2. IGnatius T Foobar

          Asus Transformer

          I've got an Asus Transformer and it's an absolutely stunning machine. Android runs wonderfully on this form factor. I've completely replaced my laptop with this device. And in those rare instances when I need "a desktop" -- I simply use the Jump Desktop client to remote-control the desktop on my DESK.

          And yes, the Android stack has a Linux kernel in it. Linux is alive, well, and WINNING.

    3. 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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Same userspace?

        Does Linux sound like userspace to you? Does the word Linux sound kind of similar to GNU? It's a very interesting language you speak if it does, which is not what the rest of us are speaking. Linux is a kernel. So to say Android is not Linux is correct. It is incorrect, however, to say that there are no tablets running Linux. In fact, according to what I read in this article, it seems like the majority of tablets run Linux.

        It's a wonder to me how it possible to twist everything and double speak till the exact opposite expression is made from "facts". Oh well, I suppose I should follow politics more and then I'd understand this blabber.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Same userspace?

          No, to me GNU sounds like stinking pile of hippy garbage...

          Long live the BSDs!

    4. 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.

      1. keithpeter
        Linux

        CentOS - Re: re "I don't want a gnome tablet"

        "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."

        CentOS 6 / Scientific Linux 6 / Springdale Linux 6 (formerly PUIAS Linux) are RHEL clones with updates until well after I retire. Rougly similar kernel and applications to Ubuntu 10.04 with incremental updates. Grab a live CD and try it on your hardware. I'm leaving CentOS 6.3 on my recycled thinkpad until it dies, while I continue to ride the Ubuntu rollercoaster on my home desktop (well, it keeps me alert, dodging the low branches).

        Back on the nut roast bagels...

      2. Amorous Cowherder

        Re: re "I don't want a gnome tablet"

        @Karl H

        I gave up with Ubuntu at 11.04, switched to Mint which is how a lean modern Debian based Linux distro should be put together!

      3. kissingthecarpet
        Linux

        Re: re "I don't want a gnome tablet"

        I've been for Gnome all the way....until now. I've surprised myself by how upset I am over Gnome 3 - as @Karl H says "Oh why did they break it so badly ?"

        Looks like as toss-up between an XFCE or similar or KDE...... Still sticking with the mighty Debian Testing though :-)).

        PS Re:Userspace tools - Even if the C lib & shell is different, its probably got the same tools though, or they can be built....

        Funny to read the Windows users "expert opinions" on Linux

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The writer seems to have an odd view of linux as basically just Gnome + Unity."

      Graham, the author does not have a fucking clue about anything Linux, much as he keeps insisting. I wonder how come his articles are even accepted by the Reg in the first place. Just have a look at the other stuff he wrote. It's just embarrassing.

    6. John Savard Silver badge

      To the World

      Windows is the ability to run Windows applications, and Linux is the ability to run Linux applications.

      I realize Android devices typically run on ARM hardware, not x86, but I can't see a way on my Android tablet to build, say, FontForge from source. In fact, I can't find GCC on it anywhere.

      The OS = the platform, not so much the UI. The applications it lets you run. What bits of code it uses matters not, except to tech aficionados. Android may be a moral victory for Linux, but it's not a market share victory that encourages people to develop for Linux.

  5. Neil Lewis
    Thumb Down

    KDE/Plasma is a much better contender

    Really, if your idea of Linux as a touch OS is a variant of Ubuntu or Red Hat using Gnome or Unity, then it's no wonder you'd think it's a hopeless quest. One of the things the KDE team did right a few years ago when transitioning to KDE4 was to rebuild from the ground up so that the environment could be easily redesigned to suit many and varied paradigms without needing further redesign of the underlying system. Plasma is a fantastic touch interface, more modern and arguably better than iOS, Android or Metro.

    As usual with any attempt to get Linux into the mainstream, it's not the quality or usability which will be the problem but the inertia and vested interests of device manufacturers and consumers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Linux

      Re: KDE/Plasma is a much better contender

      Couldn't agree more about KDE. Everyone moaned about the changes when KDE4 first came along but now you can see why those engineering decisions were made all that time ago. The challenge for the KDE team is to release a finished stable version of the touch interface without their usual monthly tinkering where features are pulled or added by complete surprise.

      KDE is a great desktop interface, I'd love to see a good stable version on a tablet.

      1. Graham Dawson

        Re: KDE/Plasma is a much better contender

        Likewise. I saw a demo of Plasma on the n900 some time back and it looked rather spiffy, albeit a little slow as it wasn't particularly optimised. It did all the necessaries though.

        Given a little time it could easily contend with Android for the mobile space.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rate this article: 1/5

    Since The Powers That Be have taken away the official Rate This Article button, perhaps the Payers That Be (that'll be you, dear readers, whose pageviews pay the bills at TheRegister) should start a crowdsourced RateThisArticle, especially for the ones at the top of the pile or at the bottom.

    Spread the word. And remember, vote early, vote often.

  7. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    It's the interface...

    I see a lot of arguments over which OS is best, but they are almost all really about the GUI. Where does MS get dinged most when changing Windows versions? The GUI. What makes Linux tablets unlikely? The GUI. What makes Apple fanbois weak in the knees? No comment. Most folks don't care about what's under the hood (present company excluded), but they do care that they can get in a do what they want to do without having to fight with their systems or they have to re-learn how to open and close a document with every new version of their OS.

    1. itzman

      Re: It's the interface...

      spot on the button. Linux is an operating system. X windows is the GI and the GUI is down to whatever bloated load of wombat turds you prefer.

      There is no point in loading a mouse,keyboard, big screen GUI onto a fondleslab. Android IS the Linux GUI for fondleslabs. It seems, from a safe distance, to work.

      End of matter.

      Linux is already the choice for servers. Desktop users of the more trivial sort are abandoning desktop machines for their I-Bling anyway. So there is likley to be no mass market for machines with mice and keyboards.

      Those will become professional; workstations. And when they do Apple and Microsoft will probably abandon them to LInux anyway.

    2. M Gale

      Re: It's the interface...

      Android is a bit more than just a GUI. It's a whole stack of software that basically uses Linux as a hypervisor to run each app in its own VM. Not quite the same as selecting "Android" from the drop-down list of KDE, Gnome, XFCE and whatever other X window managers you have installed.

      Would be nice to see an official Dalvik for Linux though, made as easy as clicking an "androidclient" icon in the package manager, with Google apps support, and maybe with some kind of copy/paste and file support through to the host OS. Maybe have a go at showing Microsoft how you do "everything at once".

  8. jb99

    And this is the problem,

    Tablet interfaces don't work on PCs, and PC interfaces don't work on tablets.

    This is the fundemental problem with windows 8, it tries to have both and instead of being the best of both worlds it's ended up feeling second rate on both platforms.

    Luckily this is so self evident that the current blip of the windows 8 interface won't last long, it will soon evolve into one interface to tablets and a second for PCs

    1. RISC OS

      Re: And this is the problem,

      I don't know what version of windows 8 you tried but I find the metro interface great, an dthe desktop too, I have no problem using both and before you wet yourself with the deslusion that I don't use it for real work, I do.

      1. jason 7

        Re: And this is the problem,

        Same here. I don't use the Metro side much, but it has novelty value.

        However, the desktop still works just as fine for me as it did in 3.1/95/98SE/NT/2000/XP/Vista and 7.

        I haven't had any issues at all. Neither has anyone else that I've rolled it out to.

      2. breakfast
        Holmes

        Re: And this is the problem,

        This is a very suspicious comment. Why would RISC OS be using anything other than RISC OS, hmmm?

        I call shenanigans.

    2. The_Regulator
      Windows

      Re: And this is the problem,

      I agree eventually it will evolve and very possibly seperate thats what windows 8 is all about, major change to an aging system. The problem is the trolls and dinosaurs can't seem to deal with any kind of change so instead of embracing it they need to rant and rave about how its not this, it doesnt do that etc.

      Windows 8 Pro is great, I use the apps in metro for my news consumption, game scores for sports etc etc and I work everything else that I do business and consumer use the same way I always have done with Win7 and earlier while getting more stability than I had in Win7/Vista/XP.

      It's a win win people, if you don't want to give it a chance fine but don't knock it just because you think it sucks!!!

  9. b166er

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

    Or do the same with the Windows 8 one you've got (which would appear to be Microsoft's intention, certainly when the Pro ones arrive) and you'll have that too, surely?

    Either you want a tablet or you want a laptop OR you want a SMALL laptop with consequences (the evolution of the netbook).

    I would have a small laptop with consequences personally, but I'll wait for the Surface Pro. Although the Lenovo Yoga does look interesting.

    Now, Santa, where's my folding screen?

    1. Andus McCoatover
      Windows

      Home use, bluetooth KB and mouse.

      'Mobile' use, use as is.

      But my problem with my tablet is that it can't stand up like a laptop. Trying to use it to talk to my mate on Skype yesterday - had to use a judicious arrangement of books to prop it at a decent angle, so video worked. (Could've held it, but I wanted a smoke, and drink my coffee.)

      I think the neatest must be this laptop: Dell XPS 12 Convertible Touch Ultrabook, Windows 8, but it's freakingly expensive at $1,200, base price, $1,700!! Laptop and fondleslab, in one, tho'.

      But, I'm convinced this is the evolution path. tHere's no doubt others out there I'm not aware of....

      http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-12-l221x/pd

      1. The_Regulator
        Windows

        Re: Home use, bluetooth KB and mouse.

        Or you could buy a microsoft surface with a built in kick stand :)

        Skype might crash a few times or drain your battery too much but hey you would have not needed the books!!

  10. Bill Neal
    WTF?

    Android

    Am I the only one around who is actually happy with Android on tablets?

    1. ricegf
      Linux

      Re: Android

      Apparently not - Android holds almost 50% of the tablet market and growing. As far as I can tell, Android is the best Linux UI for touch, just as bash is probably the best command line interface. The desktop is a tougher call - Ubuntu's Unity seems to have the biggest user base at 20 million machines (and I use it on a couple of my machines), but we have so many additional choices in KDE, Gnome, Cinnamon, Mate, and several others that I'm not sure you can claim a consensus "best" yet. Time will tell. Maybe.

      1. The_Regulator

        Re: Android

        If "Linux" using the term loosely here had less fragmentation maybe it could actually compete better in the desktop space with the likes of MSFT and Apple no? Just an observation.

        1. Graham Dawson
          Pint

          Re: Android

          Linux is not "fragmented". It is adapted to multiple environments and capable of running the same tools and applications on the vast majority of them. Those environments where you can't run, say, Konqueror are probably not suited for desktop browsing in the first place.

          To pick a random example, I could run abiword on my old n900, my desktop computer and, with a bit of tinkering, my router. Okay, a lot of tinkering, and it's probably not much fun running a word processor and all the other bits necessary to make that happen on a router, over a vnc session. It would be a dog.

          But that's sort of the point. Linux doesn't fragment. You wouldn't want to have the exact same user experience across divergent devices. By the logic you're employing, Apple is fragmented because it has completely different user interfaces on iOS and OSX and can't run the same applications. It's a laughably stupid argument, yes? So why are you making the exact same laughably stupid argument about Linux?

          Merry boxingmas.

        2. ricegf
          Linux

          Re: Android

          > If "Linux" using the term loosely here had less fragmentation maybe it could actually compete better in the desktop space with the likes of MSFT and Apple no?

          No.

          Linux is a technology, not a product (I think you allude to that by your "loosely" comment). Technologies don't hold market share, products do. The ONLY for-profit corporation making a serious play for the desktop to my knowledge is Canonical, with about 20 million active installations of Ubuntu (based on unique IP accesses to their update servers) as of 2011, along with a range of related products such as the Ubuntu Software Center, UbuntuOne media store, cloud services, and enterprise offerings.

          In contrast, Linux was FAR more "fragmented" in mobile a couple of years back, with Bada (a Samsung product), WebOS (championed by Palm and then HP), Maemo/Meego (Nokia's former future), and Android (an odd little OS from Google). Yet Android has quickly captured a majority of the mobile market, even without the ability to run Bada, WebOS or Meego apps (eek! fragmentation!!!).

          Compare that to Steam, Firefox, LibreOffice, Chrome, Netflix - they all run on most Linux-based desktop products, though some are only "officially" supported on Ubuntu and only Ubuntu is seriously working commercial deals with vendors and developers as far as I can tell.

          I have no idea whether Canonical will continue to gain desktop market share, but if they don't, clearly fragmentation won't be the cause.

        3. garbo
          Linux

          Re: Android

          But is "Linux" trying to compete? Which organization similar to Apple or Windows is pushing Linux? Maybe Canonical but I haven't seen the ads, shows, Balmer-style antics. .

          I'd say most Linux users don't care if others use it or not. They choose a distro' then a version then a GUI then change the whole system to suit their particular needs. That's why individuals use Linux.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Android

        Bash is buggy rubbish spread only because it was default on Lînux. Its Posix mode is not complete, its array implementation bizarre. Still, it's a very good stimulus to use Perl more, while using ksh/posix sh for things best done in shell (and awk for real work. :) )

        Actually, most Linux rewrites of utilities are sad: they took the UNIX philosopy of doing one thing simply and well, binned it and added a thousand options with two or three forms per option, plus spurious colours, just to save the effort of using a pipe or filter. The result is that nobody knows all the options and all tend to type some magic spell of options that seem to work, regardless of the utility of the output.

        Bah! Give me a real UNIX, system V or BSD, any day, written and reviewed by software engineers and not by home hackers and self-taught, would-be geniuses. If you had had to work with the software of some people, as I have, who claimed to have had their "fixes" for "bugs" in the filing system or some utility "accepted", you would run a thousand kilometres to avoid "Linux".

      3. Keith Smith 1
        WTF?

        Re: Android

        The best command line interface is tcsh not bash. Bash is better for scripting.

    2. Graham Dawson

      Re: Android

      My only two gripes about Android are the way it manages multitasking and the way Android-based systems are so locked down. I like to get a command-line interface to play with because I'm a tinkerer, but rooting and installing a terminal emulator gives me a lot of options in that regard. The multitasking issue is more fundamental. A few times, to begin with, I lost quite a lot of writing on my Asus transformer because I switched away from the app without saving and came back later to find it had been dumped from active memory and lost all my work.

      Frustrating.

      Other than the enforced "save all the time" regime, which is good practice anyway, I have almost no complaints. Now if only I could get jellybean on my phone...

      1. ScissorHands
        Holmes

        Re: Android

        Should have bought an N900 or an N9 while you could. Developer mode user-accessible SWITCH that auto installs a terminal and SDK "remote debugging", and true multitasking were all your apps are working in the background. Battery life does not suffer unduly and it's a true Linux (Debian-based, smallbox shell, glibc).

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Android

      "Am I the only one around who is actually happy with Android on tablets?" Nope, very happy with Android on a Nexus tablet. But also more than very happy with even old Windows Tablet Edition on my old hp TC1100, which can do more than any tablet. And for all the fanboys out there feeling smug, the author seems to have skipped over the fact that using an iPad has exactly the same frustrations as using a Win8 tablet. I'm typing this on an iPad and it is immensely frustrating compared to a Linux or Windows laptop or PC. Tablets are still great as consumption devices, crap for actual productive tasks.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Android

      Of course not.

      Apple play games in this area, they cherrypick the £60 Supermarket tablets, the ones without Google Play store, and come with resistive touchscreens, and pretend this is the typical Android tablet experience.

      The idiots that pay £400 upwards for their tablets are all to happy to believe this is the real story, when we all know it's not.

      Even the most inbred Apple owners are usually impressed when I show them a jellybean powered Nexus7, and then I break the news that me and missus have 1 each, for the price they paid. They then go on to talk about having heard at a Apple conference that all Android apps are just "big smartphone apps", which again is utter bullshit and I show them the apps I use, and very few of them fit into that category. I then break the news to them that that too is a double edged sword, and they where they buy separate copies of their apps for iPhone and iPad, this is rarely the case on Android, where the single APK has both smartphone and tablet layouts included that share the same business logic. Infact Swiftkey is the only example that breaks that rule of thumb on Android.

      Apple owners believe any old shit to make it seem like their overpriced tablet is worth it.

      1. Andus McCoatover
        Windows

        Re: Android

        RESISTIVE touchscreens??? HUH??? I've just used one, a very big one in Oulu City (They've several of these black monoliths mainly for tourist and visitor use) and it was about as responsive as my missus on a Friday night!

        Terrible. OK, it's -10C at the moment but they were just as bad in the summer at +20.

        Herre's one, and it's a great idea seemingly thwarted by old tech.

        http://www.ubioulu.fi/sites/default/files/images/tn_kesa_valve.jpg

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Android

      Happily still doing all I need to do on the move with my ASUS TF-101.

      Just today I went looking for an app from a particular company website expecting to only find the Apple version, nope there they were both app-store versions of the app for Apple and Android. Things are simply getting better every day!

  11. Christian Berger Silver badge

    The big problem...

    The Unix philosophy is based on text. However text entry is hard on those devices.

    However there is no equivalent of the Unix philosophy for touch/pen based interfaces. Therefore touch/pen based interfaces are usually severely limited and unsuitable for anything except for document viewing and perhaps a bit of painting.

    What we need is someting like GRAIL which allows for complex input via pen interfaces. Back then you essentially drew a data flow path.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Re: The big problem...

      Yeh maybe in 1975, but things have moved on since then.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: The big problem...

        Carlton hasnt.

    2. Graham Dawson

      Re: The big problem...

      No, the unix philosophy is one program, one task. Text is the interface. You just made the same mistake as the author, confusing the GUI with the OS.

      1. Graham Dawson

        Re: The big problem...

        That should be UI, not GUI... oh well. Silly fingers. :D

      2. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: The big problem...

        Well but the Unix philosophy also means that you enter your data and your programs the same way, as text. And that you can easily edit both.

        The Unix philosophy also means that you separate the UI from the actual program, even to a point where many tools don't even have their own UI and leave that task to text editors.

        What we do have in mobile devices is just a primitive mess. You cannot program them properly on the device itself. You need to load the software from "the side" just like on many pre-unix machines you couldn't load your software via the terminal.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The big problem...

      Yeah you just keep believeing that crap FUD that Apple/MS marketing depts spew out and you'll miss out on the great things that the world of FOSS has to offer.

      Ah well that's your loss!

  12. moiety

    There's a Chinese outfit called SmartQ that have been producing a linux tablet since around 2009:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SmartQ_5

    ...it wasn't especially practical; but that was at least as much down to the resistive screen. I still use mine to read books on.

  13. ScissorHands
    Facepalm

    Nokia Internet Tablets

    Like many things at Nokia, painfully ahead of their time and killed just when the times had caught up to them.

    1. The_Regulator

      Re: Nokia Internet Tablets

      Just read there may be a new Nokia Tablet coming to CES2013

      1. ScissorHands

        Re: Nokia Internet Tablets

        Not sure if serious. The rumoured new Nokia Tablet runs WindowsRT, the N770 to N900 (and the N9) ran Debian with different UI toolkits (Hildon, GTK and Qt).

  14. Cameron Colley

    I want a modernised HTC Universal running Maemo.

    Though I'd take Android. Worked as both a touch-screen and keyboard-based device. E eryone who saw me use it asked what it was and they were all impressed -- until I mentioed the price and that it ran Windows Phone.

  15. Tank boy
    Linux

    Possible omission?

    I guess the Kindle Fire doesn't rate as a tablet that runs Linux.

  16. Conor Turton

    Asus Transformer Prime from a hardware point of view seems to have it about right. A tweak of that so you can choose to boot into Android or Linux but with both having common shared folders for user files would be great. Even better if you could get it to auto switch from Android to Linux when you attached the keyboard.

  17. Tim K
    Mushroom

    "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. It simply doesn't work."

    Then why does nearly everyone agree that the opposite is true - that I want a tablet OS on my desktop? This idiotic trend has ruined just about every linux distro, and now Windows ...

  18. John Savard Silver badge

    Fragmentation

    I was wondering why there weren't Linux tablets out there already, since they would offer a full OS that could be scaled to a smaller processor. (Microsoft could sew up that market, though, by making Windows 3.1 available again.)

    What I found is that Nokia's MeeGo, the likeliest candidate, still lives on, but it's been forked: Sailfish on one hand, and something I can't even Google up again on the other.

    1. ricegf
      Linux

      Re: Fragmentation

      You're thinking of Tizen, which is the descendent of Intel's Moblin and runs "web apps" only. It principally targets embedded, particularly automotive where MeeGo had gained some traction.

      Sailfish is the descendent of Nokia's Maemo, built by the Nokia refugees that fled in 2011 when MeeGo (the ill-fated merger of Moblin and Maemo) was killed by Nokia's CEO (and former Microsoft VP) in favor of Win Phone 7. Sailfish runs native Qt apps as well as web apps and some legacy desktop apps for us old timers.

      So it wasn't so much that MeeGo forked as a recognition that the attempted merger of Moblin/Tizen and Maemo/Sailfish had failed.

  19. Wile E. Veteran
    Linux

    Tablet vs laptop/desktop

    I've seen few "ordinary" people purchase a fondleslab as the tool they intend to do creative work on or as a productivity tool. The majority use theirs to consume content. Fondleslabs exist *primarily* for that purpose. Fondleslabs consume content but _can_ be used for creative/productivity tasks, just not as conveniently. Desktops and laptops, on the other hand, are first and foremost creation/productivity platforms but _can_ consume content, just not as conveniently.

    Though the purposes are not in opposition, they are far from the same thing. As long as it provides a convenient and easy way to fulfill its purpose, each platform will succeed in its own space. Artists, musicians and writers have always been only a small percentage of the population and I see nothing in society or evolution that has changed that fact.

    The general market doesn't give a shit what's running under the hood, only how convenient to use the UI is. Since the UI on *nix is just another process running on the core, it is only the perceived lack of a convenient and easy UI that keeps "Linux" (per se) off the fondleslab (Android notwithstanding) and that can be remedied by "somebody else" at any time.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Tablet vs laptop/desktop

      >Fondleslabs consume content but _can_ be used for creative/productivity tasks, just not as conveniently.

      Depends on the task... ideally, for content creation, I would like to see a tablet integrated with the desktop/laptop software- using the tablet to house desktop tool-bars would be a simple example of this, or using the tablet as a digitiser.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Unfortunately, the PengPod seems doomed to mediocrity."

    I can't imagine that something called the 'PengPod' was created for any purpose other than to bait Apple's lawyers. Why in God's name would you put a bullseye on yourself like that? "Oh, it worked really well for Lindows - let's do it again!"

    1. ricegf
      Linux

      Lindows made lots of money, actually

      Actually, Microsoft paid Michael $20 million to avoid a ruling on whether "Windows" is a valid trademark. I don't think Microsoft won THAT battle - but they did avoid losing the war, which was of course their objective.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And the point of the article is? - fluff ?

    The fact that Linux is the kernel of Android means that Linux is in fact driving more devices than anything else!

    Linux *is* the kernel. Everything else on top of that kernel, well, it's just everything else, yeah?

    Or did you forget that most *very* simple of facts in the melee that's been Linux development over the decades?

    FFS, do some fucking research first! - how long does it take to first find this:

    "The defining component of a Linux-based operating system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released 5 October 1991 by Linus Torvalds.[11][12]"

    And then this:

    "Android is a Linux-based operating system designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers"

    Took me 30 seconds.

    1. MrRtd
      Thumb Up

      Re: And the point of the article is? - fluff ?

      Well said!

  22. Tom 7 Silver badge

    you think you want a full desktop computer on your tablet - I certainly did

    No you wanted a tablet - you didn’t want to do 'computing'. You, like many others, probably think that making a computer into a Media Player /glorified typewriter is the ultimate. Well it seems handy for most but then those of you who only want to walk down the shops don’t expect the road to be dug up beyond the shops just because that’s as far as you want to go so please don’t think everyone else should be limited to your poxy desktop because its the people that went past the shops to discovered how to disable the computer to the point that YOU can watch a video without suffering palpitations that need to be allowed out of your padded world.

  23. Haku

    After watching this yootoob vid about someone trying to use win8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTYet-qf1jo

    I have absolutely no interest in upgrading to it, heck I can't stand vista and I'm not much in favour of win7. Sure I'm still using XP (and I'm not that fond of it) but I 'know' it and it has a plethora of software out there that runs on it and most problems can be solved either by figuring it out yourself or a few seconds with google.

    What bothers me is that Microsoft and hardware manufacturers are forcing everyone onto new OS's wether they like it or not by bringing out new hardware and not producing drivers for old OSs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: After watching this yootoob vid about someone trying to use win8

      yep!!!

    2. The_Regulator
      Thumb Down

      Re: After watching this yootoob vid about someone trying to use win8

      "I have absolutely no interest in upgrading to it, heck I can't stand vista and I'm not much in favour of win7. Sure I'm still using XP "

      Win 7 is by far better than XP....

      You should change your nick to dinosaur because thats what you sound like!!

      1. Haku

        @The_Regulator

        Charming!

        A "luddite!" or "get with the times, grandad" attitude such as that towards me is certainly not a persuasive argument for moving to another OS when the one I'm using now does all I need.

        IMHO currently I do not believe I would gain anything by a switch to another OS (any other OS) other than frustration, indeed I believe I would needlessly waste time and money getting to grips with having to learn a new way of doing something I can already do with my current OS.

        Do you also look down on people who use typewriters because they're 'living in the past' by not using a computer with printer, or people who use a pen and paper because they're not using a touchscreen tablet?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @The_Regulator

          @The_Regulator

          Oi whipper snapper, when you grow up you'll realise that life consists of more than listening to the bullshit marketers and that life is actually happening outside your window. As you get older you'll start to hone down the things you need to get done to the bare minimum and you look for tools to get them done as quickly as possible. That way you can spend time on the imporant stuff that needs to get done in life, like families and outdoor hoobies, social clubs. Most of the foggies and dinosaurs on here have been through that upgrade journey many, many moons ago on complex systems when upgrades would consist of reading a 500 page upgrade guide, 6 weeks of planning and 2 days to implement, not shove in CD/USB and click Next, Next, Next. Most of us foggies have been there and done it before you were even a glint in the pizza delivery boy's eye! I would have said milkman's eye but you're probably too young to know that milk used to be delivered to the door step!

          I'm still more or less doing the same things in 2012 that I was doing in 2002 and probably even 1982! I play games, I write the odd letter, I keep records of my finanical odds and ends, I write a little bit of code. The only new thing I do these days that I didn't do "back in the day" is edit and print my digital photos. The only thing I need a reasonably up to spec machine and O/S for, as editing 750MB layered Photoshop files needs a bit of oomph.

          Leave us foggies alone, we're happy with stuff that does what we need as we don't have much time left and every second we do have is earmarked for more important stuff than dicking about with a new O/S.

          Dinosaurs of the world unite, we have nothing to lose but our out-of-date support agreements!

          1. The_Regulator

            Re: @The_Regulator

            Ohhhh I see, because I am younger than you I need to grow up...... and actually I am old enough to have had milk delivered to the house when I was growing up and to steal a few pints from the neighbors as well!!

            Perhaps (as I said to the other person here) you could have saved yourself some time by learning something new and more efficient, perhaps your incapable though....Did the 2 finger typing take long to get those paragraphs out?

            Make use of that valuable time old timer!! No need to respond unless you really want to as I know you will be chuffed to read this response :)

        2. The_Regulator

          Re: @The_Regulator

          Haha, allow me to retort!!!

          My point is that many many people (like yourself) simply knock a new product because they do not know how to use it and do not want to learn. Further to my point is that world moves forward, if you want to wallow in your mud thats cool but I have no interest hearing how your better off on XP when by your own admission you would not even choose to try windows Vista, 7 or 8. You should know that actually windows 7 and 8 (and I guess Vista too) are more stable and more efficient than the XP System you are using so perhaps you could have saved yourself some time somewhere along the line by learning one of them.....

          Your last comment I won't even bother responding to as it is merely rhetorical.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: "Win 7 is by far better than XP"

        At best, that sounds subjective. I believe that Win7 does a slightly better job of scheduling I/O than XP, but I doubt that's what you are referring to. I can't think of *any* end-user-visible feature in 7 that I'd rate as better than the equivalent in XP, and quite a few that I'd mark down quite heavily. But that's all subjective, too.

        Also, remember that the dinosaurs did not die out because something better came along, unless your definition of better includes geological worst-case-scenarios and the pests/vermin that can survive them.

    3. ricegf

      Re: After watching this yootoob vid about someone trying to use win8

      Gave my grandson a Win 8 laptop for Christmas yesterday, coincidentally, because that is the only version of Windows we can find. Took him 3 tries to solve the captcha (!) to set it up. Finally got in, and played "catch the charm" trying to get Flash to work on his favorite Facebook game (Adobe's insructions for fixing Win8 involved using a wrench charm that would only appear when the cursor was on the other side of the screen). I was astounded at the utter inane frustration of it all - did nobody at Microsoft TEST this crap?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: did nobody at Microsoft TEST this crap?

        I rather suspect that the problem is that no-one *outside* Microsoft was allowed to test this crap, so the only people involved in usability testing were either trained up in all the (undocumented) tricks or only asked to perform ludicrously simple tasks.

        I also rather suspect that nearly all the usability testing was done on touch-enabled devices, with the assumption that anyone with a mouse and keyboard would go straight through to the desktop and stay there.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still don't get…

    I really don't understand the 'war' between Apple device and Linux users. I use both. They're on the same side of the fence - beautiful, unix derived, OSes (and user environments) that can do anything that you require (as a geek) and that provide easy to use shells for the novice.

    Windows, which I also use and develop for, is on the other side of the fence. Committee designed OS inexplicably requiring additional software to perform the simplest task. Add to that the requirement for inexplicable software updates at random times and for certain tasks and its a big bloody no thanks from me. It pays the bills, but I certainly would choose to use it.

    The future belongs to Unix, but I couldn't care less which version.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Re: I still don't get…

      > I really don't understand the 'war' between Apple device and Linux users.

      Apple and Linux representing diametrically opposed design philosophies.

      Calling Apple products "Unix derived" ignores most of the defining qualities of Unix. Here it is useful to distinguish between kernels and the user level interfaces. Linux isn't just Linux. It's also GNU. Whereas MacOS is a proprietary interface that's bolted on top. Any kernel could be under there.

      It's Linux that has a Unix interface bolted on top of it.

      Get beyond that and you have "why not" versus "justify yourself".

      If you are the least bit creative, you will find Apple has put barriers in your way and you will find the Apple user community belittling you and what you want to do.

      MacOS is not Unix. Neither is PhoneOS.

      1. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: I still don't get…

        An interesting point. Personally, I've heard about these barriers - but I've never seen them myself. Perhaps they melt away when they see me coming. iOS certainly enjoys getting in the way of the user, which is fine on a phone (well it suits me, anyway) and a perfect bloody pain in the geek arse on a tablet. Thankfully, jail breaking isn't an onerous task and then iOS is as malleable as any other operating system. Mac OS X is nothing if not flexible - I can do everything on my OS X machine that I can do on Linux (and more than I can on Windows, at least as far as my non gamer needs are concerned), but not everything I can do on OS X can be achieved as easily on Linux. So why do I have Linux? Two reasons. 1. I like it, and as a geek I see it as in my interest to be as informed as possible on the OS's that are currently available. 2. I can run Linux on relatively cheap, commodity hardware. The Porsche is nice, but sometimes the VW makes more sense.

        Also, because Mac OS X is Unix (it really is, I promise you), its relatively easy to port between it and Linux (depending, of course, on the APIs that one chooses to develop with). That's very valuable to me.

        I don't get the OPs point about Windows updating at the worst possible time, but I do prefer being able to defer updates as I can on Linux or Mac OS.

        1. John Savard Silver badge

          Re: I still don't get…

          You used to be able to defer updates on Windows; of course, you had to choose in advance for Windows to ask your permission before updating. Which is important if you're using a laptop, which you may want to unplug on short notice.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: I still don't get…

        You are deliberately conflating Mac OS X, which is a desktop OS, with GNU/Linux, which is a kernel and collection of userland tools. XNU (X is Not Unix) , which is the underlying kernel and userland tools for OS X is a fully certified POSIX compliant UNIX. The only thing that is really missing is a built-in ports system, but Homebrew and MacPorts go someway to make up for that.

        UNIX was never about software "freedom" (although, neither is the FSF - the GPL is handcuffware masquerading as libre. Use Apache, BSD or MIT if you are really interested in freedom and not just Stallman's warped interpretation). It was proprietary to begin with, hence GNU. UNIX is just a collection of tools that makes an OS. GNU/Hurd was Stallman's attempt at creating his version of it. It remains unfinished largely through his inability to lead a project adequately. GNU/Linux is the same, but fortunately had Torvald's drive to succeed.

        """If you are the least bit creative, you will find the FSF has put barriers in your way and you will find the F/LOSS user community belittling you and what you want to do.""" TFTFY.

        """MacOS is not Unix. Neither is PhoneOS.""" You are right, but fucked if I know what PhoneOS is, do you mean iOS? As I already said, XNU, the kernel that powers both is is fully certified, POSIX compliant UNIX. So in many ways, you wrong. As ever, you won't let facts get in the way of your blind zealotry.

        1. John Savard Silver badge

          Re: I still don't get…

          The GPL limits you from putting limits on other people. It prevents the situation where slight obvious enhancements to a BSD-licensed item are copyrighted or patented by someone, restricting its further usability.

          That stunt hasn't happened yet,as OS X is not an example, sin the post-GPL era, but before the Free Software movement I think there were some cautionary examples; think of how Macsyma nearly disappeared until Maxima came along.

          I'm not saying the GPL is perfect; certainly the LGPL can be too restrictive for its intended purpose.

        2. b166er

          Re: I still don't get…

          Nice nick :p

          You might like one of these:

          Narcissist t-shirt

      3. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: I still don't get…

        Apple and Linux representing diametrically opposed design philosophies

        Exactly that. Linux carries on the free and open aspect of Unix history, while Apple carries on the parts with all the litigation over copyrights, trademarks and such. OK, so the latter isn't actually anything to do with Unix as such, but it's a problem that has dogged Unix-like systems ever since people realised that it is actually valuable. At least Linux (and I guess the free BSDs to a lesser degree) managed to make most of the legal wranglings moot, apart from the SCO issue.

      4. P. Lee Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: I still don't get…

        Apple should have gone with Solaris underneath.

        Years and years of Mac GUIs on SPARC and X86.

        It would have been better for them and saved Sun.

    2. ricegf
      Linux

      Re: I still don't get…

      Apple is a tightly-controlled highly focused walled garden that seeks to maximize a positive user experience and (as a happy side consequence) Apple profits. Linux is a highly variegated garden meadow that seeks to maximize end user freedom and choice and lower the barrier for creating radical new products.

      So while they both use Unix-like technology, the underlying philosophy of the two is polar opposite - hence the 'war' (to use your term).

    3. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: I still don't get…

      Well, why is there a "war" between Windows and Linux? After all, it is now known that Windows uses some code from BSD, just as Darwin does.

      The point is that despite Wine, Windows software can't be relied upon to run on a Linux machine - and Macintosh software doesn't run on Linux machines either, because the GUI does have its own API, which figures prominently in applications. They run different applications, so they are different platforms.

      Since the Macintosh operating system is owned by Apple, if you need to use a Macintosh, you are less free in some senses than if you could use Linux instead. The trouble is, though, that you're still more free in other senses if you use Windows, since that's what most of the applications are being written for.

  25. Gordon Fecyk
    Thumb Down

    I call Bollocks on "Buggy"

    In the case of Windows 8 you can blame some of the "not working" on the buggy, incomplete software that is Windows 8[...]

    Say what you want about the lack of usability (or lack of familiarity) of the new interface, but it works the way it was designed to, and it doesn't crash. I'm running 8 Pro on an older Core2 with an Intel-made motherboard without difficulty. Mind you, I don't buy garbage hardware with unsigned drivers.

    By contrast, I know someone having issues running it on an AMD 8-core beast on some ASRock board, which I suspect is coming from cooling problems, or a flaky power supply, or something else while she renders HD video. My poky Core2 can render HD video painfully slow, but successfully.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll be blunt

    Ya need 2.5 hours uptime (or better) to "safely" record your "45 minute event" by someone with the discipline to read the manual of the said camera, and computer[s], that gives you time to zoom in out, otf fx, and dump a copy somewhere. Don't matter if it's miniDV or DSLR or MIXING BOARD or which software .. as long as you focus on the task. So I rightfully don't give a fuck if it's a tablet, rack or low volt dc hack as long as it works every time consistently in this increasingly inconsistently fucked up world. I think I screwed that up...

    Now other people have their way of looking at stuff, but that's MY way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll be blunt

      3 camera > needs a desktop . admit it

  27. Dr Trevor Marshall
    WTF?

    Android is Linux - Use the shell

    Anything substantial I do in Android, whether it is moving files with 'Root Explorer', making a User app into a Systems app by shifting it from /data/app to /system/app, or managing permissions, everything substantive is Linux. I use 'Terminal' for nandroid backup. I use 'Terminal' to run 'top' or any one of dozens of familiar utilities. It is just that the average user is content to ignore the operating system entirely, and backup is left to the geeks amongst us... (same as windows users in that way).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Android is Linux - Use the shell

      I vote ya up I agree backups. CLONE I say. Think NOAH . Buy TWO of everything hardware. 1 TB drive = 2 ea 1 TB drives, and so on... all the way to the main board and PSU! Whatever you get into you will be a force to be reckoned with. Clone your OS and apps to the OS drive and CLONE your data to the data drive, Get one of those sliding rack things like ICYDOCK.

      Then place your shit in the vault. locked up. SAFE.

      that's MY way.

  28. Justin Clements
    FAIL

    Article is spot on

    Sorry guys, but the article is spot on. Linux Desktop is a bit of a dog (regardless of UI), and Windows Tablet failed for 10 years before MS re-imagined a tablet - with a desktop UI again, and the most ludicrous thing is that MS in their enormous wisdom market the Surface as a tablet with a keyboard!!

    A pure Linux distro tablet will get no further than where the desktop versions have got, which is practically no where.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Article is spot on

      Get out. Seriously.

      wtf...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Article is spot on

        "wtf..."

        Must have had a big night out or something.

    2. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: Article is spot on

      At the risk of bringing a whole ton of wrath down on my head, Ubuntu is beautiful. I don't like the Amazon integration, so I turned that off (it could have been done elegantly too - I don't know why canonical didn't). There are a few little other nits I could pick - but no more so than with any other OS. So no, Linux desktop is not necessarily a dog. There are beautiful distros out there.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Article is spot on

      "A pure Linux distro tablet will get no further than where the desktop versions have got, which is practically no where."

      Read the rest of the comments re. what Linux actually is and then realise that there is no such thing as a "pure Linux distro", anything that uses Linux as the kernel is a Linux distro, whether it be a on a tablet, desktop or embedded device, it cannot be more pure than that.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tablets have their place if they can GET PRODUCTIVE WORK DONE. PERIOD

    God bless QNX/RIM one day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Period Pains

      Do people get pre-menstrual stress before talking in punctuation?

    2. csumpi
      Paris Hilton

      "if they can GET PRODUCTIVE WORK DONE"

      They can for most people:

      - update facebook

      - pin stuff

      - play angry birds

      - shop on amazon

      - read email

      What more does 90+% of users need a computer for anyway?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *nix philosophy?

    Do One thing well?

    I don't know what books you read, or systems you worked with --- but this is not so. The *nix philosophy was to do lots of things well, for lots of people, all at what they perceive to be the same time, without any of those processes interfering with each other or being allowed to bring the whole machine to a halt.

    I guess what you are thinking of is the collection of individual tools, each of which does its job well --- but the idea is not to use them one at a time, but to pipe the output of one as the input of another. Thus a complex process an be achieved without having to build all its components from scratch. Is this so far removed from connecting a keyboard, a tablet and a mouse?

    The transformer concept might work for me (if I was buying myself a cristmas gadget, which I didn't this year) because you don't need a keyboard to watch a film, listen to music, or even for most internet browsing, but it certainly comes in handy for writing letters or making spreadsheets.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: *nix philosophy?

      Likewise, if you then want to play a game, you add a joystick. Make music? Add a MIDI adaptor. Illustrate a document? Add a graphics tablet. Make an audit of your warehouse's stock? A barcode or RFID reader. Survey a construction site? A laser range-finder.

      For many tasks, a computer with a keyboard is no more useful than a computer without a keyboard, if you don't have the input device you need. (Though of course many applications benefit from some kind of text entry, if only for changing file names or adding notes)

  31. The_Regulator

    How about using a windows 8 tablet with a hardware keyboard i.e. surface, I don't see a mention of that experience?

  32. h3

    e17 is released and it is great on a tablet

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      E17? Isn't that the bell-end Chav band who's singer ran over his own foot?!

    2. ricegf
      Linux

      Which disro?

      Which distro (Linux-based product, for those of you knew to Linux ;-) would you recommend I try first with it? Haven't tried Enlightenment in many years.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Which disro?

        Bodhi is the best current implementation of E17 (on an Ubuntu base).

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's best

    to stick to Linux or iOS. Neither get viruses and both built on the Unix philosophy. M$ Windoze (TM) is built out of AIDS and queer. Everyone knows that.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: It's best

      Troll. That said, if one uses Windows for their productivity apps and general faffing around on the internet, than it's not a bad idea to have a Linux installed for online banking and purchases- there would just be fewer opportunities for it to contract a nasty, regardless of any security advantages it might have. And of course, you can use it as a recovery environment for your Windows installation too.

    2. Amorous Cowherder
      Facepalm

      Re: It's best

      "built out of AIDS and queer"

      Do the teachers in your primary school know you view adult websites like The Reg?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's best

        Actually, that was the funniest thing I read all day. Yes, I know. I'm very childish and think homosexual jokes and homosexuals themselves are quite hilarious.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's best

          Does being queer qualify for the Darwin awards?

  34. king of foo

    the tablet shall perish

    Linux distros will hopefully still prove to be a valid choice for many a year to come. The form factor is irrelevant. Laptops have overtaken desktops, Tablets may be overtaking laptops, but the things we have lost in the name of portability and tiny-shiny are no less necessary, so there are still desktops.

    The future of Linux is ARM.

    The king has spoken.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: the tablet shall perish

      I was reading a recent interesting article on Tom's Hardware the other day... comparing Intel's new Atom chip to ARM competitors... the gist is that "In general, our analysis suggests that the ARM-based CPU core is excellent at doing nothing, but starts to require considerably more power during computationally-intensive workloads.

      "The secret of Atom’s power efficiency is simple. The CPU's handicap at idle is overcome under load, when work is actually being performed, and by a more efficient memory subsystem that is always active. Although Intel continues to use branding many enthusiasts associate with underpowered computing and graphics in cheap netbooks, the Z2760 is a different chip than the N450 so many of us remember."

      - http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/atom-z2760-power-consumption-arm,review-32593-5.html

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: the tablet shall perish

        But we already knew intel chips are better if you are loading them up with work to do.

        Just as many people realised that they didn't need the power of a desktop and bought less-capable laptops to gain the benefit of portability, so most people don't need fast phones & tablets, they really need devices which can last longer while doing very little.

        It isn't a question of "good" or "bad" its a question of "appropriate."

  35. Chubbymoth
    FAIL

    Nope,.. but maybe touchscreens just suck?

    The whole fondle tablet format eludes me a bit. To me they all just seem like beefed up media players with a webbrowser. Oh and you can play games on them.. hacking fruit or something that keeps your hands busy.

    However, using a pen you can shrink the clumsy keyboard and best of all use it to draw. Second gen OCR seems quite decent too, with fast enough processors to handle it at decent speed. If only the Samsung Note 10.1 would run a full fledged Linux so I could use my drawing apps on that, it would actually be useful. Yeah,.. you can jailbreak it and run Linux on Android, but I'm not sure how well that works.

    But indeed, it's about the GUI and the input method. As long as none of the manufacturers get the bright idea to break out of the bloody smudge mode and finger paint methods and add a more flexible OS variant to that it will always be a bit of a toy. The technology is there,.. now all we'd need is someone to put it together.

    1. csumpi
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Nope,.. but maybe touchscreens just suck?

      "all just seem like beefed up media players with a webbrowser. Oh and you can play games on them"

      They don't just seem like, they are. You won.

      "using a pen"

      Saint Jobs didn't like the stylus.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nope,.. but maybe touchscreens just suck?

      I even carry my media player remote control around with me --- it makes phone calls too!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nope,.. but maybe touchscreens just suck?

      "The whole fondle tablet format eludes me a bit. To me they all just seem like beefed up media players..."

      ...which is a bit like saying that magazines don't make any sense; they just seem like beefed up post-it pads. They're entirely different sets of functionality. A media player makes for a lousy way to read the news; tablets are excellent for it. A media player is a crappy thing to do a quick sketch on; tablets are quite good at it. A media player is useless at anything requiring more than one person to see what you're doing - tablets are very good at it (as an example, I've seen teachers at my son's daycare place using tablets to help communicate with disabled kids - who can touch icons for food or the bathroom or whatever).

      Tablets, it turns out, are actually good for lots of stuff; the fact that you either can't think of any applications offhand doesn't mean there aren't any.

      Not in an accusatory way, but genuinely - have you ever used a tablet much? My dad was an extreme skeptic, a bit like you, but got a Nexus 10 for the hell of it (Must be nice, moneybags...) and was converted within a few days. And he's 71 and is an engineer who considers video games to be useless...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    You can install Ubuntu on Nexus 7 today...

    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Nexus7/Installation

    That is all.

  37. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    Comparatively Speaking

    From experience as a home 'luser' Ubuntu does it 'out of the box', when you have sorted the screen resolution problem. Other things may vary and will be available from elsewhere.

    I get... and... and...

    Plus, and I will not guarantee this, whatever I wish to do on this Linux/Ubuntu [other distro] install as a 'home luser' is miles above what other bloke experiences via XP beyond moaning that it is 'slow'.

    Now shaft me for the first paragraph but when I ask the Evil One called Google about how to do stuff with my Ubuntu Flavoured 'Linux' computer, I get.. as top results assuming I parse it correctly, useful advice. Don't forget.. I am a 'home luser'.

    I will state, as fact, that anyone, home luser, using Windows making a similar search will end up installing shedloads of cruftware on their computer before they reach Microsofts answer... which will not make sense to them anyway and will break itself whilst trying to reinstall IE8.

    Sometime in between, along with the multiple toolbars, they will have installed TeamViewer, and gifted $50 to someone else, twice using a valid credit card number, to sort stuff out for them. These people will fuck things over for return business and have the 419 department call you up later.

    Otherwise.. I know nothing beyond Linux Makes Sense for Home Users.

  38. Old Painless
    Thumb Up

    dead right..

    ..I almost bought an android tablet this year, but I really wanted Linux I bought a beat up toshiba portege m750 for 100quid instead, and it is ace with fedora on it, touch screen and all . I tried Ubunut first thinking the Unity interface would be perfect on a touchscreen, but weirdly it was just as shit as it is on a regular desktop. So there you go -standard gnome 3 flavoured Fedora on a touchscreen enabled laptop ftw.

  39. Ron Christian

    I don't want a full desktop environment on a tablet

    Really I don't. What I want is a touch-centric version of the Adobe Creative Suite on a tablet, and a reasonable way to get the photos and video from my camera to the tablet. That's all. Within reasonable constraints, it doesn't even matter what OS the tablet runs, because pretty much any commercial OS has the other stuff that most people use. Or, as was once said in XKCD, "since you do everything through a browser now, we're pretty much indistinguishable". All that's missing are the tools I actually need to get my work done. Once that happens, I'll dump the Windows laptop and never look back.

    But the tablet-centric tools are toys, designed to spiff up photos taken with the tablet's built-in camera, not for serious use. All those neat ads and demos you see of someone editing and integrating media entirely on touch,,,, yeah, that doesn't exist yet. And the companies that could bring us that, don't really seem to be serious about touch.

    It's really not about the OS (although I have misgivings about Win8) it's about the applications. A killer tablet app, truly killer, that's designed from the ground up with touch in mind, will make whatever OS it runs on the winner in the tablet world.

    I don't care if it's IOS, Android or Linux. I care a little whether it's "windows 7 tablet edition" (I own a win7 tablet, it really REALLY sucks) or "Windows 8" (really tried to make it work, gave up in frustration) but for the most part, it's the applications, not the OS, that should be interesting to content creators.

  40. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    I thought It'd be nice to have Linux running on a tablet, but later realised I was wrong... I have no use for a tablet.

  41. csumpi
    Facepalm

    tablet with keyboard and mouse

    I got one of those already. It's called a laptop.

    1. RICHTO Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: tablet with keyboard and mouse

      Its not really the same unless you can remove the keyboard / mouse from your laptop....

  42. William Higinbotham
    IT Angle

    My idea of what the android OS is made from

    Enbedded system programming.

  43. Orionds

    I ordered the PengPod

    for the fact that I can use it on the go as an Android tablet with touch and then boot into Linux and use it with a keyboard and mouse.

    The normal tablet is insufficient for more sophisticated computing work. There are apps for editing photos, audio and video but these are basic but for fine-tuning, precise cutting or cropping, professional colour tuning, full-blown movies with credits, subtitles, transitions, to name a few, the tablet is not the place to do this type of work.

    Having said this though, a tablet running Linux will be a bit under-powered for the moment, until processors and hardware on tablets advance further bringing their hardware configuration closer to higher-end PCs. With 1G ram, the PengPod is very useable on the desktop. I am still using some single-core PCs with 1G to 1.5G ram running Ubuntu or Linux Mint smoothly and quickly (using about 250Mb ram after boot-up).

    So, yes, a tablet that can boot into the Linux desktop will be a welcome addition. This probably explains why in about 21 days from about $14,000 the deveopers received a storm of pledges raising their total to over $70,000 by the time the deadline came (their target was $49,000).

    If you read the comments, the donors (or buyers) do really want a tablet that combines Android and the Linux desktop. Note also many have ordered, or even separately, the keyboard case. I already have one and have found it surprisingly effective and comfortable despite its size (7-inch) and my size (6-foot-2). I even tried connecting a mouse along with the keyboard and this works too, albeit only on Android. So, I am looking forward to the Linux desktop on a mobile tablet because I can type fast and point and click quickly without swiping. Don't forget there are also keyboard shortcuts and copy-and-pasting is a lot faster, speeding up work (e.g. writing a novel on the go).

    I do believe that the Linux desktop on the tablet will prove popular.

  44. spegru
    Stop

    One thing that has worried me a little regarding the future for Linux is that it has piggy backed on windows to a large degree since that is where the massive market is and hence has driven the development of pc hardware - something that may not happen in future if the pc market disappears.

    However, thanks to this article I have now heard of the pengpod, and indeed the guide to installing Ubuntu on nexus 7.

    It's not Linux in the sense of mint or ubuntu per se that I want. It's the freedom to play

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "if the pc market disappears."

    "Linux .. has piggy backed on windows to a large degree since that is where the massive market is and hence has driven the development of pc hardware "

    Misinterpretation of history.

    Wintel has held back the development of mobile and volume computing. If it's not authorised by Microsoft and Intel, it isn't permitted to be made/sold in volume, Look at the original non-Wintel netbooks. They started to sell in volume, so the spin machine had to be set to 11 ("lots of people returning them") and the commercial blackmail had to be started up - MS revived a "dead" OS, Windows XP, so that the Wintel vendors could be "encouraged" to stop making/selling non-Wintel stuff that punters actually quite liked.

    That game works for a little while but sooner or later the pent-up demand for an alternative to Windows becomes irresistible. If we're not there yet, we will be soon. Even when that happens, there will still be a market for Wintel PCs - but it will be a tiny market in comparison with what has been seen in the last decade or two.

    Anything innovative in mobile or volume computing in the last few years has probably been Linux/ARM based.

    1. ricegf
      Linux

      Re: "if the pc market disappears."

      I hear there's this little startup called "Apple" that has had a bit of success with mobile computing as well...

    2. RICHTO Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: "if the pc market disappears."

      Most people buying non Windows Netbooks wiped the OS and installed pirated Microsoft OSs on them - they just wanted to not pay for windows (but still use it!)

      Microsoft have made that a lot more difficult with Windows RT, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 - all of which are so far uncracked in terms of the DRM used to control licensing....and as far as i am aware - Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 are totally uncracked - you cant even get admin acccess. Unlike other UNIX based rivals that have more holes than Swiss Cheese....

  46. John Savard Silver badge

    It Would be Lovely

    ...if MeeGo, Mer, Sailfish, or Tizen were widely available on tablets. But the fact that these different projects have divided possible interest has delayed the hope that a version of Linux with a tablet GUI and access to most Linux applications might become easily available on tablets.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: It Would be Lovely

      > the hope that a version of Linux with a tablet GUI and access to most Linux applications might become easily available on tablets.

      Linux/Maemo tablets were available for several years in the Nokia N770, N800, N810 and N900. These ran Linux software such as Gnumeric, Abiword and even OpenOffice. With Python/Glade/GTK+ I could write applications that ran unchanged on these and on Linux and Windows.

  47. BillG Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Windows 8 <> Apple Patents

    The reason for the awkward user experience on these Windows tablets is that so many of the nice user interface features you see on iPads and Android tablets are patented by Apple and Oracle, and Microsoft wants to avoid paying royalties.

    Even tapping a phone number in a text or email address to call that number is patented by Apple. The curved rectangle is patented, as is the unique pop-up keyboard. There are hundreds of patents. No thanks to Apple, it's a legal mess to enter the tablet market!

    1. RICHTO Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Windows 8 <> Apple Patents

      Microsoft has a cross licensing agreement with Apple. And since when did Oracle have any relevant patents?

  48. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Linux?

    Take over the world?

    Don't be daft!

  49. Chris Girocco
    WTF?

    Keyboard Button

    They need to run with a transparent keyboard (adjustable transparency with a wheel button) that sends keypresses through when it is being pressed (with said wheel button). Click on text field etc. and keyboard inhabits full screen of tablet at say 75% or a transparency based on display image intensity (e.g. if the keyboard is created with white icons, then it is less transparent with a light display image in the background). You can scroll the wheel button to adjust right away or even turn it off immediately if you don't need to type, and then depress this same wheel button as you type onscreen to have the keystrokes register as opposed to other touchscreen gestures.

  50. PAT MCCLUNG

    Clerk

    Tablets are hysterical. Anyone who would prefer a tablet to a netbook is certifiable. Of course, those who were raised to use touchpads instead of a mouse might find the touchscreen useful, but that is because they have been using retard technology.

    I have two "tablets", one apple and one android. Going to toss them out of the house, into the trash..

  51. Instinct46
    Pint

    Won't Happen

    I'd love to be able to run a native version of linux straight on a tablet. You'd simply have it installed, and have 2 usernames, one which boots to the desktop (properly will be mostly used at home, when installing or upgrading software) and another username which auto starts a media center application like XMBC. Most people use windows because they can't be bothered learning how to install software on Linux, granted its getting easier with the use of kpackage and the like, but if you need anything which isn't on the distro server can sometime just be damned... this will be the reason why if linux was an option for an OS on a tablet, most people would stick with Android.

    So yea, there will never be a time of the linux tablet, but it would be nice to be given the option of installing it. I used to have the GP2X and loved it... thought I'd just add that.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2010 Linux (MeeGo) tablet

    What became known as Maemo is pretty much a desktop Linux system on a pocket-size device, but if it's a bigger screen and lack of keyboard and minimal buttons you want:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WeTab

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The premiss of this article seems confused. We're not discussing Linux on tables as that has already happened. We're discussing Redhat and Canonical pulling a Microsoft and trying to foist a desktop UI onto touch devices whilst at the same time foisting touch UI's on to the desktop platform. Anyone that knows me knows that I'm not Android's biggest fan, but credit where it's due. Google along with their OEM partners have made extremely credible and useable consumer devices based on Linux, which is more that can be said for either Redhat or Canonical - and I like Ubuntu! Dismissing Android out of hand is, to be quite blunt, sensationalist. It's a disappointing start to the new year El Reg.

  54. Field Commander A9
    Stop

    Linux kernel is nor Linux, in the same way that a car engine is not a car.

    Putting a linux kernel into a linux distro makes it a Linux, putting a linux kernel under a java VM doesn't.

    You put a car engine into a car chasis and then you get a car. Trying to call Android a Linux is like putting a car enging into a speedboat chasis and then trying to call it a car. It just makes no sense.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Linux kernel is nor Linux, in the same way that a car engine is not a car.

      > is like putting a car enging into a speedboat chasis and then trying to call it a car. It just makes no sense.

      It is your analogy that makes no sense. It is not the engine that makes it a car, it is the chassis. 'Car' is short for 'carriage'. A 'car' is defined by having wheels (3 or 4 or infrequently more) and is for personal transport so it has seats and usually some form of weather protection.

      A car can be powered by an engine: steam, electric or petrol; or by horses. Having one or the other does not stop it being a car. Boats also can be powered by these.

      So to make an analogy: it is the chassis that is Linux; it is the engine that is the graphics engine (Qt, GTK, etc) and there are controls that are the UI (KDE, Gnome, etc).

      A 'speedboat chassis' may analogized to being QNX and you could put a petrol engine (Android) in that and still call it a boat. A barge (SCOUnix) may be steam powered (GTK - Gnome) and would still be a barge.

      So, if SCOUnix runs KDE it is not Linux. If Windows run KDE (which can be done) it is not Linux. If Android graphics engine/UI/App environment runs on Linux it _is_ a Linux distro.

  55. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  56. JDX Gold badge

    Shooting fish in a barrel

    Still fun to read though.

  57. Dweeb Coder
    Linux

    Stupid Article.

    Not considering Android as Linux. Utter Garbage. Now to calm down.

  58. KjetilS
    FAIL

    Java?

    I'm amazed no one has said this yet... Android does not use a Java VM!

    The Dalvik VM used by Android is sort of almost language compatible with Java, but the compiled bytecode isn't.

  59. ScissorHands
    Linux

    Meh, whatever, guys!

    The point of the article is that the so-called "Linux" app ecosystem and APIs (GTK, KDE, Qt, D-bus, Gstreamer, glibc, gcc toolchain) are not readily available on a tablet format. App programmers couldn't care less about the kernel, users same-o same-o. Any GUI or API can run on any kernel, given enough elbow grease.

    Android can't be "Linux" for the effect of this discussion because it has a totally different toolchain and APIs over the kernel when compared to "desktop Linux". Not only iOS is a BSD "Unix", but WebOS was Linux, and Android would be Linux. But only Maemo (and Moblin) ever used desktop Linux distro's toolkits, APIs and toolchains.

  60. A J Stiles

    Another press release fron DOBO*

    Tablets are generally used -- at least, by non-techies -- as though they were limited-purpose appliances. Sure, I find it nice to have ConnectBot so I can play an MP3 on the RaspberryPi plugged into my stereo, but -- as anyone will tell you, if you haven't already figured it out -- I'm not most people.

    Most people just use the applications that come pre-installed on their tablet. They don't really care too much about the underlying operating system, as long as there is an application store where they can install a few new levels for Angry Birds or whatever the latest and greatest new game is.

    Usual lousy car analogy: Most people don't muck about with their engine or transmission. The enthusiasts who do the serious modding are really passionate about it; but most people really only care that they can buy the correct fuel, and don't do much customisation beyond adding ornaments.

    * DOBO = Department of the Bleeding Obvious

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