>Android waves hand<
"This Tizen't the phone you're looking for."
Hope springs eternal for Samsung and its Linux-based Tizen OS, which reportedly will find its way onto a smartphone early next year, despite repeated delays. According to the Korea Economic Daily, Sammy will release its first Tizen handset – dubbed the Samsung Z1 – in India on January 18, 2015 at a price of "less than 100,000 …
I could not quickly find the number of software packages in the Ubuntu repository, but it rides on the back of Debian with over 37500 packages. Lack of developers or software is not a problem. What is a problem is that Android/iOS users have invested in software, but Linux users expect more for free. Even worse, everyone getting a percentage from an app store would rather not compete with a Linux distribution.
"Packages" is meaningless from the mobile user's point of view.
Linux is riddled with redundant components. You can see what's in those 40k "packages" here:
9 different packages for different versions of ACPI support for various CPUs... similar redundancy (and/or irrelevance to the mobile experience) is all over the place.
Not that the "number of apps" metric is much better. Ubuntu dodges the question, saying they are "fast evolving." Who in this bare-bones space is expecting apps to sell, anyway? The most Canonical can hope for is that the OS pulls an Ouya and becomes the platform of choice for piracy, with compatibility layers for cracked Android/iOS apps, old consoles, and the like.
Other than that the phones will live and die as low cost platforms for a few, critical free apps — social networks and perhaps e-commerce apps if the phone gets really deep penetration in India.
"but it rides on the back of Debian with over 37500 packages"
Good luck with that.. As a Linux admin and developer, I scream from the roof tops how good Linux is and how it excels as a server OS, but there are reason its had very limited desktop success.
80% of those packages will be server applications, a further 10% will be console only, then the final 10% might be GUI, most of which were designed in 2000-2005 and in desperate need of a makeover, they will also be completely unuseable on a phone-sized screen.
Honestly, I wanted Tizen (and Sailfish too) to succeed, but a new OS entrant, to the mobile market, is bloody hard. The last good chance of a successful new entrant was murdered by those morons at HP. Blackberry murdered itself. Firefox OS is moribund. It's a sad state of affairs, but, at the moment, if you're not Androd or iOS (or Windows Phone?), your prospects aren't looking good.
The problem is that Tizen is owned by Samsung, so no one else would release a Tizen phone. For a competitor to Android to emerge I think it needs to be truly open source (not 'mostly open source' like Android) and not tied to one company's self-interest like Android is. There needs to be a compelling reason for OEMs to design phones around it rather than just taking the easy way out by using Android.
The problem is, what incentive do people have to write that OS if there isn't something in it for them. The noble open sourcers tend to only work on stuff that interests them, and few are interested in designing user interfaces and polishing them. They'd rather code some cool new feature, which is why it took so long for the Linux desktop to get to a state where it would be acceptable to the average user.
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