Reply to post: Re: Linux has facilitated the cituation he is lamenting about

Linus Torvalds says ARM just doesn't look like beating Intel

bazza Silver badge

Re: Linux has facilitated the cituation he is lamenting about

Yep, open source types shouldn't be surprised if not everyone keeps up!

To me it sounds a little bit like he's thanking Microsoft, albeit indirectly. Having to be compatible with DOS then Windows was what drove the PC clone ecosystem to standardise. MS even weighed in with that with the PC System Design Guides (PC'97, PC'98, etc). That is also what made it practicable for Linux to thrive too - it was easier to get Linux to the point where you didn’t have to compile it to use it.

In my opinion MS missed an opportunity about 9 years ago to do the same with ARMs. As an experiment they showed Windows 7 and Office running on an ARM board, printing to an Epson printer. But instead of defining an ARM based PC or server architecture, they went off and did Windows RT, tablets, etc. We all know how well that went.

They kinda did it with mobiles, defining a hardware spec that would give binary compatibility with Windows mobile. Trouble was it wasn't open; not many bothered to follow it. Now had it been open, that hardware spec would have been ideal for all sorts of interesting things. Just as you can run Linux, Solaris, Windows, FreeBSD, etc on a PC, an open mobile spec would allow the same diversity to exist on handsets.

Instead we have proprietary mobile hardware that no-one can keep Android up to date on, punters are continually exposed to security risks, and manufacturers can gouge the market simply by not supporting their current product line.

It's about time governments got involved and forced the market open.

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