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Running Android On Netbooks

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the more-portable-than-portable dept.

Graphics 203

jjohn_h writes "Two guys at VentureBeat have managed to take the source code for Google's Linux-based operating system for mobile phones, Android, and compile it for an Asus netbook. Immediately, speculation began that Android will soon be running on PCs and laptops. '... we discovered that Android already has two product "policies" in its code. Product policies are operating system directions aimed at specific uses. The two policies are for 1) phones and 2) mobile internet devices.' Though some remain skeptical, I surely hope it is going to happen. Since Android does not rely on X11, but has its own framebuffer graphics, that would indeed be a cosmic shift."

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Frosty (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311447)

404 File Not [goatse.fr] Found.

Star Wars IV : (5, Funny)

Saffaya (702234) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311449)

A new hope

Re:Star Wars IV : (0, Offtopic)

innerweb (721995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312405)

Troll?!?!?!?!?!?

Wow. The normal slashdot dorks have already been here. This post is FUNNY.

InnerWeb

Perfect for in-dash navigational systems... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311467)

While I see the utility for phones, I'm not sure that the Android UI as currently implemented would be as flexible as X11 for computer-type applications...

On the other hand, it's great for stuff like car GPSs, where a very simple, touch-based UI is ideal. Something you can lean over while driving to use. Get directions. Make a phone call. Quick check of email (while filling the tank..)

Android seems perfect for stuff like that, but for normal everyday computing... why?

Re:Perfect for in-dash navigational systems... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311537)

What can Gentoo do that Ubuntu can't do?

Re:Perfect for in-dash navigational systems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311657)

What can Gentoo do that Ubuntu can't do?

Cookies?

Re:Perfect for in-dash navigational systems... (3, Insightful)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311809)

Same reason you run NetBSD on your toaster: because you can. That, and I imagine it'd be more comfortable to test apps on a netbook than on a phone, thanks to the larger screen and real keyboard.

Re:Perfect for in-dash navigational systems... (4, Insightful)

wampus (1932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312009)

Then use your PC, the devkit comes with a phone emulator.

Re:Perfect for in-dash navigational systems... (2, Interesting)

Vitriolix (660279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26313793)

If you do almost all your computing using "cloud" services like google docs, flickr, gmail/gcalendar/etc, who needs a full fledged desktop os? For most people that accounts for their entire "every day" computing task load. all you need is a lightweight, easy to use, energy efficient OS. Android would be perfect for that use. There are netbooks coming out now with built in 3g cell broadband adapters, so throw android on one of those and you have yourself a cloud computing terminal that is instant on and snappy. sounds badass to me.

Well... (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311501)

I'd much rather have Android on my laptop then Vista. This would be a great alternative to Ubuntu on net books and laptops as well. If google started to put Android on shelves, I'd be one of the first in line to get it.

Re:Well... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311529)

I'd much rather have Android on my laptop then Vista.

Why on earth would you install Vista if you already had Android installed? Presumably the laptop would come with Vista, rather than the other way around, wouldn't it?

Even if you're talking about dual-booting, I've found it's always easier to install Windows first, then Linux - makes setting up your bootloader much more straightforward.

Re:Well... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311611)

Why on earth would you install Vista.

There, fixed it for you.

2009: The year of Android on the desktop. (5, Funny)

miknix (1047580) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311509)

What? Someone has to change the meme sometimes.

Re:2009: The year of Android on the desktop. (2, Insightful)

slash-doubter (1093233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312891)

No one has to. Memes mutate. In this case in exiting your meme breeding ground, a (Score:5, Funny) mutation occurred. Sometimes the mutation enables the new meme to reproduce faster than it's parent and displace it. Though in this case. I think not.

Hurm. (5, Interesting)

Kooty-Sentinel (1291050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311523)

If I recall correctly, the self-build versions of Android cannot connect to the app-store. Although still lacking in many areas, the app-store is one of the biggest selling points for Android. Without it, you arn't able to easily add your own applications - a major no-no if you want this to be mainstream. This will fix itself once we get Google-built and signed firmware images for different netbooks.

I'm all for hacking stuff for the whole 'because we can' mentality, but why reinvent the wheel? Why not use something like Ubuntu Netbook Remix - which already does everything Android can do + more. If you want to get Linux more in the mainstream market, let's try to refine what we already have, and leave the netbook version of Android to the professionals - aka Google.

Re:Hurm. (4, Insightful)

transiit (33489) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311685)

No, the app-store is important to the kool-aid drinkers that believed Apple when they said "No, we only reject apps from our device/profit model to keep you safe."

The same kool-aid enthusiasts that shuffled off from the shareware-hell that was the Windows/DOS environment for the last 15 years or so.

There was once a world that didn't recognize this as logical. These days, they are keeping themselves busy with actual problems, enough so that even raising a 1-finger salute to your line of thinking is likely unworthy of their effort.

But hey, consume, consume, consume, man. I'm sure someone appreciates it.

Re:Hurm. (2, Informative)

Kooty-Sentinel (1291050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311703)

Have you ever used the AppStore?! I have an iPhone, and have a buddy who has a G1. He has never paid for an application, and I have only bought two the entire time I had an iPhone - and both were 99c. Everything you could ever want is avaliable for free.. aside from games that is. SSH Clients, VNC Clients, RDP clients, simple games, todo lists - name it!

Re:Hurm. (2, Insightful)

mikiN (75494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311975)

All nice and dandy, but why force people to use a signed, possibly locked-down firmware binary? To keep people 'safe'?
If a web-of-trust is what you seek, why not stick to something like Debian's keyring?

Also, why have a single, commercial company have censorship of what goes into the app-store and what not? I'd rather have something like the popularity-contest package do the voting and ranking for me.

Re:Hurm. (4, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312499)

why have a single, commercial company have censorship of what goes into the app-store

Because a single, commercial company creates and maintains the product which the same single, commercial company is also liable for in terms of company image, damage to devices, even overflow of support calls causing penalties on their service contracts with subcontractors.

If you don't like it, you don't buy an iphone. This is like saying "Why is XBox Live the only XBox 360 online gaming service!". To put it into the overused car analogies, why would Ferrari support third party machined components in their catalogues? At least Apple is allowing for the third party components, it just requires approval first.

Or if you're still strung out over this, going by app popularity and the whole support/liability angle, think of the number of people who STILL install those "magic cursors" and "Bonzo Buddy" type idiocies.

Re:Hurm. (2, Interesting)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311983)

Apple's App Store is a revolution in easily adding functionality to a cell phone. If Google can replicate it it will be huge for them. If not, it will be a major impediment.

Having 10,000+ apps, many of them free or $0.99, all available in a trusted, easy-to-access, categorized, searchable and peer-reviewed place is valuable. Sure, there are now a dozen or more "fart sound" and "flashlight" apps, but there are also some really innovative things (like "please name the song that's playing in this restaurant right now" and others).

I've bought a lot of phones with a lot of gadgets from a lot of vendors over the years. The iPhone is the most expensive one I've ever bought, but also the first time I felt I've been getting my money's worth.

Re:Hurm. (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312311)

but there are also some really innovative things (like "please name the song that's playing in this restaurant right now" and others).

FYI, that's been around for years, available on any phone capable of SMS.

Re:Hurm. (2, Informative)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312509)

He's talking about an app like Pandora, which records any sound source, sends it to a sever, and attempts to recognise the song. You can't do that or anything similar via SMS. SMS services require a radio station or place to have an agreement with the service, it's not the same thing.

Re:Hurm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26313347)

huh? You _audio call_ the service and it smses back to you, you don't try to send the audio sample via sms to them. That would be dumb.

Re:Hurm. (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26313679)

You can't do that or anything similar via SMS. SMS services require a radio station or place to have an agreement with the service

Yes you can, and no you don't. It works as the AC reply points out.

If Pandora has to first record it then send it, that sounds like a more inefficient (and probably more costly, depending on your plan) way of doing it.

Re:Hurm. (1)

amias (105819) | more than 5 years ago | (#26313779)

yeah but his is more polite , thats a win for me

Re:Hurm. (2, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311721)

If I recall correctly, the self-build versions of Android cannot connect to the app-store.

Who needs the app-store? We'll build a new one. If this effort materializes, the Open Source Android code will be adequately modified to connect to a newly built "app-store." Then at this moment, all the rest will be history.

My only hope will be that every application in the new app-store works as advertised and better than what is currently available on the Linux desktop.

My other hope is that at that time, we in the Linux desktop world will have learned that "too much choice breeds confusion" which we have had in a decade of multiple implementations of every application the KDE and GNOME folks have provided.

Re:Hurm. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311981)

Where's that mod, "+1 pipedream"...

Open Android App stores already exist? (2, Informative)

alsutton (218963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312103)

AndAppStore.com for one, and their client can be bundled with any distro so why would you want to create another one?

Re:Hurm. (-1, Flamebait)

TheSeer2 (949925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311883)

Linux is all about reinventing the wheel. FOSS is all about reinventing the wheel.

Re:Hurm. (1)

mikiN (75494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312047)

Be happy. If the wheel were patented by some Evil Corporation, we'd still be bumping along the road on wooden tyres, so that the Evil Corporation can sell us expensive suspension systems, expensive auto repairs, expensive health plans for our rattling bones, etcetera.

Thanks to Linux, we now have wheels with pneumatic tyres, among other varieties.

Re:Hurm. (1)

mikiN (75494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312073)

...we now have wheels with pneumatic tyres, among other varieties.

in a F/OSS sense, of course. F/OSS is not just about being free, it's also about having choice.

Re:Hurm. (3, Insightful)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312287)

Linux is all about reinventing the wheel. FOSS is all about reinventing the wheel.

Quite the opposite, actually. Proprietary software is all about reinventing the wheel and then selling it under sufficiently restrictively terms that everyone else is forced to reinvent the wheel.

For example, no more than about 10% of all proprietary Windows applications use standard Win32 widgets, the vast majority prefer to roll their own instead. Not even Microsoft uses their own interface libraries, just compare IE 7, WMP (anything after 6.4) and any version of MS Office or Visual Studio released this century.

In sharp contrast, all of the apps on my KDE desktop use standard KDE/Qt widgets, the only exceptions being apps that were originally proprietary (Blender, OpenOffice and Firefox).

Re:Hurm. (3, Informative)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311961)

Have you tried Netbook Remix? I have and I just did not get on with it, mainly because its been stripped down too far. Especially annoying was a lack of reiserfs support, which I'd taken to using due to the ability of ext2/3 to lose everything on an sd card under certain circumstances.

But Some people must like it. Surprisingly OSX runs quite well on a netbook, I took a triple booting hdd from a laptop and found the osx and ubuntu installs both booted up fine (Xp didn't but thats MS for you) I soon got wireless working on OSX using an Edimax usb card with a ralink 2500 chipset. It's certainly responsive enough but then again the Macbook Air has a 1.6 dual core CPU so a 1.6 atom isn't that much poorer (the image had been used on a 1.4 Celeron without issues).

Now we find that Android is also a possibility for a netbook, isnt that cool. So much choice, ok there are issues to be resolved for OSX (apart from legal ones) and also for Android and less so for Ubuntu and other Linux versions. XP works quite well, 2000 is good but no webcam driver.

quick google finds
http://software.intel.com/en-us/blogs/2008/12/22/atom-support-now-in-opensolaris/ [intel.com]
and http://masafumi-ohta.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] This second link has a picture of a EEE running opensolaris.

How can you not love having lots of options available, I am so tempted to build a collection of images to use with my netbooks.

choice is good very good :)

Re:Hurm. (1)

alex4u2nv (869827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26313781)

There is handango.com and mobihand.com that also maintain a more commercial app store that supports g1.

PS: I tried posting this earlier from my g1 to slashdot's well web2.0 friendly gui. But it doesn't work with web3.0 well -- My G1 Dev.

*Hint Hint maintainers!

And while everyone argue that current_year++ will be the year of Linux Desktop. I'll say no, stop wait: Linux is ushering the new era of computing. Cheers !! Happy new Year everyone.

Downside... (5, Informative)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311549)

As much as so many people seem to hate X (many for no particularly well found technical reason I will add, some have technical justifications, but many just think it's 'old'), Android would not be an improvement in display or UI technology for desktop usage:
-No inherent remote display capabilities. X has this in it's very foundation. There was no reason for a cell-phone/embedded OS to implement such functionality in the contexts Android target, so this wasn't a bad decision.
-Multi-window operation. Again, the target is applications where the resolution, screen size, and interface methods do not lend themselves well for multiple windows. As such the paradigm is single application.
-Extending from the above, no advanced window management/compositing. The inter-application effects and utility with 3D acceleration found in Compiz, Aero, and Quartz have no reason to be there, despite providing productivity benefits (at least in the compiz and Quartz variants).

Do not get excited about the prospect of any arbitrary display technology displacing X, regardless of the underlying technical merits in the given context. Try to understand the hard technical reasons for your X hate, and do a bit of research to make sure they are not FUD or that the Xorg team isn't already addressing your concerns in a reasonable manner.

From what I've tried, Android is a great platform for the environment it targets. It achieves this by not trying to be a one-size fits all solution. Usage styles that work on the desktop do not scale to handheld devices. By the same token, good handheld UI does not scale to Desktop.

Re:Downside... (-1, Flamebait)

yoyhed (651244) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312089)

Can you change resolution without editing a config file and restarting X yet?

Re:Downside... (3, Informative)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312213)

Yes.

xrandr -s 1024x768

or your favorite graphical utility for KDE or Gnome.

That's been around for a while, by the way.

Re:Downside... (4, Funny)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312275)

can you change the resolution of your cellphone screen without changing your cell phone?

Yes.. (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312313)

You can change number of monitors spanned, resolution, orientatation. The only one that it may lack is changing color depth dynamically (not sure), but then again, people don't generally have reason to change that in X.

Re:Downside... (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312107)

Your observations are correct, but as to why some hate X... I wouldn't say I hate it, just that I don't understand it. At all. And I'm a seasoned hacker. It's basically impossible to compile from scratch (the only time I managed to compile it was as part of Gentoo). Config files are obscure to the max, both in syntax and semantics, and there's no way to know where there's an error if there's one. Plenty of its options and capabilities are archaic and leave you scratching your head as to why they are in there at all.

Re:Downside... (2, Informative)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312861)

But, how else are you going to get your fancy new Dell laptop to interface with a 1980s sync-on-green 17" 350lbs Sun console monitor? :)

That's why the 99.99999% of linux users who have VESA-compliant plug-and-play monitors manufactured in the last 25 years have configuration files that contain modelines.

Re:Downside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26312129)

The "networking transparency" argument is just stupid. 99.9% of people wouldn't ever understand it, and it isn't usable for many of those who do. If your network is high-latency many apps are unusable (there is too much back and forth traffic for each event (something NoMachine's NX fixes), and if your network connection is anything less than 100% reliable you'll be CONSTANTLY having applications die (kinda like ssh'ing without screen - there is no way to get the app back). In practice, everyone I can think of just uses NX or runs a VNC server on the remote machine. And if for some reason you really want to use an app remotely, it's not like NetMeeting hasn't allowed similar functionality on an evil "non-transparent" window system for years (hell, Microsoft's is better in that the app isn't "stuck" on a single specific remote viewer forever).

However.. (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312413)

Microsofts remote desktop and NX and vnc lack one thing I'd like, application integration with my desktop. Meaning even the "tray" presence of an application melds with everything else. I know some hacks have applications interleaved in other windows, but to date remote applications with the exception of X do not manage to get into the same "tray" my local applications get into. I hear of a NX rootless mode, but I've never actually figured out how to try it. A rootless NX session with detach capabilities may be my holy grail, but the other solutions, as it stands, don't have the required visibility into the details to make it happen (correct me if I am wrong about RDP/Netmeeting).

Just as screen's existence does not obviate the need for ssh, NX's work complements X's architecture, it does replace it.

I agree with you that accommodating high-latency links and session management are two aspects the core Xorg server lacks, but the underlying technology is fundamentally amenable to achieve those ends through additions.

Finally, the question is what ends will be achieved by a replacement technology that Xorg has not achieved itself. I've seens hosts of projects come and go with the aim of implementing some featureset that X lacks, sometimes claiming it's not even possible to address the need through extending X. The problem is by the time they can get off the ground, Xorg has implemented an extension to accommodate the need.

Re:However.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26312615)

Xorg has implemented an extension to accommodate the need.

Except, those extensions don't always work out as they should. Take this comment lifted from the Linux Haters Blog [blogspot.com] as such a case:

X could be improved in many ways without awful kludges, by removing unnecessary restrictions, but instead the current elite chooses to write layers upon layers of complex and incompatible extensions. E.g. the original xrandr (X resize and rotate extension) was incompatible with xinerama, but I was happy with that, because I don't want xinerama crap for my telly, which is best modelled as a completely separate screen, not as box of a single megascreen. Now in 1.2 Keith Packard made xrandr xinerama only, and to rotate my TFT, I would have to share a single massive root window (equals screen in traditional X) among the completely separate telly and TFT, causing various problems with applications and wasting video memory for the unused space of the rectangular megascreen. Instead of the Xinerama madness -- that only provides a multi-view to a single-display model, instead of a multi-display model -- it would be far better to remove artificial restrictions in X that disallow moving windows between different screens/root windows, make the creation of root windows dynamic through the same function that creates any other windows, and so on. It's much the same with fonts. But no, these asshats just keep piling anti-choice kludges upon anti-choice kludges.

I'd also like to point out that no one said they hated X. Not in the summary, nor in the linked articles. You appear so biased towards X that you take any suggestion of it's replacement as a direct threat. That in itself is suspect.

Re:Downside... (1)

TakeyMcTaker (963277) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312821)

Multi-window operation. Again, the target is applications where the resolution, screen size, and interface methods do not lend themselves well for multiple windows.

This is where I have to begin to disagree with you. I know it's a hard habit to give up, but I think the multi-window desktop UI paradigm we've been force-fed since the 80's is vastly overrated. I don't know how you do your tasks, but I do mine one at a time, and the really important windows are kept full-screen. The rare exception to that might be filesystem browsing, but a multi-frame browser is a simpler solution there. Recent studies show that humans are not natively multi-tasking, and asking them to do so tends to slow them down, where single-tasking serially is faster.

Full-screen apps with some sort of switching/tabbing interface, and some form of communication layer/functions between apps (minimally, cut'n'paste, you hear me APPLE??) is sufficient to coordinate any 2 apps. Android's inclusion of things like the contact manager in multi-app communication makes this even better. Even COM hasn't caught up with that level of cross-app communication.

Sony has a good example of a nice persistent interface with per-task near-full-screen or full-screen interfaces, in their XMB for the PS3 and PSP. The PS3 XMB exceeds the kind of resolutions you're talking about. I prefer Android's "shelf" metaphor/UI to standard desktop shortcut based UI. Desktop widgets forming a "home" UI are also becoming fairly universal, and Android already supports that better than X11. With the existence of remote desktops like VNC, X11 remote windowing is also outdated and just confusing more than anything.

Ask anyone who has tried to develop games under X -- the mouse handling is the worst. Android is made for touch screens, and has been proven to support multi-touch, so its cursor/mouse manager is probably already better than X.

The world needs an alternative to the old mis-guided "everything in a window pane" UI. Android may be just the thing.

Re:Downside... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26313839)

many for no particularly well found technical reason I will add, some have technical justifications, but many just think it's 'old'

I don't know anybody who hates X because it's "old". It would be very weird if they did, since X almost always runs on top of Unix (or Linux, which is Unix for all purposes except trademarks). And how old is Unix? Pretty darn old [faqs.org] .

There are plenty of good reasons to dislike X. It was designed by a committee and looks it. Working with it is nightmare upon nightmare: User Interface contentions, APIs, config files, protocols, all are obscure and complex. Whenever I work with it (and I use X-based apps every day) I end up in the mode of some computer noob who treats the technology like a tarbaby, afraid to try anything for fear of what I'll break. If it works, I'm careful not to touch anything I don't have to.

From day one, people have looked at X and said, "there's got to be a better way". For James Gosling, the nightmare of X coding for Solaris is what convinced him that existing GUI development models had gotten out of control. I've heard other complaints about X's weirdness and complexity for as long as I can remember. There's no "it's just old" about it.

Re:Downside... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26313863)

From what I've tried, Android is a great platform for the environment it targets. It achieves this by not trying to be a one-size fits all solution. Usage styles that work on the desktop do not scale to handheld devices. By the same token, good handheld UI does not scale to Desktop.

The question isn't whether it scales to the desktop. The question is whether it scales to the netbooks. For the smaller, lower-end models with 800x480 screens, I can actually see it working - as I recall back from the days when this kind of resolution was the norm, windows were maximized all the time anyway, because there was no screen space to waste...

Netbooks and the death of the word processor (5, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311553)

I hope this happens, and I hope it starts to create a paradigm shift.

As far as office workers are concerned, the last 20 years can be seen as a terrible mistake. The problem is, basically, Office. It's interesting, reading discussions on Slashdot, to see people defending things like Word because OOo can't exactly reproduce the (usually visually illiterate) exact form of a Word document. The great majority of people in offices need to create files containing relatively transitory information, possibly with a shelf life of less than a day. Yet they spend absolutely hours fiddling with formatting and decoration, and thinking that thereby they are in some way adding value. Salesmen and people in marketing spend lots of time messing around with Powerpoint producing crappy presentations, and think that somehow this makes their message more convincing (perhaps at a subliminal level one corporate drone is influenced by the presentations of another, but education should be able to fix that.)

Email came as a huge relief - so immediately Microsoft tried to extend email with formatting features to convert a text medium into a presentation medium, or turn it into a vehicle to shuttle Office documents around the Internet.

The rise and rise of the netbook creates an opportunity to get rid of some of this shit. The netbook and the e-reader work well with plain black text on a white ground conveying information in a neutral way that allows it to be consciously read and analysed. They don't work well with overblown office applications.

On the other hand they do work very well for delivering basic search, mapping, information retrieval and messaging, and Chrome works very well as a browser on netbooks (I run Firefox on my corporate laptop and Chrome on my netbook because it is just easier that way.)

The cost of hardware is now so low that it probably makes more sense to have multiple single function devices than a general purpose PC again. The current obstacle to this is the cost of operating systems and the perceived need for Office. Get rid of most of this, and manufacturers can stop making minute variations on a theme and produce optimised devices - like why do I need top end sound or 3D on my photo editor, where what I want is reliable colour output from high res monitors and accurate rendition of color from the print drivers?

Re:Netbooks and the death of the word processor (5, Insightful)

token_username (1415329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311863)

I don't think visually appealing documents can so easily be dismissed, especially in marketing and sales as you mention. The world we live in is obsessed with visual/multimedia stimuli and to not utilize these tools would result in an almost certain loss of effectiveness.

I do, however, agree that the vast majority of people spend far too much time on these appearance things. I would also say that the majority of people overrate themselves in their talents in this area.

No, I agree, they are needed (3, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312295)

I was referring to the majority of office users. Production of high quality documents, presentations and training materials requires a high skill level. I was complaining about the people who think that having the right program is a substitute for those skills, resulting in poor quality being the norm rather than the exception. How many managers really need PowerPoint to present misapplied statistics and add clip art to a boring diatribe?

Re:Netbooks and the death of the word processor (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311987)

I agree with part of what you said - simplicity.

Text editors need not be all things for all people, that's for emacs.

I un-fondly remember the years when it became blatantly obvious MS was tangling their products and operating systems in a bid to become irreplaceable. They quickly lost sight of the real reason these products were created and eventual chaos followed.

It is nice in a way though, it validates the principle that things that are created with the intention of serving the customer first and not the vendor will ultimately shine.

Let's hope Google keeps that lesson.

Re:Netbooks and the death of the word processor (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312083)

Chrome works very well as a browser on netbooks (I run Firefox on my corporate laptop and Chrome on my netbook because it is just easier that way.)

Agree with your main post - but what about this bit? I run both on both, with no issues. Firefox for general browsing so I can benefit from the plugins, (noscript etc.), and chrome when just reading sites I already trust and are not loaded with flash and ads..

Re:Netbooks and the death of the word processor (1)

bazorg (911295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312601)

That is somewhat reasonable but assumes that the capabilities of the netbooks will remain below the minimum for proper usage of OOo or MS Office. that will not be true for next generations of hardware. As soon as people find they can use netbooks the same way they can use desktop PCs, the lack of training in using certain applications will become apparent again.

Re:Netbooks and the death of the word processor (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312825)

I'm involved in a project at my place of employment that has brought in a big-5 consulting firm. I've never seen more beautiful powerpoint presentations in my life. Our group tells them what we want management to go for, and they prepare 15 slides with all the nice 3D shapes, interesting diagrams, etc to sell them on it. Management just eats this stuff up. We could probably get them to buy mortgage securities if we wanted to.

And THAT is why everybody spends so much time on presentation and not on content. The content just isn't important (although spending a lot of money on an opinion helps to make the content sound more important).

Re:Netbooks and the death of the word processor (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26313627)

You're reading this in Lynx, aren't you?

Offtopic re: sig was Re:Netbooks and (1)

vic-traill (1038742) | more than 5 years ago | (#26313969)

If anyone knows why my comments recently started appearing with score 1, despite "Excellent" karma, I'd love to hear.

You show with a starting score of 1 and a karma bonus modifier of +1 here for a total of 2 - what I would expect with Excellent karma.

Please port to OLPC / XO! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311557)

...for the children!

What's wrong with X? (5, Insightful)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311633)

I have an old Zaurus SL-5500 PDA with 64MB of memory, and I run X on it continuously. X adds so much functionality, why would anyone choose a framebuffer-based display instead?

It's like saying "now we don't have to use a word processor anymore, we can run notepad!"

Re:What's wrong with X? (1)

burris (122191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311725)

Why waste battery power with lots of extra junk that is hardly ever used?

Re:What's wrong with X? (1)

windsurfer619 (958212) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311765)

But that junk is only used if you use it...

Re:What's wrong with X? (1)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312113)

The basic X server is very tiny (it already runs well on very limited devices), and they'll still need something to provide that functionality anyway.

Re:What's wrong with X? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26312977)

Could you then be so kind and tell us what exactly this "extra junk that is hardly ever used" would be? Or was it just something that felt good saying?

Re:What's wrong with X? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26313355)

X is mature, X applications generally behave well and draw efficiently, etc. Many years of labor have gone into this. Scrapping it because of some mistaken notion of X's "bloat" can lead to something worse.

Remember, your smartphone has much more power than the machines that originally ran X, and probably more power than the machine you'd have run X with 10 years ago. Can you say the same about the machine today's random programmer is using to write his framebuffer graphics application?

Re:What's wrong with X? (2, Insightful)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312363)

I have an old Zaurus SL-5500 PDA with 64MB of memory, and I run X on it continuously. X adds so much functionality, why would anyone choose a framebuffer-based display instead?

Nothing's wrong with X, but people hate things they don't understand, and most people perceive X as old and complicated, therefore it must be junk. It doesn't matter if it's the best solution for the problem at hand.

Re:What's wrong with X? (1)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 5 years ago | (#26313885)

most people perceive X as old and complicated, therefore it must be junk. It doesn't matter if it's the best solution for the problem at hand

X seems to me to be a good solution to the problems that were at hand when it was designed - around 1984 according to Wikipedia. Thus the network transparency. So to most people today, it just looks bizarre and complicated. Would you say that it's been an influential design?

Re:What's wrong with X? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26313129)

"now we don't have to use a word processor anymore, we can run notepad!"

Imagine writing C code in Word. Notepad is starting to look like an improvement yet?

This will be a very good thing (-1, Flamebait)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311641)

"... I surely hope it is going to happen. Since Android does not rely on X11, but has its own framebuffer graphics, that would indeed be a cosmic shift..."

Disclaimer: I know "Linux" is just a kernel, but while here, "Linux" means the various "Linux" distros as implemented on the desktop.

Android on mobile Internet devices will save the average Joe and Jane the problem that still dogs "Linux" on the desktop.

Many such problems are due to confusion because of: -

1: Multiple clipboard managers and therefore desktop environments

2: Linux users is that they fail to realize that your "normal" computer user is NOTHING like they are.

3: Geeks will argue that the CLI can be easily made consistent across distros but I call this CLI fanboyism. And it does help. There is virtually no young person in today's world who can stand this unless they are texting their friends. When it comes to the computer, they expect simplicity.

4: Multimedia is a mess with multiple sound systems. Heck, as a user, all I need is to hear my music. Period.

Re:This will be a very good thing (1, Flamebait)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311697)

Please mod parent as flamebait.

But I'll bite.

1. Yes, this is the Linux problem *rolls eyes* How do you know? Have you conducted a study? My simple guess is that people don't switch to Linux because their programs don't work in Linux and also because many don't go on changing their OS (some people don't know how to change the browser, heck some people call IE "the Internet") And how do you plan to solve this "problem" kill the developers that make other desktop environments, force people to use only one?

2. How Linux users realizing that people are different and that some are computer illiterate would change the "problem of Linux on desktop"?

3. Yes, simplicity is good, Linux is just as simple as Windows, you don't HAVE TO use the CLI, but it's simpler to explain if there's a problem, instead of "Open that program, move the mouse to "File" click, then go to the 3rd tab, select the 1,5, and 9 boxes" it's easier to say "type this in console". Moreover this is a myth, you don't NEED CLI in Linux, take Ubuntu for example you can do everything in GUI. I am not aware of anything important for which you need the CLI and there's no GUI alternative. But even in Windows you need sometime to edit files and to use "Run Command"

4. Music works on my box. Period.

Ohh really! (-1, Flamebait)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311757)

For points 1 to 3, explain to me why even after a MAJOR migration to Intel chips (and therefore a break in compatibility), Apple's OSX still does more [serious] work on the desktop as compared to Linux with its various implementations.

I am afraid you sound just like another Linux fanboy. Listen, your approach has not worked that well in 10 years! Apple came in with a new platform and kicked your *you know what* in terms of penetration.

Fix this man...fix it then things will work themselves out.

Re:Ohh really! (3, Insightful)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311855)

...and you sound like an Apple fanboy. Do you think that popularity = better? Then following this logic Windows is way better than any OS out there.

Apple could have put any product out, make it a bit better than Windows and still win. Heck, Apple at its core is BSD. BSD and Linux are not that different. Apple is successful because of the support thrown behind the platform. Because people can go to any store buy a webcam or a printer and see on the installation CD "OS requirement: Windows or Mac" same with software not because it has only one desktop environment.

Heck, people could not even buy a computer with Linux installed from a big company till very recently. Have you heard of netbooks? They are very popular and not one of them comes with Mac OS X. Unfortunately for some strange reasons companies that make netbooks decided to install the crappiest Linux distributions that exist on them and limit what people can do with them.

But you didn't actually responded to my points, you only challenged me to say why Macs are more popular... that doesn't make you initial points any more valid. They are based on fallacies and myths.

Re:Ohh really! (1)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312067)

I am afraid you sound just like another Linux fanboy. Listen, your approach has not worked that well in 10 years! Apple came in with a new platform and kicked your *you know what* in terms of penetration.

No, they didn't. Apple still hasn't achieved more market share than Linux and Linux is getting a much bigger boost right now here in Europe.

And who the fuck cares about compatibility? You think all your Win95 programs work in Vista or vice-versa? Or a program compiled for Linux 0.99 works in Ubuntu 8.10? If you go with the times, buy a new PC. With OS X and iLife come most programs the average user will need in his lifetime, safe maybe for an Office Suite.

And who's the fanboi here ej? You're just spouting logical fallacies and crap around. at_slashdot didn't post any flamebait...

Re:Ohh really! (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312359)

Apple took an existing platform and adapted it to insulate the user from the mechanics. If Microsoft were to do the same, what would that do to your relative "penetration" ?

Penetration is only relevant in the minds of people who seek to dominate a market. Linux is free, the market is not relevant - merely existence is enough. Would you agree that it would be wrong to make language or independent thought proprietary ? If so, why are you advocating exactly that ? What does it matter to you that I choose to work in an xterm or compile from source ? Communication is key, not the tools used to communicate. Evolution depends on many different organisms existing independently, not top down imposition of arbitrary end results. Most users of OSX do so because they don't know any different - Apple said buy so they did as they were told. I don't care how fucking shiny it is. They are in it to protect their business model and that's that. When the music industry does the same, everybody screams blue murder, but if Apple does it suddenly it's cool.
GNU/Linux is based on altruism and you can't get a better foundation that that. It truly is the peoples OS, even if they don't realise it yet.

Beware of those who seek to take care of you lest your caretakers become your jailers. (Jim Rohn)

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds. (Samuel Adams)

Intelligence is not the ability to store information, but to know where to find it. (Albert Einstein)

The ultimate effect of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. (Herbert Spencer)

Beware those who seek to control knowledge, for they already see themselves your master. (unknown)

etc, etc.

Re:Ohh really! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26313111)

your *you know what* in terms of penetration.

I'd heard Apple users were into that kind of thing.

Re:This will be a very good thing (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311933)

The may have changed it since the last time I used Ubuntu, but opening up third party repositories required (or at least was explained in the how-tos) using both the command line and config file editing.

Re:This will be a very good thing (3, Informative)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311969)

Nope, just add the repositories in Synaptic. But of course, the CLI method is actually easier to explain.

Re:This will be a very good thing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311891)

Disclaimer: I know "Linux" is just a kernel, but while here, "Linux" means the various "Linux" distros as implemented on the desktop.

Then you are mistaken, Linux is the operating system too. Linux is an monolith kernel and because Monolith kernel is same as Operating System, Linux is so on Operating System.

Android is Software Platform for mobile phones what use Linux as it's operating system. Android includes software from OS to midleware and to applications.

The Linux does mean 1) a monolith kernel (operating system) 2) a Operating System (monolith kernel) 3) mistakenly a complete software system what it is not.

You have one Linux operating system what you can get from kernel.org site. Same place where does all Linux-distributors get the Linux-OS. Then these distributors use Linux as OS on their own devices or software systems. And because most software systems use almost 100% same applications but just different versions from it, you get so many different system for every situation where you just want to run Linux operating system easily. Because there is somewhere someone done most, if not all configurations for you and you just need to take it to use and mayby littlebit modificate the system.

Do not mistaken operating system and software system as they would be two same thing.

Why the X hate? (3, Interesting)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311669)

Since Android does not rely on X11, but has its own framebuffer graphics, that would indeed be a cosmic shift

I'm curious what your reasons are for wanting rid of X?

Re:Why the X hate? (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311755)

Since Android does not rely on X11, but has its own framebuffer graphics, that would indeed be a cosmic shift

I'm curious what your reasons are for wanting rid of X?

So the marketing guys can say they have "New Technology!" ?

Re:Why the X hate? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26312131)

power efficiency

Re:Why the X hate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26313507)

have you anything to support this claim?

Re:Why the X hate? (1)

jjohn_h (674302) | more than 5 years ago | (#26313835)

Let me honestly assert that I do not hate X. But I do long for a cosmic shift.

For about 9 years I have been using suse/opensuse. Now KDE has gone bananas and I'm moving to ubuntu. Unfortunately, GNOME is caught in the dealings between Novell and Microsoft and suffers from the patents risk against Mono. Android is totally unencumbered by KDE's weltanschaung and can heartily laugh at Microsoft, both in terms of code and in terms of approach (desktop with local applications vs. desktop with web applications). And it would imply a Linux breakthrough not in the region of 100.000 units a year but up in the millions.

I'm one of the 900m users worldwide who have a PC and a router (or possibly a dialup modem). That's my entire network, switched off about 18 hours a day. I can say nothing about X11 networking prowess except that we [the not so silent gigantic majority] don't need it.

I'm especially unhappy about the continuing effort by GNU and Linux to imitate Unix and be Unix compatible and stick to all things Unix. That might have been justified 20 years ago. Nowadays it should be the other way around: GNU and Linux go ahead and innovate and Unix follows, or maybe not, who cares.

Industrial control? (1)

tuxicle (996538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311677)

I wonder if there would be some utility in porting Android to work under frameworks such as OpenEmbedded, or just as a developer's kit that can be deployed to some of the various ARM SBCs. Hook your SBC to a small LCD panel/touchscreen and you've got a nice platform for Industrial control and all manner of "ambient devices [wikipedia.org] ". I'm guessing the framebuffer system of Android would be lighter weight than X.

Re:Industrial control? (1)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311897)

Alternatively, you could stick with "standard" Linux (like DSL [damnsmalllinux.org] on your SBC and then run another GUI than X11 + Gnome/KDE/etc. I played five years ago with an Agenda PDA [linuxdevices.com] (remember those??), which was running a tiny Linux with FLTK [fltk.org] (Fast Light ToolKit, pronounced "fulltick") on top. Developing in FLTK was very straightforward, which is probably important for your Industrial Contol application. And it is pretty portable, I ran the same applications on my Agenda PDA, a Linux Desktop or on my Windows PC.

Now you could also argue that Android on your SBC would give you a better choice of GUI-ed apps on your device like a browser and email. I guess that that's what finally will drive your decision, do you prefer "standard Linux" with all its tools, as long as they are non-GUI, or are the GUI-ed tools that come with Android the right ones for you.

Hmmm. So what about a virtual machine appliance? (3, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311715)

I run linux distros frequently on virtual machines because I can configure an efficient, low footprint purpose specific "appliance". It seems to me that a modern system specifically designed to run on actual appliances would be even better.

As a developer I use virtual machines for testing (of course) but also to package up certain software services like databases or application servers that I don't need all the time. Rather than install them on a real machine, I make a copy of a generic virtual appliance and install to that.

One thing that I've always thought that would make sense is to confine all one's risky operations, such as web browsing, to a virtual machine. But on most host machines the overhead of an entire virtual machine, both in memory and startup time, make it not quite convenient to do so. A much smaller, but still up to date machine might change this. Android requires as a minimum 32MB of RAM and 32MB of flash. This is small enough overhead to justify a virtual machine for a single process.

Actually, I'd like to use a really minimal operating system as the virtual machine host as well. I'd like to be able organize my entire "workspace" in to severable, portable pieces joined by a virtual network. If I'm ever forced to deal with an issue like incompatible versions of glibc in the future, I could contain that; or if I want to try upgrading a piece of software, I can roll back to a snapshot or keep multiple copies of the virtual appliance around. In that case, I'd like to have the host operating system be as minimal as possible.

Re:Hmmm. So what about a virtual machine appliance (2, Interesting)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311953)

Actually, I'd like to use a really minimal operating system as the virtual machine host as well. I'd like to be able organize my entire "workspace" in to severable, portable pieces joined by a virtual network.

And this is different from X11 how exactly ? This is why unix like OS's use the concept of servers. It becomes transparent to the network because it is intrinsically network based in the first place. There is nothing stopping you from installing Damn Small or Puppy Linux as the machine host then virtualising everything else.

Re:Hmmm. So what about a virtual machine appliance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26313267)

You and others like you are hell-bent on defending X11, but it's a fucking dinosaur. It should be scrapped and recoded from scratch, using modern techniques.

Re:Hmmm. So what about a virtual machine appliance (1)

alex4u2nv (869827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26313681)

To those who don't want X, can't you all just init 3 and stop complaining? It's what I do for my servers that I only SSH into.

Re:Hmmm. So what about a virtual machine appliance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26313051)

_Needing_ virtual machines just shows the OS wasn't designed properly in the first place. What would be better would be an OS designed to be networked in the first place so you could run any application or part of it on any host in a group of networked devices.

Re:Hmmm. So what about a virtual machine appliance (1)

ivoras (455934) | more than 5 years ago | (#26313977)

One thing that I've always thought that would make sense is to confine all one's risky operations, such as web browsing, to a virtual machine. But on most host machines the overhead of an entire virtual machine, both in memory and startup time, make it not quite convenient to do so. A much smaller, but still up to date machine might change this.

Hmmm... Java browsers anyone?

on $99 Acer with built-in 3G (1)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311763)

Now take this a step further, and install it on one of those Acer Inspire One's advertized the week before Xmas for $99 by Radio Shack. Yeah I know, it isn't a real deal considering the plan you've to buy as well. That would be the right form factor for "mobile full-screen Android".

Re:on $99 Acer with built-in 3G (1)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311779)

Oops ... I meant the Acer Aspire One of course.

but where is the GPS (1)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311793)

Critical component still missing is of course the built-in GPS. Because AA1s don't have built-in BlueTooth, you still need a dongle :-(. In this case not for your 3G connectivity, but for either a BT transmitter/receiver or for a USB cabled GPS.

If you've ever played with a mobile device that combines both 3G and GPS, all built-in, you never want to go back anymore!!

So will Android work on the OLPC (XO laptop)? (2)

magsk (1316183) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311767)

I bought an OLPC (XO) on an impulse and well I hate the interface that it comes with. What are your guys thoughts on if Android will work on the XO laptop? I use mine primarily as a rugged ebook reader for outdoors and light web browsing.

has been done before (5, Informative)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311959)

oh well, only two weeks earlier .... :-)

seriously, here is the link to a similar building-android-for-the-asus-eeepc-701 [virtuallyshocking.com] project, with detailed instructions on how to do it yourself

Re:has been done before (4, Funny)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312111)

Uh oh, better keep an eye on my bandwidth allocation. (That's my site)

Re:has been done before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26313873)

Holy christ look at it my cock its so goddamn huuuge

Awesome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26312389)

I'm stoked. Can they name it GnuGoogle? I get a kick as it is from the reaction I get from people when I tell them I use Ubuntu. ;p

gilling like a little school girl! (1)

motang (1266566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312511)

I for one am really exited about it, and expected Google to get into the OS market. It's something different even though it's linux it doesn't run GNOME, KDE, or Xfce so it's different in that sense. Now add an app store with free, and non free apps...I am in heaven. Of course this would be ideal for netbooks but I don't see it much on notebooks and desktops.

Nice Science Project (1)

mich.linux.guy (1271564) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312517)

It's a great achievement, but is it useful? I have a G1 and Android is great there because the G1 is not big enough for a full desktop (physically or resource wise).
I also have an XO, eee PC (701), and Aspire One. I run Xubuntu and Ubuntu on them because they can handle it. Running Android on those machines would hobble them.

g1 - what about unlock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26313565)

Why is it so hard to find a simple mechanism/steps to follow for unlocking G1 phones to use on any carrier/network? After all its a GSM phone?

Currently you need to pay USD23 for unlock - and no one is sure if it will work.
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