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Sony Encourages Linux On Their Phones

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the mixed-signals dept.

Android 212

neokushan writes "Sony has been in the news a lot lately — from the PSN downtime and the identity theft issue that came with it, to the numerous court cases launched to try and quell the PS3 hacking scene. It may come as a surprise to many, then, that Sony's mobile smartphone division has taken an almost polar-opposite approach — they're actively encouraging developers to create, modify and install customized Linux kernels into their latest lineup of phones, including the Xperia Play, the device that was once known as the 'PlayStation Phone.'"

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212 comments

Well that's nice. (2, Interesting)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058770)

Sony-Ericsson is almost completely unrelated to SCEI. They are in many ways just as clueless (though nowhere near as malicious, apparently.)

Now if only hardware developers would start pushing their board files and drivers upstream in Linux so that porting NEW kernels to hardware wouldn't be such a bitch. Too bad Google doesn't encourage that.

Re:Well that's nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058894)

Clueless is the mot juste. Sony turned the T68 into the T68i... 'nuff said.

I try not to give karma-relevant points in subjective cases, but Have a Nice Day all the same.

Re:Well that's nice. (4, Insightful)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058948)

Sony-Ericsson is almost completely unrelated to SCEI.

First the music section installs rootkits on the computers of paying customers, then the gaming division removes OtherOS and starts a witch-hunt on GeoHot and others who want to tinker with the products they bought legally.

Sorry, but I don't have any desire to wait until the phone division finds a way to take an even bigger dump on the heads of their customer base.

Re:Well that's nice. (1)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059012)

Sony Ericsson is owned by both Sony and Ericsson but operates as an independent entity, much like Sony-BMG was. Would it be better if it was named Ericsson-Sony instead?

Re:Well that's nice. (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059050)

Sony Ericsson is owned by both Sony and Ericsson but operates as an independent entity, much like Sony-BMG was. Would it be better if it was named Ericsson-Sony instead?

No, it would be better if upper management at Sony and other corporations start appreciating that once you become known for taking anti-customer actions, you're going to tarnish your name to the point that you very well may affect public perception of unrelated divisions and subsidiaries. It's exactly like the marketing concept of "branding", something the suits already understand very well. They just seem to think it only applies when they want it to.

Re:Well that's nice. (2)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059394)

Don't worry, in about 6 months, the Sony part of Sony-Ericsson will find out about it, and their lawyers will put a stop to it.

don't fall for this, hacker suckers. (5, Insightful)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058772)

Will they remove this feature in a few months after the phones are selling well and then call the people who still want custom software criminals and hackers? I wouldn't get my hopes up. History often repeats.

Re:don't fall for this, hacker suckers. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058804)

+1 billion insightful.

Sony Mylo and Mylo 2 (?) boot to Linux. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058868)

Sure, it is closed-source and Sony has denied all requests for Documentation, but that is just the double-sword of Open Source stalking the buyer: Sony does shit to their products as though to entice lawsuits that they are most-likely forecasting for their ability to set legal precedants in favor of their business model. Just a Sony Mylo at time of market value was around $300, and unlike a Laptop you are denied from making full use of your hardware: clearly, Sony is the pioneer in retaining some form of ownership over the property they allegedly sell. I suppose Motorolla and the rest of the prison-Cell Phone companies are right next to Sony on this, yet the goal seems to be they are protecting something in their product that U.S. Government licenses to them. All along the lines of Sony is the taint of U.S. Government in the background, like how Microsoft directed SCO to file lawsuits to harass Linux and Open Source developers.

Re:don't fall for this, hacker suckers. (0)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058902)

Unlikely, unless these phones too contain millions of dollars worth of research into making them hard to hack.

Re:don't fall for this, hacker suckers. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059292)

Like the Xperia Play thingy right?

Yeah, history will likely repeat on this issue. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, what the fuck was I thinking.

Re:don't fall for this, hacker suckers. (2)

Dynetrekk (1607735) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058936)

But most importantly, you may void the warranty of your phone if you decide to unlock it

That's typical, isn't it? Please hack on it, but don't blame us if you fuck up, because it's your fault. Give us your results if you are successful, because that's cheaper than doing it ourselves. Love and kisses, Sony.

How does installing new software on a pc/phone/whatever void warranty? Oh, that's right, it doesn't if you're buying from a sensible company.

Re:don't fall for this, hacker suckers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059092)

This sort of action often requires you to flash the actual firmware to make this work, and messing with the firmware on any of these sort of small devices often carries with it a chance that you'll brick it if something goes wrong.

Screwing with the firmware almost universally this voids the warranty on hardware if it wasn't done with official firmware patches, so don't put this merely into some sort of anti-Sony sentiment. This isn't just installing a program on a PC or a phone. If you're replacing the whole operating system, it's a totally different ball of wax.

Re:don't fall for this, hacker suckers. (3, Interesting)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059106)

Well... Rooting a phone is not just "installing new software". It goes a bit beyond that. If you ruin your motherboard flashing a new ROM, custom or not, it'll still brick it and not many companies will replace it.

Just because you can access the bootloader in some way or another doesn't mean sony is responsible if you decide to fill it up with crap that then bricks your phone.

I'm more of the opinion that every phone should have a backup of it's own kernel somewhere with a one way connection. If it bricked it should just send what it had to the phone. Right now it's a bit idiotic to say you should mod your phone but not having any kind of failsafe for those who do that.

And just on a sidenote, I own a rooted Desire (CM 7 yada yada), But I'm under no illusions that if it ever malfunctions I would get any kind of help from HTC.

Re:don't fall for this, hacker suckers. (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059194)

I'm not sure that would stick in England. I think Small Claims would just say "give him a new phone" if you ever dragged a company to it for bricking it via re-flash. Companies can't just arbitrarily say "this voids the warranty", as that's a legal requirement over here to protect the consumer. Especially if they encourage you to mod it, then they have to honour that as part of the product feature-set and therefore falls into the boundaries of things covered by warranty.

Re:don't fall for this, hacker suckers. (1)

Dynetrekk (1607735) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059220)

Did any brits drag Sony in court over this due to the PS3? It sounds like they should?

Re:don't fall for this, hacker suckers. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059362)

I think this undoes all the crap they've ever done. Rootkit, OtherOS, GeoHotz.. none of that matters now they've made a token gesture to let people do something they're legally allowed to do.
Sony deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for this.

I tried that once... (5, Informative)

Delgul (515042) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058774)

It was called OtherOS. Never again...

Re:I tried that once... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058966)

Exactly. Why on *earth* would I trust them again. Seriously are they following a step by step guuid in how to get 0 traction getting devs behind it.

*IF* they started with "im sorry" and put it back on the ps3, they *might* get some to look at it.

Re:I tried that once... (0)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059124)

I don't think this is the same company at all. Ericsson was the phone company they bought and I bet they are still the ones doing the phones. I would also say they are the ones with this kind of philosophy, not Sony itself.

Re:I tried that once... (0)

JanneM (7445) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059326)

They didn't buy Ericsson. Sony Ericsson is a separate company, jointly owned by Sony and by Ericsson. And fortunately apparently not much infused with the Sony corporate misculture.

Re:I tried that once... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059184)

Which only went away because it was being used to hack a machine that already allowed - even encouraged - installation of Linux. It shows remarkable good will on the part of Sony that they haven't just said "never again" to a policy that must have cost them more than it's gained.

There's a distorted view of the OtherOS debacle that lives in these forums that paints the hackers as purely good and Sony as pure evil*. Is it not fair to say that a lot of the hackers are just a bunch of jerks? What's the point in hacking a games console for homebrew when you can buy a more powerful OS-less PC for less? It just becomes an impotent act of disobedience against IP law - one which inconveniences almost everyone who owns a PS3 while doing, at best, nothing to advance the cause of the anti-IP movement.

Meanwhile, Microsoft and Nintendo send cops after mod chippers and no-one ever mentions it. This isn't one company being unusually evil, this is just the world of corporate IP law at work. If you want to live outside it entirely, build your own computer from Arduinos or something. If you want to change it, build political support. If you just want to pretend it isn't there, you'll also have to pretend the cops aren't there when they break down your door.

When a company encourages this type of thing, reward them. Even if it's Sony. If you don't reward good behaviour, you won't see it twice.

*admittedly, people were primed for that by the purely evil rootkit debacle.

Re:I tried that once... (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059566)

Sony's divisions are semi-independent, even within divisions such as SCE. It was SCE's hardware people that wanted OtherOS, and SCE's software people (the ones that sell and market PS3 games) that killed it. Heck, one part of Sony didn't like the fact that the PSP plays MP3's!, but SCE insisted on the feature, though they threw that part of Sony a bone by having it play ATRAC as well. Also SCE made MP3 the default ripping format of the PS3, not ATRAC.

Sony is paranoid about piracy because they also make practically every kind of media content, movies, music, games. So the hardware and media divisions of Sony are constantly feuding. (Sony BMG did NOT like Minidisc and insisted on certain features in SACD)

So lay off of SCE, okay.

I like Linux (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058776)

But I wouldn't buy a Sony phone even if it came straight with Linux. Too much Sony downside these days. And they might decide to change it later.

Re:I like Linux (2)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058914)

I'm sort of the other way around. I don't like Sony, but I take each product on its merits and wouldn't cut off my nose to spite my face just because they did this or that in the past.

Re:I like Linux (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059022)

Well there you go. When I'm deciding whether or not to hang out with a guy I look at how he treats the other people in his life right now. People with too much unpleasantness and drama just aren't any fun to be around even if they are otherwise interesting or helpful.

Re:I like Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059054)

The PS3 was a device that could run Linux, and people bought it despite Sony's history. Sony *removed* that advertised functionality. So one must take into account a bit more than just the advertised functionality when buying a product.

Re:I like Linux (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059588)

sigh, OtherOS was never "Advertised" yes, it was mentioned in the users manual, but that's not advertising. Neither is it getting mention on Kotaku or Slashdot.

The majority of people buying PS3's didn't give a damn about OtherOS and never used it...so it makes not one whit of difference for them. The Slim's also never had OtherOS as part of the efford to get the price down. You remember the biggest complaint abou thte PS3 right, the price? So they take out OtherOS that very few people used and people still complain.

Sure, I had YDL on my PS3, but it's not that big of a deal, I understand why they did it, and can live without OtherOS with only a bit of minor grumbling on my part.

Re:I like Linux (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059064)

I don't like Sony, but I take each product on its merits and wouldn't cut off my nose to spite my face just because they did this or that in the past.

There's something to what you say, but OTOH there's such a thing as being a chump. This situation reminds me of the old 'wallet on a string' gag. Continuing to reach for the wallet is simply optimism, however PAYING the joker in the bushes to keep jerking (your) string probably makes you a sucker.

Now I don't feel like such a chump... (1)

telekon (185072) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058778)

...for buying an Xperia X10a. Although maybe I will after I RTFA.

Then again, maybe this is all a clever strategy to get Android hackers [xda-developers.com] to develop updated OSs for their phones, since they can't seem to manage it in a timely fashion.

Re:Now I don't feel like such a chump... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059068)

X10 is updated to 2.1 currently, ask your carrier if you haven't got the update. It will additionally be updated to 2.3 this summer.

All current Sony Ericsson mobiles are launching with 2.3. They were the first to do so besides Google's own devphone.

Re:Now I don't feel like such a chump... (1)

silly_sysiphus (1300705) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059280)

Also, if you're stuck on marvellous AT&T, you won't get the update. In which case, you can debrand the phone and get the stock SE 2.1 firmware (can be done by oneself or can buy the service from DaVinci, Wotan, etc...)

So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058782)

Are Sony good or bad now? Or is it that I shouldn't buy their Playstation but I should buy their phone?

For Now (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058784)

Not that this needs to be said, but it should be said anyway:

For now.

It's Sony. I'm not sure how they'll take away the ability to boot Linux on phones that are running it, but they'll find a way. At the very least, one of the firmware updates to the existing software will remove the ability to install Linux, you can guarantee that.

Re:For Now (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058824)

The blog just explains how to do something that people have been doing for years - rooting/reflashing your phone with 3rd party tools. I've done this on several phones. They can't stop it happening. They also point out that it "may" invalidate your warranty.

Re:For Now (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058866)

The blog just explains how to do something that people have been doing for years - rooting/reflashing your phone with 3rd party tools. I've done this on several phones. They can't stop it happening.

Sure they can. All they have to do is what Motorola did, and while they can't stop you from rooting your phone, they can make real upgrades impossible. All it requires is for Android to be dependent on some new kernel feature, and suddenly you're forced to either do nasty workarounds or do without.

Re:For Now (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058926)

I'm not aware of what situation you're talking about. I'm guessing you're talking about not releasing drivers for new versions of an OS, but that doesn't stop custom versions of the old OS. You can't expect the hardware manufacturer to provide support forever. You should only buy a device if you're happy with it as it is, and treat the upgrades as a bonus. With some manufacturers/devices you can be more confident of upgrades being made available though. I bought a Xoom over any other honeycomb tablet precisely because it's so well known, and therefore I thought it would be more likely to get upgrades in future (though like I said, I'm happy with it "as is" really). Have Motorola made a habit of not providing upgrades for their devices?

Re:For Now (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058962)

I'm guessing you're talking about not releasing drivers for new versions of an OS, but that doesn't stop custom versions of the old OS.

No. I'm talking about the fact that Android requires changes to the kernel that aren't the same between every revision, and if a newer version of Android requires that kernel then you either have to hack around that dependency or you have to do without whatever required it.

You can't expect the hardware manufacturer to provide support forever.

Which is totally irrelevant to the point I made in this post, and relevant to a different one where I said they should put up the effort to get their board support file and drivers in the upstream, which means users could possibly support themselves. This is about Motorola's anti-modder efforts which forces you to be dependent upon them.

Have Motorola made a habit of not providing upgrades for their devices?

Many of their devices have received none. Some got versions of Android from a year prior. And regardless, when Motorola decides to stop supporting your device, you're shit out of luck and should buy a new one like a good consumer should.

Re:For Now (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059578)

It's Sony. I'm not sure how they'll take away the ability to boot Linux on phones that are running it, but they'll find a way. At the very least, one of the firmware updates to the existing software will remove the ability to install Linux, you can guarantee that.

And it's also a large company, with many divisions, many management layers, and the left hand often doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

So it doesn't surprise me when you see actions that are almost the polar opposite of another division.

This isn't that unusual (5, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058806)

It is absolutely commonplace to find that in companies the size of Sony, different divisions are effectively operated as wholly separate companies and about the only thing they share is the company name and logo.

Separate directors, separate budgets, in some cases even separate legal entities. It shouldn't be too surprising to find they have different attitudes to things like this.

Re:This isn't that unusual (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058864)

Don't try to talk sense, they'll just flame you.. :p even in the small business where I work, the depts are vastly different, with different directors and budgets like you say, as well as different cultures/morality.

Re:This isn't that unusual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058880)

SonyEricsson != Sony. Different company. Different engineers. Different management.

Re:This isn't that unusual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058980)

But Sony BMG = ... Oh I give up this is slashdot afterall

Re:This isn't that unusual (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058884)

Get real. This is just the same ruse and the PS3, where Sony paid to have Linux work on their new console. They'll block it off at some point when people realize the Linux is crippled and the enemy (their customers) want to remove the artificial restrictions. It's particularly more pertinent with model devices because the OS allows the hardware to operate outside the local law restrictions.

So please give up the pseudo sanity, clearly fanboyism in disguise. Sony will fuck it up, just like they always do. But in this case, they won't have any customers. Sony is the world's most hated company, which is going some considering tosspots like Microsoft and Apple.

Re:This isn't that unusual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058950)

Not if this turns out to be a clear success in an increased number developers working on their platforms.
More apps, more buzz, more sales.

Besides one may think that ericsson which owns 50% of the company would have a thing or 2 to say about removing a feature that has created a lot of good press and word of mouth.

Re:This isn't that unusual (1)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059324)

Yes but ultimately they are still the same company and you have to worry about the company deciding that the VP who did such a great job at maximizing profits in division X should take a shot at division Y. It's not the guys implementing the features that make the decision to remove them.

That said this is a different situation, being a joint venture and all.

Re:This isn't that unusual (2)

JanneM (7445) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059344)

different divisions are effectively operated as wholly separate companies

And in this case, of course, it really is a wholly separate company, owned 50-50 by Sony and Ericsson, and based out of Sweden, one continent away from Sony headquarters.

Re:This isn't that unusual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059412)

Oh, yes, I agree with you. But I don't want to try each heap of something just to find the one heap which tastes good. Sony pissed me off too often to give them another chance to feed me dirt. I don't want to make business with them anymore.

cb

Xperia! (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058818)

Help me on this , but, how can an Xperia cost 500€ ???? it's completely crazy! it's almost double a PS3!

Re:Xperia! (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058840)

The PS3 is sold below cost. Sony hopes to recoup the loss through sales of games (with it about $/€10 per game sold iirc).

Re:Xperia! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058892)

No it isn't. It was at launch, but they've been raking it in for a couple of years on hardware alone. Stop spouting shit, and learn to read financial statements.

Re:Xperia! (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059434)

"The PS3 is sold below cost."

You must have traveled here from two years in the past, when the PS3 was still sold below cost. Welcome, time traveler!

Re:Xperia! (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058848)

That's probably the unsubsidized cost of the Xperia. If you think about it, the PS3 is subsidized - via game purchases.

Re:Xperia! (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058852)

Most smartphones, when sold off contract, cost that much. Even in Europe.

No, they aren't actually worth that much but that seems to be the sustainable price for unlocked devices.

Wow, this is really exciting! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058836)

In a year or two when these start showing up cheap at flea markets I will pick one up for the hack potential. Thanks, Sony! I will enjoy buying your castoffs! Please bring out lots of these with high resolution touch displays! kthxbye!

track record (4, Interesting)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058870)

I do not think sony will pull another stunt with the phones. They made enough trouble for their users already.

But I am not gonna buy stuff from them, they showed no respect, I show no interest.
Or I should say "they show no respect" because blaming anonymous for a stolen data case without no solid proof sounds like a tactic to deflect attention from the lousy way they lost data or push the equation hacking=bad, which has many more counterexamples than the equation corporation=bunch of psychos.

Re:track record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058986)

I could not have put it so succinctly as you did; "They showed me no respect, I show them no interest". Beautiful. That is probably the best, non-inflammatory statement I could ever say about those miscreants. I go all the way back to the root-kit of Windows any time one of their infected music disks were put into a CD drive. How DARE they pull stunts like that! The fact that several of their executives all the way down to anyone that had knowledge of it NOT get arrested is simply reprehensible. I know that if I were to sell something and what I sold included embedded malware that affected machines it was installed on, someone would be hauling me off in cuffs.

I patently refuse to buy anything that has a Sony label anymore. "I work for Sony" is a statement, that if uttered in a public gathering, should result in getting punched in the throat...

Re:track record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059604)

I do not think sony will pull another stunt with the phones. They made enough trouble for their users already.

I do not think Sony will yank Other OS from existing PlayStation 3's. They made enough trouble for their users with the music CD root kits already.

Android is barely "Linux"... (2, Interesting)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058878)

Android barely qualifies as a form of "Linux." Yes, it uses a Linux kernel, but the fact is largely incidental - there's no real technical reason that Android couldn't be built on BSD or even WinCE if Google or an OEM wanted it. It isn't close to POSIX-compatible, it only runs "managed" (VM-based) apps, and it isn't even open-source as of 3.0.

Of course, this will result in a wave of posts about how Google loves open-source, about how Linux is Linux, and how Google has assured us that the 3.0 source is coming Real Soon Now...

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058896)

The only reason Google hasn't released the 3.0 source code is so manufacturers can actually try to sell their products first, without the rest of us hacking Honeycomb onto phones, galaxy tabs, nook colors, and the like. On a related note I think currently available hardware can run Honeycomb, but poorly, and Google doesn't want consumers to think that HC is a slow hunk of junk just because it'll churn along on a 1ghz ARM processor with a shitty graphics processor.

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (2)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058906)

Whether or not that's the reason, a product without released source code just isn't open-source, and no amount of rationalizing it will change that.

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058964)

And no one did rationalize or claim it wasn't (right here, I'm sure people have elsewhere). Can't you wait for your predicted wave of posts before going off on your rant?

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058984)

As long as you're consistent and revise your view when the Honeycomb source is eventually released as Google has said they would, then we'll get along just fine. Just don't be a hypocrite and keep citing this negative opinion once it is actually open source.

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058908)

> it only runs "managed" (VM-based) apps

No, the android NDK allows you to write native code. It's a complete pain - if you know about real Java imagine the only way to write a native app was via writing a library then calling it via the Java JNI, and you'll have the basic idea, except that it's not the JNI you use, of course, it's a similar but not identical Dalvik thing. But on the whole, you can write native code. In fact if you want to make a high-performance OpenGL ES based game, you'd better be doing that, and shipping arm5, arm7 and maybe now x86 (for atom-based devices) native libraries).

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058918)

I know how the NDK works. It's still managed by the VM, just like Managed C++ on .NET.

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059000)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Managed_Extensions_for_C%2B%2B#Design [wikipedia.org]

applications written in Managed C++ compile to CIL â" Common Intermediate Language â" and not directly to native CPU instructions like regular C++ applications do.

The NDK in contrast, allows compilation of native arm libraries. The application as a whole is running "in" the VM, like a Java app that calls a JNI interface, but it's definitely executing actual native code. This is readily apparent looking at the sample apps. sample apps [android.com]

Or were you just confusing the NDK and SDK?

http://developer.android.com/sdk/ndk/index.html [android.com]

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059028)

In Android, the VM normally manages NDK classes just like Java classes, so that it can do things like GC'ing them to kill up resources.

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059076)

No, not "just like" java classes. You don't really even have to write your own obnoxious vm-side glue anymore (except for more advanced apps), just use the ready made NativeActivity [android.com].

It's not exactly posixy, but don't confuse posix and native.

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (2)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059014)

Android barely qualifies as a form of "Linux." Yes, it uses a Linux kernel, but the fact is largely incidental - there's no real technical reason that Android couldn't be built on BSD or even WinCE if Google or an OEM wanted it. It isn't close to POSIX-compatible, it only runs "managed" (VM-based) apps, and it isn't even open-source as of 3.0.

What are you even talking about? Here's the problem when referring to "Linux" as the system rather than using the term to refer to the kernel. Take Debian for example. Is it "Linux"? What if you replace the kernel with the FreeBSD kernel, does that still qualify or not? A much better way to describe these systems is by the distribution name, and the second best way is to describe them by the core system itself. So, for example, Debian 6.0, Slackware, and Gentoo are GNU systems that is usually running on top of the Linux kernel.

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (2)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059040)

What do you mean, it just happens to run a linux kernel? Linux is a kernel! (and nothing more)

"Android barely qualifies as a form of "Linux." Yes, it uses a Linux kernel, but the fact is largely incidental - there's no real technical reason that Android couldn't be built on BSD or even WinCE if Google or an OEM wanted it."

Debian barely qualifies as a form of "Linux." Yes, it uses a Linux kernel, but the fact is largely incidental - there's no real technical reason that Debian couldn't be built on BSD or even WinCE if Google or an OEM wanted it.

Oops, wait: there is Debian GNU/NetBSD and the like...

C'mon, Android is linux with an application layer over it. Just like most distributions are a kernel with more layers+apps on top. It is as much a form of linux as any other distribution.

Android just happens to have set a tight control on what apps can do and cannot by limiting them to the API the framework offers. And frankly, I wished linux distributions agreed on such a standard, too. Maybe that way apps would be easier to code, apps could be reused across distributions, and app quality would hopefully improve (due to the application layer providing a better abstraction). I think that would help adoption on the desktop, and sure as hell it would reduce the vast amount of "fragmentation" the linux desktop community currently suffers from. IMHO.

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059278)

*Linux* it is NOT.

debian is an OPERATING SYSTEM based on the LINUX KERNEL.

ANDROID is an software package running a kernel that is NOT linux, but is BASED on linux in a way that is not compatible.

unless i can compile linux software that i run on my computer, under an android device, no it is not linux.

straight from wikipedia "Android's kernel is derived from Linux but has included architecture changes by Google outside the typical Linux kernel development cycle.[152] Android does not have a native X Window System nor does it support the full set of standard GNU libraries, and this makes it difficult to port existing GNU/Linux applications or libraries to Android."

I bet my left testicle it would be easier to compile a linux program to run over windows than to run over android.

i hate android. whoever the hell decided it is a great idea to have a virtual machine in an embedded device where processing power and electrical power are at a severe premium?

since when do i need a dualcore 1GHz ARM cpu in a phone? and still not as responsive as my 15 year old calculator with three orders of magnitude less powerful software... my milestone lagged when i enterned text with the hardware keyboard. It couldn't even play the video i recorded with it, after a minute or so it started losing sync. fuck what horrible engineering

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059560)

OK... :
"unless i can compile linux software that i run on my computer, under an android device, no it is not linux"

I compile something on Fedora Core.. but doesn't run on Ubuntu. There's a lot of that, hence packaging systems with pre-compiled stuff.

""Android's kernel is derived from Linux but has included architecture changes by Google outside the typical Linux kernel development cycle.[152] Android does not have a native X Window System nor does it support the full set of standard GNU libraries, and this makes it difficult to port existing GNU/Linux applications or libraries to Android."

A lot of distributions don't include the X Windows System (yes, it may exist out there you can download or compile, but do not come with it), and some also don't include the full set of standard GNU Libraries (scaled back versions such as installs on routers, etc).

So I guess none of those are "Linux kernels" either.

And lastly: "In 1991, the first version of the Linux kernel was released by Linus Torvalds. Early Linux kernel developers ported GNU code, including the GNU C Compiler, to run on Linux. Later, when the GNU developers learned of Linux, they adapted other parts of GNU to run on the Linux kernel."

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (2)

ndogg (158021) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059062)

What is Linux?

No, seriously, what is Linux?

In spite of all his craziness, RMS and the FSF are right about one thing, Linux is just a kernel. Ubuntu, Red Hat, Suse, etc. could all be built on a different kernel. In fact, just to prove the point, Debian built a port of their OS to a version using the FreeBSD kernel [debian.org].

So, IMO, anything using the Linux kernel, POSIX-compatible or not, is a Linux OS. Otherwise, you're playing pedantics.

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059066)

Google isn't as bad in many- or at least some ways as the competition for its main products and that is what fuels its success. It also does some things much much better even if still other things are repugnant. Google's search for instance is good. That isn't to say it has ethics though for being neutral or is perfect. Nor can they be appreciated for it's respect for privacy. They have clearly done many things to thwart those seeking privacy. None of them may be an outright attack although they certainly have made it difficult to impossible to retain privacy which we once had because of how the older technology worked. All in all I say avoid Google except where one has only worse options and it's something that is unavoidable. I no longer read Yahoo! News for instance. Sadly nothing else compares to it. Not Google and certainly not Microsoft. What is left? The BBC. How this is that I'm getting all my non-tech news from them I don't know. It's a sad state of affairs. Google's Picassa is horrendous product from a proprietary point of view. I have no really acceptable alternatives though to recommend. It would be nice if someone partly duplicated it without the proprietary databases and used standards for tagging pictures in ways other applications could interpret. It has printing options which were once very handy when companies were using ActiveX for multiple file uploads (printing service where one could order photos). It would also be nice if Google had a feature to store hashes alongside the photos when users burned them to CD and a cloud backup feature that did the encryption user side so that nobody (even Google) could peer into your private life. Of course these are all things that free software authors could write and have not. Sadly we have more important programs that need written and developed given that no free or even non-free alternatives exist. Things like Flash and a complete suite of video authoring software (we do have some excellent video editing software although importing from DV cameras and burning to DVD is still haphazard and a challenge-though not so impossible the average user couldn't handle it with some practice- OpenShot has been both stable and extremely easy to use).

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (1)

theweatherelectric (2007596) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059102)

Android barely qualifies as a form of "Linux." Yes, it uses a Linux kernel, but the fact is largely incidental - there's no real technical reason that Android couldn't be built on BSD or even WinCE if Google or an OEM wanted it. It isn't close to POSIX-compatible, it only runs "managed" (VM-based) apps, and it isn't even open-source as of 3.0.

So install MeeGo [meego.com]. MeeGo is quite strongly aligned with the upstream projects it makes use of. It really is a desktop Linux distribution for mobile devices.

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059192)

Easier said than done. First you need to port the kernel forward to 2.6.37 (reference base) and then you need to beg S-E to recompile the video drivers against glibc and make sure they're compatible with Xorg 1.9.

The joys of closed source blobs and utter contempt for pushing drivers and board files upstream.

Re:Android is barely "Linux"... (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059594)

Nice troll.. Android uses the Linux kernel.Arguing that it could use another kernel is like arguing that ios could use another kernel - possible, but not easy or likely. Apps do not need to be vm based, the web browser etc are not, and you can compile whatever code you want with gcc ... Even market apps can use the ndk... And regardless of whatever you think, it's more "open source" than any other mobile os..

well the law is on the side of phone hacking but o (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058898)

well the law is on the side of phone hacking but on the ps3 side sony uses the law to stop hacking.

Sony has linux on many devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058904)

As a matter of fact most things from sony which need a decent processor for the task run under linux. Ebook readers, picture frames, cameras, home servers, there two earlier attempts at a portable internet device, television sets and some niche stuff.

And the PS3 runs linux, as far as i understand. If you run it in the state in which they sold it and use it just for running linux, it seems fine.

Bend over and spread those cheeks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36058940)

Bend over and spread those cheeks.

Because if you trust anything with a Sony label on it, you will get fucked in he ass.

And no it doesn't matter which division, because the fuckers in charge of the criminal divisions are still working for the company and have not been fired and sued by Sony.

The rule is simple (1)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058992)

The rule is simple: if you're behind in marketshare you embrace "openness", if you're ahead then you strive for customer lock-in by whatever means necessary. You change strategies as your marketplace fortunes change.

Re:The rule is simple (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059320)

if you're behind in marketshare you embrace "openness"

PS3 trails the Wii, yet Sony still went for the lock-in by cutting out Other OS from the PS3.

Nokia (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#36058996)

That is not even shadow of what Nokia did with the N900 and pushing the development of Meego (ok, pre-Elop era, at least). But they will get extra points if they publish drivers or specs to do them for fully installing other linux, not just android, on their phones.

Re:Nokia (4, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059126)

Most vendors publish (some) of the necessary drivers. However in truly incompetent fashion, they do so by dropping the kernel sources they used for the device. No history, no upstream contribution, just a tarball.

This attitude is heavily encouraged by Google forking permanently from the mainline and not maintaining an upstream of its own, resulting in tons of dead-end drivers for these devices that have to be reworked between Android versions. On top of that, you have the problem that userspace drivers for most video chips are built against Bionic, rendering them unusable on non-Android platforms. This leaves you stuck with software-only for video and no 3D at all.

Sadly there's no guarantee that MeeGo will free us from that, but at least using glibc/Xorg (and eventually Wayland) means that ports of other OSes with full hardware support (including 3D) is more likely, as opposed to now where it's either second-rate via chroot+vnc or software rendering only.

Re:Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059294)

Or it's encouraged by the mainline folks not being interested in accepting any solutions but their own.

The Android kernel code is out there, in publicly accessible git repositories, with change histories.

It is regularly rebased and snapped up to newer mainline versions.

Android ships on over 350,000 newly activated devices per day.

I'd be surprised if that many maemo based phones have shipped in total to date.

The community can choose to be helpful or be obnoxious, but neither is going to cause Google to throw out their entire design and restart from scratch based on X11 and whatever else the community prefers when they already have something that's highly successful. The former may bring Android's use of Linux and mainline closer in sync and as a result make it easier to build low-volume pure-linux-like-the-desktop solutions that some hope against all reason will succeed.

Also, maybe, do a little research. For example -- as of Gingerbread you can deploy applications written in C/C++ on Android, linking in whatever fancy open source libraries you like and making use of opengl ES 2 directly. Hell, you could easily write a shim library that provides X11 up top and plugs into opengl and the android stack on the bottom and have a full porting environment for all those awesome native Linux apps Android users are missing out on! Or you could bitch and moan about how not-linux Android is on slashdot. Your choice, dude. Your choice.

They will also let you unlock bootloaders (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059036)

Interestingly enough Sony-Ericson will also allow you to unlock the bootloader [sonyericsson.com] on many of their phones. This naturally voids the warranty and they say in the process some DRM features will be removed from the phone, but this is quite surprising given they are the biggest arseholes in the current technological world. It's a complete opposite approach to Motorola.

Mind you there's enough skepticism on the internet that thinks this is a grand scheme to build a database of phones with voided warranties. After all the way phone hacking is going these days with other handsets like Samsung, it's possible to unlock, jailbreak, heck even install Cyanogen mod (a port of Google's vanilla Android OS) and yet magically flash the stock firmware back on if the phone is marginally functional and return it for a warranty claim.

Re:They will also let you unlock bootloaders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059474)

I must have mistyped the url, is this really /.?
"Android is not Linux", "Vendor provided tool for unlocking the bootload is a warranty scheme"

I think it's great, because the manufacturer will stop pushing updates when they feel they can't spend any more resources on an outdated device, since they didn't charge iphone-like sums for it in the first place. Then it's time to unlock and install Cyanogen or the like, and continue using your smartphone with the latest releases.

It's.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059048)

... A Trap!

Hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059088)

THIS...SENTENCE...IS...FALSE...dont think about it..dont think about it..dont think about it..

Re:Hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059250)

Umm, true. I'm gonna go with true. Though to be honest I may have heard that one before.

Bummer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059256)

Bought a Sony Symbian phone prior to the Nokia meltdown. I reasoned I could use it for some time before Symbian was killed (and there was back then the idea it could be opensourced... well, 'tis no more).

This after having problems with Sony DRM in my car radio (with a legal CD, not pirated), after the PS3 fiasco and after that trojan thing others complained about -- please, call me an idiot, but then the phone was really cost-attractive (now I know why, duh) and Sony optics usually are well-done.

Oh, well, it will last for some 3 years, I think... and it's not for my use. For me, I want Linux, not even Android will be enough... that means I'll probably get a tablet... or small netbook, when it comes under 800g with an affordable price.

Before.... (1)

sunfly (1248694) | more than 2 years ago | (#36059330)

Before they force an uninstall in a software update, and sue anyone that tries to jailbreak them to reinstall the software of their choosing. Obviously this is sarcasm, but I truly do not trust Sony at all.

Thanks, but no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059380)

First you poisoned your products and now you want us to swallow it? No, thanks, other offers taste better.

cb

just wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36059544)

based on the last ten-plus years of behavior, I think we're in for the same sort of disappointment as 'other os'.

the devs have no say. if the brand managers work out over vodkas that this 'dilutes' the platform like ice does a martini, what's to stop them from pushing firmware updates like with the PSP?

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