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Drawing the Line Between Android and Linux

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the one-of-these-not-like-the-other dept.

Android 258

jfruhlinger writes "The relationship between Linux and Android is on a technical level not hard to grasp — there's a shared kernel, but the application and interface layers are quite different. But, as Brian Proffitt points out, there are differences of philosophy and of community — which hasn't stopped Adobe from touting its Android dev tools as proof of its devotion to Linux."

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258 comments

Both (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662478)

Have cheap ass users who don't want to pay for anything.

Re:Both (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662502)

I use my ass almost daily. The waste has to go out somewhere. If that makes me cheap, so be it!

Re:Both (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662642)

I use my ass almost daily. The waste has to go out somewhere. If that makes me cheap, so be it!

He uses my ass daily too. And he is cheap, he just brought me a bunch of daisies on valentine's day.

Re:Both (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662560)

We'll pay for some things, like hardware. Overpriced iPwn fart apps with a "sleek user interface?" Not so much.

Re:Both (2, Interesting)

Elbereth (58257) | about 3 years ago | (#36662788)

There's a difference between being cheap (trying to minimize costs), having an entitlement complex (believing that you deserve everything for free), and wanting the source code available (software freedom). I'm not saying that they don't intersect, but there are differences. It's easy to confuse people who call for software freedom with the people who pirate software, because they're both using the word "free", but in different contexts, and they both have an aversion to paying for commercial software, whereas the cheap user might be virtually immune to spending their money on luxury brands, like Apple or Sony, that offer little real return for the extra money spent.

But, in the end, you're just trolling, and I'm simply bored; so I'm responding to your troll. I'm sure someone else will mention the Humble Indie Bundle, because it's turning into an annoyingly cliched (though true) counter-example to this common troll.

Android and Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662498)

Try upgrading the OS on your Android phone from a Linux machine . . .

Re:Android and Linux (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36662618)

Ok, so I copied the update.zip to the SD card, and ran it from clockwork.

What was supposed to be hard about that?

Re:Android and Linux (3, Informative)

royallthefourth (1564389) | about 3 years ago | (#36662630)

No problem! The Android SDK is in the repository for every major distro. Just push out the ROM, and reboot into recovery and flash it.

Re:Android and Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662854)

Never had any problem doing so

Yupp (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662520)

KERNEL.DLL and MS-Windows are also the same thing!

don't know (2, Insightful)

justsomebody (525308) | about 3 years ago | (#36662550)

android didn't do anything good for linux, if anything it just made another incompatible implementation of the same platform. wake me up when i can run android app on my linux desktop without needing to run it in some virtual machine.

adobe i don't even wanna comment about. i avoid them more carefully than entrance to hell.

Re:don't know (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36662678)

You do realize that android apps run in dalvik right? So there is always a virtual machine. I fail to see how that is any different than running it on the virtual machine running on the phone.

MVC (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#36662774)

You do realize that android apps run in dalvik right?

One common pattern is a Java front-end made especially for Android that runs in Dalvik, combined with a C++ back-end shared with other platforms that runs in the NDK. In MVC terms, this corresponds to a C++ model and a Java view.

Re:MVC (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 3 years ago | (#36662872)

One common pattern is a Java front-end made especially for Android that runs in Dalvik, combined with a C++ back-end shared with other platforms that runs in the NDK.

Except that your C++ code is still executed from within the Dalvik VM.

The Android NDK is a companion tool to the Android SDK that lets you build performance-critical portions of your apps in native code. It provides headers and libraries that allow you to build activities, handle user input, use hardware sensors, access application resources, and more, when programming in C or C++. If you write native code, your applications are still packaged into an .apk file and they still run inside of a virtual machine on the device. The fundamental Android application model does not change.

So no it doesn't run in the "NDK" considering that statement makes absolutely no sense.

Re:MVC (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#36663182)

Does "and they still run inside of a virtual machine on the device" mean that the NDK compiles C++ to Dalvik bytecode?

Re:MVC (2)

bgat (123664) | about 3 years ago | (#36663184)

Except that your C++ code is still executed from within the Dalvik VM.

Depends on how you define "within". True, the VM allows control to pass to the C++ code. And true, that code is running in the process context of the VM. HOWEVER, the C++ code is running directly on the CPU, just like ordinary C++ code.

The situation is not unlike a shell invoking a native program. Although the native program is running as a child process to the shell, the native program is only minimally influenced by that.

Re:don't know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662744)

Why, exactly, would you want to run an app designed for a phone on your desktop anyway? The two platforms are very different and have apps designed with different UI needs to do different types of things (Or ought to be anyway). For example, I really wouldn't want to run a copy of a major spreadsheet or word processor or database server on my phone, nor would I want to run a app that tells me what are good day trips from my current location on my desktop... Both are useful applications, but only in their place.

Re:don't know (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 3 years ago | (#36663178)

Because there are Apps that would work in either environment just fine. Just because you can think of a case that won't work doesn't mean that all cases don't work.

don't know... how OS's work? (4, Insightful)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | about 3 years ago | (#36662880)

First, it's called Java and it runs android apps on linux [softpedia.com] (amoung others), just like Linux runs any other app. Android doesn't make kernel bound, machine compiled apps for the very good reason that they need as many apps to run on as many phones without separate compilers. Phones are still running completely different chipsets than PCs, or are you not aware that you can't run amd64.deb on a 32bit PC, etc. etc. If so, you aren't very educated about the issue at all.

If you want to take some code, make some native applications compile to it, I'm sure you could get some command line tools that work on both platforms, compiling separately on each. Mainstream users don't CARE if they can run it on their computers. Frankly, not many geeks care either. That's a pretty minority of a minority view. At best, people would like to run Linux desktop apps on Android, not the other way around.

And the problem isn't Android, it's XWindows. When you get XWindows and Gnome/KDE to run efficiently on ARM, you let me know and THEN we'll talk about portability. Until then, NON ISSUE QED.

And even then, you'd still need a type of virtual machine, regardless of whether the code ran or not. Apps are built for.. wait for it... phones and tablets! It's pointy-multi-touchy, not lefty-righty-clicky.

The fact is that Android is the first, and only, real main stream Linux OS that rivals every single one of its competitors. What did Android do for Linux? That's like asking what Apache has done for Linux. Without Apache, Linux wouldn't have the server market cornered. Android did for linux on phones what Apache did for linux on servers. And if you don't get that analogy, you just don't get it the topic at all.

Re:don't know... how OS's work? (1)

Johnny O (22313) | about 3 years ago | (#36663352)

I didnt think there was a more idiotic post. Gratz!

I have a GP2x and just bought a Caanoo..
I couldnt believe what I just read.

http://www.google.com/search?q=gp2x [google.com]

I also help with ArmedSlack. I found this post very bizarre.

Re:don't know... how OS's work? (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | about 3 years ago | (#36663670)

Exactly. People don't understand that you have to build to the device, not just the platform. PCs are so very similar that people rarely notice the difference. Of course, anyone with a 32bit PC trying to run a 64bit only app immediately learn that there is a difference when the chipset changes. That's why devices like the GP2X runs emulators. It's also why VMWare and HyperV have such a great market. Not just for segregation of services, but also because many people still rely on 32 bit systems but need the power and ram of a 64bit system, which can be dynamically allocated among many 32bit systems. I have a server here running 32GB of ram and running nearly a dozen copies of Windows 2003.

People just don't realize that it's not just kernel, but the device, that matters. I can't even imagine the driver nightmare someone would run into ala Linux from years ago when nobody made open source drivers... actually, I can. Running CyanogenMod7, it becomes clear that drivers for different cameras and wireless chipsets are hard to optimize and get working properly.

Emulators solve that problem, especially if you can get everyone to agree on a common emulator or virtual machine.

Re:don't know... how OS's work? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36663472)

And the problem isn't Android, it's XWindows. When you get XWindows and Gnome/KDE to run efficiently on ARM, you let me know and THEN we'll talk about portability. Until then, NON ISSUE QED.

GNOME/KDE are overrated, but the N900 runs X11 on ARM just dandy. Of course it's not the huge Xorg nee Xfree86 monstrosity, it's a kdrive variant (which, perhaps confusingly, is also an X.org project), but it's still X11R6 and it lets all your X apps run, including letting PC apps display on your phone or phone apps* display on your PC's X server. And Hildon (the desktop environment of Maemo) is pretty much a mobile-centric version of GNOME, so it could be said without much exaggeration that we do have "XWindows and Gnome" running efficiently on ARM.

*But some phone apps are stupidly written to ignore the DISPLAY environment variable, and hard-coded to :0 -- obviously they won't display remotely without massive futzing around.

The trouble isn't that a real UNIX-like phone OS can't be done -- it has been done! The trouble's that Maemo, and the similarly UNIX-like WebOS, each belong to a single phone maker, so they'll never make the market impact of a commoditized OS like Android, and never get the same ecosystem of developers. Nokia's involvement with Meego was supposed to rectify that, but we all know where that went *coughELOPcough*, and without a big phone name behind it, it looks like Meego will be primarily a tablet/in-vehicle/etc. OS, with at best niche presence in the phone market.

Re:don't know... how OS's work? (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | about 3 years ago | (#36663680)

Great information (definitely Insightful), thanks!

Re:don't know... how OS's work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36663514)

What did Android do for Linux? That's like asking what Apache has done for Linux. Without Apache, Linux wouldn't have the server market cornered. Android did for linux on phones what Apache did for linux on servers. And if you don't get that analogy, you just don't get it the topic at all.

Thanks for that, nice analogy.
+1

Share the love (2)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about 3 years ago | (#36662566)

When will I be able to run Android on my desktop?

Re:Share the love (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662656)

Now?
http://www.android-x86.org/

Re:Share the love (1)

fortyonejb (1116789) | about 3 years ago | (#36662852)

When you are running an ARM desktop for one.

How do people still not get this?

Re:Share the love (1)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | about 3 years ago | (#36663396)

OK then, when will I be able to run Android on my Acorn A4000. :-)

Re:Share the love (1)

Pope (17780) | about 3 years ago | (#36663614)

I am writing that in my copybook, now.

Adobe - it's a disfunctional relationship (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about 3 years ago | (#36662580)

Adobe isn't moving away from the Linux community. Rather, the company is refocusing its efforts into the emerging Linux-based space found in mobile products.

So you're going to market Dreamweaver and Illustrator/Photoshop as the latest greatest dev tool for building apps? Why do I get the feeling academia would really embrace that...

Whoa! Hold on a moment. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662602)

"The relationship between Linux and Android is on a technical level not hard to grasp — there's a shared kernel...

Most Linux Distros -> GNU/Linux.

Linux is the kernel. Shared kernel means it's Linux.

Period. end of story.

, but the application and interface layers are quite different.

That could be said for any Linux distro.

Android is a Linux distro.

Re:Whoa! Hold on a moment. (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 3 years ago | (#36662756)

I love how it takes an AC to point out the blatantly obvious.

Re:Whoa! Hold on a moment. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#36662860)

Mod parent right up. The confusion comes from people who keep talking about Linux when they mean all of the extra stuff on top of the kernel. You can take a typical 'Linux' system and replace the kernel with FreeBSD and neither users nor developers will notice. The closest most of them get to it is libc, which is GNU code. Your applications on Ubuntu care about X11, glibc, GTK, Cairo, and so on. Your apps on Android care about Dalvik, Skia, and so on.

Re:Whoa! Hold on a moment. (1, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | about 3 years ago | (#36663576)

The confusion comes from people who keep talking about Linux when they mean all of the extra stuff on top of the kernel.

No, the confusion is with people who think that Linux can only refer to the kernel. Even Linus doesn't play the "GNU/Linux" game.

Certainly, it would have save a lot of hassle had Linus decided to give his kernel and the GNU OS using his kernel completely different names, like Darwin and xnu. Instead, he called the kernel "Linux", named the file "vmlinux" or "vmlinuz" (depending on whether it's compressed or not).

The language may be imprecise, but you can't blame people for using the language as it exists. Just because a bunch of nerds with an aversion to ambiguity have come up with a way to be more precise doesn't make it right. It just makes a set of more specific terminology, that almost nobody uses. Not even most of the people who make a fuss about it.

After all, are you saying that you aren't also one of the "people who keep talking about Linux when they mean all of the extra stuff on top of the kernel"?

Re:Whoa! Hold on a moment. (2)

node 3 (115640) | about 3 years ago | (#36663462)

You make a good point, but come to the wrong conclusion.

The word "Linux" can be used to describe just the kernel alone, or the GNU/Linux (to use Stallman's nomenclature, which Linus Torvalds rejects) system in general. When someone says "Linux distro", they mean a "GNU/Linux distro". And, isn't Android GNU/Linux anyway? Doesn't it include the GNU tools? What it's not is a traditional GNU/X11/GNOME|KDE|other-X11-based UI/Linux Intel-compatible PC distro. I think it's not unreasonable that people don't go around being so specific, and just say "Linux".

So, Android is an OS based on a heavily modified Linux kernel, it's not a Linux distro in the way people use the term. And even if you want to play the semantics card and call it one, you still fail to answer the question posed in the article. If it makes you feel linguistically better, use the term "traditional" or "common" or something similar.

Rewrite the headline in your mind to read: Drawing the Line Between Android and the Common, Traditional Form of GNU/Linux Distro

That's what the author meant, and most people (who even know what Linux is in the first place) take as understood.

Adobe Air (1)

devjoe (88696) | about 3 years ago | (#36662614)

The main point of the article is about Adobe's development tools for Adobe Air. Is anybody actually using Adobe Air? The only thing I can recall having seen done using Adobe Air is help for recent versions of Adobe products, and this makes it so slow compared with any other help system that it makes a hugely negative ad for Air.

Re:Adobe Air (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about 3 years ago | (#36662666)

The Amazon Cloud Player MP3 upload uses Adobe Air...

Flash Builder (2)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#36662668)

As I understand it, AIR is pretty much the same environment as Flash, except run outside of a browser.

Re:Flash Builder (2)

krazytekn0 (1069802) | about 3 years ago | (#36663436)

If that's true it scares me out of my mind. I always think of flash like a 12 year old boy driving a bulldozer around a giant sandbox with holes in all the walls. I like to think of the browser it's running in as another giant sandbox with slightly less holes in all the walls. Every once in a while (all the time) that damn kid finds his way out of BOTH sandboxes and starts driving around the streets of some highly populated town wreaking destruction. And if what parent is saying is true are we taking one of the perimeter walls totally down? OH GOD!

Re:Adobe Air (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662830)

At the federally funded not for profit I work at, we use Air apps developed in house for much of our project management and internal systems. With a mixed environment of PC's and Macs and the inclusion of mobile devices, Air lets us write once and deploy everywhere. Also, with little effort, we can deploy as Flash apps embedded in our intranet site.

As for speed, like any language, the programmer can do a lot if they care to tune the application. The applications we tend to write follow the philosophy of one tool to do one job well, as opposed to the bloat of trying to do everything with one application. The users particularly like real time, interactive charts and graphs that Air does so well.

Re:Adobe Air (2)

DavidinAla (639952) | about 3 years ago | (#36663212)

Air is great for people who care only about developing cross-platform apps cheaply and not about whether those apps fit with the rest of the platform they're running on. As a user, I won't use Air apps unless there's absolutely no other choice. For me, that's happened ... never.

Re:Adobe Air (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 3 years ago | (#36662862)

There are some twitter clients done in Air, with the biggest being Tweetdeck.

Re:Adobe Air (1)

umberleigh (793964) | about 3 years ago | (#36663056)

in the UK, the BBC's iPlayer app which is used for video on demand is built in Adobe Air

Re:Adobe Air (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36663154)

Air is just one of the target platforms for Flash Builder. You can target web, iOS, android, blackberry or air. Same too, different compile options.

Re:Adobe Air (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36663190)

You can use Adobe AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) to write Actionscript 3 applications that are packaged as .apk files and can be installed on your android device. Additionally, you can package them for iOS. The AIR has APIs for many of the phone os features such as file system, camera, gps and notifications.

So it's like flash, but run in the AIR instead of a browser plugin.

Re:Adobe Air (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36663724)

Is anybody actually using Adobe Air?

If they are, they are reckless to the point of flirting with insanity. Depending on proprietary run time libraries is a bad idea, and Adobe's recent decision to kill off non-Android Linuxes shows you exactly why: you can lose it with no recourse.

If you're unlucky you lose everything and all the man-years you put into the product are wasted.

Much more commonly, you're "lucky" in that the dependency remains available but simply doesn't get the maintenance that you need. So you end up spending lots of time working around bugs or rewriting huge sections of code just to add some seemingly trivial feature. I have experienced this and it really pounded the lesson into my head. If I am radical (IMHO I'm not), this is what radicalized me.

The other facet of Air, separate from the proprietary dependency, is that from what little I've seen on Mac OS X at work, the performance of Air apps is just horrible. If you use this library, users will hate you and constantly be looking for alternatives to your application.

It's one thing when someone says Flash is the only way they can do something embedded on a web page. While I think that's distasteful, at least I can see the argument for it. But developing standalone apps with Adobe crap, when you don't have to? I think that crosses the line from "eww" into "just plan dumb."

Linux market (2)

future assassin (639396) | about 3 years ago | (#36662624)

I don't understand why so many companies refuse to support linux. Yes the market is small comapred to Windows BUT its not that small and its a big niche market which lets you charge more for the software/hardware as most Linux users will undderstand that a company might have to sell at higher margings since the user base numbers are smaller. Mabe its the short term profit mantality that is causing this but wouldn't you as a company want to make customers for life?

I'm just an average Linux user who has all computers in the house running Mint but I don't get into the software and hardware setup anymore yet I'm willing to pay a little more to have the software hardware compatabiliy in Linux even at 20% of whats available on windows.

Re:Linux market (1, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#36662712)

Yes the market is small comapred to Windows BUT its not that small and its a big niche market which lets you charge more for the software/hardware

It's also a niche market filled with skinflints who won't pay anything for software and filled with users who demand the right and ability to hire anyone to fix defects in the software.

Re:Linux market (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36662758)

That depends on the software we are talking about. For a desktop environment I totally agree, I would not pay for one and it must be FREE software. For video games, not at all. I buy games on steam and play them in Wine all the time.

The reality is software for the most part is not worth much of anything, it has no scarcity and most commercial devs deadend it all the time to boost their profits. No wonder at least some people oppose that sort of thing.

Re:Linux market (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662824)

It's also a niche market filled with skinflints who won't pay anything for software

Yes, that's why Linux users have consistently paid more for the Humble Indie Bundle games than Mac or Windows users. We're all so cheap.
  Hell, I punched in what I thought was a fair price and was downright shocked to see what Windows users were paying. There's a bunch of cheapskate bastards if I ever saw one.

Seriously? (-1, Troll)

Petersko (564140) | about 3 years ago | (#36663408)

Yes, that's why Linux users have consistently paid more for the Humble Indie Bundle games than Mac or Windows users. We're all so cheap.

What does that have to do with anything? All that means is that Windows users have so many options they don't have to buy some offbeat little bundle of indie games. It means nothing.

Before you brought it up I had never even heard of this bundle, and I've been buying games for 30 years.

Re:Linux market (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 3 years ago | (#36662848)

Yup.

Linus server software is a different game entirely, but on the desktop you're right - us linux users will look for the free, open source way every time.

This is because FOSS products end up being more capable, over time. Maybe not in terms of bells and whistles, but in terms of moving data between formats, supporting every possible device, data format etc etc. We've come to like the way things work on the FOSS desktop - every new capability is just an apt-get away.

Games (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#36663314)

on the desktop you're right - us linux users will look for the free, open source way every time.

This is because FOSS products end up being more capable, over time.

A lot of prominent applications that run in the Adobe runtime are games such as FarmVille. Do games also "end up being more capable, over time" if distributed as free software?

Re:Games (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 3 years ago | (#36663596)

In some ways yes - Quake, OpenTyrian and various others now run on many, many more platforms and architectures than the originals did.

They're not very up to date, it's true.

Re:Linux market (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 3 years ago | (#36663692)

I don't know why I said data formats twice... tired...

Re:Linux market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662938)

And it's also a niche market where you can have a huge community support to report and fixe bugs if you're smart.

  Saying that Linux users would more likely hack (by which I may not pay for) software than windows or OS X users is just a plain stupid statement.

  I suggest you visit warez-bb.org and go check it out for yourself 99.9% of the hacked software is for windows and Mac OS X, and I don't really see how the Linux market could be any worse...

Re:Linux market (2)

Microlith (54737) | about 3 years ago | (#36663032)

Good to see anti-FOSS trolls are all over Slashdot these days too.

Re:Linux market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36663054)

I don't fully agree. Yes, the main desktop environment software has pretty much no commercial players, but I would be surprised by a design company which uses the gimp instead of photoshop, or engineers who use gnu-octave instead of matlab.

Re:Linux market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36663148)

It's also a niche market filled with skinflints who won't pay anything for software

Every time I see some idiot like you resorting the same old stereotypes of freeloading hippies I get pissed off and want to tell them to go fuck themselves. I just said that to my screen, so I doubt it got through to you, so let me just inform you that the business model is different and you have no clue what you are talking about. With OSS you don't pay for the software, you pay for the service. The concept has been around for quite a while now, it's amazing you still go around calling Linux users "skinflints" because they don't buy software as product. Fucking idiot.

filled with users who demand the right and ability to hire anyone to fix defects in the software

I'm amazed and horrified you think that's a bad thing. People who want better quality software? People who are willing to contribute? What a bunch of entitled idealists, huh?

Re:Linux market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36663274)

You're acting like anyone actually wants to pay for service. You're just another freetard. Most of us (yes, I use Linux sometimes) could've give half a shit about paying for anything. The incentive for using Linux is at first the fact that it is free, and it remains its most important advantage. I've literally never paid for any Linux software. I always look for free alternatives, even ignoring non-free ones that are better. And most of the community is like that, too. They don't want to pay for neither software nor the service.

Re:Linux market (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 3 years ago | (#36663630)

"The incentive for using Linux is at first the fact that it is free"

False.
Other platforms are effectively free. I use linux because it is capable, useful and (to me) easy.

It also doesn't pick up infections like a $5 hooker, which windows does.

OTOH free allows it to do amazing things like have app stores. I just wouldn't do half so much with the computer if they weren't there. In that case free is the enabling mechanism, not really the reason itself.

Kinds of software that don't need service (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#36663280)

With OSS you don't pay for the software, you pay for the service.

I understand. But there are some kinds of software that don't need much service, such as video games that aren't massively multiplayer.

filled with users who demand the right and ability to hire anyone to fix defects in the software

I'm amazed and horrified you think that's a bad thing.

I think it's a good thing. I'm just describing conditions in the market where a lot of major software publishers think it's a bad thing, or at least not enough of a good thing to offset the competition that would occur.

Re:Linux market (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 years ago | (#36663742)

> It's also a niche market filled with skinflints

It's no different than Windows in this regard.

Linux from a developers perspective isn't really all that difference. Most of it is just rhetoric from a few noisy people on either side.

Re:Linux market (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#36662834)

As I see it there are two main problems with Linux (and I really like Linux).

The first is a lack of good APIs (beyond the Posix level, which is fine). If Linux had something like Quartz, [wikipedia.org] porting Photoshop to Linux would be simple for Adobe. It would make a lot of things easier. Instead you have to hack around with SDL (which is a great library that reaches it's goals, it just doesn't do all that much).

Second is the difficulty of installing/distributing binary software. Linux was built for distributing applications by source, and has a lot of good tools for doing so, and as an open-source advocate I like that, but a lot of companies don't want to distribute source, and there isn't really a good way to distribute binaries.

Fix those two problems, and the effort of porting to Linux will be a lot cheaper, and more companies will do it (because the cost/benefit analysis will say it is worth it to hire one guy to port if that's all it takes).

Re:Linux market (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36663036)

Second is the difficulty of installing/distributing binary software. Linux was built for distributing applications by source, and has a lot of good tools for doing so, and as an open-source advocate I like that, but a lot of companies don't want to distribute source, and there isn't really a good way to distribute binaries.

Deb and rpm handle this problem completely. Package your app and be done with it. If you can't even be bothered to do that you never would have ported you app to begin with.

Re:Linux market (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#36663266)

See, this is the kind of problem we in the open-source community run into. We have a thing that works well enough for us, and we don't understand why it won't work for everyone.

In general, commercial software doesn't want something that will fit easily into a package manager. What they want is an installer that is click-click-click "accept license agreement" and then on top makes you type in some kind of serial number, and maybe has some other kind of DRM. Deb was definitely not designed to do that, and rpm? Well, it is better than tar -xvf anyway.

Re:Linux market (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36663302)

I don't want that. I am the buyer. If you want me to click on stuff put the deb on a website with such a click through. Have the key entered into the program on first launch, not during installation. That breaks automated installation.

Re:Linux market (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#36663346)

If it were up to the buyer, DRM stuff would never exist. Not everything is up to the buyer.

Re:Linux market (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36663532)

Yes it is, why do you think I don't own any games that don't play on wine? What games I buy is 100% up to me.
I will own Portal 2 as soon as it is supported by Wine or the Codeweavers commercial product without any cracks.

Everything is up to the buyer. If buyers did not buy games with DRM, they would not exist.

Re:Linux market (1)

Junta (36770) | about 3 years ago | (#36663084)

So at the low level, there is SDL, at the high layer, QT or GTK. In terms of the middle ground, how does Cairo compare with Quartz? We are talking capability, not compatibility. If you want to recompile existing OSX or Windows projects, that's different (with GNUstep and libwine respectively coming the closest, but very very far from production ready, though at least EVE online thought libwine was sufficient).

To second, binaries are quite workable, but claiming support for 'Linux' may be more complicated than supporting, say 'Ubuntu and/or Fedora'. Some people may bemoan the multi-distro situation, but covering RHEL and Ubuntu largely covers your bases. I occasionally do have reason to execute ancient Linux binaries still, and they generally are passable still. Do you ruffle the feathers of Slackware and/or OpenSuSE and/or Gentoo? Perhaps, but the share is small and they can reasonably take care of themselves if the work has been done to assure RHEL and Ubuntu functionality.

Re:Linux market (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#36663320)

how does Cairo compare with Quartz

That's a good question, I'll have to look at it after work.

A lot of times the problem is dealing with stuff in an API that just doesn't work. It should, but (usually it is because of a driver issue) you call the function and something messed up happens. This happens a lot even on Android, for example, if you leave the Dalvik runtime environment. Drivers are hastily written and cause APIs to be broken.

Re:Linux market (1)

brainzach (2032950) | about 3 years ago | (#36663208)

Linux market share is less than 2% of desktop computing.

If you have a product that targets the geek demographic like a graphics card, then supporting Linux is in a company's best interest, but its not surprising to see why many companies refuse to support Linux.

Re:Linux market (1)

The Moof (859402) | about 3 years ago | (#36663526)

the geek demographic like a graphics card

I'd say they target pc gamers, and Linux is pretty far behind Windows in that regard. So graphics card manufacturers aren't very interested in marketing to Linux since their primary consumer is using Windows.

Re:Linux market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36663722)

There are two perennial statements that never seem to go away:

1) This year is the year of desktop Linux. The supporting evidence for this is something like a middle European city where the city water department now uses Linux.
2) British food is getting good. The evidence here is usually Gordon Ramsey opening up another doomed restaurant.

Re:Linux market (0)

Zenin (266666) | about 3 years ago | (#36663386)

most Linux users will undderstand that a company might have to sell at higher margings since the user base numbers are smaller.

What's the technical term? Oh yes, "Mahahaha!"

Linux users aren't accustom to paying anything for software, much less a premium. If they want something similar to your product they'll either find a free project that does the same thing, or failing that they'll start their own free project that does the same thing. That mentality has spurred the growth of a tremendous amount of quality free software, but it hasn't been without a cost: Making for-profit companies rightly cautious about investing in software for Linux.

The counter has always been, "Just sell support instead, give the software away for free! Embrace the business model of the future!" But it's not the business model of the future...it's the business that incentivizes crappy software and bad documentation. The better the software is designed and built, the clearer and more comprehensive the documentation, the less support is needed (ideally, none). Conversely the more confusing and error prone the software is, the less helpful or informative the documentation is, the more you can't even use the software without turning to support.

A few companies have worked out business models that work ok for enterprise level software, but not so much with end users.

That's something Android (although more so the iPhone AppStore, I hate to admit) has really brought new to the table. A valid, easy to implement, reproducible business model for marketing software to Linux (via Android) end users. For commercial end user Linux software to really take off, it really needs to follow the lead of Valve (with Steam), Apple (with AppStore for Mac), Amazon (digital downloads), etc and come up with a major AppStore for Linux. Or partner with Amazon, Valve, etc and get them to support a Linux client. But it'd probably easier to build your own from scratch, as the real players see neither paying customers nor product yet from Linux.

Re:Linux market (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 years ago | (#36663548)

I think you're making a flawed assumption about Linux, once you start charging more for a Linux version the sales drops drastically. After all the software is already written and the Windows sales covered the development cost, then surely the Linux sales can cover the small porting cost. Not saying that's necessarily a correct assumption, but many think that way. And as some of the Linux porting companies have found out, often people feel they've paid for this software and is then entitled to use it on any platform it's available.

The other thing is support and binary compatibility. You can say you only support Linux distro X, but rest assured that you'll have a million requests/demands/complaints that you support every little distro out there, as well as people clogging up the forums with hacks and workarounds to do it anyway. Every sort of library/upgrade/version issue will land on your table, which may be once every six months. In short, Windows and OS X is built to ship binaries, there's long lasting binary interfaces to everything and old interfaces are kept around for many years until they're slowly deprecated and phased out. Linux is constantly changing and backwards compatibility is spotty at best.

Oh yes and you might not realize it, but Microsoft does a whole lot both on the hardware and software side to make life easier for developers. Driver models like WDDM, NDIS etc and software toolkits like DirectX. There's a reason Windows has one video acceleration standard (DXVA) and Linux has three (XvBA, VA API and VDPAU). It's Microsoft saying here's the standard, build your driver to comply with this and the DirectX code will do the rest. Nobody really takes the same responsibility to write the code above the vendor specific layer, very often it falls to AMD and nVidia and Intel to write what Microsoft would have done on Windows. That puts even more of the cost of supporting Linux on them.

Linux is a kernel not an OS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36662680)

Android does not share the same kernel with Linux becaue Linux is a kernel. There is no such thing as an operating system named Linux that I am aware of. There are many distributions of operating systems that use the Linux kernel.

Re:Linux is a kernel not an OS (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 3 years ago | (#36662766)

Why are you posting anonymously, Richard?

there's a shared kernel? (2)

bfree (113420) | about 3 years ago | (#36662688)

The kernel is not shared, it is derived and has never _really_ attempted to minimise it's changes from it's upstream so really it is an incompatible fork. So not only is Android not GNU/Linux (or X/Linux or posix/Linux or BSD/Linux) it's not even Linux.

Re:there's a shared kernel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36663074)

I don't agree on the last part. Android releases the modified kernel don't they ? The sources are available right ?

  So then it is Linux, just as much as Ubuntu is Linux ( the Linux kernel you run of Ubuntu is somewhat modified compared to master)

  I think anytime Android changes its kernel version ( 2.2 was 2.6.32 and 2.3.4 was 2.6.35 ) they start with the master and modify it, the fact that all their changes are not merged back to the mainline doesn't mean it's a fork.. And Google continues to be a major contributor to the kernel

Re:there's a shared kernel? (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 3 years ago | (#36663202)

the fact that all their changes are not merged back to the mainline doesn't mean it's a fork

Actually that explicitly makes it a fork. Every distro has its own fork of the kernel. The problem is that Google has made little effort to get their changes into the kernel, and when drivers for hardware are built against their kernel they are almost completely unsalvageable and a pain in the ass to bring into the mainline.

Re:there's a shared kernel? (2)

bgat (123664) | about 3 years ago | (#36663410)

The problem is that Google has made little effort to get their changes into the kernel, and when drivers for hardware are built against their kernel they are almost completely unsalvageable and a pain in the ass to bring into the mainline.

And that's different from most other contributed drivers how, exactly? :)

Re:there's a shared kernel? (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | about 3 years ago | (#36663292)

What's the point of making Linux GPL if people aren't meant to fork it and make something new out of it? This is Linux and the GPL working exactly as they should, I think.

Re:there's a shared kernel? (2)

Microlith (54737) | about 3 years ago | (#36663384)

No one has a problem with forks. Redhat maintains a huge fork.

The problem is that Android uses a heavily customized kernel that results in virtually nothing (certainly nothing that I am aware of) going back upstream. Unsurprisingly, vendors are loathe to port their drivers forward to the next version of the kernel (which would be easier if they were upstream.)

Re:there's a shared kernel? (1)

bgat (123664) | about 3 years ago | (#36663304)

The kernel is not shared, it is derived and has never _really_ attempted to minimise it's changes from it's upstream so really it is an incompatible fork. So not only is Android not GNU/Linux (or X/Linux or posix/Linux or BSD/Linux) it's not even Linux.

Not quite.

It's true that the Android kernel is derived from the mainline kernel. It's also true that some of what is in the Android kernel will never be merged into the mainline kernel, although some Android kernel features, like timed-GPIO, are now part of the mainline. The differences that have remained between the two kernels over the years are likely to remain that way, for various reasons.

It is NOT true, however, that the Android kernel is an "incompatible fork" from the mainline kernel. Assuming you get the runtime library situation right, ordinary "Linux" programs will run under an Android kernel just fine. So Android is most definitely "Linux" as you define the term.

The purists will correctly argue, however, that Android is an Operating System and not a kernel at all. It's just an operating system that requires a few features not found in the mainline Linux kernels. Hence the need for an Android-associated Linux kernel.

Re:there's a shared kernel? (1)

Spykk (823586) | about 3 years ago | (#36663678)

So I guess Redhat and Ubuntu aren't really Linux either because they use custom kernel patches?

GNU/Linux (3, Interesting)

vagabond_gr (762469) | about 3 years ago | (#36662692)

So the GNU/Linux arguments start making a lot more sense now, aren't they? Cause if you just call it Linux, Android seems perfectly "Linux" to me.

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

Pausanias (681077) | about 3 years ago | (#36662882)

Mod parent up. "Linux" as synonymous for "Linux on the Desktop" is a disservice to both Linux and GNU/KDE. Aren't most Linux kernel users now Android users? Whereas they still wouldn't touch Ubuntu with 10 foot pole.

Linux is a kernel (4, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | about 3 years ago | (#36662700)

All the other programs running on top comprise the OS. Why can't people get this straight? There isn't just a "Linux" community, there's a GNU community, an X community, a Debian community, a GCC community, an Android community, etc. Some parts overlap and some parts don't. But to say that all of these communities is Linux is a little misleading.

Re:Linux is a kernel (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 3 years ago | (#36662870)

there's a GNU community, an X community, a Debian community, a GCC community, an Android community

The interesting part is that if you look at how code flows between those communities, the first four benefit each other in various ways. In contrast, the Android community is entirely insular, neither aiding nor being aided by the others.

Re:Linux is a kernel (1)

bgat (123664) | about 3 years ago | (#36663380)

there's a GNU community, an X community, a Debian community, a GCC community, an Android community

The interesting part is that if you look at how code flows between those communities, the first four benefit each other in various ways. In contrast, the Android community is entirely insular, neither aiding nor being aided by the others.

I don't think you can generally say that--- or prove it.

Part of the reason that the first four communities are so visibly benefiting each other is that those communities themselves are relatively transparent. They are also mutually-dependent on each other. Android hasn't see major uptake in the FOSS community (yet!), however, so there aren't any obvious benefits to those other communities from Android at least because the communities currently contributing the most to Android aren't themselves transparent.

Given the complexity of Android's source code, I'd say it's pretty likely that Android has provided the opportunity to identify and fix issues in GCC and GNU Make, at least. Android doesn't use X, so lack of mutual benefit shouldn't be too surprising there. And I do know of at least one Android OEM that is using Debian very, very heavily so it's reasonable to conclude that there have been Android-to-Debian improvements there too.

"A kernel alone doth not an OS make" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36663082)

See subject-line. Android's proof Linux can be made insecure by what's on top of a kernel. A kernel with more unpatched security vulnerabilities in it than Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 has by 3.5x in fact, (and that's an entire OS distro on the Microsoft stuff, not just a kernel only). Proofs are below, and in far more than comparing the Operating Systems alone.

APK

P.S.=> This data's ALL from a respected source (secunia.com) for known security vulnerabilities unpatched:

---

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft SQL Server 2008: (07/03/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/21744/ [secunia.com]

Unpatched 0% (0 of 1 Secunia advisories)

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.x: (07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/17543/ [secunia.com]

Unpatched 0% (0 of 6 Secunia advisories)

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010: (07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/28234/ [secunia.com]

Unpatched 0% (0 of 1 Secunia advisories)

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010: (07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/29809/ [secunia.com]

Unpatched 0% (0 of 0 Secunia advisories)

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010: (07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/34343/ [secunia.com]

Unpatched 0% (0 of 1 Secunia advisories)

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Office 2010: (07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/30529/?task=advisories [secunia.com]

Unpatched 0% (0 of 7 Secunia advisories)

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Virtual PC 2007: (07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/14315/ [secunia.com]

Unpatched 0% (0 of 1 Secunia advisories)

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.x: (07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/34591/ [secunia.com]

Unpatched 0% (0 of 1 Secunia advisories)

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Visual Studio 2010: (07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/30853/?task=advisories [secunia.com]

Unpatched 0% (0 of 2 Secunia advisories)

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft DirectX 10.x:
(07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/16896/ [secunia.com]

Unpatched 0% (0 of 3 Secunia advisories)

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft .NET Framework 4.x
(07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/29592/ [secunia.com]

Unpatched 0% (0 of 5 Secunia advisories)

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Silverlight 4.x: (07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/28947/ [secunia.com]

Unpatched 0% (0 of 0 Secunia advisories)

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft XML Core Services (MSXML) 6.x: (07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/6473/ [secunia.com]

Unpatched 0% (0 of 4 Secunia advisories)

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Windows 7: (07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/27467/?task=advisories [secunia.com]

Unpatched 7% (5 of 72 Secunia advisories)

---

THAT'S 3.5x LESS UNPATCHED SECURITY VULNERABILITIES ON MS NEAR ENTIRE ARRAY OF WHAT THEY GIVE YOU FOR BUSINESS & DEVELOPMENT (& I know that LAMP can't say the same & tosses on even MORE errors into the mix for Linux) , THAN IS PRESENT ON THE LINUX 2.6x KERNEL ALONE!

NOW- Toss on the rest of what goes into a Linux distro OR the "LAMP" stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP)?

That # goes "up, Up, UP & AWAY...", bigime & even moreso, "increasing that lead, that Linux has", lol, in more unpatched known security bugs present that is (a dubious honor/win, lol, to say the least).

So, that "all said & aside"?

Compare a "*NIX/Open SORES" OS in Linux's "latest/greatest"?:

--

Vulnerability Report: Linux Kernel 2.6.x (07/05/2011

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/2719/?task=advisories [secunia.com]

Unpatched 7% (18 of 270 Secunia advisories)

--

* Additionally/again - so it "sinks in":

That's also more than the ENTIRE GAMUT of what MS gives folks to do business & build tools for it as well has & LAMP certainly cannot show less errors in unpatched security vulnerablities than 5 total from MS...

In fact? LAMP is the favored attack for phishers & spammers:

---

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/10/domains_lamped/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

PERTINENT QUOTE:

"Phishers compromise LAMP-based websites for days at a time and hit the same victims over and over again, according to an Anti-Phishing Working Group survey.

Sites built on Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP are the favoured targets of phishing attackers,"

---

& it's also NOT the entire 'gamut/array' of what actually comes in a Linux distro as well!

(E.G.-> Such as the attendant GUI, Windows managers, browsers, etc. that ship in distros too that have bugs, and yes, THEY DO)

THAT ADDS EVEN MORE BUGS that COMPOUNDS THAT # EVEN MORE, and worse, for LINUX!!!

So, so much for "Windows is less secure than Linux" stuff you see around here on /., eh?

(It gets even WORSE for 'Linuxdom' when you toss on ANDROID (yes, it's a LINUX variant too), because it's being shredded on the security-front lately, unfortunately)

BOTTOM-LINE:

What this all comes down to, is all the "Pro-*NIX propoganda straight outta pravda" practically doesn't stand up very well against concrete, verifiable & visible facts now, does it? Nope... apk

Re:"A kernel alone doth not an OS make" (1)

biodata (1981610) | about 3 years ago | (#36663660)

Sorry for my ignorance but where is the pravda quote from? It seems funny associating *NIX with the ruskies.

I wonder if think the main thing the stats prove is that the vulns in Linux server platforms are better understood and publicly documented than those in other platforms because most people use Linux.

Re:Linux is a kernel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36663520)

Can't help lumping you all together. After all, anytime the question of market share is raised your guys keep going on and on about Linux being part of set top boxes and other integrated systems.
 
I agree with you, the OS isn't just a matter of running on the Linux kernel. There should be a division there since it is ultimatly meaningful but many fanbois in the community don't want people to see it that way. Many of them probably don't know this themselves.

Android + Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36663118)

Since Flash is supported on at least some Android devices, I have to assume that the interfaces Adobe is using are at least very similar to desktop Linux. So, will us desktop users get some bleed-over benefits from Android? Seems like little or no work for Adobe to improve ALL Linux versions of Flash. Or am I missing something here in assuming that the Android release of Flash is not second-rate?

Linux is only the kernel. (1)

CountBrass (590228) | about 3 years ago | (#36663220)

As Linux is only the kernel and not the applications, GUI, C libraries nor any of the other things that make a complete OS then Adobe's claim is completely valid.

There is no line to draw Android uses the Linux kernel the same as Ubuntu and every other GNU/Linux distro.

Technicalities... (1)

Junta (36770) | about 3 years ago | (#36663344)

So if you get pedantic, sure, 'Linux' means/meant the kernel and only the kernel.

In *practice*, Linux has come to describe the distributions that all use glibc, xorg, kernel, gtk, qt, etc. As far as application developers go, the kernel underneath it all is interacted with rarely if at all. Adobe in *particular* has no reason to be making Linux *kernel* specific calls, so it *is* disingenuous to hold up Android work as their 'Linux' support. Adobe hasn't done anything to support the specific kernel of any other platform, so trying to say 'Linux means kernel, so Adobe is fine to say that' is just not right.

In truth, the *closest* to a mainstream 'Linux' has been WebOS, but it's fringe and skips the Xorg/GTK/QT part of the equation (though they do use SDL).

Re:Technicalities... (1)

bgat (123664) | about 3 years ago | (#36663490)

So if you get pedantic, sure, 'Linux' means/meant the kernel and only the kernel.

In *practice*, Linux has come to describe the distributions that all use glibc, xorg, kernel, gtk, qt, etc.

To you, maybe. :) Those of use not using Linux "on the desktop" are in many cases not using glibc, xorg, etc. etc. either. I'm thinking about embedded systems that use Linux as their kernel, and a home-grown root filesystem. The overwhelming majority of consumer and SOHO routers are constructed this way, to pick but one example.

In terms of the number of physical devices running the Linux kernel, desktop machines are a distant second to all those other devices. Even if you don't count Android platforms--- which, by definition, count as Linux kernel installations.

For me, I only care about "desktop Linux" to the extent that it helps me construct those other Linux-based systems. As such, I've been running Linux as the kernel and Debian as the OS on my production workstations for nearly a decade.

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