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Chris Dibona On Free Software and Google

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the free-dancing-robot-death-machines dept.

Android 107

dkd903 wrote in with an interview with Chris Dibona in Der Standard. Within, he declares Android as "... the dream come true. It's your Linux desktop, it's the ultimate success story of Linux that I've been working on personally since 1995." There's lots of other good stuff on Google's internal use of GNU/Linux: "If you'd look at laptops it's maybe 70 percent Mac OS X and most of the rest is Linux, we are a huge customer of Apple. Engineering Desktops are overwhelmingly running on Linux. We have our own Ubuntu derivative called 'Goobuntu' internally for that, integrating with our network — we run all our the home directories from a file server — and with some extra tools already built-in for developers."

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Yes but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36737058)

Can it run linux?

Ummm...what? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36737142)

Yes, it's Linux and yet can't run almost any Linux apps. Also, what good is it that you guys use Linux and Goobuntu internally when you horde most of your changes? Sounds like a company who leverages FOSS yet only sends back a few breadcrumbs to placate the masses.

Re:Ummm...what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36737452)

Many companies create an OS image particularly for use inside the company, e.g., settings for encryption, vpns, proxies, mail servers, browser homepage, etc. It sounds like that is all there is to this. The other thing is, why the sense of entitlement to this image? How much to you give to the opensource community?

Re:Ummm...what? (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36738388)

O.K., Chris. You prolly don't remember the chat we had at LinuxWorld 2000. You used to be an advocate and supporter in the community. It's too bad you've been captured by the corporate machine of Google. You know this is what they are, right? Despite the image they present as just a big, happy dev-lab with a $450 stock price.

The DREAM that I think we shared for 20 years was of open, free systems, freely available and modifiable. NOT that of a corporation building a successful, billion-dollar division on the promise of such a system. This is SUBVERSION - not SUCCESS.

DiBona FAIL - Google FAIL.

Give me Posix or give me nothing at all. It is demostrably true that the apps that proliferate on the Android platform form a festering cess-pit of useless apps, or borderline trojan-ware.

Now, when do we get to hear Doc Searls cheerlead for Facebook?

Re:Ummm...what? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#36738434)

Give me Posix or give me nothing at all. It is demostrably true that the apps that proliferate on the Android platform form a festering cess-pit of useless apps, or borderline trojan-ware.

Sounds like somebody needs to quite feeling sorry for themselves and fire up a compiler. I did.

Re:Ummm...what? (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36738726)

Heh. And support Google. Right.

Re:Ummm...what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36738840)

Well, while you're fighting your little war over there, the rest of us will be over here engaging in the joy of creation.

But I'm sure you're having fun too!

Re:Ummm...what? (1)

Adayse (1983650) | more than 2 years ago | (#36739154)

..form a festering cess-pit of useless apps

But this is true of every platform I've ever installed, lots of crap but lots of useful software. The Market brings together the people making the software with the people using the software the right way, something the community couldn't figure out for itself after the dotcom bubble and spam messed with it's vision and morals.

Re:Ummm...what? (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36739406)

The DREAM that I think we shared for 20 years was of open, free systems, freely available and modifiable.

Sounds great. Get to it. Nothing Google is doing will stop you from doing that.

NOT that of a corporation building a successful, billion-dollar division on the promise of such a system.

Why? They aren't doing anything to hamper your ability to use the system, right? So why are you so against them using the system as one portion of their success?

Re:Ummm...what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36742586)

The DREAM that I think we shared for 20 years was of open, free systems, freely available and modifiable. NOT that of a corporation building a successful, billion-dollar division on the promise of such a system. This is SUBVERSION - not SUCCESS.

God-forbid a company would be successful using open source software! The fact is there is nothing stopping you from following that dream but of course it's easier for you to whinge and whine about how others aren't making your dream a reality than actually doing it yourself.

It's too bad you've been captured by the corporate machine of Google. You know this is what they are, right?

Actually it seems he's woken up to reality with the realization that being an open source absolutist is not achievable and the best way to bring OSS to the masses is to work with the existing social structure, not against it because you aren't going to change the world for something that 99% of people don't care about, however you can make a pretty damn good compromise.

It is demostrably true that the apps that proliferate on the Android platform form a festering cess-pit of useless apps, or borderline trojan-ware.

Just like any other non-locked-down platform...funny about that huh?

Re:Ummm...what? (4, Insightful)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#36737482)

Yes, it's Linux and yet can't run almost any Linux apps.

Yes, because, if it did, it would fail. Linux has been tried and tried and tried and has never worked for consumers. The last thing FOSS/Linux advocates need is yet another iteration of Gnome/Xorg. Not to mention the fact that with a minimal amount of work, a real techie can run Linux apps on Android. I have an Ubuntu chroot on both my Xoom and my OG Droid with any Linux application just an apt-get away. It's great for command line favorites like vim, elinks, sshfs, rtorrent, etc. And since the applications are compiled for ARM, and are running on the bare metal just with a different root directory, they run at full speed. With my set-up and a few judicious bind mounts, Ubuntu is a 95 percent integrated peer with the rest of the system.

I could run graphical applications like Firefox, OpenOffice, gedit, etc. with the VNC viewer and I do from time to time when I'm bored but when I do, I see why Android is not just another Linux distro. Desktop apps don't work on a touchscreen device. Period. That's why MS has been a dismal failure in tablets for a decade and the iPad has just steamrolled them. So, why would Goog want to repeat that mistake?

Also, what good is it that you guys use Linux and Goobuntu internally when you horde most of your changes?

If they don't ship the code, they don't have to ship the changes. Read the GPL. Now, for the open licensed code they do ship, if you read the article, you will see they have released something like 20+ million lines of source. That is not hording changes.

Sounds like a company who leverages FOSS yet only sends back a few breadcrumbs to placate the masses.

Sounds like you don't have a clue what you are talking about.

Re:Ummm...what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36738238)

If they don't ship the code, they don't have to ship the changes. Read the GPL. Now, for the open licensed code they do ship, if you read the article, you will see they have released something like 20+ million lines of source. That is not hording changes.

To proclaim to be such a friend of open source yet not open source most of your proprietary changes to internal forks of FOSS projects makes their statements ring especially hollow. I didn't say that they had any legal obligation to release their changes anywhere in my post, numbnuts.

Sounds like you don't have a clue what you are talking about.

How so? Almost every single piece of software that actually makes them money is either proprietary or if it's open source it's usually under a BSD license so that they can avoid copyleft. Either that or please enlighten me to see where the source code to their search engine algorithms are, or where I can download the source code for AdWords and Adsense, Google Earth, Picasa and the list goes on.

Re:Ummm...what? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36738550)

To proclaim to be such a friend of open source yet not open source most of your proprietary changes to internal forks of FOSS projects makes their statements ring especially hollow.

Almost every single piece of software that actually makes them money is either proprietary or if it's open source it's usually under a BSD license so that they can avoid copyleft. Either that or please enlighten me to see where the source code to their search engine algorithms are, or where I can download the source code for AdWords and Adsense, Google Earth, Picasa and the list goes on.

You entitlement minded little snit. It's people like you that give real FOSS advocates a bad name and give rise to pejoratives like "freetard". You do not have any right to code internally used by anyone else no matter who they are or how much you think you deserve to be given their hard work on a platter. If they release a binary, they release the source. That's how it works. If you don't like it, take it up with Linux Torvalds and RMS.

Re:Ummm...what? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36739238)

It's people like you that give real FOSS advocates a bad name and give rise to pejoratives like "freetard".

Actually, in my experience it tends to be people who wish, desperately, that they could just take from GPL'd projects without having to contribute back. People who oppose lock-down and DRM tend to get lumped under that title as well.

Just my observation, YMMV.

Re:Ummm...what? (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36742880)

Holding companies to their claims and dispelling their corporate propaganda is being a "freetard"? Oh wait, you must be one of those people pissed off that GPL doesn't let your company repackage software closed-source.

Shouldn't you be working on writing a Google+ or something, Mr. Anonymous Google Employee?

Re:Ummm...what? (1)

DocHoncho (1198543) | more than 2 years ago | (#36744480)

What part of "they haven't released any binaries and therefore are not required, under the terms of the GPL to release code" do you not understand?
Whether you think it's moral or not, they are in no way, shape, or form required to release any code what-so-ever until you can click on a shiny link that says, "Get the Goobuntu Live CD HERE!!!"

Re:Ummm...what? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#36738632)

where I can download the source code for AdWords and Adsense, Google Earth, Picasa and the list goes on.

Do you have any proof that those are GPL'd products?

Re:Ummm...what? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#36742842)

Either that or please enlighten me to see where the source code to their search engine algorithms are, or where I can download the source code for AdWords and Adsense, Google Earth, Picasa and the list goes on.

Why do you think you're entitled to see the source for those?

Re:Ummm...what? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36739202)

Yes, because, if it did, it would fail. Linux has been tried and tried and tried and has never worked for consumers.

That's nonsense. Complete and utter nonsense and you know it. If Google did everything they've tried with Android, only instead of buying a totally proprietary software stack they used (and influenced) open projects, it would have taken off equally as well. Going Android (and with the introduction of the NDK, diminishing the value of Dalvik) was purely an NIH move.

The big thing here, and the success, is because Google is behind it. The technology isn't inherently superior in any way.

So, why would Goog want to repeat that mistake?

USING EXISTING APIs AND TOOLKITS != MAKING DESKTOP APPS

This has to be reiterated over and over, so people understand the point. Android's toolkit does not inherently give your software a good mobile interface, and using existing APIs doesn't inherently make your UI bad. You have the toolkit, you design for the interface use case. Bad design can happen anywhere.

Re:Ummm...what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36742776)

If Google did everything they've tried with Android, only instead of buying a totally proprietary software stack they used (and influenced) open projects, it would have taken off equally as well.

oh bullshit, there is absolutely nothing to support that assertion whatsoever. yet if you look at projects like Nokia's Maemo, which has existed for about 1/2 a decade, and has been much closer to FOSS than Android you can see what a failure such a system is. sure it can run a hell of a lot more linux apps than Android can because it utilizes more common GNU/Linux components but the simple fact is that most people don't care and don't want that. it remained niche because the demand for such a system is niche.

Re:Ummm...what? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#36742228)

I could run graphical applications like Firefox, OpenOffice, gedit, etc. with the VNC viewer and I do from time to time when I'm bored but when I do, I see why Android is not just another Linux distro. Desktop apps don't work on a touchscreen-only device. Period. That's why MS has been a dismal failure in tablets for a decade and the iPad has just steamrolled them. So, why would Goog want to repeat that mistake?

Fixed that for you. Who says that Android should only run on devices with touchscreen only, or where it's a primary mode of input? We've already seen a few Android netbooks, and then there's Asus Transformer. Not to mention that with any tablet running Honeycomb, you can plug in USB keyboard & mouse (or connect via Bluetooth), and you'll even have a mouse cursor on the screen that way. What more, Android has got a bunch of new APIs in 3.1 specifically to handle mouse, such as hover events - and stock browser already uses them.

And yes, I would very much appreciate the ability to run e.g. OpenOffice on my Transformer in docked mode. It would make it immensely more useful. I can do it today with Ubuntu chroot and VNC (and I do have it set up), but it is quite slow. Then also, once I start that chroot, it drains battery steadily (since it doesn't know anything about Android app lifecycle, and won't suspend in background), and cleanly unmounting and shutting down everything is pretty tedious.

That said, it's nothing that a proper X server for Android wouldn't fix. And I'm sure we'll eventually get one, though likely not from Google itself.

Re:Ummm...what? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#36743722)

Linux has been tried and tried and tried and has never worked for consumers.

Exactly. Programmers and power users don't need to be consumers just to have good software. And consumers have different needs anyways.

The only thing that is keeping us in the situation of being lashed onto the consumer cell phone market for these devices is the lack of open access for small cell companies. The sell-to-one-company frequency model.

And the only company to oppose that model and promote open fair access to wireless bandwidth suitable for smart phones was... Google.

Re:Ummm...what? (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36739384)

Yes, it's Linux and yet can't run almost any Linux apps.

And this has anything to do with anything how? It doesn't support some of the 3rd party frameworks, big deal. Besides, you don't want Android on a phone, or a tablet to run desktop Linux apps, at least not without having the GUI retooled so that it's touch/finger centric instead of keyboard/mouse centric.

Hmm (2)

geek (5680) | more than 2 years ago | (#36737220)

Why the focus on Ubuntu from Google? Is it purely marketshare driven? Calling Android a linux desktop is also a stretch. It makes for a fine portable device OS but it is nowhere near a desktop OS. It's barely usable on tablets so far.

Re:Hmm (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#36737732)

It's barely usable on tablets so far.

Excuse me, I have a Motorola Xoom sitting right here that I develop on and it seems pretty good to me. Could you tell me how it is "barely usable"?

Re:Hmm (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36739466)

Develop on as, you run your code on it, or as in you actually do your development on it, as opposed to a laptop? If the latter, how do you have things set up?

Re:Hmm (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#36742064)

I had a Motorola Xoom, and now have an Asus Transformer, and - unfortunately! - I find the lagging UI and repeated force closes of stock apps (especially browser) to be bad enough that my primary tablet is now iPad 2. I'm looking forward to Google fixing up the mess that is Honeycomb at the moment, but it really isn't there yet.

Re:Hmm (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#36742222)

I must be the luckiest guy in the world because I keep hearing this but since upgrading to 3.1 on the Xoom, the web browser has crashed only once that I can recall and I use it constantly (like right now). I don't doubt your word but would you happen to be able to get a logcat output when the browser crashes so we could see maybe what actually causes it?

Re:Hmm (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#36742434)

Frankly, FCs are far less of a concern than general lagginess (and there seem to be far fewer FCs in 3.1... it's just that I've had zero with iPad). Reproing lag in browser, though, is extremely easy - open any story on Slashdot and try to post a comment, and observe the speed at which text that you enter actually appears in the textbox. Reproing lag elsewhere... well, one example that is very in-your-face is home screen, where flipping screens left/right visibly lags unless the tablet is in its "default" orientation (landscape, camera near top edge).

Re:Hmm (1)

DocHoncho (1198543) | more than 2 years ago | (#36744778)

Not having actually tried commenting on Slashdot from anything but my PC, I would imagine that any lag is due in large part to the fact that Slashdot is a complete and total cluster fuck. It's only recently that commenting worked on a PC, let alone a fancy modern Tablet or Phone.

Honestly, I'm surprised Slashdot works at all on a mobile device, since it's frequently messed up even on much higher performance hardware. Go team Slashdot, wield that Javascript like a pistol, the kind that has a secret barrel that shoots you in the head when you try to attack the enemy,

Re:Hmm (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#36745420)

Slashdot is a clusterfuck for sure, but not to such an extent that it would slow down a well-written browser. Mobile Safari on iPad and iPhone can handle it fine, for example. For that matter, Firefox and Opera Mobile on Honeycomb also do. Heck, the default browser on Android 2.x does fine! It really is something specific to WebKit on Honeycomb... some claim it has to do with newly added hardware acceleration in the browser going haywire.

Re:Hmm (4, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#36737796)

> Calling Android a linux desktop is also a stretch.

Calling it Linux is technically correct in that it does use the Linux kernel down under layers of Google and Java cruft. But it is only used as a place for the OEMs to hang device drivers because they already were familiar with it from their other ARM embedded projects. In the more familiar usage of the word 'Linux' to mean a distribution of familiar UNIXish tools from GNU, X.org, Moz Corp, GNOME/KDE, etc. Android is totally alien and about as closed of a walled garden as OS X or iOS. Yes most of it is technically released under an FSF approved license but there is zero community involvement in what Google tosses over the wall from time to time. And because they keep a couple of key bits closed they can dictate terms to OEMs (almost) exactly like it was a totally closed source environment.

And yes there is the issue that Android is not and probably never will be ready for the desktop. It is a phone OS growing to the tablet space. Kinda hard to envision it scaling to multiple large displays.

So yea, DiBona takes Google's shilling so he has to promote their stuff. But we are free to laugh and call him a silly person for expecting us to believe this line of BS.

Re:Hmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36738092)

alling it Linux is technically correct in that it does use the Linux kernel down under layers of Google and Java cruft.

Why the weasel words, man? It's Linux. Accept it.

In the more familiar usage of the word 'Linux' to mean a distribution of familiar UNIXish tools from GNU, X.org, Moz Corp, GNOME/KDE, etc. Android is totally alien and about as closed of a walled garden as OS X or iOS.

X.org/Gnome/KDE: Yeah, because those products have been so successful at driving Linux to the masses. Not.

Moz Corp.: Check again, Skippy. There is a copy of Firefox 5 and a copy of Firefox 6 running on my Xoom at this very moment that are the official versions from Mozilla.

UNIXish tools from GNU: are just a compile awaywith the NDK just like God intended.

Walled garden blather: your other points fall flat at supporting this fud.

. Yes most of it is technically released under an FSF approved license but there is zero community involvement in what Google tosses over the wall from time to time.

The community isn't involved in the Linux kernel? How about the bluez bluetooth stack? Cyanogenmod isn't from the community? Please find some new talking points.

And because they keep a couple of key bits closed they can dictate terms to OEMs (almost) exactly like it was a totally closed source environment.

None of which are necessary for a fully functional Android system.

And yes there is the issue that Android is not and probably never will be ready for the desktop. It is a phone OS growing to the tablet space. Kinda hard to envision it scaling to multiple large displays.

Wow, you have a fucking crystal ball?

Re:Hmm (2)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#36738876)

> Why the weasel words, man? It's Linux. Accept it.

Learn to parse English. I clarified my objection my noting the dual use of the word Linux to mean both the OS kernel project headed up by Linus and the more generic Linux/GNU/X/etc UNIXish environment meaning. Try to keep up.

> lX.org/Gnome/KDE: Yeah, because those products have been so successful at driving Linux to the masses. Not.

Doesn't matter if you are correct in your slagging of the Free Software world's achievements or not. When you say "Linux" to the average person they aren't thinking of the kernel project but the whole stack they have probably at least seen a time or two. So in the popular meaning of the word android is no more "Linux" than their TV which also is probably running the Linux kernel.

> Moz Corp.: Check again, Skippy.

So there is. So what if it is a beta, they got it running. Web browser in Java bytecode running webpages chock-a-block full of javascript.... being interpreted in java. :) Now they just need a native X server instead of VNC and a full UNIXish environment would be practical. Would be interesting to then benchmark the java bytecode based Android port of Firefox against the native ARM Linux/X version.

> None of which are necessary for a fully functional Android system.

Which I suppose is why there are close to zero OEM products that do not include them, meaning they all are official licensees of Google and thus just as bound to obey the Google mothership as any Microsoft OEM. For that matter, find an install of Android that isn't an OEM install. Free Software my arse.

> Wow, you have a fucking crystal ball?

Yup. You don't have to be Kreskin to see that a UI that works on phones an tablets isn't likely to also be usable on a large desktop with a mouse instead of a touchscreen. See GNOME3. You can't be all things to all people. And people expect more performance on a desktop than is likely to be possible in an environment where everything is java. While a fun puzzle game, Angry birds isn't exactly state of the art. And would you want to run OO.o compiled to Java bytecode? So no, android isn't likely to ever threaten the traditional desktop/workstation market, especially the sort of user who runs a current Linux distro.

Gaining the ability to run Android apps on a Linux/X desktop would be nice and I'm suprised it hasn't already happened. Even if some wouldn't be useful because of the touchscreen/mouse divide many would be good to have available. That it hasn't already happened leads me to suspect there is an IP trap preventing it.

Re:Hmm (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36739586)

When you say "Linux" to the average person they aren't thinking of the kernel project but the whole stack they have probably at least seen a time or two.

And they'd be wrong.

Which I suppose is why there are close to zero OEM products that do not include them, meaning they all are official licensees of Google and thus just as bound to obey the Google mothership as any Microsoft OEM.

Because they are popular? That still doesn't change the fact that those proprietary bits are only add ons, which the OEM is completely free to leave out.

For that matter, find an install of Android that isn't an OEM install. Free Software my arse.

For the most part, this request is retarded. Anybody who's going to run Android is going to do so on a tablet or phone designed to do so. Why? Because 99% of people wouldn't want to fuck with their shit to the extent needed to get Android running on it. That doesn't make it any less Free Software. But since you asked, there are many. CyannogenMod, for one. There's the Geekspire phone, which people have put Android out on it. Android also runs on the HTC HD2, which was a WinMobile phone.

You don't have to be Kreskin to see that a UI that works on phones an tablets isn't likely to also be usable on a large desktop with a mouse instead of a touchscreen.

Nor do you have to be Kreskin to know that the opposite doesn't work either. Desktop applications, designed for use with a keyboard/mouse, DO NOT WORK ON TOUCHSCREEN DEVICES. Sure, you can get them to run, but they're nowhere near as easy or pleasant to run than something with a UI designed with touch from the start.

So no, android isn't likely to ever threaten the traditional desktop/workstation market

Who the fuck ever though this was going to happen? It's a goddamned phone distro, of course you're not gonna run it on a workstation. What, you think you'll take the Linux running on any other ARM device and put it on your workstation?

That it hasn't already happened leads me to suspect there is an IP trap preventing it.

Or there just isn't enough interest in it happening. The Android emulator is usually good enough for development work. Any other use just doesn't have the momentum behind it. Of course, why don't you put your money where your mouth is, and start working on one? That's the Open Source way.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36740712)

> Why the weasel words, man? It's Linux. Accept it.

Learn to parse English. I clarified my objection my noting the dual use of the word Linux to mean both the OS kernel project headed up by Linus and the more generic Linux/GNU/X/etc UNIXish environment meaning. Try to keep up.

You redefined "Linux" to mean something it doesn't mean. This is your problem, not the grandparents.

When you say "Linux" to the average person they aren't thinking of the kernel project but the whole stack they have probably at least seen a time or two.

When you say "linux" to the average person they have no idea what you are talking about. If the so called average people you talk to don't understand what a kernel is, that is no excuse to act confused yourself.

If you like X, use X, for any X in {X11, GNOME, KDE, ...}. Complaining that other people use an open source kernel that happens to be used by your favorite stack, and know that this kernel is named "Linux", is a word that I can't write and expect this post to not get flagged as obscene.

Re:Hmm (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#36742326)

g. Web browser in Java bytecode running webpages chock-a-block full of javascript.... being interpreted in java. :) Now they just need a native X server instead of VNC and a full UNIXish environment would be practical. Would be interesting to then benchmark the java bytecode based Android port of Firefox against the native ARM Linux/X version.

I mean no offense to saying this - your comments are usually pretty informative - but in this case you don't have a clue about what you're posting about. Please, read about Android NDK first, and realize that a good number of Android apps today is 99% C/C++ (in the most recent versions of NDK, you can actually have a pure native app, since there is a stock C library wrapping all the Java input APIs and providing the entry point).

For that matter, the rest of your post is mostly incorrect, as well. Yes, Android does not have the usual Linux userspace out of the box (though it does have e.g. the shell, and that is accessible even on non-rooted phones) - but, once you root it, you can easily have bash, binutils etc. The main issue there is that libc it uses is different from the usual glibc (and compatible alternatives), so some porting may be needed. Even so, some people crazy enough managed to run gcc on Android, which makes it self-sufficient.

Then of course there is this trick [androlinux.com] , which runs Ubuntu in chroot under Android system. Kernel is the same, but Ubuntu gets its own userspace (libc etc), so any binary compiled for normal ARM Linux will work. And note that this works concurrently with Android system, so you can use Android ssh client to run the shell inside chrooted Ubuntu, or use VNC to connect to X apps running inside. Of course, there's no "Java bytecode" involved - it's all pure ARM binary code running natively on the CPU.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36739516)

Ugh. I expect comments like this from gizmodo or engadget or some other mobile phone circlejerk blog, but it's sad to see on slashdot.

Re:Hmm (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#36743036)

Calling it Linux is technically correct in that it does use the Linux kernel down under layers of Google and Java cruft. But it is only used as a place for the OEMs to hang device drivers because they already were familiar with it from their other ARM embedded projects. In the more familiar usage of the word 'Linux' to mean a distribution of familiar UNIXish tools from GNU, X.org, Moz Corp, GNOME/KDE, etc.

By 'familiar' you mean 'incorrect'. We all know that despite the brilliance of Linux, GNU/Linux desktop distributions haven't been very well received by the broader populace, but perpetuating the ignorance of people interpreting Linux as just the desktop GNU/Xorg/GNOME/KDE distro undermines Linux itself. Like it or not, Android is a Linux-based OS just the same as Ubuntu or Gentoo and just like many TVs running a Linux-based OS.

Android is totally alien and about as closed of a walled garden as OS X or iOS.

About as closed as OSX? No, definitely not.
About as closed as iOS? Absolutely not, no idea where you even got that idea from.

Re:Hmm (1)

solferino (100959) | more than 2 years ago | (#36745392)

In the more familiar usage of the word 'Linux' to mean a distribution of familiar UNIXish tools from GNU, X.org, Moz Corp, GNOME/KDE, etc.

Which is why this usage is incorrect and why RMS was right in talking about GNU/Linux (what you are basically describing above).

As you say at the start of your comment, it is technically correct to call Android a linux based system because yes, it runs the Linux kernel. When talking about computers, technically correct speech is what matters.

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

Beorytis (1014777) | more than 2 years ago | (#36738174)

Calling Android a linux desktop is also a stretch.

He didn't call it a linux desktop; he called it "the linux desktop dream come true". I thought he meant: "Though the hope of an open-source OS widely adopted by non-technical mainstream users didn't happen with Linux for desktop PCs, it did with Android.

Except it's not GNU/Linux (1)

pslam (97660) | more than 2 years ago | (#36739712)

He didn't call it a linux desktop; he called it "the linux desktop dream come true"

It's not "Linux" as most people know it. There's a reason Richard Stallman was always bothered by people referring to the OS underlying Debian, Red Hat, Ubuntu and the countless other distributions as "Linux"; it ignores the fact that the vast majority of what makes it tick is the GNU userland.

Android does not have a GNU userland. In fact, they rewrote nearly all of it precisely to avoid it.

Android is an Apache/Linux desktop. It's only vaguely related to what everyone used to refer to as "Linux" or properly GNU/Linux.

Re:Except it's not GNU/Linux (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#36740690)

But you can very easily compile and install a gnu userland if you know how to use the ndk. That's no different to how gnu tools end up anywhere else. At aome point, somebody has to compile and install them into a distro before that diatro is shipped. What makes Ansroid different other than it's the user's choice to have that stuff. I have bash, vi and some other stuff installed on OG Droid as well as a full Ubuntu chroot.

Re:Except it's not GNU/Linux (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#36743252)

It's not "Linux" as most people know it.

So? We don't avoid calling it what it is just because most people don't know.

There's a reason Richard Stallman was always bothered by people referring to the OS underlying Debian, Red Hat, Ubuntu and the countless other distributions as "Linux"; it ignores the fact that the vast majority of what makes it tick is the GNU userland.

It also ignores the fact that you can have a Linux system without the GNU userland.

Android is an Apache/Linux desktop. It's only vaguely related to what everyone used to refer to as "Linux" or properly GNU/Linux.

That's no reason to avoid the fact, if anything it takes away from the hard work the kernel developers do if most people only associate Linux with GNU/Linux when in actuality almost everyone uses Linux in some capacity.

Goobuntu?!? (2, Funny)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#36738938)

Screw Ubuntu, now I want Goobuntu!

It wouldn't be very useful to you (2)

Wee (17189) | more than 2 years ago | (#36742452)

Or, rather, it wouldn't have much special stuff that would do you any good unless you were on their network. Goobuntu (like the Red Hat-based "grhat" before it) is very close to the regular publicly-available distribution. It looks and feels just like Ubuntu (aside from a Google-ish splash screen and desktop wallpaper). But they've added on tools so that devs can check code in/out, compile apps in the same environment one finds on the linux-based workstations, has some encryption for sensitive stuff, etc.

You'd do just as well with regular old Ubuntu.

-B

Not really the "ultimate success story" (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36737324)

It's a great success story for Google, I suppose. But Linux has already had massive, if quiet, successes. And it's not a huge success story for end users, who are left with devices whose drivers rot outside the kernel mainline, dependent on closed source binary blobs for hardware support that never get rebuilt as systems move on.

It's also not a huge success for GNU/Linux (or Free Software) in general, due to the almost total break from it that Google has spearheaded. Instead of a platform that exists regardless of one corporation, you have one whose existence is defined by that corporation. Difficult to fork, hard to steer in ways other than what they want and, until further notice, closed source.

Better can be done.

Re:Not really the "ultimate success story" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36738506)

It is interesting to see the massive success of GNU/Linux. It isn't as apparent where it is being used to most typical GNU/Linux users or consumers although it is being used all over the place. I think part of this is it isn't advertised like Microsoft or Apple products or counted very well. The marketing just doesn't exist to the extent it does for products from those companies.

I manage a really tiny company in comparison to Google, Microsoft, or Apple that deals in free software. We only put out products which are free software compatible (hardware/peripherals/etc must not be dependent on non-free software/binary blobs/windows drivers/etc to work) and we've sold to many of the companies you would expect to see using desktop GNU/Linux. Google is amongst them. We sell to allot of smaller companies, home users, hospital (operating possibly several hundred facilities), etc.

Desktop GNU/Linux is out there. Home users are not an insignificant proportion of our current business although the potential to hit more larger installations bases exists. We get inquires for 20k plus of stuff and I've seen this for years. As far back as 2005 I saw this. Before starting a company I knew one thing. The GNU/Linux desktop existed and nobody was (and even now) is supporting it. We have a monopoly on the market.

We see about 50% of end-users being supportable right now, and are in fact supporting about 50% of our user base on a desktop GNU/Linux platform. We're looking at about 80% being supportable in the near future (coming months). That is not 50% on a free software platform. Non-free components like Adobe Flash are still required for this user base to be successful on GNU/Linux. We are looking at and supporting GNASH and one free software distribution. Support for certain things needs to be improved before we will seriously see people moving to a fully free platform. We're not that far off the mark though. All our hardware is already supported on one fully free distribution.

The thing people forget is if you are even thinking about these issues you are a power user. If you are a power user you have the wrong impression about the percentage of users who can be supported. You see too many issues that are non-existent with the right support and hardware. And really this is largely what matters as most users do little else other than pictures (well supported), web browsing (well supported), and email (well supported). Some do a little word processing (once again well supported).

You need digital cameras, printers, wifi adapters, laptops, desktops, and little else. A USB audio player helps too. We have these things in our catalogue.

Re:Not really the "ultimate success story" (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#36741472)

You wanted "Open Source" instead of "Free Software" -- Now you have Open Source, and can tell the difference between it and Free Software (the latter prevents that sort of bullshit from happening). Also, you can thank Linus's desire to stay on GPL2 and not go GPL3 -- even though only about 2% of his code remains in the kernel...

Many people boo and hiss when ethics are cited as important for software -- think of the users; However, many people then complain about the lack of freedom in open source, when this term was coined expressly to distance such software from the idea of freedom...

Cry me a river, freedom-hater.

Re:Not really the "ultimate success story" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36743344)

And it's not a huge success story for end users, who are left with devices whose drivers rot outside the kernel mainline, dependent on closed source binary blobs for hardware support that never get rebuilt as systems move on.

The majority of users don't care about that anyway, you can sensationalize it by saying the drivers 'rot' - factually false - but that's just idiotic. Most users want to upgrade their hardware anyway (larger screens, higher res displays, new sensors, faster processors, etc...) so maintaining old drivers is pointless for handset companies.

Difficult to fork

Rubbish.

Re:Not really the "ultimate success story" (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#36744740)

The other thing that I'd add is that most of the integration that adds polish to Android isn't FOSS. Without proprietary code, I don't believe that Android syncs your contacts, has access to Gmail/calendar/etc, has the market, or even has the ability to make phone calls.

If you want to know what is free on Android download the source, build it, and install it on the emulator. I'd say install it on a phone but the FOSS version of Android doesn't support running on real hardware. You do get a few apps, but not many of the ones you'd normally use all the time. If you want a minimal amount of proprietary code install CyanogenMod on your phone, minus the gapps package.

Much of what makes Android successful is the integration, which isn't FOSS.

Success! (2)

wsxyz (543068) | more than 2 years ago | (#36737372)

If you define success fairly narrowly then Android is a Linux success. But I think that most people who hoped for a successful Linux desktop in the 1990s were thinking more along the lines of expanded personal freedom in computing as the goal of "success", more than the simple number of processors running some variant of the Linux kernel. While Android is more open than the alternatives, it's doesn't really (and can't really) ever fulfill the goals of an open and free computing environment that Linux as a Free Software PC/Workstation Desktop Operating System can.

Re:Success! (3, Insightful)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#36737848)

While Android is more open than the alternatives, it's doesn't really (and can't really) ever fulfill the goals of an open and free computing environment that Linux as a Free Software PC/Workstation Desktop Operating System can.

First of all, *can't really ever* is a really long time so it isn't really rational to say that as you do not know what the future holds. My next question is, what is stopping Android from developing into a fully fledged desktop operating system? It obviously runs a desktop class kernel, it supports native development, it supports USB host, external input and output. I realize that Android isn't a complete desktop solution as is but, what can you do with a current desktop system that is out of the question for Android given a little bit of work?

Now I see why Apple isn't gunning for Google... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36737486)

... or at least, not very hard. The profit they'd lose if roughly 21,000 Google employees got pissed off and switched to Linux is no small amount of money, even for Apple. Not to mention the PR nightmare. It totally makes sense now.

They should release "real" Linux laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36737500)

Instead of the Chromebooks and the earlier other companies netbooks that ran crippled Linux distributions that only had 2GB storage space. Then Linux might have a better chance if Google is backing up the tech support instead of hobbiests on forums.

Re:They should release "real" Linux laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36737816)

But, but, google ALREADY DOES PROVIDE TECH SUPPORT for linux!!! I mean haven't you ever heard the term 'GTFM'?

That's google provide end user support services via a text based interface :D

What an awful layout for a site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36737542)

The real content uses only around 20% of my screen real state....

A bit sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36737676)

I'm a bit sad to see that they're a "huge customer of Apple," considering I see modern-day Apple as lower than 90s Microsoft.

Re:A bit sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36737770)

I'm a bit sad to see that they're a "huge customer of Apple," considering I see modern-day Apple as lower than 90s Microsoft.

Translated: I'm an emo bitch because I don't agree with the rest of the world.

Fucking hypocrite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36737752)

Why don't you talk about how Honeycomb is closed source or how access to the Android code has been severely restricted at Google?

Re:Fucking hypocrite (2)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#36738528)

If you read the interview, you'll see that he did address those issues, albeit cursorily. Android is the way it is primarily because of the hyper competitive market of smart phones and mobile devices. Contrast this with ChromeOS which has a much more open development policy. So, when you get all irate about Honeycomb, remember ChromeOS and the other millions and millions of lines of code Google contributes to the world.

Android is not Linux (5, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#36737778)

I know some people hate the GNU/Linux remarks of Stallman but he is correct. If you are talking about Linux being more then just a kernel then you got to take GNU into account and all that comes with it. Ubuntu is what it is because it comes with a CD or even DVD full of FREE utilities most of them more then adequate to replace expensive and not so expensive windows applications. I have seen many people compare the cost of windows (comes "free" with the OS) with the cost of Linux, free to download. But they forget the countless tools you are expected to pay for on the Windows platform. No, using free opensource application on Windows does not count, if you want to argue opensource vs closed source costs you cannot lower closed source costs by using opensource.

So, how does this relate to Android? Simple, CHECK the market place vs Ubuntu package manager and see just how much installing applications costs you. Remember that story about the Apple app store netting developers 2.5 billion and Apple itself 1 billion? Where do you think that money came from? That's right, you. Add a billion or so for the credit card companies and that is a lot of money. And for what? Apps that are available on Linux for free and INFINITELY more powerful.

But it is only a few dollars... yes... it is... only a few dollars per app that you don't own and can't modify.

And android is much the same.

So Android is linux because it runs the kernel? Odd that, I can download the source of the kernel from Ubuntu, download the compiler needed from Ubuntu, download the editor from Ubuntu and download the instructions and hints to make it all into a new kernel modified by me. For that matter, I can take Ubuntu and turn it into my own distro (see Mint) or anyone can take all the components and make something else altogether (Gentoo). Do the same with android, I dare you!

Prove me wrong about the price or openess. Download a mplayer equivelant for Android. A media player that plays virtually any codec out there for free. It doesn't exist and the few players that a tiny bit capable, all cost money despite offering less functionality then a free application.

I suppose that for some lucky people, spending a few dollars here, a few dollars there is trivial. It must be or else things like Farmville would never survive. But some of us either are opposed to being nickle and dimed to death or just can't afford it.

Be honest, how many of you got a fully decked out with pay for use software Windows machine? Winzip, payed media player etc etc etc?

I have long considered replacing my netbook with a tablet but when I see the prices charged for apps vs what is available for free on my linux install... it just doesn't make sense. Currently I am just waiting for a decent hardware tablet that I can install linux on myself. Am I a cheap bastard in not wanting to pay developers for their time and effort? Yes, yes I am. Because while I have not contributed code to the opensource effort myself I do test and do bug reports and followups. It may not be much but I prefer to be part of the open effort then the closed sourced android and especially iOS culture of squeeze them for every penny.

But I can develop my own free and opensource apps you say? Indeed I can, except I am web developer so even easier is for me to work on web apps that work on any capable browser (sorry MS) and maybe do something interesting there. Which is what I am doing... when it is finished, it will be free. Why? Because I already got a day job. I am doing okay *breaks into sultans of swing and does NOT pay royalties for it*

Re:Android is not Linux (4, Informative)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 2 years ago | (#36738158)

As far as I know, there is no reason why you can't have open source android applications. Example: the ADW Launcher for Android [google.com] , of which I use a modified version called VTL.Launcher.

Furthermore, the app store is a convenience, not a necessity, on Android. I can download and install an apk from anywhere I like.

And, lastly, there are closed-source and non-free Linux applications.

"Linux" != "open source," does it? They generally coincide, but they are not equivalent.

Also, you can modify various kernels and build "distros" of Android. I'm running a "distro" on my viewsonic g tablet. I have tried two others, as well.

Re:Android is not Linux (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36738978)

Indeed, but you cannot run anything but Android at full speed, or with full functionality.

The use of a proprietary libc means that any userspace blobs (used frequently on these devices) will be incompatible with more common Linux-based systems. So while on my PC or other x86 based platforms I can move between Fedora, Ubuntu, Slackware, etc, I have only Android and derivatives thereof. And that's assuming your drivers are easily ported forward, and the bootloader doesn't refuse to boot unsigned kernels.

Re:Android is not Linux (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#36742360)

The use of a proprietary libc means that any userspace blobs (used frequently on these devices) will be incompatible with more common Linux-based systems.

How so? The interface between a userspace app and libc is the same as with any other shared library - so another shared library providing compatible API and ABI (and the latter should be the same for C, right?) would just work. So what is there in Bionic that isn't in glibc?

Re:Android is not Linux (4, Informative)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 2 years ago | (#36738204)

mplayer for Android has been ported: http://www.xda-developers.com/android/mplayer-ported-for-android/ [xda-developers.com]

Android source is here: http://source.android.com/ [android.com]

Go ahead and make your own distribution, dozens of people already do. Cyanogenmod is probably the largest.

Other utilities you want that aren't there, but available in GNU? Port 'em. Source is there. Nothing is keeping it from happening.

Re:Android is not Linux (2)

Marc Madness (2205586) | more than 2 years ago | (#36738848)

So, how does this relate to Android? Simple, CHECK the market place vs Ubuntu package manager and see just how much installing applications costs you. Remember that story about the Apple app store netting developers 2.5 billion and Apple itself 1 billion? Where do you think that money came from? That's right, you. Add a billion or so for the credit card companies and that is a lot of money. And for what? Apps that are available on Linux for free and INFINITELY more powerful.

I think you are conflating free as in beer with free as in freedom. There's nothing in the GPL that says that you cannot charge money for free software as long as it fulfills the four essential freedoms [gnu.org] . In fact, in the early days, the Free Software Foundation charged money for their software (mostly to cover the cost of the media and the operational expenses of the FSF). The fact that the apps in the App store are not free has nothing to do with the fact that money is being exchanged for them but everything to do with the fact that they don't respect these four essential freedoms (although there may be apps that do, I don't actually own and Android device so I haven't checked).

Tired of this flaimbait... Apps are NOT the OS (2)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#36739180)

FFS don't bring this argument up again. You're talking about apps and marketplace. I'll say it slowly... nobody... cares. You can install from totally free 3rd party markets, including GetJar and Amazon and you can download totally open sourced apps.

The same is true of Ubuntu and the Multiverse. You can CHOOSE to run pay software, the same as Android. I can run a commercial server daemon on pure, fully open Linux. Does that cease to be Linux? No.

Why doesn't anyone get the point that it's about choice. I'd go line by line, but honestly, it's a worn out argument with flamebait about credit card processing and other stuff that borderlines on conspiracy theory topics. All I really have to say is, get off your soapbox. Like every other discussion about opensource, I default to "If you don't like it, do better or GTFO." You say you can't. *shrug* Other's do, and I hear them bitching less and coding more.

I don't mean to sound offensive, but I'm REALLY flipping tired of hearing "Andoird is not Linux". That's pure flaimbait and all you talked about was apps and that has NOTHING! NOTHING! to do with the OS.

TL:DR

Re:Tired of this flaimbait... Apps are NOT the OS (1)

pslam (97660) | more than 2 years ago | (#36739812)

The same is true of Ubuntu and the Multiverse. You can CHOOSE to run pay software, the same as Android. I can run a commercial server daemon on pure, fully open Linux. Does that cease to be Linux? No.

It's a matter of what's meant by "Linux". Everyone used to mean "GNU/Linux" when they said simply "Linux". Android isn't GNU/Linux. There's no GNU in it - they stripped out what they could and rewrote from scratch what they couldn't. It's Apache/BSD/Linux.

So no, Android is not "Linux" by the definition of what everyone - before Android came along - would call Linux.

Some people are never satisfied, though... (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#36740186)

Chris Dibona calls OSX Linux (at least that's what I got from him FTA), and I'd agree. Apple has gone much further away.

I completely agree, it isn't GNU, it's a mixture. The reason FTA has to do with Patents. GNU is not as patent friendly as what they need. On the other hand, their Apache license give free reuse of all patents that touch their Apache licensed software. I mean, damn, there is absolutely nothing more they could do to make it open. This is the very far limit of what any company could ever do. And they are following the lead of other companies that said, "Listen, we have a ton of patents, and we're opening them up. We're keeping the patents so that nobody can ever try to enforce them, and we'll counter-sue the hell out of you if you challenge our patents... but here you go, nonprofits and commercial, have fun with this portion of our patent portfolia."

In that light, I really don't wanna hear objections, cause there are no valid objects to say, "Google is being evil!" That's just false and is what is implied by those objections if they are to have any other real meaning.

That's why the debate is meaningless. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that Google could do to be more open and still be a corporation. I'm environmental, but freakish tree huggers tick me off. I'm all about FOSS, and yes, I do mean capital F, which RMS is all whiny about, but it's the freakish OSS people like Stallman and "Android is not Linux" people that just royally pisses me off. The implications they make is that money is evil and any profiting from code is super evil, nevermind that Google doesn't make a dime directly off the code.

They really need to take the tin foil off or go busy themselves at a G8 summit protest or something. It's anti-corporatism, not OSS, if you really boil it down. For my part, I'm skeptical of all companies. Hell, I spent more than half my life screaming the Hacker Manifesto by The Mentor in IRC chat rooms with my friends, and we were all anti-system. But sweet Jesus, does nobody realize that we were fighting against the technopolies, Ma Bell, Microsoft, and their kind? Google is what we wanted these companies to be!

And now that we have one of the world's largest companies being a proactive, peaceful, and open source as hell, we gotta bitch over the semantics of at what level is something Linux as if they just aren't good enough?

Having come from the community that I have, which was Anonymous before there was an Anonymous... it kinda pisses me off. There is a time to fight, and there are a hell of a lot of things to fight. This is NOT one of them. This is FAR from it.

Sorry for the rant, must be the record heat.

Re:Some people are never satisfied, though... (1)

pslam (97660) | more than 2 years ago | (#36740382)

This is all very irrelevant. The point is, it is technically not "Linux", it does not match what people would define as "Linux" (pre-Android) and it in no way is "Linux" other than just the kernel and some public-facing Google engineers who call it such. I didn't bring politics into this.

Re:Some people are never satisfied, though... (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#36740590)

Oh, in that case, I'll just call you wrong and be done with it. If nobody called it Linux, they there'd be nobody arguing that it isn't Linux. The topic completely disproves beyond all doubt that nobody calls it Linux.

By "people" define who these "people" are? I've been a Linux admin since the days of Caldera. So... who are these "people"?

Re:Some people are never satisfied, though... (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#36743552)

This is all very irrelevant. The point is, it is technically not "Linux"

Bullshit, it *technically* is Linux. It's not the same Linux system you would run on your desktop PC and no-one would argue with that, that doesn't mean it's not Linux.

it does not match what people would define as "Linux" (pre-Android)

What people?
Of course if you are referring to a desktop operating system most people would likely refer to GNU/Linux because that is the prevalent type of distribution. But it's factually incorrect to say Android isn't a Linux system just because some people don't know it's a Linux system.

and it in no way is "Linux" other than just the kernel

Newsflash, Linux is just the kernel on ALL Linux systems.

Re:Android is not Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36739260)

Spot on. Let me tell you a story about an old handheld called the GP32. It was free to develop for, which lead to a strong open source development community. People worked long hard hours to deliver quality programs for the community. The only money involved was the occasional donation or contest. That is my vision of open source, it's people working together to make great programs, simply because they enjoy building things.
Apple and Google are destroying this model. It's too easy now to charge for programs, and every developer thinks that they deserve compensation. That's why you have people charging for their flashlight apps. It amazes me what you can't find for free on these platforms. And it pains me to see these developers I once loved turn their hobby into a business. App stores are sucking the life out of open source, this is no victory.

Re:Android is not Linux (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#36740010)

Regarding the GNU/Linux issue, from the first day I heard it I apply a very simple two part test to see whether I agreed with one stance or the other.

If I took a standard Linux distribution, what ever is popular at the time, and replaced the user land, would I still call it Linux?

If I took a separate copy of that Linux distribution and replaced the kernel, would I still call it Linux?

And that's why I don't call it GNU/Linux.

Re:Android is not Linux (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#36740400)

Remember that story about the Apple app store netting developers 2.5 billion and Apple itself 1 billion? Where do you think that money came from? That's right, you. Add a billion or so for the credit card companies and that is a lot of money.

Actually, the credit card companies are paid from Apple's $1B income from the App Store. You see, devs get 70%, Apple gets 30%. Out of that 30%, Apple pays for the servers (hosting, storage, bandwidth), as well as the nasty things like credit card billing and so forth. And gift cards don't net Apple much money either - given you can easily find them 20% off, that leaves Apple with a 10% edge (or less) to pay for the costs of the iTunes store.

The iTunes Store makes Apple *some* money, but that's more of a side effect than anything - they make far more money selling you hardware (the margins in the end of iTunes are low enough that Apple proably would close it down if it didn't actually help sell the hardware).

Linus and RMS BOTH Disagree with You (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#36741864)

Someone below said Android:

does not match what people would define as "Linux"

...but they refused to define who the people are and what their definition of Linux is.I'm going to put this argument not just to bed, but in its damn grave once and for all.

Let me quote someone for you all, Linus Torvalds, you know, the guy who created Linux from scratch and named it after himself (emphasis added):

In a separate incident Linus Torvalds the father of Linux expressed his anger at Google. Linus accused Google of undermining the role of Linux in Android. Due to Google's marketting of Android, apart from the tech-sisterhood, no one knows that Android is Linux. To give Linux its credit Linus is asking Google to call it Linux/Android or Android+Linux.

"I don't care if you put cart in front of horse or horse in front of cart. If you want to go somewhere you have to keep them together." ...

When RMS was asked to further explain his point, he said. "I have maintained from the very beginning that when you refer to whole system you must call it GNU+Linux or GNU/Linux but when you are referring only to the kernel its Linux and not GNU/Linux."

http://www.muktware.com/blogs/01/2011/943/richard-m-stallman-says-its-linux-not-gnulinux-linus-upset-android [muktware.com]

Is it GNU/Linux? No. Is it Linux? YES. And going further, And speaking in reference to someone's claim that Google Android violated the GPL (emphasis added):

It seems totally bogus. We've always made it very clear that the kernel system call interfaces do not in any way result in a derived work as per the GPL, and the kernel details are exported through the kernel headers to all the normal glibc interfaces too. The kernel headers contain various definitions for the interfaces to user space, and we even actively try to make sure that the headers can be used by user space (and try to mark which of the headers are expected to be usable in such a way). Exactly because we know user space needs those details in order to interact with the kernel.
So I haven't looked at exactly what Google does with the kernel headers, but I can't see that they'd want to do anything fundamentally different from glibc in this respect.

Of course, we do have our own 'internal' headers too, and we have stuff that is meant to be relevant only for the kernel. But there would be no point for Google to even use those, since they are useless outside of the kernel, so I don't see what the whole brouhaha would be all about. Except if it's somebody politically motivated (or motivated by some need of attention). If it's some desperate cry for attention by somebody, I just wish those people would release their own sex tapes or something, rather than drag the Linux kernel into their sordid world.

http://www.osnews.com/story/24557/Torvalds_Android_GPL_Claims_quot_Totally_Bogus_quot_ [osnews.com]
http://linux.slashdot.org/story/11/03/23/014223/Linus-Says-Android-License-Claim-Is-Bogus [slashdot.org]

So, please, please, if you don't know what what you are talking about, refer to Linus and even RMS (shudder) who BOTH call Android Linux. So much so that RMS clarifies exactly how to call it Linux and Linus is pissed that it isn't named Linux!

DEBATE F%&^ING OVER! QED!

Bah... (2)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#36738724)

I am indifferent towards open source and "free" software. I admire the cause, but I tend to pick something that works and works well for my needs. I dream of the day I could have OSX, Windows and Linux all booting from the same computer of my choice (legally) so I can pick the best programs for my needs.

* Android is running Linux, technically, but it doesn't support Linux software easily. It might as well not be Linux as an end user. With the Google clamp down it, limiting what is in the market, etc. it seems less an open software like I keep hearing Linux is and more of a standard operating system that is widely used because smart phone hardware companies are using it because it is relatively cheap compared to the alternatives from other companies or developing their own OS.

*"If you'd look at laptops it's maybe 70 percent Mac OS X and most of the rest is Linux, we are a huge customer of Apple.", and Apple in my eyes is even worse than Microsoft in being open. This is coming across to me as more "We hate Microsoft" or "We are a company that wants to look cool" than "We are choosing the most open software".

It looks like Linux and open source is heading for a Pyrrhic victory at this rate. This is a company that trying to become the champion of Open Source. It paved the way for not invading privacy en masse, but turning it into a main stream industry.

It props brags that "at least we aren't using Windows/M$" by stating the chief alternative is a company that is even more closed than Microsoft, requires you to use an OS that is legally only usable on their overpriced hardware if you want to code for their gated garden platforms. A company that is trying to block out any competing products (in the U.S.) by resorting to nearly forgotten and century old rules and laws (http://apple.slashdot.org/story/11/07/12/0144237/Apple-Wants-To-Block-Some-HTC-Products-From-US-Under-Tariff-Act-of-1930).

Re:Bah... (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36739266)

It looks like Linux and open source is heading for a Pyrrhic victory at this rate.

Neither Linux nor "open source" are singular entities that can be defeated.

Re:Bah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36740692)

I dream of the day I could have OSX, Windows and Linux all booting from the same computer of my choice (legally) so I can pick the best programs for my needs.

Um, I do that. It's called a MacBook.

Re:Bah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36741470)

Only if you choose to buy a Macbook. I'm typing this on a Mac and I'll say that the prices of Mac hardware are fucking ridiculous. $1000+ for a laptop? For that price in 2011, it better suck your dick.

A Shot Across Microsoft's Patent bow? (3, Insightful)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#36739024)

FTA:

If you want to start a new project this kicks of our timeclock where my office, patents and trademarks all have three days to approve it or to say why they can't. If they don' act the project gets automatically approved and you can do the release. Usually we finish all the paper work and all the bureaucracy before the developers are done with the process of engineering for release.

For larger projects - like Android and Chrome - we engage with them years ahead of time. We were talking with the Android guys probably three years before the G1 came out, helping them with their license compliance, selection and strategy.

So you know DAMN good and well Google poured over phone patents, like Microsoft's, and deemed it safe... and had already engaged the lawyers "years ahead of time".

With this knowledge, shouldn't Google rise up and be power flaming MS over suing Motorola and others who use Android? You know every effort was made to avoid a losing legal situation. Having your ducks in a row years ahead of time should scare even a large corporation like MS who probably reacted at even the smallest chance of winning.

Re:A Shot Across Microsoft's Patent bow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36740480)

I don't see how:

So you know DAMN good and well Google poured over phone patents, like Microsoft's,

leads to:

and deemed it safe...

The fact that they are not even pretending to be aware of MS's licensing spree probably means the opposite.

Also, consider MS was a very early player in the smartphone space, do you really think that there's a chance Android does not infringe a bunch of their patents? I think they wouldn't even take the chance of looking at those patents to avoid becoming liable for willful infringement.

Re:A Shot Across Microsoft's Patent bow? (1)

blarkon (1712194) | more than 2 years ago | (#36745970)

Google's efforts to ensure that Android didn't violated patents that required licensing from third parties is a lot like their effort to promote wave.

2011 is the YEAR OF LINUX ON THE DESKTOP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36740068)

No, really. It has to happen sometime, doesn't it?

Yay for all of Android's successes, but it doesn't change the fact that my Nexus One is a piece of garbage (even running 2.3), and I'm going run screaming to Apple (ACK!) soon, if Android devs don't start putting some care and/or thought into their UIs. It's *exactly* the same thing we see on Linux desktop apps: super-powerful, open operating system, running apps whose UIs were designed by people with the aesthetic sense of a 70s shag carpet.

Android is the dream of Desktop Linux? (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36741908)

Oh, please. It's not desktop and it's not Linux.

And you, Google, have become more evil than Microsoft. At least they were after my money, you're after every detail of my personal life.

If you like Ubuntu so much, then why haven't you put it in your chromebooks, instead of yet another extremely closed userspace with no "upstream" roots?

Re:Android is the dream of Desktop Linux? (1)

guorbatschow (870695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36745238)

who is actually forcing you to use google products?

Re:Android is the dream of Desktop Linux? (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36746398)

Neither my comment nor the article have anything to do with somebody forcing me to use Google products, so I don't understand your reply.

On the other hand, if you're interested in hearing about all the times I found myself using a Google product without knowing, I can tell you.

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