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An Android Tablet Victory May Be Problematic For Free Software

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the all-the-same-and-yet-all-different dept.

Android 208

An anonymous reader writes "Glyn Moody writes at The H that Google's Nexus 7 tablet seems to be in a good position to shake up the market and pave the way for serious Android competition to the iPad. That said, he's worried about the potential downsides to a market full of mostly 'open' devices: 'Such customised systems are likely to be as locked down as they can be – the last thing either manufacturers or companies want is for users to start fiddling with the settings or installing their own software. As a result, the apps that run on such systems are likely to be closed source, since that's the way vertical markets tend to work. Such systems will also expose a persistent problem with the open source development methodology. While big and general projects find it relatively easy to attract interested developers, smaller, more targeted solutions tend not to thrive as free software.'"

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FUD (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612171)

Android phones work just fine with respect to OSS.

QED

Discussion closed.

Re:FUD (4, Informative)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612211)

I agree. This article is full of FUD and little off-hand remarks about Android being of lesser quality and implies Google doesn't care about their brand because the Android OS is on low-end devices.

Re:FUD (5, Insightful)

TellarHK (159748) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612225)

The author pretty much lost me as soon as he said it wasn't clear whether people weren't buying iPads due to size. Really? 7" vs. 9.7"? Is that 2.7" size difference _really_ a make or break feature for people that otherwise might buy an iPad if they're not already turned completely off due to walled gardens, pricing, vendor lock-in and Apple's increasingly frightening track record? Every time I read that argument put out there, I wonder whether the writer is seeking some kind of "balance" where there really isn't any.

If you want the Apple ecosystem, you buy an iPad.

If you don't really care about, or care for, Apple's ecosystem, you buy something else.

That is all there is to it.

Re:FUD (4, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612389)

The author pretty much lost me as soon as he said it wasn't clear whether people weren't buying iPads due to size.

No that's not what he said, he said it wasn't clear whether the interest in the Galaxy Nexus was due to the Nexus' for it's own sake or whether a lot of the interest is being driven by the fact that here is no 7" iPad. He then went on to imply that we'd see which is the case if and when Apple rolls out a 7" iPad 'Mini'. If it really is the case that people are mostly interested in the Galaxy Nexus because there is no 7" iPad we should see a deflation in interest in the Nexus as soon as the 7" iPad hits the market, if not Apple gets a kick in the nuts when their 7" iPad flops. He never claimed that device size is not a selling point.

Re:FUD (4, Insightful)

TellarHK (159748) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612457)

I think it's a fairly safe bet that when someone is shopping for a tablet, if there's a 7" iPad on the table next to a Nexus 7, they're still going to be making that purchase based on a wide variety of other factors than screen size. It really does boil down to ecosystem vs. ecosystem, or price, for most buyers. The fact there is no 7" iPad has nothing to do with Nexus 7 sales, because I think it's a pretty safe bet that given all the other factors out there to make a tablet purchase decision based on, the availability of one size versus another is pointless.

The Nexus 7 will primarily sell to people who don't like Apple, or want/need to buy the cheaper offering on the market versus Apple's offerings. If Nexus 7 sales dip when an iPad 7" hits the market, I won't be surprised, but I don't think it will be anything staggering.

Re:FUD (4, Interesting)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612833)

The fact there is no 7" iPad has nothing to do with Nexus 7 sales, because I think it's a pretty safe bet that given all the other factors out there to make a tablet purchase decision based on, the availability of one size versus another is pointless.

Yes, and no. There are absolutely other factors out there, but it becomes a use case scenario. The reason I won't buy a 7" tablet is because I already have an e-book reader and an Android cell phone. I'm carrying the cell phone anyway, and 7" isn't enough of an improvement over the screen on the cell phone for me to want to carry it as well. I'm on the fence right now about whether I want to buy a tablet, when I already own a 13" ultraportable laptop (I do have a specific use in mind, I'm just trying to decide if it's worth the expense when I have other ways of completing the task), but if I were to buy one, it would be a 10" display.

Some people buy tablets because they're the cool thing to have. Those people will almost universally buy an iPad, and it becomes a non-issue. Some people buy them because they actually have a need for it, and for those people the form factor of the device (read: screen size) will probably be the main deciding factor. If they can't get a device in a screen size that's useful to them, there's no point in buying the device. The general consumer doesn't really care whether it's iOS or Android, as long as it does what they want it to do. Most people are happily oblivious to the walled garden, and in fact think that it's a good thing as long as it doesn't prevent them from playing Angry Birds or getting on Facebook.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40613007)

Most people are happily oblivious to the walled garden, and in fact think that it's a good thing as long as it doesn't prevent them from playing Angry Birds or getting on Facebook.

That plus it is actually quite possible to create apps for both Android and iOS. The headache is that if you buy an app for iOS you have to buy it again if you migrate to Android, but then this is also true if you migrate from Android to iOS so the operating system vendor lock in is the same. With Android at least you can change devices but that leaves you worrying about fragmentation issues and your device manufacturer orphaning your device so that you get no more Android updates for whatever reason. A couple of people I know are stuck with expensive devices that will never be updated past Android 2.

Re:FUD (3, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40613231)

Actually, for me screen size is an important issue. I wouldn't give any money for an iPad no matter what the size, but I've tried 7", 8" and 10" Android tablets, and the size alone makes them quite different. That 2"-3" difference makes a significant impact on how easy it is to lug around and how well it is suited towards what you want to use it for. Personally I'd prefer 7" regardless of price.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612421)

The size difference you mention is not nearly as trivial as you are trying to make it sound. Those are diagonal measurements and screen area is exponentially related to such. 7" to 9.7" may seem small but it actually represents a 92% increase in overall screen area. In other words the screen is nearly twice as large and this has an extremely significant impact on both the portability and the user experience with the device.

Re:FUD (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612481)

Actually if I had my choice I would rather have an 11.5 inch ipad. I want an 8.5X11 or A5 size screen. but then I also want to have palm rejection and a wacom stylus integrated. 512 levels of pressure in an accurate stylus. It suddenly turns the tablet into a serious art and business device.

Re:FUD (3, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612847)

Actually if I had my choice I would rather have an 11.5 inch ipad. I want an 8.5X11 or A5 size screen.

A tablet with an 8.5"x11" screen would be a 13.9" tablet. Screens are measured diagonally, for some reason.

Re:FUD (2)

SteveWP (1845840) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612921)

Actually if I had my choice I would rather have an 11.5 inch ipad. I want an 8.5X11 or A5 size screen. but then I also want to have palm rejection and a wacom stylus integrated. 512 levels of pressure in an accurate stylus. It suddenly turns the tablet into a serious art and business device.

Yes Yes Yes +1 additionally for me I want cell phone functionality and not some funky voip app. And no I am not talking about holding a tablet up to my ear, bluetooth or wired headset please. I really don't want to haul around a tablet, a phone and other gadgets. Tablets have more then enough capability to do it all. A standard SD card slot would be super nice too.

Re:FUD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612889)

Seriously? More people care about the screen size than all that "walled garden" bullshit.
 
You sound like some little minded fundie trying to fight a holy war with anyone who doesn't care about that shit. I guess OSS is the new religion.
 
Captcha: delirium

Re:FUD (3, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612987)

Really? 7" vs. 9.7"? Is that 2.7" size difference _really_ a make or break feature

Well, I've heard some people complaining that a 7" tablet is too small to read A4 papers on, on the other hand, Kindle seems to be doing fine with it. $199 versus $499 is what most people are going to be concerned about.

And to flip the screen size thing around, the iPhone 4S has only a 3.5" screen, Galaxy S3 has a 4.8" screen, Galaxy Note has 5.3" screen; for a phone, that does make a difference.

Re:FUD (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612465)

Until the Nexus 7 tablet, Android tablets WERE substanard. Mostly because the manufacturer was not making them correctly. You cant sell an android tab for ipad prices if it's an all plastic piece of crap. Add to that the buttload of china garbage tablets not even running 4.0 and you have a mess.

Re:FUD (1, Informative)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612229)

I think what is meant was that the tablet business model is different from the phone's. A phone is sold as is, with exorbitant prices if not subsidized by a carrier. This table is sold probably at the price it costs to make or even less, since it is supposed to make money by the use of google's store.

And for google to make money on it, they have to guarantee (somewhat) that you'll be using their services. And that's why these are different than phones, most brands provide easy to root Android phones, since they don't expect to make money off them - and it also saves them some warranty money, since rooting voids that. I highly doubt this table will be anything like that.

So, no, OSS on Android phones is not the same as the tablet. It wasn't the same with kindle fire, it won't be the same with this.

Re:FUD (0)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612267)

This table is sold probably at the price it costs to make or even less

Why has it got a wobbly leg or something?

Re:FUD (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612321)

This table is sold probably at the price it costs to make or even less,

The teardown suggests Google is making about $15 over hardware cost on each of the 8GB models, and a bit more on the 16GB version. That's not much margin to pay for development etc, but does mean they're at least breaking even.

http://www.ubmtechinsights.com/google-nexus-7-teardown/ [ubmtechinsights.com]

Re:FUD (4, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612661)

I have hardly bought any content for my tablet. Sure I have tried out a few games (which also run on my phone), but I mostly use it for web browsing, email, youtube, and reading Kindle books. The tablet certainly wasn't cheap either, it cost around the same as an iPad or maybe slightly more.

I find it pretty weird that the summary suggests that there aren't already serious competitors to the iPad. I'm very happy with my Xoom.

I do think the screen on the iPad 3 is very nice. I was even considering buying one, but in use I just find it a pain in the ass: I'm very used to having a convenient "back" button in Android. It even works to go back to the previous application that you were using. For example if you tap on a youtube link in the browser, it takes you to the youtube app - tap "back", and you will be back where you were in the browser.

If anyone can tell me a good way to deal with this kind of thing in iOS then I'd be happy to hear it and give iOS another go - but as far as I can tell individual applications often have their own style of UI that means that there isn't always a standard way of moving back to previous screens, and it really just spoils the flow of using the device for me.

I'm not sure if simply having a better screen would be enough to convince me to upgrade from my Xoom yet though, considering it's running Android 4.1 pretty nicely.

Re:FUD (4, Interesting)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 2 years ago | (#40613059)

A 4-finger swipe on an ipad will switch between running apps. (just discovered this, myself, and it's really handy)

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612797)

Tablets seem to be primarily being sold as media stores, not app stores. It looks to me as though the money everybody is fighting over is the right to run film, music, magazine, book, and news subscription stores. Selling apps is a secondary concern to that. Ability to run games on your TV is a nice free bonus.

New headline ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612969)

Android tablet victory makes tech blogger crap his pants. .... grabs that crap smears it all over his iPad touchscreen until this article blurts out.

Why can't we have standard fedora + gnome 3.x (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612173)

On a tablet.

I'd be pretty satisfied if something like that were freely available. Are there mainstream tablets (and tablet makers) out there that want to be free?

Re:Why can't we have standard fedora + gnome 3.x (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612255)

There is the openmoko which can run enlightenment.

Re:Why can't we have standard fedora + gnome 3.x (2)

TellarHK (159748) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612257)

If someone comes up with a user experience that runs on top of any version of *nix and doesn't suck, maybe. There still isn't one that I've seen yet, and that isn't even taking into account the massive overhaul you need for touch based control.

Re:Why can't we have standard fedora + gnome 3.x (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612695)

Interesting, care to explain?

Re:Why can't we have standard fedora + gnome 3.x (3, Funny)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612621)

Yeah, just get one that is also called a convertible touchscreen laptop. :)

http://www.lenovo.com/products/us/laptop/thinkpad/xtablet-series/ [lenovo.com]

The reason to run Android instead of a regular linux mostly is that the "tablets" run on the same low powered CPUs as phones, because that gives the best battery life.

Re:Why can't we have standard fedora + gnome 3.x (2)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612687)

Well, the Nexoc Pad 10 [nexoc.de] is basically a tablet with Intel Atom. Given that they ever preload it with Windows 7 or Android 2.2 I'd guess that it could also run Fedora. I never bothered to check or contact them about it, as I would be interested in it but I have no need for it.

Re:Why can't we have standard fedora + gnome 3.x (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612795)

You could try an Allwinner A10 based tablet. Apparently they can be flashed with a version of Ubuntu

http://forum.doozan.com/read.php?6,8491

If they can be made to run Ubuntu, then they can be made to run Fedora. Not sure how well Gnome 3 runs on them though.

Google itself is problematic (-1, Troll)

Kommander Liz (2681657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612175)

It's not only Android from Google that is problematic to open source - the whole company is. They take open source and lock it behind internet services and hardware. Hell, they stretch GPL requirements by releasing source code months later and no one does anything.

Re:Google itself is problematic (0)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612215)

[citation needed]

Re:Google itself is problematic (0, Troll)

Kommander Liz (2681657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612223)

For what part? These are all known by everyone. Google doesn't release code for its services, Android is locked behind hardware by manufacturers and yes, Google is really slow in releasing Android source code when they should release it immediately.

Re:Google itself is problematic (0)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612281)

For what part? These are all known by everyone. Google doesn't release code for its services, Android is locked behind hardware by manufacturers and yes, Google is really slow in releasing Android source code when they should release it immediately.

Whereas I agree on the first two points, I thought that the delay in releasing the Android code was because they had to rewrite some proprietary licensed parts. Certainly this doesn't happen with other Google OS projects like the "go" language, Chromium, etc.

Re:Google itself is problematic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612287)

Lol.

Re:Google itself is problematic (4, Informative)

kav2k (1545689) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612291)

You probably missed the news that 4.1 code was released well on schedule, before devices arrived. They have learned from past backlash in this regard.

Re:Google itself is problematic (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612781)

it's not really about source access even though.
it's about operators like verizon selling devices with locked bootloaders.

in the end it's really pretty much just about operators locking devices currently, while that might change to move to manufacturers who wish to push their own video & etc services. but even then installing 3rd party apk's is pretty easy on every android device still(including kindle fire, but there's some devices that have android but you have to hack quite a bit to get to installing apk's.. but those are quite customized and you're not supposed to even know that they're running android).

if you want to affect the situation do not ever buy device from someone who is also a media sales house, that's a pretty good rule of thumb to this.

Re:Google itself is problematic (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612863)

it's not really about source access even though. it's about operators like verizon selling devices with locked bootloaders.

Do you think the Nexus 7 will be locked?

Re:Google itself is problematic (4, Insightful)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612313)

Enlighten me here; which particular Google services are violating which open-source licences? Or are you maintaining that they should release all code they ever write? I believe they're still free to make that choice for themselves (and luckily have chosen to be far more open than their peers).

Google's own Nexus products can be trivially unlocked and rooted, by design. But go ahead and blame them for the decisions of other vendors and carriers.

You may have missed how the Android 4.1 source code was fully opened yesterday, before wide release of the system. Wouldn't call that slow, especially considering they're under no obligation to release the Apache-licenced code at all.

Re:Google itself is problematic (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612351)

Looking at the version history [wikipedia.org] for android (and a few other sources), they contradict you.

I couldn't be bothered to go back before eclair but I'm pretty sure it follows a similar pattern:
Eclair - Release date: October 26, 2009. Source code release date: Nov 16th 2009 (source [intomobile.com] )
Froyo - Release date: May 20, 2010. Source code release date: Jun 23rd 2010 (source [phandroid.com] )
Ice Cream Sandwich - Release date: October 19, 2011. Source code release date: November 14, 2011
Jelly Bean - Release Date: not available on a shipping device yet. Source code release date: July 9, 2012

Now I know they didn't release Honeycomb in a timely fashion but gave reasons in advance for that. As that code forms part of the version history for Ice Cream Sandwhich you still have it available to you. However, I don't think you can say that they are particularly slow in releasing their code. And let's look at the definite positive here: they are releasing the source code!.

Re:Google itself is problematic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612505)

I also missed one in between Froyo and ICS, so for completeness:

Gingerbread - Release date: December 6, 2010. Source code release date: December 18th, 2010. (source [rizwanashraf.com] )

Re:Google itself is problematic (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612369)

Kommander Liz, first posting on Wednesday July 11, @05:08PM. Three anti-Google posts since then.

Prognosis: yet another Buston Marsteller shill from the same stable that brought you Bonch, Sharklaser Tech* etc etc.

Re:Google itself is problematic (4, Insightful)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612653)

It's not only Android from Google that is problematic to open source - the whole company is. They take open source and lock it behind internet services and hardware. Hell, they stretch GPL requirements by releasing source code months later and no one does anything.

That is nonsense, their services all have high quality open APIs, mostly very well documented, and mostly for the benefit of open source integration. They don't give you all their code, duh, but they do go out of their way to allow you to integrate with it. If you can already integrate with it, it can't possibly be "problematic."

You're obviously not even a developer if you're spewing that drivel. Now get off my lawn before I turn the hose on you!

Re:Google itself is problematic (0, Troll)

Slashbots (2681871) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612699)

They give you APis that you have to pay for. https://developers.google.com/custom-search/v1/overview [google.com]

Re:Google itself is problematic (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40613311)

....if you have more than 100 queries a day. You conveniently left out the part where it is indeed free if you have less than 100 queries per day. Maybe not ideal, but don't try to paint a misleading picture.

GNU for Consumer Products is problematic (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40613041)

For a successful consumer device.
1. It needs to be easy to use. Making a program that is easy to use, isn't a technical challenge it is understanding the person and how they will use the product. It is very humbling being on a team making a user friendly product. Because you don't always get your way, and the Tech people don't have much to say. Most Open Source projects don't have the end user interaction to tell you know your idea is completely idiotic, just do it this simple way. Secondly the GNU Model of making a living off of free software doesn't work well with Easy to use software. If it is very easy to use, you are not going to charge for consulting fees.

2. The product needs to be reliable. Open Source Developers make a lot of Rock solid applications. However the Open Nature is to give them more access then less, it is better to have them make a mistake then preventing them excelling. However in a world of Viral Reviews, where you can have someone who has abused the product then rant on how bad it was after he had abused the product, go viral and prevent you from selling an actually good product, you can't allow easy alterations. People are actually smart, however most are inexperienced. As a kid I had to rebuild my OS and all my apps every month or so, because I would mess with settings until the OS became unusable, or just got to a state of no return. For a device such as a Table or a Phone, where you are selling them cheap, and one idiot can make your product look like it was designed by a bunch of monkeys. You need to be sure everything is locked down.

3. Consumer Device must be cheap. You are always competing against price with these devices. R&D of a new product isn't cheap. If you release your code too soon, you will have a bunch of clones in your space, you have taken your Idea's and are able sell their product for cheaper, because you did the R&D for them.

4. The device needs to be new. You got 1 perhaps 2 years to sell a product before it becomes a dinosaur. People will be using the product for perhaps 4 years.
Too keep development time at the correct pace, it is often better for you hire developers to do the work, then hire some, and hope for a rag tag team of volunteers to help out. While this in itself doesn't preclude product from being Open Source it does however, gives the company hiring the developers, intensives to hold on to their IP, unlike other projects where you have a team of community developers and closing the source is much more of a complicated process.

So, it's the same as it is on the desktop? (1)

TellarHK (159748) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612209)

It's pretty easy to consider the desktop PC the greatest "open" device out there, and OSS options on it have always had these problems. But instead of the single device manufacturer locking OSS out, it's component makers not releasing driver sources or specifications.

On the software side, of course the smaller and more focused software solutions are going to get less interest. That's how it's always been, and probably will always be. For every narrow target a project encompasses, there are only X interested users, and Y interested developers. X will always exceed Y.

No fallback (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612713)

But the tablets have the driver problem worse than a PC because there's no standard bootloader, input, storage, or display to fall back on to get the system working while specific drivers are being constructed. PC, on the other hand, has the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS), which provides a standard bootloader, the PS/2 keyboard and mouse (or a chipset based emulation thereof), an ATA controller, and the VESA display.

Re:So, it's the same as it is on the desktop? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40613233)

It's pretty easy to consider the desktop PC the greatest "open" device out there, and OSS options on it have always had these problems. But instead of the single device manufacturer locking OSS out, it's component makers not releasing driver sources or specifications.

Except that the open source development community has basically shown that they can reverse engineer hardware and produce their own drivers. There is no worry about breaking the law when you distribute an open source driver. Compare that to the situation with geohot.

The Muzzies are coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612239)

The Muzzies are coming, The Muzzies are coming
Everyone keep calm
They're violent and they're evil
And they mean to do us harm

Huh? (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612253)

IIRC, x86 computers were far more expensive as a percentage of income than these new tablets, and yet free software found plenty of room to thrive. You should Google this 'Linus Torvalds' guy. He wrote some big bit of free software one time.

I'm also not sure why free software would have trouble? Isn't GPL v3 software compatible with Google's marketplace? I own solely iOS devices, so I'm not 100% sure. In addition, there is no developer fee. Seems like Free (and free) software should proliferate on the platform.

Locked down platform? Any vendor would have to have a market or app store comparable in many ways to those already in place by Apple and Google. Otherwise, why buy that tablet?

Yeah, I guess I could RTFA, but this summary in no way makes me want to read it. Was this picked by Soulskill or voted up in the firehose?

F-Droid (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612719)

Isn't GPL v3 software compatible with Google's marketplace?

Moreover, anybody who has turned on "Unknown sources" to install Amazon Appstore can install F-Droid, which is all free software all the time.

Yes, there is a problem (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40613157)

Locked down platform? Any vendor would have to have a market or app store comparable in many ways to those already in place by Apple and Google

http://www.wimm.com/ [wimm.com]

Yes, manufacturers are doing this. Yes, they are locking down the device, and yes, GPLv3 is incompatible with such a platform.

Alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612261)

What are the alternatives? iOS or Windows Mobile?
(Please, dont' mention webOS or bootToGecko... I mean: what are the REAL alternatives?)

I know that android is a strange kind of open source system... unlike "traditional" oss projects (e.g., Linux), here a private company is in charge of the main development, and periodically releases the result with an apache license. So? Where is the problem? The community can still start from what's been open sourced and innovate on top of that. Like cyanogenmod or amazon are doing.

So, please, tell my why the rise of an open source project is dangerous to the FREE software.

Re:Alternatives? (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612299)

What are the alternatives? iOS or Windows Mobile? (Please, dont' mention webOS or bootToGecko... I mean: what are the REAL alternatives?)

I know that android is a strange kind of open source system... unlike "traditional" oss projects (e.g., Linux), here a private company is in charge of the main development, and periodically releases the result with an apache license. So? Where is the problem? The community can still start from what's been open sourced and innovate on top of that. Like cyanogenmod or amazon are doing.

So, please, tell my why the rise of an open source project is dangerous to the FREE software.

But there's MeeGo, Symbian and Blackberry, ... oh wait!

Damage already done (3)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612269)

With Apple as the vanguard, companies have already done their best to lock down every device that is not a PC as tightly as possible during the past 10 years. They want to retain all control and make it illegal to hack, alter or use a device in the way you want even after you've bought it. Ideally, they'd wish to put the same software on all devices and make you pay to unlock features. Now they want to do the same on the PC by forcing developers to use their distribution channels and locking down the boot process.

Bottomline: The damage is already done. We'd need to have customer protection laws to invalidate all these measures and EULAs, but since the industry lobby is fairly strong, this is not going to happen -- at least not in the US.

Re:Damage already done (3, Insightful)

TellarHK (159748) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612305)

I used to be a naysayer when it came to that kind of thinking, since I figured there was room in the marketplace for open desktop systems and more tightly integrated and locked down mobile experiences. Unfortunately the last year or so have really gone a long way toward making me rethink my stand, and in particular the release of the Macbook Pro Retina tipped the scales. Once Apple starts leading people down a path these days, everyone seems to follow. Instead of getting something nice like a new, smoothly compartmentalized machine, we got one where everything was soldered and glued in place, even worse than tablets had been. Why? To make it a couple millimeters thinner.

Microsoft's price slashing on Windows 8 may be most simply seen as a way to drive adoption of an otherwise ill-received operating system update, but after having used the preview for several days on my laptop I'm starting to sense where they might really be headed, and indeed that's a "Software as a Service" model.

It may take another generation of systems or two, but that's where Microsoft is headed. Windows 10 probably won't feel all that much like Windows as we know it, and it'll probably feel a lot more like whatever tablet/phone combination Microsoft's trying to sell than whatever the ecosystem they have today is offering.

If M$ wants to abandon "Windows as we know it" (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612749)

Windows 10 probably won't feel all that much like Windows as we know it

Would that leave an opening for X11/Linux systems the way the introduction of the Ribbon in Microsoft Office 2007 left an opening for OpenOffice.org?

Re:If M$ wants to abandon "Windows as we know it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40613107)

That was mostly Slashdot hype. In reality every actual business just basically put up with the Ribbon, rather than switch over to OOo/LibreOffice/whatever. After all, their enormous library of doc/xls/ppt files still works perfectly with MS Office, and less than perfectly with OOo, and that's the real killer feature. Home users -- well, the Office team hasn't really cared that much for the home market since ever.

It's just like how Metro isn't going to sink Win8. People will whine about it, and nobody* is going to upgrade an existing computer to Win8, but when they get a new computer with Win8 on it, most people will grumble and then put up with it.

*for statistical, not literal, values of "nobody"

Apple? (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40613187)

Not Apple; Nintendo, Sony, Sega, etc. were the pioneers of locking down consumer computers. Before Apple was even a company, people were talking about computation being sold as a utility -- you would only rent access through a terminal to a mainframe.

Alternatives (4, Insightful)

Meneth (872868) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612277)

Android is problematic, yes, but iOS and Windows are far worse.

Re:Alternatives (-1, Troll)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612509)

Android is a Java platform.

How many FOSS software is Java? Like 1%?

18 percent (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612771)

How many FOSS software is Java? Like 1%?

Six years ago, the figure was 18% [wismuth.com] , and that was before Android came out. More recent figures [tiobe.com] pin Java around 16%, but they're not specific to free software. In the more recent figures, much of the decline of some languages is due to the rise of Objective-C, but Objective-C is strongly associated with iOS-exclusive projects, which are incompatible with copyleft. Eliminating iOS-exclusive projects would only raise Java's popularity. Who has more recent figures specific to free software?

Re:Alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612997)

You should look up the Android NDK. It's what, for example, the Mozilla team used to port Firefox over to the platform without rewriting the whole damn thing in Java.

Re:Alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612843)

Android is problematic, yes, but iOS and Windows are far worse.

For you and the some others that posted above you.

For several million folks (and counting) it is a wonderful system - they install software and it just works.

I will take a wait and see attitude and I really hope I am wrong, but I see possibly folks downloading some F/OSS software, have some library or other dependency on their tablet be the wrong version and its dependencies being wrong versions and so on, and then complaining how non-iOS systems are crap because "nothing" works.

I didn't invent that scenario. That's pretty much what I go through many times when I install software from packages directly from places like SourceForge instead of getting them from the Software "center" of a Linux distro or using apt-get.

I think, at least for the average user (and folks like me who have no patience for hunting dependencies) maybe a "fenced garden" would be appropriate - download and install from these select sources or you're on your own.

Edit > Software Sources (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612959)

That's pretty much what I go through many times when I install software from packages directly from places like SourceForge instead of getting them from the Software "center" of a Linux distro or using apt-get.

The difference between something like Ubuntu Software Center and something like Apple's App Store is the ability to add a third-party PPA in Edit > Software Sources. I was under the impression that a hobbyist developer didn't have to pay $99 per year to run his own PPA.

Arrrgh (3, Informative)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612293)

There is nothing that infuriates me more

[...] a persistent problem with the open source development methodology.

Methodology is the "study of method". The correct word is method

Thanks

Re:Arrrgh (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612337)

There is nothing that infuriates me more

[...] a persistent problem with the open source development methodology.

Methodology is the "study of method". The correct word is method

Thanks

It seems to be a prevalent trend in spurious metaisations in English. "Method" becomes "methodology", "existing conditions" become "pre-existing conditions", "language skills" or simple "languages known" becomes "linguistic skills".

Re:Arrrgh (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612971)

"language skills" or simple "languages known" becomes "linguistic skills"

This one annoys me to the point that when asked about "linguistic skills", I start going on about my (admittedly limited, but not non-existent) knowledge of comparative linguistics; etymology; grammar constructions; and so on. It usually gets strange looks, followed by, "Uh, we meant what languages do you speak?"; at which point I point out the difference between linguistics and languages, vainly hoping (but hardly expecting) that they'll actually learn something.

Re:Arrrgh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612411)

Look at it like this: there is a problem with open source development methods. These methods stem from the methodology. Obviously, if the methods are problematic, the methodology is most likely the problem. So the original sentence is correct.

Re:Arrrgh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612433)

no, you're suffering the exact same failure of language...

"Look at it like this: there is a problem with open source development methods. These methods stem from the method. Obviously, if the methods are problematic, the method is most likely the problem. So, this sentence is now correct."

ftfy

Re:Arrrgh (2, Informative)

mister2au (1707664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612431)

Nope ... methodology is in fact the correct word here, meaning a system or set of methods

"open source development methodology" refers to a framework or system not individual steps or methods so is absolutely fine to use

your definition is by far the minority usage of the word

Re:Arrrgh (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612463)

Nope ... methodology is in fact the correct word here, meaning a system or set of methods

"open source development methodology" refers to a framework or system not individual steps or methods so is absolutely fine to use

your definition is by far the minority usage of the word

I may be in the minority but there is no escaping the meaning of the suffix "-ology".

Re:Arrrgh (3, Informative)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612681)

I may be in the minority but there is no escaping the meaning of the suffix "-ology".

In English, suffixes that are part of complete, known words do not have meaning. The word as a whole has meaning. The meaning of the suffix is relevant mostly to the etymology, not the definition. That the suffixes are consistent and have isolated meaning is very useful, though. Normally. But in this case rigid and over-simplified rules are getting in the way of vocabulary. Methodology is not only the study the methods. Like many -ology words, it also covers formalized, repeatable, or characteristic patterns in addition to study. Or you could say, it embraces both the academic and applied systems with a single word. So you may be doing something using a certain method, but regardless of any study or lack of study, if you are doing something using a method known to you that you already decided on or learned, and presumably (though not necessarily) named, that is a methodology.

Re:Arrrgh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612985)

WAAAAAAAAAAA I'm a prescriptivist douche and people don't talk the way I think they should WAAAAAA

Translated your post for you since you have so much trouble with the way the English language is normally used, and I thought you should know what your post actually meant.

Re:Arrrgh (2)

Exitar (809068) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612437)

It's both.

From dictionary.com :
methodology
1. a set or system of methods, principles, and rules for regulating a given discipline, as in the arts or sciences.
2. Philosophy
      a. the underlying principles and rules of organization of a philosophical system or inquiry procedure.
      b. the study of the principles underlying the organization of the various sciences and the conduct of scientific inquiry.

Chemistry, Christology, methodology (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612989)

Methodology is the "study of method". The correct word is method

And "chemistry" is the study of chemicals, but one talks about a particular battery "chemistry". "Christology" is the study of Christ, yet one talks about a particular Christian sect's "Christology". Likewise, a "methodology" appears to refer to a set of related methods.

Crap article is crap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612311)

Crap article is crap!

Whatever the time it takes (2)

lorinc (2470890) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612339)

All devices will tend to use more OSS and be less locked down, because it's a potential well in terms of market competition (less investment, longer duration, better image, ...). The gradient may be smooth now (and has been close to 0 in the past) but in the long term the world will be mainly OSS.

Oh hey look anti Google Astroturf (4, Insightful)

Flipao (903929) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612375)

I'm sure the success of an Open Source OS in the market would clearly doom us all, Preservinig MSFT's monopoly on the other hand is the path to salvation because well, better the devil you know, right?

Re:Oh hey look anti Google Astroturf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612939)

The article is in no way about Microsoft and yet you mention their name and still get modded up for it. Back in Slashdot's golden age this kind of shit would get you modded as off topic or troll.
 
RIP Slashdot.

Re:Oh hey look anti Google Astroturf (2)

Flipao (903929) | more than 2 years ago | (#40613313)

To claim that Android, which is the most open mainstream OS by far, could be problematic for Free Software, would be disingenous at best, it's like claiming that non alcoholic beer could lead to alcoholism!

Nonsense (4, Informative)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612381)

I work as developer of specialized Enterprise Android applications. So, we order tablets with pure ICS and we put selection of our apps that we need to have there. Yes, for end-users it is "locked", but it is not locked by Google, it is locked by anyone who wants to create such tablet, and it is locked in way end-user demands. If there is demand for whatever style of tablet, however open, there is company that will provide it, Android is fully open-source, there is no limit to customization. And I am not talking about 'jailbreaking" here, Chinese cheap and fully customizable (including hardware!) tablets are completely legal (minus nonsense on rectangular shape in US, etc.).

Re:Nonsense (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612759)

Spot on. Our customers demand we lock down our tablets so that their employees don't spend all day on Angry Birds and are not tempted to steal them. A competitor tried to release an iOS app based system and the shear number of devices that got "lost" in the field quickly killed it.

Android goes the way of the PC (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612415)

Android has already won.

If you look at the history of the PC vs Apple vs Commodore/Amiga, you will remember the remarkable success that cheap, ubiquitous success the PC (and clones -- this is important) had over the others. As countless discussions on the topic were held in those days, people kept citing the superiority of the others. The famous bouncing, spinning sphere... I miss that thing. It was representative of the future of gaming... fast computers and smooth, realistic graphics. (Just took a break to change my screensaver to "Boing" hehe) We, the engineer-technophile types were oblivious to how populations work and behave or what their needs were. We had toy lust and that was just about the extent of it.

Meanwhile, Apple did everything they could to prevent clones of their products and were quite successful, thus ensuring that no market forces other than lust could influence people to buy Apple products. And while that was going on, lots of other product makers out there made awesome little things out there which were also rather proprietary in nature and just didn't get how important that compatibility was... back then, I didn't get it either. My step-father asked me when I bought my first computer from Radio Shack, "what's it compatible with?!" I cluelessly said "itself!" and asserted that I got this thing for me, not for others. This was at a time before modems and networks and all that... data was shared by floppy disk and sometimes even cassette tape. He got it, back then and I didn't... but then again, he was a business-minded guy... (but after he died and I was digging through some of his stuff, I found Wang and some of the other stuff that was fighting for a place in the business market... stuff superior to the DOS systems of the day... even in business, cheap won over awesome/cool/better.)

And here we are again. Apple is still playing its "exclusivity" game and will lose in the end again. It's insanity. If someone makes something that "EVERYONE Wants!" and then try to control it, you will find that it will be hard to stop everyone from having it. Apple wants to be the sole provider of "cool stuff" and all the other makers out there want to play too. Meanwhile, people are picking up more and more android things, buying fewer Apple things and eventually Apple will not be able to support its legal assault on the world defending what it considers to be its turf. (Here's a clue Apple: It's only your turf as long as you can defend it... and that won't be for much longer. I don't care if you're right or wrong because it doesn't matter. People want what you made, but you made it too hard to get it. So what are people to do?? That's right! They give their money to someone else instead of to you and your lawyers. Death to Apple for being stupid and arrogant enough not to figure that out.)

And here we are again... RIM and HP and Nokia among others were the "other guys" making cool things that were kind of like the thing that people wanted but they were "single vendor only" devices and locked down and that's not what people want. Sure, business WANTS to be the sole supplier of a thing, but that's not the way capitalism works in the long term. (And look at RIM... they have been king of the business phone world for a LONG time in some contexts... unstoppable and untoppable.) It's history repeating itself while no one remembers what happened before.

And here we are again... Google is the new Microsoft. They didn't want to make the devices leaving that to the cheap hardware makers making clones... that was their plan. But the phone carriers kept spoiling the fun with their reluctance to release control of and upgrade the software on the devices they sell. That's a big problem for Google and its plans. So now Google has to show people the way... show them what they should expect from hardware vendors (which include phone carriers) and then they will wake up and say "oh, we are losing business to Google... we need to give people more of what they want instead of trying to control the market." Google will NOT offer devices forever. They are just trying to show the market (which is 99.9% the consumers and 0.1% the manufacturers and carriers) the way.

Re:Android goes the way of the PC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612573)

Android has already won.

Won what, exactly?

Hurr durr mere numbers?

Please. If that's the definition of 'winning', you can keep it. Along with:

  1. - Music Justin Bieber
  2. - Honda Civics
  3. - McDonald's "Hamburgers"
  4. - Clothing from Walmart
  5. - Et cetera

Apple isn't going fucking anywhere, no matter how much butthurt rage is whined across Slashdot toward them.

Re:Android goes the way of the PC (3, Informative)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612633)

Android has already won.

Apple: 50+% of the phone industry by revenue, 80+% of the phone industry by profit, and the tablet industry? hell, let's just call a spade a spade and call it the iPad industry.

Yep, Android's winning all right.

Look, I'm a Linux nerd from way back. I love what Linux and open source have done for the world. But saying that Android has won ANYTHING is just crazy talk. Thanks to Google, Android is just another tool to enable phone manufacturers and telcos to fuck me in the ass.

Re:Android goes the way of the PC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612751)

Look at me a fuckstick citing a bunch of bullshit stats unable to back them up with any references. Oh wait your an Apple fanboy, nothing to see here, move along people.

Re:Android goes the way of the PC (1, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612819)

..wtf does the profit have to do with winning userbase?

Re:Android goes the way of the PC (5, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40613073)

Apple: 50+% of the phone industry by revenue, 80+% of the phone industry by profit, and the tablet industry?

But a minority of the market by volume, and declining, and as volume share continues to drop, revenue and profit shares will follow. The problem with owning the high end and letting others own the low end is that as low-end device capabilities improve the high end gets squeezed out.

the tablet industry? hell, let's just call a spade a spade and call it the iPad industry.

The Nexus 7 hasn't even started shipping yet, but there's every reason to expect that it will significantly change the tablet market. Apple doesn't want to sell $200 devices with basically no profit margin, but it's very likely that huge numbers of people will want to buy a powerful tablet for $200. There really hasn't been a low end of the tablet market for Apple to worry about, because all of the cheap tablets sucked. The Nexus 7 is very likely to change that, sparking a fierce competition that Apple doesn't want to play in. It's very likely that the result will be that Apple will again find itself owning the lower-volume, higher-value part of the space.

Unlike the late 80s and early 90s, I think there is room today for more than one winner, because the big, complex apps tend to be based in the cloud, with phone and tablet apps primarily being small, simple pieces of software, so it's not unreasonable for software makers to implement their mobile apps twice (I'm not sure they're going to want to do it three times, though; sorry, Microsoft). Even in the PC era, Apple was largely able to hold onto a high-end, profitable niche, and it seems likely that they'll be able to do that even better today.

But Apple's single-manufacturer model is pretty much guaranteed to end up getting squeezed out of most of the market in the long run. I predict they'll be able to maintain around 25%.

What sucks about the Kindle Fire? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40613293)

There really hasn't been a low end of the tablet market for Apple to worry about, because all of the cheap tablets sucked.

True, the Chinese no-name tablets sucked, as did things like the Archos 7 Home Tablet, but what sucks about the Kindle Fire? I see the Nexus 7 as a more direct replacement for the Kindle Fire.

Re:Android goes the way of the PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612691)

You lost me at "no market forces other than lust could influence people to buy Apple products". This all depends on what your concept of "winning" is, being ubiquitous by being a low-margin clone manufacturer or low-cost software provider, or actually getting good margins on what you do sell and reaping substantial profits.

Re:Android goes the way of the PC (2)

grahamm (8844) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612827)

If you look at the history of the PC vs Apple vs Commodore/Amiga, you will remember the remarkable success that cheap, ubiquitous success the PC (and clones -- this is important) had over the others.

And even with the PC, look at how shortlived IBM's closed MCA based PS/2 was. Following the success of the 'open' PC architecture, and the clones, they tried to regain control with the closed MicroChannel architecture - and it was a flop.

Re:Android goes the way of the PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612919)

I didn't read your entire statement but I get the sentiment. What people don't realise, what makes the difference is simply just few good decisions, decisions acted on by the right companies at the right time can change the entire playing field for Apple. It took a good idea to create Apple's success, all it takes is ideas to ruin it.

What i can say with absolute certainty is the lack of credibility bloggers and tech reviewers have these days. The only real critics that matter are normal people and there are a lot of people that can't afford ipads and iphones a lot of people who don't care that it has a retina screen. People just want a phone, people just want a tablet, it's only amongst the geek world do we wear these brands like badges of honor.

Your post shows that your in the tech industry and i deduce that your in an important part of the the tech industry from your insight. Don't worry a lot of people in the same space as you and I already know what is to come, as for the Apple lovers, usually they are just sales people working in outlet or Mac stores, academics who want nothing more out of a computer except to read and write documents and the occasional Apple hacker. The rest of Apple's userbase the one that really counts is regular people, these people once bought Rebok, next week Nike, they are not very loyal customers and can be easily swayed, price being a big factor, next being what's fashionable. Price has always beaten fashion, E.G thongs or ugly shoes (crocs) to further enhance my analogy into shoes.

Not sure if you've noticed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612535)

But on the Nexus 7, all the software required to unlock the device in the stock ROM & the SDK. cd && fastboot oem unlock. Tada!

To summarize the article (0)

g0tai (625459) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612561)

What a load of Bollocks.

The end.

huh?? (1)

chris.alex.thomas (1718644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612579)

this glyn moody isn't very intelligent is he......does he know anything on the subject matter, or is he just paid to act a clown in front of a highly technical audience as some kind of weird geek joke?

Trending in the right direction, room to improve (3, Insightful)

Zigurd (3528) | more than 2 years ago | (#40613117)

The trend in Android has been, up to now, in the right direction.

For example, the Android Open Source Project originally did not have a development platform build target or reference hardware. Now it does. That means you can take the entire Android Open Source Project and built it and run it, instead of having to "root" a commercial device and port Android to that device before you can start playing with Android on real hardware.

It is in Google's interest to make Android progressively easier to port because Google wants faster and more-consistent updates to Android across all the OEMs using Android. A vibrant and useful AOSP is important to that goal.

Moreover, when faced with a competitor using the Android Open Source Project to build a competing platform and support a competing ecosystem, Google did nothing to thwart AOSP, or to make it harder for Amazon to use AOSP.

Android is partly-open because Google uses a suite of applications and services that are not open source to create commercial Android products with the Google Logo, and OEMs and carriers add their own software to products. There may be room in the market for a more-open mobile OS that isn't tied to big e-commerce ecosystems. Tizen might be one such system, and Jolla might bring Meego back. If those systems prove to be more open, and under less pressure to provide exclusivity to their sponsors, they could turn out to provide truly open, hackable communications devices.

Open communications devices, with open hardware and software, are important because they would enable communications privacy, among other qualities.

Glyn Moody writes at The H (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40613189)

But does he dine at the Y?

status quo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40613223)

pretty much all my android phones / tablets where delivered locked , unlocking rooting information readily available on the web , my devices are all unlocked rooted rommed and i'm playing around AOSP / compiling from sources , although i'm an amateur and there are much nicer roms out there.
the thing is it's just perfect the way it is , Users get a phone they cant easily break (non root locked phones) and enthusiasts get to play around with their hardware , what's wrong with this ? , now locked/crypto bootloaders i will never buy , this i totally frown upon , it's bad practices better left to the other guy

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