Is it so hard to understand?
Posted Mar 30, 2011 23:08 UTC (Wed) by khim
In reply to: The possibility is already lost...
Parent article: How Amazon could loosen Google's iron grip on Android (ars technica)
To summarize, I was not bragging about consumer device market shares, I was talking about using free software on mobile phones, and to more minor effect possibilities of getting pre-installed free software phones in the future.
It's almost the same thing. See Rockbox, OPIE, GPE, etc. Projects may survive but they'll be renegated to historical curiosity...
With "Ubuntu of mobile phones" I meant really smooth out-of-the-box experience for an average mobile phone user, similar to what Ubuntu offers to average desktop user at the moment (and these accomplishments have usually not much to do with market shares).
Volunteer free software community can do many things but polished desktop was not among them. To achieve that you need money. It's as simple as that. And if you don't want to operate at loss you need market share to recoup your investments in one form or another. Desktop Linux was mostly funded by success on server (RedHat, SUSE), and by VC (Eazel, Ubuntu, etc - it does not matter if the VC comes from the pocket of CEO... it's still VC). It's not really any different from the situation with Android (well, it's slightly different because RedHat and Ubuntu keep less stuff closed, but this difference is quantitative, not qualitative).
Now they don't prevent it anymore in mobile phones, and I disagree the trend would be going away.
It depends of Google and OHA. They keep the platform more-or-less open, but it may change. Currently it includes lots of video-related binary blobs, but it's open enough to be used as starting point... like desktop systems were open enough to be used as starting point because Windows was designed this way back before Microsoft become a monopoly.
The market shares are interesting from one view point and of course it's nice that Linux kernel soon has >50% market share in smartphones, but that or the market share of Linux in eg. televisions (all Sonys etc) are not really that interesting from the point of view of being interested in running self selected free software on those devices.
Yes and no. You don't really need open OS, but you need open hardware. Sure, you can run Linux even on totally locked-down platform like XBox360 or Wii, but porting takes years so in the end you lose all hope of ever running it on "latest and greatest" hardware - and then it's the road to the oblivion. But if your platform is "open enough"... well there are different possibiltities.
The biggest thing about Android are two facts:
1. It's Linux-based so it's "open enough" and
2. It's popular so there are lots of compatible hardware.
If Google really wants to close it the only thing it needs is to move it to different (probably proprietary) kernel - and then MeeGo, OpenMoko, "Freedom Android fork" and other such efforts will follow Rockbox, OPIE, GPE, etc to the oblivion. I doubt that's what Google plans to do, but given these facts such tantrums just look silly.
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