Oh yeah, the secret so deep, the secret so hidden, the secret so unbelievable… that everyone knows about it.
Posted Jan 16, 2012 17:59 UTC (Mon) by khim
In reply to: SFLC: Microsoft confirms UEFI fears, locks down ARM devices
Parent article: SFLC: Microsoft confirms UEFI fears, locks down ARM devices
A very careful examination why Android has succeeded while the traditional "Linux distribution" approach to making a smart phone OS failed utterly is in order, also.
Very careful examination? Didn't you mean "5 second glance"? You do remember this video, right? Where crazy Microsoft CEO dances on scene?
Well, he's right: developers make or break your platform. And developers want stability. Not UI stability, but ABI stability. They want to create binaries once and sell them for a long, long, time. What they absolutely don't want to do is to keep few versions of them, recompile them for all existing distributions, etc.
Linux (the kernel) actually is pretty good here: while it has "no stable API" policy this policy only cover kernel. User-space ABI is sacred and Linux developers take regressions very seriously. Thus, surprise, surprise, Linux (kernel) is used on billions of computers around the world - but only on tiny percentage of desktops.
Why? Well, desktop people (and ever in-kernel desktop-related people) are breaking everything regularly. It's not a new phenomenon (I've already discussed it few years ago) but it's still valid. When you read maemo 4.0.x is not API compatible with earlier releases you know that someone decided to shoot his foot again.
And if you shoot his foot again and again and again… then limping is kind of expected, right?
Note: stable ABI is strict requirement, but of course it's not enough to drive your platform to success. You need to do other things, too. But if you don't offer stable ABI then it does not matter what else you'll do.
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