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So which package out of 50000 Debian packages should I install on my phone to fix this? My phone actually runs Ubuntu in a chroot, btw!
No navigation? When what about barcodes and QR codes? Is there a simple scanner app with integrated search functionality for this in one of the 50000 packages?
>As goes for Debian, there are so many packages I enjoy there the picking random ones is just stupid. Good luck with that.
That goes for the 500000 apps in the Google Play. People enjoy their favorite games and tools even though they may seem stupid to you.
And yes, you have to provide comparable number of applications to attract users and vendors.
Free is too expensive (Economist)
Posted Apr 2, 2012 6:51 UTC (Mon) by Del- (guest, #72641)
As for desktop debian you should check out Marble, it is already competitive with Google maps where I live, and I believe it is ported to N9/N900 and can give you off line maps.
Quite astonishing when it has had little to no funding, and everything including maps is free.
As for Qr-code, did you know that generating qr-codes is built into the clip board tool in KDE, so that you can generate a qr-code out of everything on the clip board with a click? One of hundreds of useful features I miss on any proprietary desktop.
Keep an eye on plasma active. With little funding, no devices, it still already is quite capable. If devices with it comes with GPS, you can expect work on free navigation software to catch on. I do believe devices will come with camera, so I am willing to bet that barcode/qr-code reader will follow at some point if it is not already there. And yes plasma active is already distributed by kubuntu as debs.
Posted Apr 2, 2012 7:23 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
Nope. N9 uses common app-store approach with solid packages, N9 does NOT use .deb-files-with-dependencies approach for software packaging.
>As for Qr-code, did you know that generating qr-codes is built into the clip board tool in KDE, so that you can generate a qr-code out of everything on the clip board with a click? One of hundreds of useful features I miss on any proprietary desktop.
So I want to scan QR/bar codes with my camera, recognize them and search information based on it. There are tons of 'useless' Android apps that do this.
Certainly, there should be at least one mega-useful Debian QR-scanner among these 50000 packages, right? (Well, no, I've just rechecked it)
Note, I'm thinking as a typical user.
>If devices with it comes with GPS, you can expect work on free navigation software to catch on.
No, I don't expect it (after 10 years of waiting). Navigation requires licensing of map data which is complicated and expensive.
So far, the only freely available map is OpenStreetMap which is woefully inadequate.
Posted Apr 2, 2012 7:57 UTC (Mon) by Del- (guest, #72641)
I see you are not satisfied with openstreetmap. I beg to differ. With the progress it has had, I already find it useful, and within reasonable time it is set to rival any proprietary map. Then finally we may go over to a more productive model where just about anybody can develop a navigation app. But for free navigation apps to catch on, we need devices in peoples hands. The Vivaldi is the first device, openmoko was a nice attempt but never got functional enough to count.
Posted Apr 2, 2012 22:06 UTC (Mon) by Del- (guest, #72641)
Posted Apr 2, 2012 22:31 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
I might use a free program for the sake of freeness, but normal users would cry and run away in horror from something like gpsdrive. Have you actually checked it? It can't do even a quarter of what a good navigation system should be able to do.
But let's go further. Why would something like gpsdrive need full Debian package management system?
Posted Apr 3, 2012 8:13 UTC (Tue) by bronson (subscriber, #4806)
The best OSM navigation tool I've found is called OSMAnd but it's still quite painful. Terrible address/city lookup, poor route selection (sometimes abysmal), difficult UI. I wish I could rely upon it but I just can't. I'm using Google Maps all the time.
For the past decade (since Bruce Perens was working with the Tiger data in 1999?), the year of solid Linux/OSM navigation has seemed pretty close. Just like the year of the Linux desktop, it's only a couple of years out! Too bad it seems to be constant time to completion.
Posted Apr 2, 2012 23:08 UTC (Mon) by wookey (subscriber, #5501)
OSM has a cyclemap view and all sort of related tools and sites because it can be re-sused in much more versatile ways than google maps. e.g http://cyclestreets.net for cycle route planning anywhere in the UK.
Google's draggable routing tool is still very cool, but it is very car-centric, and OSM is a much better map for most purposes I need.
I have a tomtom device which illustrates the advantages of OSM. The maps that came with it 8 years ago are now _very_ out of date. I can pay a small fortune to get newer ones, or I can switch to an OSM-based nav tool. Not quite as slick interface but totally uptodate maps forever more at no cost. That's a big deal.
Posted Apr 3, 2012 0:58 UTC (Tue) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
Commercial map providers often use data from official sources, so it's consistent everywhere. Quite often that requires obtaining various government licenses to work with it and/or converting complex formats.
This is not cheap, so applications have to be sponsored somehow. Through ads or maybe through direct sales.
Posted Apr 3, 2012 7:25 UTC (Tue) by anselm (subscriber, #2796)
It's not so great in other areas, though.
The OpenStreetMap maps for Germany are, by now, widely considered superior to anything available on the commercial map market. Some loose ends need to be tied up but on the whole things are looking not at all bad.
Posted Apr 3, 2012 16:41 UTC (Tue) by wookey (subscriber, #5501)
Mapping is the canonical example of something that is better crowd-sourced than done commercially. Getting data from official sources is about governments providing data in open formats.
I sometimes wonder why you post here - you don't really seem to believe in the idea of collaborative effort or free software at all. You just keep telling how much better commercial OSes and commercial map providers and massive phone companies are, when the point is that those entities can use and contribute to open data and free software too if they want and we all get better stuff.
Where are these places where the OSM mapping data is poor? I'd expect such places to be getting quite thin on the ground now. Clearly there is more data to add to OSM so that it is good for all purposes (such as motorway lane details for turn-by-turn style nav, speed restrictions) but no doubt that is all ongoing at a rate of knots.
For the last Debconf (in Bosnia and Herzegovina) it was notable that so far as Google or Deutsche Bahn were concerned the place was empty and devoid of roads or trains. OSM had excellent detailed mapping. That seems to be true for many 'lesser' countries where the big providers can't be bothered.
Posted Apr 3, 2012 17:44 UTC (Tue) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
And so on. I've been burned a couple of times by the OSM, so I won't use it for anything important (like getting from point A to point B in time).
So no, maps are definitely not something I'd trust to Wikipedia-style development. Now, maps based on official geodata with wiki-style corrections would be great. And we actually have it in Russia ("folks' map" by Yandex).
>I sometimes wonder why you post here - you don't really seem to believe in the idea of collaborative effort or free software at all.
I certainly do. Only an idiot would deny the success of the Linux kernel (btw, I hate the combination 'Linux kernel', sounds too much like 'ATM machine').
However, I'm not blind and I can see where the _non-commercial_ community development model fails. It usually fails in tasks that require a lot of drudgery and/or interaction with real users.
Linux kernel by now is not non-commercial, it's developed by for-profit companies as a way to avoid developing their own completely new OS. Besides, Linux is hardly boring at all.
OSM might actually be picked up by companies which need reliable mapping data but which don't want to pay to develop it from scratch and/or license it. That's arguably already happening (Apple is using OSM in one of their products).
But no company bets on Linux desktop right now. And unfortunately, a lot of desktop-related development is very boring stuff. Like keeping compat wrappers for old API or making sure you don't break anything with new updates. So we see the result - a lot of wonderful new development with no regards for backward compatibility and regressions in functionality.
A similar problem - there are no good tax/accounting packages for Linux. Just our favorite grumpy editor.
Posted Apr 2, 2012 22:55 UTC (Mon) by wookey (subscriber, #5501)
No idea about QR codes - there is something called zbarcam that decodes qr codes from a video device. Is that what you mean?
It is true that a lot of android and iphone 'apps' are little more than a URL. It does turn out that those are popular though, and we probably should do more to make such things easy to come by on linux desktops. It seems tome that this is actually a problem of organisation - how do you find what you want in half-a-million bits of software?
Posted Apr 2, 2012 23:18 UTC (Mon) by khim (subscriber, #9252)
Navit or tangoGPS?
Still no good. The first thing you need to have good navigation is to have raw data. Not just maps (OpenStreetMap slowly becomes better here), but traffic data (including historical traffic data), photos of complex interchanges, etc.
This data is rarely available for free: either it needs to be sold for money or it may be supported via ads.
Which basically excludes distros out of the equation immediately.
As Cyberax said: I might use a free program for the sake of freeness, but normal users would cry and run away in horror from something like gpsdrive.
Not because the program is not any good, but because the lack of data makes it sub-standard.
The same with QR-codes, NFC, etc: it's trivial to write program which parses QR code, read NFC or does something like this. And, again, I might use a free program for the sake of freeness, but normal users would cry and run away in horror because they don't need to just read the QR code. They expect that program will do “something sensible” with data (if it's URL it must be opened, if it's a vCard it must be added to address book, etc). If I touch phone with my metro ticket Simple? Yes. Boring? Sure. But this makes it actually useful for Joe Average! Similarly with NFC: yes, I can probably find program which will read data from card, but will it show number of trips you have left on subway ticket like “useless” Android's app?
Posted Apr 3, 2012 15:29 UTC (Tue) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389)
I hope Apple's OSM usage will accelerate OSM's coverage.
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