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Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 11, 2012 16:53 UTC (Tue) by dashesy (guest, #74652)
In reply to: Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop by karim
Parent article: Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Maybe desktop as we know it is in decline, but don't you think once something like Ubuntu on Android becomes a norm, it may come back with a smaller form factor but still big screens?


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Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 11, 2012 16:58 UTC (Tue) by karim (subscriber, #114) [Link]

THAT is one of the only case scenarios where I see Linux desktop still being able to make a dent: as a way to make regular Android a killer desktop environment.

But still, someone somewhere is going to have to show dollar for customers wanting this. Maybe this one can actually be made possible by creating a cool "Linux desktop" *app* that you can get from Google Play. Maybe, just maybe, this might have a chance.

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 11, 2012 17:37 UTC (Tue) by karim (subscriber, #114) [Link]

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 11, 2012 20:04 UTC (Tue) by dashesy (guest, #74652) [Link]

Yes, that is beautiful! I just wish it comes to life before Apple steals the idea and sells it to the masses as their own invention. It is the first punch that has the most impact on the market.

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 11, 2012 23:12 UTC (Tue) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Actually it was possible to buy the finished device for a few months so Apple is late, way too late. Working prototype was demoed year ago and now you can buy it… if you want.

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 11, 2012 21:01 UTC (Tue) by oever (subscriber, #987) [Link]

It's a nice idea. Will it become reality and will the hardware be open?

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 11, 2012 23:22 UTC (Tue) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Will it become reality?

Wrong question. Right question: will it become popular? The answer is: probably not yet. There are a lot of rough edges, but hey, it's the first version!

will the hardware be open?

Of course not! It's basis is a phone, right? There are lots of regulations involved. Certified open hardware is not possible. This is sad reality, but this is a reality we live in.

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 12, 2012 11:18 UTC (Wed) by bokr (subscriber, #58369) [Link]

will the hardware be open?
Of course not! It's basis is a phone, right? There are lots of regulations involved. Certified open hardware is not possible. This is sad reality, but this is a reality we live in.

Wrong monolithic concept: The basis is a ("smart") phone, but it's the radiating comms part that is regulated, not the general purpose ("smart") computing part with its non-radiating peripherals.

Already the video shows the smart part interfacing to various devices.

Just have the comms part also be a separate hardware module, like a mobile broadband usb device, except with slick way to connect to the nex phone body and still feel like a fondleable phone.

If the protocol and drivers for controlling it are open, the comms part as hardware could even be closed and still provide a lot of freedom, somewhat like proprietary gpu firmware blobs loaded by trying-to-be-open graphics drivers.

The process of testing and certifying the regulated part is expensive, so you can't afford to change design on the model of Linux kernel software. But it could be done, and with a comms module with a long term stable open hardware interface, the rest of the system could develop freely on its own.

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 12, 2012 18:00 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Just have the comms part also be a separate hardware module, like a mobile broadband usb device, except with slick way to connect to the nex phone body and still feel like a fondleable phone.

What's the point of this exercise? To create more power-hungry, larger and heavier device just to satisfy two extra geeks? Not gonna happen.

Wrong monolithic concept: The basis is a ("smart") phone, but it's the radiating comms part that is regulated, not the general purpose ("smart") computing part with its non-radiating peripherals.

Wrong. The basis novadays is a single SOC. I seriously doubt anyone will want to go back to discrete components with separate radio and computational parts (currently this is biggest problem with Intel's offers and of course Intel plans to rectify that). This makes open hardware basically impossible. It does not mean software for computational part can not be open and free, but that's different matter.

The process of testing and certifying the regulated part is expensive, so you can't afford to change design on the model of Linux kernel software. But it could be done, and with a comms module with a long term stable open hardware interface, the rest of the system could develop freely on its own.

The question: who'll pay for all that utopia? Qualcomm and nVidia have more then enough buyers with the existing SOC's and it's not clear that any new ones for the described separate set with radio and computation parts will ever materialize.

I'm not talking about one or two guys but about big enough sales to justify R&D efforts. And even if you'll do that you'll still need to pass the certification tests—and these are for devices, not for components.

If you want to ever dream about something like this with "open hardware" you have a long, long, LONG road ahead of you.

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 12, 2012 18:25 UTC (Wed) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

the comms part is ALREADY a separate hardware module.

The people who claim that phones have to be locked down for legal reasons just don't know what they are talking about.

you can already buy phones that are not locked down and can have whatever OS installed on them that you want. It's just that most of the phone providers try to discourage such phones.

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 12, 2012 21:03 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

the comms part is ALREADY a separate hardware module.

s/ALREADY/STILL/

The people who claim that phones have to be locked down for legal reasons just don't know what they are talking about.

Please stop mixing issues. The question was: will the hardware be open. And the answer is obvious: no, hardware can not be open for a legal reason.

Now, the talks about "separate hardware module" are all nice and good, but times are changing. Let's return to padfone, shell we. It's built around Qualcomm's MSM8260A. What is MSM8260A? Well, it's SOC which includes, CPU, GPU, BT 4.0, 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4/5 GHz), GSM, UMTS, DC-HSPA+, and TD-SCDMA. Basically everything you need to build a phone. But since you bundle together CPU and radio part you can not built open hardware around this. The best you can hope for is open software on main CPU and proprietary blob which drives the whole thing.

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 12, 2012 20:31 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

That's actually not a problem. Radio modems can be integrated onto the SoC die, but they can remain logically separate devices with some sort of formalized communication protocol with the main CPU module.


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