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« Debate Review: Ted Cruz knocked this one out of the park | Main | Can We Now Finally Agree that Smart Watches Were a Dumb Idea? - This is Apple's Revenge on the Nerds »

January 15, 2016



"It could also be what it costs to give the competition no chance to establish itself."


If Search Is Google's Castle, Android Is the Moat

Search Is Google's Castle, Everything Else Is A Moat


Here's Why Smartphone Sales Nosedived in 2015
Growth dropped into the single digits for the first time since the category was created.

"IDC estimates that the global smartphone market in 2015 grew 9.8%."

If we assume 1,300M Smartphones in 2014, then the total for 2015 would come down to 1,400M.

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@NO ONE...

Ran across this website today. It is a gem. Read through it. It deals all the FACTS about Linux, today, and the state of Linux. It is current. These facts have been confirmed by NUMEROUS Linux developers.

Of course, Linux still has a lot of merits and virtues. But that page lists, straight and matter-of-factly, what the shortcomings are right now and in the future. Some points are debatable, most are simply facts.

While I do like to use Linux and root for it's health and longevity, it is not "there" yet. Trying to say it is - simply delusional.

Sorry Tomi for going OT, just wanted to get that out of my chest. I'll stop now. :)


When I go through the list, each and every "feature" has once plagued some version of Windows. Somehow, it never hindered Windows. So why are they terminal show stoppers for Linux?

And when linux is ported to smartphones, suddenly these problems are solvable and Linux takes over the world.

Maybe, these "bugs" are just an excuse for not having to face the cruel reality: Free markets are not able to unseat a monopoly in ICT.


I agree with winter's first two points. We diverge at the last point. I believe there is merit to an argument that the OS is becoming a commodity. We are reaching the point where efficiency, security and reliability rules. All major microsoft weaknesses! All people really care about is the apps and the shiny hardware bits. Let's face it! ...All the BS and non-sense microsoft puts into their OS has turned it into an extraordinarily huge pile of bloated, slow, buggy, privacy invading, insecure CRAP! one wants to put that crap on any of their products unless forced!

All you micorsoft astroturfers yell when you flush: NO ONE WANTS WINDOWS ON A PHONE!!!!



" We are reaching the point where efficiency, security and reliability rules. All major microsoft weaknesses! All people really care about is the apps and the shiny hardware bits."

I think you are contradicting yourself here.
Either people care about apps - in which case the OS will NOT become a commodity - or the OS will become a commodity - but that'd imply that people do not care about apps - or that some universal OS independent targetting platform becomes reality (and that won't happen because Apple will never play along.)

The unhealthy obsession with native smartphone apps is probably the biggest roadblock to eliminating the stranglehold of the OS developers that still exists both in mobile and on the desktop. So I expect them to invest ever more money to lock their users into their 'ecosystems'.

Microsoft's biggest strength is still the shitload of legacy corporate software in the wild. That software won't vanish any time soon because reprogramming it to a new platform may easily cost 10-100x as much as shelling out the money for the Windows licenses.

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@Winter, NOONE - It is true that Microsoft has had similar performance problems. The difference is that they did not have the same competition.

Or, look at it this way. If Apple would release the first iPhone, today, would it succeed in the market? That is, the very first iOS version on the 6S system. No, of course not. Android 1.0 would be laughed out of the room as well.

Linux today is a good deal better than Windows 2000, Windows XP and heck, even Vista - but it's not better than win 7 (though linux is close) and Win 10 has even better technology wise (but not policy wise, that privacy policy is horrible).

So yes, these problems are a drawback because the competition already solved them! But there are some advances lately mostly thanks to Valve and SteamOS, finally the free GPU drivers are starting to catch up for instance. But still not there...

As for smartphones, Android does not use stack and only partially the GNU subsystem. Android and GNU/Linux more or less only have Linux in common.


Under no condition will Linux be widely available pre-installed on laptops. There have been several occassions where OS' superior to MS' offerings were sold on hardware. During the DR Dos time, with Be OS, Linux on netbooks. In all cases was MS able to shut down hardware offerings. In DR Dos times even using illegal means.

And the moment Linux is offered on a platform not controlled by MS, it takes over. From supercomputers down to routers, everywhere Linux rules. Even on the ultimate consumer product, Smartphones.

I simply do not believe "competifion" is possible in a mo opolistic market where the monopolist pays $1B a year in fines and setllements for illegal business practicez as a normal business expenses.



" (but not policy wise, that privacy policy is horrible)."

Agreed. But if you read the fine print, Apple isn't really anything better. Strange that everybody is hacking on Microsoft, but they get constantly ignored when it comes to such issues.

And if privacy is a concern - better use a hammer and smash your smartphone to little bits - and never install apps on it!

If you are concerned about privacy, better use only pure open source software for everything. Unfortunately that's not a feasible approach. Too many American big business interests that give a total shit about other countries' laws.


> Free markets are not able to unseat a monopoly in ICT.

I agree. Windows has a desktop monopoly and it is good enough for most users. For other competitors to establish a foothold, they have to find a niche where Windows is not so good.

Macs have found their niche at the high-end where aesthetics and peripherals that work together without much fuss matter a lot.
Chromebooks have found it for simple use cases where Windows is unnecessarily complex, and where easy central management is needed (e.g. schools).

Good Linux desktops are possible and all the listed problems are solvable. But it doesn't make economic sense to invest in that because the result wouldn't be much better than Windows, and likely in some regards still worse.

@Wayne Brady
> Android uses the Linux kernel but is no more "Linux" than the iPhone is BSD.

You keep on repeating that, but that doesn't make this true. The improvements that Google makes to their Android kernel are finding their way to the Linux kernel, and thus benefitting all Linux distributions. Improvements to the iOS kernel much less often find their way to the BSDs.

Userspace libraries are increasingly getting shared between Android and non-Android Linux distributions. For the next version, Android will switch to OpenJDK as a code base. The developer attention that OpenJDK gets through this will too benefit all distributions shipping OpenJDK/IcedTea.

Vulkan will become the preferred low-level graphics API on Android. Of all operating systems, establishing Vulkan helps Linux most (because Apple/Metal and Microsoft/DirectX 12 already have their own APIs).

There are many more big and small areas where Android and "normal" Linux distributions share problems and solutions, and the overlap is much larger than you seem to think.


@Wayne Brady
About the Linux laptop returns, the CEO of ASUS said that their return rates were similar for both:

This is not an inherent problem for Linux, this was a matter for people expecting a Windows computer when they bought it. When vendors properly inform consumers before purchase that this is not a Windows computer, they won't have that problem.

That ASUS managed to properly educate consumers is also supported by the fact that Europeans chose the Linux option much more frequently than buyers from other regions.


"Android uses the Linux kernel but is no more "Linux" than the iPhone is BSD."

Then what is Linux, if it not the kernel?

Every distrubution takes the kernel and drivers and adds a layer on top. That can be busybox for embeded, KDE, Gnome, or Android.

Per "wertigon" Ekström


Linux is not an operating system.

Linux is a kernel.

Linux combined with all the GNU tools, that is an operating system.

Therefore there is no "Linux on the desktop" - There is "GNU/Linux", there is "Android" and there is a whole bunch of other more or less free variants of it.

But most persist in referring to "Linux" as an OS. Wonder why?


"Apple, again, have locked themselves into the high price segment"

Dont try to twist and rewrite history. If Apple wants it can at any point they choose move lower price points (iPod and Mac mini) or to completely free (OS X, iOS, Pages, Numbers, Keynote etc) and even to completely free and open source (WebKit, HealthKit etc). People really do not get what Apple does and what kind of advantages there is to be Apple. In this recession Apple has done exelently. What can it do when the things are starting to go well? Apple completely dominates the premium segments. If it can find more growth from there it can always move downwards. The competition has only the exit plan either by bankrupt or through by outs.


"Therefore there is no "Linux on the desktop" - There is "GNU/Linux", there is "Android" and there is a whole bunch of other more or less free variants of it."

When it runs on a supercomputer, it is called Linux. When it runs on a router, it is called Linux. When it run on a TV set it is called Linux, when it runs on a laptop, it is called Linux. But when it runs on a phone, it cannot be called Linux.

Funny. But I never get to hear exactly why?

Mind you, Chrome OS, you know, the popular laptop/netbook of Google, is running Linux too. Or is the rule that if it is popular, it cannot be Linux?


When people says "Linux" they often mean "desktop Linux distributions". Sometimes they include Linux on servers.

Embedded distributions, like Android, or the operating system which runs on your washing machine, your WiFi router, or your Smart TV, while greatly outnumbering desktop installations, do not count because reasons.

> Apple wants it can at any point they choose move lower price points

No, this is wrong. We had this discussion already on this blog. Moving to lower price points would eat into their profits, or dilute their brand, or both.

> completely free and open source

Note that there are two kinds of "free" and the second one has nothing to do with price points.


"You might also say the router is powered by code. Or maybe Linux. What does it matter?"

Does it make you feel uncomfortable when other people speak of Linux? Does pointing out "successes" of Linux cause you pain? Do you find yourself avoiding situations where you might encounter Linux?

When you go back in your memories, do you know when those feelings started? What happened then?


"The iPhone is the new Windows because everyone — Google and Microsoft included — has to develop for it. Google needs Apple’s mobile platform. And Microsoft needs Apple’s mobile platform. But Apple doesn’t need Google or Microsoft’s platforms. The smartphone wars are over. Apple won. Microsoft lost. Android placed."


"What does it exactly matter if the Linux core is used?"

Access to software and tools, interfaces, auditing tools etc. It is like the question what it matters whether a car runs on petrol, diesel, or electrical. It matters for serviceability, exhaust and pollution.

"When someone speaks about Linux running something it's often a sign of that person lacking the true knowledge of what's going on. It's the same as you would say the device is chip based."

An iPhone or a Surface phone are both "chip based", but they do not run Linux. Android does run Linux, and so I know there is an Open Source kernel available and there are people that have constructed an Android compatible OS for these phones.

These are just the start of a whole host of things that can be implied by knowing a certain platform is a Linux variant.

"So yeah, in a way it makes me feel you don't know what you are talking about when you are effectively pointing out how some gadget needs chips."

I cannot remember ever having posted a comment saying a certain gadget needs chips. I also cannot see the relevance of such a remark when we are discussing operating systems.

We know the available OS', e.g., iOS, Windows10, BSD, Linux etc, are all fundamentally incompatible on every level of abstraction. Therefore I cannot see why it "does not matter" which OS is used for which device. Just as it really does matter in a technical discussion whether a phone uses an ARM or an x86 CPU.


"What it matters to the user if a router is using Linux?"

What does it matter to us that the user doesn't care? The user does not care whether he uses IE, Chrome, or Firefox, and even less what web server infrastructure is used. For those who have to keep websites, and the internet, running, that really does matter.

"When you say some device utilizes Linux it's pretty much the same as you would say it's using chips. It's pretty much equally relevant for an user since there is no guarantee about updates or security."

Same for petrol versus electrical cars. The user might not care, a lot of other people do care. Mostly people that have to make sure the thing keeps running.

It is a LUXURY when the user does not have to care about technical details. If all you are interested in is bling-bling users care about, a technical blog might not be the best place to hang out.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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