Linked by tessmonsta on Tue 16th Mar 2010 08:55 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source Today's mobile space is owned by the likes of Nokia, RIM, Apple, and Google. While some of these corporations have embraced some open source components, a full FLOSS solution has yet to gain traction. Why? Blogger Bradley M. Kuhn posts thoughtful analysis of the current state of Open Source in the mobile space.
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RE[4]: Design Thinking
by danieldk on Tue 16th Mar 2010 16:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Design Thinking"
danieldk
Member since:
2005-11-18

The OP actually claimed, however, that "open source software" lacked innovation, which is a VERY easily debunked assertion.


Correct. There is plenty of innovation, especially if you consider that a fair share of academic CS work is made available as open source software.

The departments where open source software is clearly lacking is: usability, polish, uniformity, and marketing. The first three can make a random daily task of, say a Windows or OS X user, a hell on the average Linux desktop.

Android is doing so well compared to other FLOSS*- initiatives because Google took a cathedral approach and unilaterally decided on one API, mostly one user interface, and one bytecode to rule them all. The result is that Android is consistent and easy to use. A typical bazaar approach would give us 5 widget toolkit, 10 selectable 'surface managers', and at least as many ways to get and install software. Of course, this is totally uninteresting to the phone user that just wants to make phone calls, surf the web, and do occasional Twittering.

Open source systems can be viable, but they need to be rolled out in a controlled fashion. Or you will end up with the mess that is the Linux desktop (No, I can really not explain to family/friends/whatever that their sound stopped working because someone decided to rewrite the sound server.).

I used to be a big proponent of Linux on the desktop, but these days I just advise people to buy OS X if they want a usable UNIX desktop. Yes, it's evil, unethical, etc. But most friends rather care about doing their work and managing their holiday photos than to be pulled into philosophical discussion about why information should be free, and live with a broken system. That's how the world works, and Google understands it.

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