Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 19th Aug 2013 17:27 UTC
Linux Steve Cheney:

There's more to the platform wars than mobile - Android is starting to take off in non-mobile markets in a massive way - Internet of Things, Television (Chromecast), etc. To date Linux has been the dominant OS but Android is now taking some embedded designs which would have run Linux. The effective decoupling of Android from carriers for non-mobile markets + the richness of tools and the existing developer ecosystem will likely cement Android as the definitive open source OS of the next decade. This will have pluses for Google but also unintended consequences.

A common misconception among people who don't really understand what Linux is - one that I'm seeing pop up more and more now that people are trying to paint Android in a negative light - i.e., as competition to not just iOS, but also the noble and open source Linux.

Repeat after me: Android is just as much 'Linux' as Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat, or anything else that uses the Linux kernel. Technically, a better term would be 'Linux distribution', since Linux in and of itself is just a kernel. Wikipedia defines 'Linux distribution' quite well:

A Linux distribution (often called distro for short) is a member of the family of Unix-like operating systems built on top of the Linux kernel. Such distributions are operating systems including a large collection of software applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, media players, and database applications. These operating systems consist of the Linux kernel and, usually, a set of libraries and utilities from the GNU Project, with graphics support from the X Window System. Distributions optimized for size may not contain X and tend to use more compact alternatives to the GNU utilities, such as BusyBox, uClibc, or dietlibc.

Android is a Linux distribution, and is an addition to the Linux ecosystem - not a challenger. Painting it as such is just a sign of ignorance.

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ezraz
Member since:
2012-06-20

My Roku runs linux but it's obviously not a PC machine with a full install. I'm not sure I'm claiming it's not Linux underneath, I'm just pointing out that if Android = Linux then Linux is a copycat that makes no money.

But Android ≠ Linux, it's just built on a Linux base. A big part of Linux is not the tech, it's the licensing and openness behind it. Plus Linux on the desktop/server carved it's own path, it didn't become the worlds finest windows knockoff or mac knockoff.

Anytime I see an android phone with a huge front touch panel, rounded edges, no keys, all black or white/black, and rows of icons I think iPhone, then I see the plastic and the lesser build quality (and the oversized & usually poor screen) and realize it's a knock off.

I just wish android actually did innovate in the mobile space. The location or skin of a control panel or widget is not innovation, it's just small refinements or changes for change sake.

In my opinion Linux was never a knock off, it competed against windows and Unix with stability, price, and community. It was not a for-profit venture, which is part of it's beauty.

Android *is* linux, but to me it drops most of the advantages of Linux to be an iOS knockoff.

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