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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ricegf
Member since:
2007-04-25

"isn't rarely" == "is commonly", which is probably not what you meant. But I believe it's actually more correct - developers who are even mildly interested in portability don't care what kernel, or even what OS, will run their application.

That's because most of the major applications with which I'm familiar don't interface to the Linux kernel directly, but rather to Gtk+ or (increasingly, I think) Qt, or perhaps just to the Python or Java built-in libraries or another portable framework.

So Android isn't different in that regard - writing to abstractions is more the rule nowadays than the exception, except perhaps for Windows and iOS developers.

For example, we have an entire suite of business-specific enterprise-scale applications at work that were developed on and for the Windows desktop using Java. When we switched to desktop Linux, we just ran the regression tests on our distro of choice, made a few tweaks, and we were done.

So I assert that the fact that there is a linux behind that interface is mostly irrelevant to most developers and users for all Linux-based products, not just Android.

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