Linked by Hadrien Grasland on Tue 11th Jan 2011 13:40 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Nowadays smartphones, tablets and desktop/laptop computers are all siblings. They use the same UI paradigms and follow the same idea of a programmable and flexible machine that's available to everyone. Only their hardware feature set and form factor differentiate them from each other. In this context, does it still make sense to consider them as separate devices as far as software development is concerned? Wouldn't it be a much better idea to consider them as multiple variations of the same concept, and release a unified software platform which spreads across all of them? This article aims at describing what has been done in this area already, and what's left to do.
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RE: umm
by Neolander on Tue 11th Jan 2011 14:06 UTC in reply to "umm"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Would you call Linux (alone) a major actor of the personal computer market, comparable in size to Windows, iOS, Android, or even Mac OS X, without a smile ? Would you say that usual Linux distros adapt themselves well to tablet or smartphone use, that they do anything in the realm of cross-device portability ?

Linux has its place in this article, but in its Android fork only, in my opinion. Thus I mentioned it. The "vanilla" Linux world remains a minor actor, and most distros are desktop/laptop-only. Meego is not even released, and Maemo's market is even smaller than desktop linux's one.

Edited 2011-01-11 14:22 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: umm
by sorpigal on Tue 11th Jan 2011 14:23 in reply to "RE: umm"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Would you call Linux (alone) a major actor of the personal computer market, comparable in size to Windows, iOS, Android, or even Mac OS X, without a smile ?

Yes. Very yes. What is a smart phone if not a personal computer? If by "Linux" as distinct from "Android" you mean the traditional userland stack on top of Linux, then the answer is still yes.

Would you say that usual Linux distros adapt themselves well to tablet or smartphone use,

The "usual distro" of OS X isn't used on the iPhone, either, nor is the "usual" Windows stack. I'm not talking about "usual" desktop UIs, and neither are you, I'm talking about mobile UIs. Have you been following the UI work being done for Meego? Have you been following recent KDE UI work?

that they do anything in the realm of cross-device portability?

I know what you mean is "Cross-device runtime UI portability", but you don't say it. If you want portability Linux is certainly worth mentioning since it is (arguably) the king of portability. If you mean "UI portability," interfaces that dynamically adapt to the current screen and input method, then even there some good work has lately been done.

Linux has its place in this article, but in its Android incarnation only in my opinion. And I mentioned it. The rest of the Linux world remains a minor actor, and most distros are desktop/laptop-only.

Android certainly deserves mention, but you leave it as an afterthought following a thick paragraph about Windows, of all things, which is all rumor and maybes. And, a quibble: All Microsoft OSes do share a common kernel, easily as much as iOS and OS X do. Windows deserves far less mention here than does Meego, much less Android.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: umm
by Neolander on Tue 11th Jan 2011 14:37 in reply to "RE[2]: umm"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Yes. Very yes. What is a smart phone if not a personal computer? If by "Linux" as distinct from "Android" you mean the traditional userland stack on top of Linux, then the answer is still yes.

By "Linux", I mean "operating systems using the Linux kernel", as opposed to the Android kernel, which is considered a fork since they decided to completely reinvent some parts of it and thus got their patches refused.

If the answer is still yes, can you show some numbers proving it ?

I know what you mean is "Cross-device runtime UI portability", but you don't say it. If you want portability Linux is certainly worth mentioning since it is (arguably) the king of portability. If you mean "UI portability," interfaces that dynamically adapt to the current screen and input method, then even there some good work has lately been done.

What I was thinking about is a single distribution which can run on a variety of devices with only a recompilation with different flags or something similar in the way.

As far as I know, iOS on the iPad is exactly that : you take iOS for iPhone, you change the hardcoded screen size somewhere, and you get the end result. Now, on Linux, I know of netbook-oriented distros and desktop/laptop-oriented distros, with each having a highly different UI (in fact both UIs are managed with different software), and that's about all. Well, there's Meego, sure, but the handset part is still far from being stable and release-ready, yet alone being a major player of the personal computing market, though I'd sure like to see this happen.

Android certainly deserves mention, but you leave it as an afterthought following a thick paragraph about Windows, of all things, which is all rumor and maybes. And, a quibble: All Microsoft OSes do share a common kernel, easily as much as iOS and OS X do. Windows deserves far less mention here than does Meego, much less Android.

Again, Meego for anything but a desktop/laptop is not even out of the door yet. I was talking about major players. Android's paragraph is shorter because as far as I know they do less and are late. Though again, Google are relatively new on that OS market, so it's normal that they have less developer power and do less.

Edited 2011-01-11 14:42 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: umm
by lemur2 on Tue 11th Jan 2011 14:29 in reply to "RE: umm"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Although the heading talks only about "personal computers", the first sentence of the article expands the scope of discussion considerably to include "smartphones, tablets and desktop/laptop computers". In the latter context, Linux is a significant player.

If one also considers a further ambition beyond mere "cross device compatibility" within one or other OS family, one might also talk about "cross platform compatibility" as well as cross device compatibility.

Your determination to try to dismiss Linux/OSS from the main discussion has IMO caused you to miss an interesting technology in the very arena of the topic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qt_Quick
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QML
http://qt.nokia.com/products/qt-quick/

Edited 2011-01-11 14:33 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: umm
by Neolander on Tue 11th Jan 2011 14:57 in reply to "RE[2]: umm"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Although the heading talks only about "personal computers", the first sentence of the article expands the scope of discussion considerably to include "smartphones, tablets and desktop/laptop computers". In the latter context, Linux is a significant player.

When I say "personal computer", I mean a computer which is designed to be owned by an unskilled individual. Desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and netbooks are all personal computers.

As I said previously, if you're going to say that Linux (not Android) is a significant player of this market, please show how.

If one also considers a further ambition beyond mere "cross device compatibility" within one or other OS family, one might also talk about "cross platform compatibility" as well as cross device compatibility.

Cross-device compatibility means cross-platform, nowadays. Most mobile devices are based on ARM, while most desktops, laptops, and netbooks are based on x86(_64). Cross-device is a superset of cross-platform, in that you not only have to adapt yourself to various CPU architectures and internals with the same peripherals plugged in, but also to various displays and human interface devices (which is at least just as tricky)

Your determination to try to dismiss Linux/OSS from the main discussion has IMO caused you to miss an interesting technology in the very arena of the topic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qt_Quick
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QML
http://qt.nokia.com/products/qt-quick/

Well, I've yet to find a proper, clear, and concise introduction to the subject, but each time I read about it it sounds like some kind of CSS for desktop apps, with mandatory pixel-based control positioning as an ugly bonus.

CSS is a step in the right direction, in that it forces separation of user interface from the program's internals. But it still doesn't make websites or applications magically adapt themselves well to a big change of screen size. Website developers still have to work around that all by themselves using some ugly javascript to say that if screen size is smaller than x then you must hide feature y. They have to do that design process by hand. This is not the same as true cross-device portability, where the UI toolkit does that job for you, only given some data regarding how important each element is.

Edited 2011-01-11 15:06 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2