Linked by Kostis Kapelonis on Sat 14th May 2011 15:43 UTC
General Development Application stores are growing everywhere like mushrooms. While users have initially embraced application stores because of the ease they offer with application installation, developers have several complaints. Division of profits from paid application and ineffectiveness of the screening process are among the major issues. Are application stores the best distribution channel possible? Can they satisfy both developers and users?
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WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

First, why is one explaining Debian's repository setup to an Iphone user? Is understanding osX setup now required for Windows users?

Second, Debian focuses on security and stability over having the latest immature software version number. The offer an opt-in for non-free code. How is that bullshit? Products should not value goals related to there target use? If having the latest version number is your preference; pick a distribution that markets itself on being bleeding edge. Go play with Fedora where instability is considered a feature.


If someone is considering using Linux as his primary OS, he's probably going to notice pretty quickly that there's more than one to choose from. And when explaining the difference between the different distros, you're going to have to explain what repositories are, and when doing that, you're going to lose 90% of the iPhone users, who know just enough about their iPhones that when they tap the little 'app store' icon, that's where to get new apps and games. Linux needs to work like that.

Of course, I'm sure you would say "it DOES work like that if you choose the right distro". Um, no it doesn't. Let's say Jane and Suzy are Linux users, one running Ubuntu and the other running Fedora. So, one says to the other, "Hey, I just downloaded this cool new game last night... you should check it out!" So the other one clicks on her 'apps store' icon, and the game is not there. Why? Because that particular game is not on her particular repository. THAT is why it is bullshit.

And although it's not nearly as bad as it is on Linux, this kind of thing happens on Android sometimes. When it happens on Android, it's called fragmentation, and is considered a bad thing. But when it happens on Linux, Linux evangelists call it choice, and consider it a good thing.

If you want to make Linux work like the iPhone currently does, you have to start making decisions for people (like selecting a distro) and set it up for them. thereby dictating which apps they're going to have access to, since most of them would never bother to try side-loading in the first place. You asked in your post, why is choice considered a bad thing? Because people don't like to think, and would rather have choices be made for them. And that is what Apple does. I'm not saying that is a good thing; I'm just saying that's the way it is.

Reply Parent Score: 1

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I see. It's bullshit because you don't care to understand that distributions are separate products from separate organizations. Or maybe you do realize that but prefer to intentionally convolute other's understanding for some self satisfaction you derive from it.

I'll say it again; the Distribution is the Product not what kernel it may or may not be based on. If you install Debian with Hurd or a BSD kernel, it's still the Debian distribution. It doesn't magically stop being Debian because it isn't stacked on top of a Linux kernel. User's don't interact with a kernel, they interact with the distribution; the fully assembled product which happens to include an OS kernel of some form.

What's the difference between your example and Jane recommending a fantastic new game that Suzy can't run because it's not available for osX? If clearly separate distributions should all be one, we should be demanding that Microsoft and Apple merge into one organization and deliver a single OS then right?

We can't have Ford and Toyota confusing the end user by not delivering uniform vehicle specs under a single brand. Demand that those two companies also merge along with anyone else who dares produce a product in the automobile category.

Too much toothpaste to choose from.. what brand model fights tarter, the other whitens teeth. Obviously this can't stand.. demand that those products be merged rather than compete in the same product category.

No sir, the bullshit dictating that separate companies should not be allowed to produce competitive products because they happen to use similar parts in the assembly process.

Yes, when it happens on Android, it's called fragmentation. Fragmentation within the space of a single distribution is the same thing. Fragmentation of a product category produces competitive products under separate brands. It provides value to the end user through healthy market forces. Fragmentation within the space of a single brand dilutes that brand and removes value from the end user by resulting in conflicting products all claiming the same name.

The brand is not "Linux".. the brand is Red Hat or Mandriva or Debian or Ubuntu or Mint or Suse. They may or may not use "Linux" as there OS kernel and to the average user, that's not relevant. Do you really think average users care that Android's java runtime environment happens to sit on top of a Linux kernel? Do you really think Iphone average users care about the BSD back end running behind the runtime GUI the user interacts with? Not really. My wife only cares that she can


If you want to make Linux work like the iPhone currently does, you have to start making decisions for people (like selecting a distro) and set it up for them. thereby dictating which apps they're going to have access to, since most of them would never bother to try side-loading in the first place. You asked in your post, why is choice considered a bad thing? Because people don't like to think, and would rather have choices be made for them. And that is what Apple does. I'm not saying that is a good thing; I'm just saying that's the way it is.


"Linux" not really.. I'm not sure how one would make an OS kernel work like a full distribution being that it lacks the userland and interface which a full distribution stacks on top of a given OS kernel.

A distribution which happens to use the Linux kernel or any other applicable kernel.. sure thing. You've already got Android and Ios doing just that. Those are distributions. It's simply not up to the Linux kernel developers; it's up to the distribution providers who happen to target end users with a repository based software channel.

Folks who don't want to choose between distributions simply won't. They'll take whatever distribution a device happens to come pre-isntalled with. No one cares that Tomtom and Garmin units happen to have a Linux kernel under the hood; they simply use the GPS unit. Do Blackberry users really care what kernel runs on the devices? Nope, and yet it still provides add-on apps. But by your decree, anything that happens to use a Linux kernel should give up it's own development goals and merge into a single distribution. Does that include Android since it happens to use a modified Linux kernel or is it magically except?

Here's the key points:

- Fragmentation of the market by producing separate products under separate brand names is part of a healthy market and provides competitive forces which in turn benefit the end user.

- Fragmentation of a single brand within it's own product is a bad thing because it introduces instability and incompatibilities with no benefit to the end user.

- The Linux OS kernel is not the product, the distribution which may or may not use that kernel is. User's don't interact with a kernel, the interact with the resulting platform assembly which happens to include a kernel. One distribution manufacturer can not impose there product design decisions on another; just like any other product category.

- If it's acceptable for other product categories to have competition through separate products from separate entities. Why is it not acceptable for distributions which happen to use a Linux kernel? Should BSDs be merged into this one mega-Linux distro? Why do Windows and osX get to be separate products within the OS category?

Reply Parent Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I see. It's bullshit because you don't care to understand that distributions are separate products from separate organizations.


At last, one of them has finally understood.

Yes, when it happens on Android, it's called fragmentation. Fragmentation within the space of a single distribution is the same thing.


The following link is a list of custom ROMs for the Droid Incredible (the phone I own):

http://theincrediblelist.com/roms

And this list is not even including ROMs for Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). I have installed many of these roms, and some of them are as different as many Linux distros are from each other. So you can't on one hand claim that Android is like a single distro that all roms run on, and then on the other hand say that all Linux distros are like operating systems, and should be considered completely separate from each other.

If you still want to argue that Android is just another Linux distro, consider this:

If you go to the website of an Android app, it will say that 'this is an Android app'. If you go to a website of a Linux app, it will say 'this is a Linux app'. It doesn't say 'this is a Fedora app' or this is a Ubuntu app'. To further illustrate my example, consider Amarok:

At the very top, it says:

Amarok is a powerful music player for Linux and Unix, MacOS X and Windows with an intuitive interface.

So if you still want to ask why Linux distros shouldn't be considered as different operating systems (such as Windows or OSX), there's your answer.

Even if Android technically runs on top of Linux, Linux itself is a brand, just like Android or iOS. So you can't claim that all Linux distros are exempt from not needing a unified app store, because after all... they're Linux distros, just like roms that run on Android are Android roms.

On one hand, you're right when you say many products (such as TomTom or Garmin) run on the Linux kernel and are really different entities. But the 'marketing' for most (if not all) of these Linux distros clearly identify themselves as either being Linux or Linux-based, so why would it be wrong for someone to assume that all Linux-based distros should be able to use the same app store/repository, if we also assume that different variants of Android do?

Edited 2011-05-16 02:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2