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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jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

Now, as for the "for Linux" marketing represntation by indavidual programs. Marketing is all about the ten second catchy sound bite not accuracy.

I've frequently pointed out that "for Linux based systems" or "for Linux based distributions" would be more accurate and just as sesynct since listing seven major distribution names in each marketing line would get tired quickly. You may also notice that it's extremely rare for me to say "Linux" alone when not talking about the kernel specifically and "Linux based distros" when talking about things that are actually common across multiple distributions; specific distribution names when talking about specific distributions. Typing "Linux based distributions" takes a half second longer to type but:

- it provides clarity by indicating that there is more than one seporate product which happens to use the Linux kernel when talking to new or less knowledable users. These seporate products may be interoperable and familiar from one to the other but they are destinctly seporate objects from seporate providers.

- it provides clarity by specifying what distribution is affected when talking about a bug, resulting vulnerability, specific program or other attribute related to a specific distribution. Canonical's configuration choices do not affect Debian or Red Hat so it's an attribute of Ubuntu not an attribute of Debian Stable or RHEL.

In short, it cuts through the bullshit of intentionally confusing seporate products into a single thing which really only benefits people more interested in disparaging what they don't like rather than discussing actual technological attributes it.

Now, where it does make sense to intentionally talk about "Linux" instead of specific distributions or "Linux based distributions" indicating the greater family of seporate products:

- when discussing kernel bugs or vulns that indeed affect a majority of distributions by result of that shared kernel version

- when discussing drivers which are included into the kernel as modules. Yes, hardware can be "Linux ready" because it's using industry standards, already provided a driver through kernel.org or provides a third party kernel module for installation.

To get back to your specific given example; do you really think the majority of average users start from amarok.kde.org and work there way backwards into installing it? I honestly don't. My experience has been that most average users find Amarok or some other media manager installed by default and stick with it (ie. "don't want to think. Want vendor to make the choice for them" in your words). If not installed by default, most average users would find it in the package manager and install it from there. They may see it mentioned on chat forums or when talking to friends with "so, how do I install this?" followed by "check your add/remove software" or a specific simple command for the package manager. Heck, I'm an advanced user who infact chooses to install Amarok and this is the first time I've ever had reason to visit the Amarok webpage rather than simply pull it from my distribution's repository.

Generally, confusion over software and installation comes from this "Linux is all one product" crap that does not reflect reality (and fair enough for those who didn't know and are open to considering clarification; a more clear understanding is possible for them) and, users coming from a Windows background who have only ever seen software provided seporately from the Windows distribution. For them, again, clarity is possible; point them to the GUI package manager, let them use the browse or search functinos and it usually ends with "really, it's that easy.. and all this software is just there available for me to use?"

Lumping anyting that happens to use the Linux kernel together to misrepresent it as a single product from a single vendor supports someone's personal agenda and usually one based on bias except in the rare cases where the focus onf the topic actually applies across the majority of Linux based products in a category. Recognizing the difference between distributions when talking about seporate distributions regardless of what kernel they may or may not use supports clarity and understanding of the topic giving a solid basis for productive discussion.

Yet still, I don't get what this discussion of branding, marketing language and Android versus other Linux based distro stuff has to do with the original topic regarding benefits of a repository distribution model and that the "app store" is clearly just a branded repository system. It's not about proving general purpose Linux based distributions better or worse than the Android distribution. My only reason for mentioning it originally was to clarify that repositories are distribution specific and often one of many differentiating attributes of a given distribution along with pointing out that one organization does not have control over how another seporate organization chooses to manage it's repositories.

At this point, I really don't expect you to change your opinion and I don't see evidence to the contrary of my opinion so it seems we're at an empass and should agree to disagree. Hopefully reading through both sides of the thread allows other's to make a more informed decision about there own opinions and understanding of the topics.

Reply Parent Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

At this point, I really don't expect you to change your opinion and I don't see evidence to the contrary of my opinion so it seems we're at an empass and should agree to disagree. Hopefully reading through both sides of the thread allows other's to make a more informed decision about there own opinions and understanding of the topics.


I think you're right. We simply disagree on whether or not having a unified/centralized repository for all Linux distros to share is a good or bad thing, and I'm not sure there is a right or wrong answer here. Desktop Linux can continue to have separate distros with separate repositories, and for those of us who don't use Linux on the desktop, Linux evangelists will ask us why, and we will list this as one of the main reasons, and they will continue to argue with us, and desktop Linux will continue with the paltry marketshare that it currently has.

For the record, I'm not a fan of all those Linux distros, nor am I a fan of all the Android custom roms. Because in both cases, it causes stuff to break from one implementation to the next. On Android, at least all the apps come from the same source, and 98% of them work on all roms, so it's something I'm willing to tolerate. On Linux though, not so much. You can keep arguing that each distro is like a separate OS and so all those incompatibilities are excusable, and well... I can keep not using Linux. In the end, everybody's happy, I suppose ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06


I think you're right. We simply disagree on whether or not having a unified/centralized repository for all Linux distros to share is a good or bad thing, and I'm not sure there is a right or wrong answer here.


I don't believe it's even a possibility to be honest. The purpose of the license chosen by the GNU project and Linus for his kernel project intentionally provides permission for people to pick up the commodity parts and try building something out of it. It's the software version of Lego; many little parts which can be assembled into incredible things.

The biggest issue one would face is that "Linux" is not one thing but a kernel used in many similar but separate distributions because they are produced by separate organizations. Sometimes for similar purposes and other times for very separate purposes. Mandriva and Canonical both provide the Mandriva and Ubuntu OS distributions aimed at average users and ease of use but they are distinctly separate organizations making there own manufacturing decisions about how to support that need. Backtrack on the other hand is a very specialized distribution who's purpose which, by it's very intended use, requires configurations and code modifications not appropriate for a general purpose OS distribution. Having these separate legal entities and organizations merge there work together and agree on a single set of design goals would be like Apple and Microsoft voluntarily merging Windows and osX. A historical example would be IBM and Microsoft's combined work on OS2 before design ideas and intended goals conflict to the point that each took a copy of the source and separated. You and the annoying neighbor down the street consolidating your property into one house and deed though you have very different ideas about how to run a home and what you want to do with it. It's like having Pong and Dragon Age merged into a single product because they both happen to be computer based games; does Dragon Age get a graphic engine reduction or does Pong get the graphic engine improvement, does Pong become any more interesting with the ball and paddles are rendered in DX11 full 3D? It's like having Bank of America, ING and Bob's Financing, Auto Tires and Hair Care merge into a single bank because they all happen to provide financial products. The Boy Scouts and Little League soccer because they both happen to provide children's recreation and skill building. Some may consider it a flaw of the GPL to allow anyone to use commodity parts to assembled a product but that is the reality of the situation; legally separate organizations producing separate products even though they may be picking nuts and bolts from the same jar.

The other issue is that there are very relevant reasons for multiple repositories within a single distribution. The user interacts with the package manager so all enabled repositories appear to be the same software library; searchable, browsable and so on.

- Debian's Main for system required components which are provided under a libre license. The "GNU militants are happy" and the rest of us get a usable OS.

- Debian's Contrib for extra stuff which is not a requirement of getting the system to boot to a login prompt but still under a libre license. (On this one, I have to accept that there is a given reason for the segregation of the two by Debian's maintainers as I've never had reason to look into it. They apear as one in my package manager so it's a non-issue.)

- Debian's Non-Free for stuff which is not provided under a libre license but which is provided as a Debian package or can be packaged into one (eg. Flashplayer, binary blob hardware drivers). The folks who are not militant about having the source code are satisfied by having the opt-in option and Debian's overall project goal of favoring the use of open source software is also satisfied.

- Mandriva's Powerpack retail distribution repositories contain patent encumbered and licensed software which is covered by the reasonable retail price of that distribution. For reasons of package management, original producer demand or similar; you can't put that stuff in the core repository of Libre licensed stuff which the various free and retail versions of Mandriva draw from.

Retail market share is also not the end goal for everyone who produces a distribution. That is a distribution level concern for retail vendors. Offensive Security has no reason to care that the Backtrack distribution is not steeling Microsoft's lunch; the reason for it's existence is not supported by that goal. The kernel developers really don't care that the kernel they develop is not running 90% of the retail desktop market; they care about developing a solid OS kernel that anyone can choose build a distribution on top of. (It's dominance outside of the desktop space is pretty impressive even though it's not a primary purpose for creating the kernel.)

Now, Retail distributions like Mandriva Powerpack, SUSE, Red Hat and such do indeed have a vested interest in retail market share since they are specifically assembled to compete in the retail market space. Canonical does indeed have reason to care since they also target the desktop space with intent to directly compete against Windows and osX. Debian's stated goal is simply to provide a great OS for anyone to download and use for servers, desktops or whatever else one chooses to squeeze it into. They even provide multiple kernels to choose from though Linux remains the most popular of the options. It's not about measurable retail market share. Use it, don't use it, whatever you like.


For the record, I'm not a fan of all those Linux distros, nor am I a fan of all the Android custom roms. Because in both cases, it causes stuff to break from one implementation to the next. On Android, at least all the apps come from the same source, and 98% of them work on all roms, so it's something I'm willing to tolerate.


Same here. I used Red Hat until it didn't support my needs as well as alternatives. I then used Mandrake (later becoming Mandriva) until it didn't support my needs as well as others. I will probably use Debian as long as it supports my needs or until a different distributions becomes more applicable. I'm not a fan of how every distribution is assembled nor to I feel the need to be familiar with every distribution available. I certainly wouldn't demand anyone else be familiar with every possible OS distribution both inside and outside of ones that happen to use the Linux kernel. No one in there right mind would demand that one be familiar with and test drive every possible make and model of car including F-1 carts before purchasing something to get the kids to school and groceries from the corner store.


On Linux though, not so much. You can keep arguing that each distro is like a separate OS and so all those incompatibilities are excusable, and well... I can keep not using Linux. In the end, everybody's happy, I suppose


So, what would you call separate products produced by separate legal organizations which may or may not fall within the same product category and which may try to solve a given problem through different approaches? Are these not separate competing products:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colgate_(toothpaste)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crest_(toothpaste)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral-B

Do you honestly not see that Garmin's GPS OS, Google's Android and Canonical's Ubuntu are separate products though they happen to use a similar OS kernel?

...

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06


You can keep arguing that each distro is like a separate OS and so all those incompatibilities are excusable, and well... I can keep not using Linux. In the end, everybody's happy, I suppose


But you are using a Linux distribution and your choice to use a Linux distribution based phone and not a general puprpose based distribution on your desktop is the bloody point. Do you have a router at home for your personal network? Does your car use a computer to manage itself? Do you use an Android phone? Ever touched a consumer grade GPS. Ever considered the million other products that happen to make use of a device specific Linux based distribution? If your demand was made reality and all Linux based distributions merged into one, you wouldn't have the choice. Google wouldn't have produced Android and probably would not have produced a full OS stack from kernel to UI at all. No osX either since we wouldn't allow seporate BSD based distributions either now could we.

I mean, this is well into obsurdity or willfull ignorance. The evidence simply does not support your desire that distributions are all one single product from one single manufacturer any more than it supports the desire that all cars are currently one single product from one single manuracturer.

By all means though, continue to "not use Linux"; I assume you will be replacing the kernel in your Android phone then? Will you be replacing the kernel in your home router, ISP provided cable/dsl modem or otherwise replacing or discarding anything else that happens to use a Linux based distribution?

No one is trying to convince you to choose a distro and use it. I don't care if you run Plan9 or Dos. (The irony is that your alreadying using the kernel under various distributions.) I'm simply providing the evidence that supports the reality that seporate legal entities provide seporate products which happen to be based on teh Linux kernel and that the kernel chosen is not the defining attribute but one commodity party that several different products happen to include in the assembly process.

You haven't provided any evidance to the contrary though I'd really like to see how you rationalize Red Hat and Canonical being seporate legal entities. Maybe you can rationalize a way that Wall Mart and Tiffany's are actually the same retail store chain too while your at it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

There is another thing to consider; we're comparing applets to full applications as if they are the same thing.

Android generally provides a Darlvik Java VM environment which happens to sit on top of a Linux kernel. App Market packages simply provide a java applet which runs inside Dalvik. There are some packages that install outside of the Java RE like a more complete userland shell if you look at third party repositories (sideloading) but the primary use case is a java applet inside Dalvik using whatever hardware is exposed through that runtime environment.

This is really no different than KDE applets where KDE4 across several seporate distributions also access KDE's central applet library, or themes, or backgrounds.

So, in the end, other Linux based distributions are already capable and doing the same as Android Linux and Ios. It's just that they also make it a standard function to provide official repository software beyond Java or similar applets.

Bit of irony there I think.

Reply Parent Score: 2