Linked by David Adams on Tue 13th Dec 2011 03:12 UTC
Editorial I was reading today about how Linux Mint developers altered the Banshee music player source code to redirect affiliate revenue from Amazon music orders to them instead of Banshee. They've reportedly made less than $4, which has caused a kerfluffle among those paying attention to that corner of the world. But it raises a larger point that has been swirling around for a couple of decades: an OS vendor has a lot of power to influence, and even monetize their user base. Where should they draw the line?
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RE: Drawing the line - fragmentation nonsense
by jabbotts on Tue 13th Dec 2011 18:03 UTC in reply to "Drawing the line"
jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

This claim of fragmentation keeps coming up. Linux based distributions and Android devices are not really comparable though.

Manufacturers customize Android in an effort to differentiate while still claiming to ship Android. What you get from some manufacturers is clearly not Google Android but a fork based on the original. The problem is Motorola-Android and Samsung-Android claiming to be the original Google Android when incompatibilities have been added.

The only Android based device retailer doing it right outside of the Nexus line of devices is Amazon. When they customized Android to differentiate themselves, they didn't claim it was still Android and even setup there own separate repositories; just like a general purpose Linux based distribution fork does.

With Linux based distributions, you have separate products being represented as separate products though they use similar commodity parts in assembly. Red Hat and Debian represent themselves as separate products though they both happen to use the same commodity kernel. the product is the Red Hat distribution not what kernel it happens to run just like the product is Debian not what kernel it happens to run. Debian does not magically stop being the Debian distribution if one uses any of the other OS kernels available for it. Debian with the BSD is still Debian. Unlike Android, the distributions that happen to use the Linux kernel represent themselves as separate distributions.

Linux based distributions and the Android quagmire are not comparable in terms of fragmentation.

At the distribution level, developers need only target the parent distribution and let child forks inherit support if they're not going to allow distro maintainers to build packages from source. If the child forks make themselves incompatible then that is the responsibility of the child fork.

At the kernel level "Linux" has been remarkably successful given the number of products, including various OS distributions, which it has been included into as one of many commodity parts. The OS kernel isn't the defining attribute though. It's not Linux which happens to be Debian flavored but Debian which happens to be using a Linux kernel down below everything that makes it Debian.

Complaining that there are too many Linux distributions is like complaining that there are too many icecream flavors. Yeah, they are all built on top of semi-frozen dairy cream; focus on the flavors that fit your preferences and get over yourself.

Reply Parent Score: 2

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

The only Android based device retailer doing it right outside of the Nexus line of devices is Amazon. When they customized Android to differentiate themselves, they didn't claim it was still Android and even setup there own separate repositories; just like a general purpose Linux based distribution fork does.


Except that people know that the Kindle Fire is based on Android at its core, so then it obviously must be an Android tablet. And the media re-enforces this by continuously referring to it as an Android tablet:

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Desktops-and-Notebooks/Kindle-Fire-King-of...

So whether we like it or not, the Kindle Fire IS an Android tablet for all intents and purposes, and will be used as yet another example of Android fragmentation.

Similarly, you can claim that various Linux distros are like separate products all on their own and shouldn't be considered fragmented under the Linux moniker, but just like 'the Kindle Fire is not really an Android tablet', we all know that's a bunch of happy horseshit. The fact is that, whether you like it or not, Debian, Redhat, Ubuntu, etc are all just Linux on the desktop. You can continue to insist otherwise, and most of us will continue to insist on not using any of them.

Reply Parent Score: 3

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Amazon clearly states that the Fire points back at it's own "app market" repository and content sources. They don't claim it's Android running off Google's market place.

I also find it interesting that the media is reporting on the recent hack to install stock Android on the Fire replacing Amazon's distribution fork.

As for seporate distributiosn being seporate product that happen to run the same kernel; are you seriously suggesting that Backtrack, Mint and Debian are all the same product? They are clearly different products produced by different manufacturers though they happen to be assembled from similar commodity parts. Maybe Ford and Toyota are the same product because they happen to both include engines? No? We recognize that the different manufacturers produce different models of product though they compete in the same product category?

Why is it ok for different manufacturers to produce different products in every other product category but when it's a general purpose OS suddenly the kernel is the most important commodity part and having more than one competing product is just the very definition of insanity?

Reply Parent Score: 3

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

It's possible that I understand the situation incorrectly. I thought of that after the last post so here I'll simply ask some questions. I'll focus on two retail distributions to keep things simple.

Do you have evidence that Red Hat and Novell are actually the same company? The papers of incorporation showing as much would be fine if you have them handy.

Do Red Hat and Novell market RHE and Suse as the same product?

Do Red Hat Enterprise and Suse pull software packages from the same repository?

When you need support for your Red Hat Enterprise server, do you call Novell? Does your Red Hat support contract suggest calling Novell?

When you need support for your Suse Enterprise Server, do you call Red Hat? Does your Novell support contract suggest calling Red Hat?

Reply Parent Score: 2