Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 15th Apr 2013 22:44 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Almost exactly three years ago, I wrote about why OSNews was no longer OSNews: the alternative operating system scene had died, and OSNews, too, had to go with the times and move towards reporting on a new wave of operating systems - mobile, and all the repercussions that the explosion of smartphones and tablets have caused. Still, I was wondering something today: why aren't we seeing alternative operating systems on mobile?
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by Beta on Mon 15th Apr 2013 22:48 UTC
Member since:

Too busy working to get onto the desktop still :/
Poor Haiku.
(though that wouldn’t make a bad mobile OS + UI)

Reply Score: 4

RE: Hmm.
by steventroughtonsmith on Mon 15th Apr 2013 23:07 in reply to "Hmm."
steventroughtonsmith Member since:

+1, I would love to see a BeOS/Haiku-based mobile/touch OS project!

Reply Parent Score: 2

Consider this
by Kochise on Tue 16th Apr 2013 12:35 in reply to "RE: Hmm."
Kochise Member since:

Making a hobby OS for PC :

1- Learn x86 (cry a lot)
2- Use an assembler/compiler (experiment a lot)
3- Put on floppy disk, reboot, debug, crash
4- Repeat
5- Bonus, you can use a virtual machine

Making a hobby OS for smartphone :

1- Learn ARM (which version, ARMv4, v5, v6, v7, thumb ?)
2- Use a compiler, do not mess with eabi, forget assembler
3- What reference platform ? Device drivers someone ?
4- Fuuuuuck, what is the flash file structure ?
5- Fuck, need to s-off, root, recovery, flash the phone first
6- How do I debug this mess ? Crashed ! Bricked !
7- Abandon...
8- No, there is no valuable emulator, only Jtaged single boards computer that cost...


Reply Parent Score: 12

RE: Hmm. - A mobile modified Haiku?
by BlueofRainbow on Tue 16th Apr 2013 00:04 in reply to "Hmm."
BlueofRainbow Member since:

It would be interesting to see how Haiku could be morphed into a mobile OS. Some of the underlying UI concepts appear to be adaptable to finger/touch interactions.

However, let's not divert their limited resources nor saddle the development towards R1 with foreign stuff. Also, the current code base may not be as easily adaptable to ARM as the old BeOS code base (which started on the Hobbit, moved on to the PPC, and finally added X86).

One thing though. If the Microsoft Surface (X86 based) continues on the commercial path it appears to be currently heading for, it could become an ideal platform for a mobile oriented hobby OS. After having missed-out on the clearance of HP Touchpads, I'll keep an eye open for the price drop on the Surfaces when it will come.

Reply Parent Score: 2

anevilyak Member since:

Just as a clarification here, we do in fact have ARM, PPC and x86-64 ports in various states of completion. It's not so much a technical hurdle of the architecture as it is finding people motivated to work on it. Most of what there is of the ARM port was done by a GSoC student a few years ago who has mostly been busy with school since, and as such hasn't really had a chance to touch it since.

Given the focus on the x86 desktop, most of the others haven't really done much with it beyond ensuring that it continues to build with the various other ongoing changes.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: Hmm.
by bassbeast on Tue 16th Apr 2013 09:17 in reply to "Hmm."
bassbeast Member since:

besides that the whole premise is riddled with holes. The "moving target" of X86...WHA? What moving target? Hardware in X86land is so dang bog standard it ain't even funny, in fact its gotten smaller than ever now that Nvidia was cut off by Intel.

As for why no explosion of mobile OSes...because the networks are owned by corporate, duh! With a PC there is a lot of jobs you can do you don't need Internet at all and the Internet is really treated like dumb pipes for the most part. Mobile not only are you talking about something that is severely bandwidth constrained thanks to limited spectrum but you also have corporate trying to wring as many pennies out of it as possible. If you could put just any OS on there what is to keep you from tethering? What is gonna make you pay the carrier to un-cripple your phone?

There is too much money to be made and too few carriers to make alternative OSes in mobile viable, they just won't allow it. Now tablets? I could see that, you can bypass the carriers completely with those, but phones? Not gonna happen, my guess is it'll be Apple and Google with MSFT so far behind as to not be above margin for error on most charts.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Hmm.
by ricegf on Tue 16th Apr 2013 09:38 in reply to "RE: Hmm."
ricegf Member since:

Interesting perspective. Do you think T-Mobile's new "everything" plans will change this? Our family now has 4 phones with unlimited voice, data, texts, and tethering for about $120 a month. Though I suspect they would object if a hobbyist OS accidentally blasted a few TB through our local tower...

Reply Parent Score: 2