Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 19th Aug 2013 17:27 UTC
Linux Steve Cheney:

There's more to the platform wars than mobile - Android is starting to take off in non-mobile markets in a massive way - Internet of Things, Television (Chromecast), etc. To date Linux has been the dominant OS but Android is now taking some embedded designs which would have run Linux. The effective decoupling of Android from carriers for non-mobile markets + the richness of tools and the existing developer ecosystem will likely cement Android as the definitive open source OS of the next decade. This will have pluses for Google but also unintended consequences.

A common misconception among people who don't really understand what Linux is - one that I'm seeing pop up more and more now that people are trying to paint Android in a negative light - i.e., as competition to not just iOS, but also the noble and open source Linux.

Repeat after me: Android is just as much 'Linux' as Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat, or anything else that uses the Linux kernel. Technically, a better term would be 'Linux distribution', since Linux in and of itself is just a kernel. Wikipedia defines 'Linux distribution' quite well:

A Linux distribution (often called distro for short) is a member of the family of Unix-like operating systems built on top of the Linux kernel. Such distributions are operating systems including a large collection of software applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, media players, and database applications. These operating systems consist of the Linux kernel and, usually, a set of libraries and utilities from the GNU Project, with graphics support from the X Window System. Distributions optimized for size may not contain X and tend to use more compact alternatives to the GNU utilities, such as BusyBox, uClibc, or dietlibc.

Android is a Linux distribution, and is an addition to the Linux ecosystem - not a challenger. Painting it as such is just a sign of ignorance.

Thread beginning with comment 570121
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Tue 20th Aug 2013 01:24 UTC
Member since:

Android is the OS. Linux is the implementation detail.

It boils down to the question of "What is Linux". Is it a kernel that Linus and the brilliant kernel people tinker away at? Is it the GNU stack? Is it that Desktop environment with the foot logo? Is it KThis and KThat? What is Linux?

If you define Linux to be the kernel and a few components above that, then yeah then Android is as much Linux as Windows Phone is Windows.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by Nelson
by Valhalla on Tue 20th Aug 2013 12:56 in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
Valhalla Member since:

Android is the OS. Linux is the implementation detail.

Linux is the kernel component.

It boils down to the question of "What is Linux". Is it a kernel that Linus and the brilliant kernel people tinker away at?

Yes of course it is, anything else is misconception or deliberate attempts at misleading.

Some people (wilfully it seems) confuses this with what is known as Linux distros which are combinations of software components (often desktop oriented and relying on the GNU toolchain) which all use the Linux kernel.

I can't really agree with the term 'Android is Linux' as Linux is but a component of the Android operating system, but I'd certainly agree to the term 'Linux based' or something similar given how much functionality the Linux kernel brings.

Linux 'distros' are by definition Linux based, Android is Linux based, ChromeOS is Linux based, Firefox OS is Linux based, Sailfish OS is Linux based, my TVIX is Linux based, there are routers, tv's, watches, fridges etc etc that are Linux based.

Again this just means that they are using the Linux kernel.

And that is all that Linux is, a a very powerful and flexible kernel component that offers a lot of functionality and performance.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Tue 20th Aug 2013 15:15 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:

The problem is that some people take this and run with it, wishing it had some kind of relevance to their favorite distribution on the Desktop.

Android being dominant in mobile doesn't necessarily have positive implications for the Desktop or other areas of embedded computing, and what I've seen some people do at times is lump them all together to play a numbers game. To me that's disingenuous.

I also don't think its true that Android isn't pitted against other Linux mobile distributions who roll their own ecosystems (For example Android's Platform vs Qt on Linux for mobile). In this light, Android is a definite challenger to others.

Reply Parent Score: 5