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.

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RE: don't over generalize
by Soulbender on Tue 20th Aug 2013 04:26 UTC in reply to "don't over generalize"
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

Try running a couple software which you can run without trouble in any conventional linux distribution. Open office? Gimp? Nano? Vim?


There are embedded Linux distros where you can't run those programs either so I guess they're not Linux?
Conversely, all of those programs run on Windows so...Windows is Linux?
Linux is a kernel, not an operating system. Android is using the Linux kernel so it's a Linux-based operating system.

Reply Parent Score: 10

RE[2]: don't over generalize
by UltraZelda64 on Tue 20th Aug 2013 08:25 in reply to "RE: don't over generalize"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

There are embedded Linux distros where you can't run those programs either so I guess they're not Linux?

I bet most of them contain BusyBox, which is basically a stripped down GNU toolchain packed into one little embedded-device-friendly executable file, offering nearly complete traditional UNIX/Linux shell functionality. And even then, some embedded distros designed for more capable embedded devices may go all the way and have the actual, complete GNU toolchain.

But yeah; to be fair, in this case, the reason you can't run an complete office suite or an image editor is more a result of the weakness and lack of resources than the OS itself. No one in their right mind would even attempt to fire up the GIMP or even just X.org on a WRT54GL or something even remotely similar, and the Linux-based firmware it uses is most definitely not the main bottleneck of such a system.

Reply Parent Score: 4