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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Valhalla
Member since:
2006-01-24


For all intents and purposes it doesn't matter what kernel sits underneath, the Android API it could be the OpenBSD or FreeBSD kernel for all that it matters.

Of course it matters, kernels aren't 'created equal', they have feature, architectural, performance and licencing differences.

The Linux kernel has gained it's vast popularity due to it's features and performance, and if these categories are those you are most interested in, Linux is often the choice.

There are of course many other types of needs out there, for example if you want to make proprietary enhancements to the kernel, Linux is not a viable option.

Ubuntu is trying to make it own os that happens to use Linux as a Kernel as well.

They have made what is typically known as a Linux distro, which is a Linux kernel distributed with a userland component combination that ends up being a operating system, very often desktop oriented.

They are diverging from the 'usual' Linux distro component configurations by developing their own Ubuntu specific components (unity, mir, upstart) but it's still very much a 'Linux distro' as not only does it use Linux the kernel (a prerequisite), but also has most of the same base components as other 'Linux distros' do.

These Ubuntu specific components such as mir and upstart are also written directly for Linux, so Ubuntu is very much Linux based .

And yes, Android is a Linux based operating system, which simply means that Linux is the kernel component, other components may (and do when you look at the wide spectrum of Linux use) differ wildly.

Reply Parent Score: 4

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Of course it matters, kernels aren't 'created equal', they have feature, architectural, performance and licencing differences.

The Linux kernel has gained it's vast popularity due to it's features and performance, and if these categories are those you are most interested in, Linux is often the choice.

There are of course many other types of needs out there, for example if you want to make proprietary enhancements to the kernel, Linux is not a viable option.


You missed the point. There could literally be anything underneath (if it was technically capable) and it wouldn't matter, because the interface you use is Android's interface, the applications are built using the Android APIs.

Similar Windows 9x -> 2000/XP the interface was still largely the same, the APIs were still largely the same.

Edited 2013-08-20 15:00 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

You missed the point. There could literally be anything underneath (if it was technically capable)

And every single component which makes up the Windows operating system could 'literally run anything else if it was technically capable', your 'point' makes no sense.

Reply Parent Score: 3