Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Oct 2015 09:24 UTC
Android

If we were to ask for any new feature from a new Android version, it would be some kind of scalable update solution. Right now a custom update still needs to be built for every single individual device model, and that's really not a workable solution when you have more than 24,000 models out there. The Stagefright vulnerability seemed to be a wakeup call for the Android ecosystem, but it came too late to affect anything in Marshmallow. Google instituted monthly updates for Nexus devices, and OEMs are pledging to bring the monthly update program to flagship devices. The majority of Android devices, though - the low-end devices - are being ignored. Monthly updates for Google, Samsung, and LG flagships only works out to a very small percentage of the Android install base.

Android 6.0 could dispense gold nuggets and clean my bathroom for free, but as long as this update hell exists, it's all for naught.

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RE[6]: Comment by birdie
by Ithamar on Tue 6th Oct 2015 15:12 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by birdie"
Ithamar
Member since:
2006-03-20

Exactly ARM is not x86, and each ROM or update is a bespoke version of Android for that device.

Throw in how hardware manufacturers who only like shipping binary blob drivers and Google only doing massive code drops rather then open development and we have the mess we have today.


That's not because of ARM, that's because of how Google builds, integrates, and distributes Android.

Not saying it is easy to do otherwise, but it can be done. There is no single technical reason for the update situation to be like it is, except for (company) politics from all the different players....

Go lookup DeviceTree for example, there are fine solutions to not having a PCI bus everywhere ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[7]: Comment by birdie
by kakaka on Tue 6th Oct 2015 16:36 in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by birdie"
kakaka Member since:
2015-10-06

> That's not because of ARM, that's because of how Google builds, integrates, and distributes Android.

Word!

I'd venture that this is by design rather than thru any sort of real technical difficulty. This is vendor lock-in top down bulls**t. These guys know about the market and they know that strings must be firmly attached if control is to be retained.

For decades have real Linux-based systems been able to deal with plethora of different architectures/hardware combinations thru kernel modules, binary firmware blobs, whatnot.

Have a look at https://www.debian.org/ports/ to see all the archs Debian runs on. Oh hey, there's even Arm64 which means you can run Debian on Google's "own" Nexus devices. Once that's running just apt-get dist-upgrade and you're laughing. Lollipop my mellow, Google!

And if you're tempted to say that all these embedded devices with their wild SoCs are tricky and that the camera probably wouldn't work have a look at what OpenWrt devs have achieved. Where there's will there's a way.

Blaming "difficulty" of user-space upgrades on the complexity of hardware architecture is nothing but an indicator of bad software design. Bad by design. But then they only promised to not be evil. Bad is ju$$$t fine.

Edited 2015-10-06 16:38 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[8]: Comment by birdie
by Alfman on Tue 6th Oct 2015 18:25 in reply to "RE[7]: Comment by birdie"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kakaka,

And if you're tempted to say that all these embedded devices with their wild SoCs are tricky and that the camera probably wouldn't work have a look at what OpenWrt devs have achieved. Where there's will there's a way.


Well, a router has fewer peripherals than a phone. Don't get me wrong, I have tons of respect for awesome work being done at OpenWrt and I am impressed with the support that OpenWRT has. But take notice of their hardware support page: 54% of hardware has no support. The latest 15.05 version has about 15% support. 67% of the devices which used to be supported by OpenWrt are no longer supported by the current release.

There are undoubtedly legitimate reasons for not being able to maintain support for all the hardware. But if we're going to highlight the project as a role model, then we need to be careful not to create a double standard when criticizing other projects.

This isn't to let Google off the hook, they certainly need to do better. But hopefully we don't ignore that poor ARM platform standardization is part of the problem and that having standards would benefit not only Android but also projects like OpenWrt as well as Indy OS development. That's why we should be pushing for them.

Reply Parent Score: 2