Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 19th Aug 2017 15:11 UTC
Android

On August 21st, a solar eclipse will sweep across the entire United States for the first time since 1918. Android is helping you experience this historic natural phenomenon so you can learn more about the eclipse and count down to the big day - when you’ll meet the next release of Android and all of its super (sweet) new powers, revealed via livestream from New York City at 2:40PM ET.

If a new operating system version is released, but nobody's able to use it, has it really been released?

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Android O should change the game
by cacheline on Sun 20th Aug 2017 03:50 UTC
cacheline
Member since:
2016-06-10

WIth Project Treble in Android O, the whole Android upgrade problem will hopefully go away in about 2 years. I, for one, am happy about this development. As an Android dev, I really want to drop 4.4 at work, but can't yet. If Project Treble solves this in 2 years, then I say O is worth celebrating, even if it takes a while for manufacturers to release updates to the masses.

Reply Score: 3

kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

WIth Project Treble in Android O, the whole Android upgrade problem will hopefully go away in about 2 years.


No, it won't. For the billionth time: The OS in your Android phone is proprietary software. Derived from an open-source base sure, but proprietary software nevertheless. No company has ANY obligation to give you free upgrades to their proprietary software unless promised so in righting at the time of purchase or in their marketing materials.

What project treble will do is help Google separate Qualcomm's proprietary software (aka drivers) from Google's software, so Google can upgrade their stuff independent of Qualcomm, so they can offer upgrades on par with iOS.

There is still no binding agreement for OEMs to upgrade their proprietary stuff, so even in a project treble era, you still have to buy Google devices if you want anything resembling a real binding promise about upgrades.

Edited 2017-08-20 12:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

No, it won't. For the billionth time: The OS in your Android phone is proprietary software. Derived from an open-source base sure, but proprietary software nevertheless. No company has ANY obligation to give you free upgrades to their proprietary software unless promised so in righting at the time of purchase or in their marketing materials.


I'm more (cautiously) optimistic than you. Linux (as it relates to android phones) suffers from two impediments:

1. The proprietary drivers and lack of source that prevents the community from being able to easily support the hardware on their own (as we do with linux on PC).

2. The lack of a driver ABI that prevents the community from reusing proprietary drivers in newer kernels.

Both of these mean that when the manufacturer ceases support, consumers generally have no recourse (short of reverse engineering).

Many people, on osnews and elsewhere including myself, wish manufacturers would fix this by addressing #1 and publishing specs and driver source code. However we've been waiting for this to happen for a very long time and I don't believe manufactures have any incentive to make it happen.

For the other approach #2, many in the linux community have resisted an ABI preferring #1, but in the meantime many android phone owners are being locked out in the cold with zero support. This lack of updates is bad for users and it's bad for google. By adding these new ABIs for platform specific modules with project Treble, it opens up a path to upgrades without manufacturers having to recompile the new kernel with their proprietary platform specific code.

I would like to see this evolve to the point where users can choose which flavor of android they want to install because the treble-based drivers will work with all of them. In short, although proprietary things suck, at least sticking them behind a standardized interface makes a lot of sense.

What project treble will do is help Google separate Qualcomm's proprietary software (aka drivers) from Google's software, so Google can upgrade their stuff independent of Qualcomm, so they can offer upgrades on par with iOS.


You're right to be skeptical, however a standard driver ABI could benefit many more parties than just google. 3rd party operating systems have long suffered from proprietary hardware and fragmentation, but if there's a way for all android phones to support a standard driver ABI, it could be a boon not only for android but independent operating systems as well! As it currently stands, we're stuck with the operating system that comes on the phone and we don't get to try anything new. Just think, standard drivers would potentially give indy operating systems a chance to work on thousands of used phones that people already own and are going to be thrown away anyways. After all, most of us were able to learn linux because we could re-purpose a PC that didn't come with or officially support linux.

Reply Parent Score: 4

cacheline Member since:
2016-06-10

No, it won't. For the billionth time:


And this is why I rarely post on osnews and similar sites. We're not just here to openly discuss things with logical arguments. It's as if everyone wants to "win" some imaginary argument. "If only you had a clue, you'd know, like I do, that X is wrong and Y is true."

I have no problem with us disagreeing on this matter. But, why do we need to resort to statements like "For the billionth time"? What gain is there in that? Do we have nothing better to do than to point out how wrong everyone else is?

And yes, I know it's quite common on the internet for people to point out how wrong each other is and tear each other down. But, can we not strive for more civility? It really makes me sad (not in self esteem, but for the human race in general) that this is the state of affairs.

You may very well be right. And if so, I'm OK with my hopes not coming to fruition on OS updates. But, for now, I'll be cautiously optimistic that Samsung, LG, HTC, Huawei et al will see the benefits, to their user base, and thus the good PR, leading to more profits for all.

Reply Parent Score: 1