Will mobile Linux distros hang separately?

Will mobile Linux distros hang separately?

Summary: This is just what happened with Unix back in the day. The software was great, but each vendor had their own way of doing things, so the market never really developed. Unix did not hang together and so each vendor hung separately. Is this about to happen with mobile Linux?

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HTC has had its Android phone out for months now, and there's great excitement over the coming kit from Motorola.

Panasonic and NEC are out with new LiMo gear. Intel and Novell are both pushing the Moblin platform. Nokia is pushing Linux in the new Maemo phones.

But what are the chances you will be able to move software among these various phones? (Tux is holding a Treo in this picture from Palminfocenter.com.)

I am not a programmer. The job may be trivial. But until we know what is involved in doing the job the job cannot be done. And right now we don't know what will be necessary.

The question for this weekend is, are these mobile Linux vendors making a big mistake by not collaborating more? Apple is still killing them, developer attention is not unlimited, Microsoft hearts developers, and Palm is still in the game.

Even taken together, the market share of all these Linux phones by the end of next year may be trivial next to what is being piled up by the competition. But these Linux phones can't be taken together. They are all tied to different distributions. They all stand alone.

This is just what happened with Unix back in the day. The software was great, but each vendor had their own way of doing things, so the market never really developed. Unix did not hang together and so each vendor hung separately.

Is this about to happen with mobile Linux?

Topics: Linux, Mobility, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software, Telcos, IT Employment

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17 comments
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  • Yes

    Yes, if major linux distros aren't careful, Google Chrome will eat their lunch. They need to get together now, before Chrome has too much chance to gain steam.
    jkohut
    • That sounds like part of the problem

      Every mobile Linux vendor has reasons to believe it will dominate. Together I think they make one serious competitor. Separately they don't.

      This goes for Google as for everyone else.
      DanaBlankenhorn
    • Mobile web apps

      If momentum picks up for mobile web apps, then any OS with a great browser engine and user experience should do well, since the actual OS becomes almost irrelevant. Thus, instead of trying to consolidate with each other, the OS vendors should accelerate support for browser technologies such as HTML5, BONDI, WebGL, etc.
      linuser
  • RE: Will mobile Linux distros hang separately?

    Good question, as this seems to be the floor in Linux, everyone wanting their own flavor of it, so the uses never gets to the critical mass, and often to move from one to another is not much easier than to just move to another platform
    Will T
  • It's a bit of a mess . . .

    "I am not a programmer. The job may be trivial."

    It can be a bit of a mess.

    Android is Java based, the Palm Pr? is web based (HTML/CSS/JavaScript), other phones may be C++ based. Welcome to the land of many languages and APIs. It's far from trivial, unfortunately.

    So yeah, I think you're right - they're probably gonna hang separately, so to speak.
    CobraA1
    • Pre model should win

      If most of the devs code for the Pre, any other phone should be able to view HTML/CSS.
      daengbo
    • RE: Will mobile Linux distros hang separately?

      But these Linux phones cant be taken together. They are all tied to different distributions. They all stand alone.<a href="http://ipadbagblog.com/"><font color="LightGrey"> k</font></a>
      zakkiromi
  • I think Tux just met Godzilla!

    A hundred Tuxes pulling all together could topple Godzilla, but poor little ol Tux is fiskin to be a spot of goo under a big foot.
    Too bad, 'cause the idea showed so much promise but the big bad old egos got in the way.
    kd5auq
  • Sorry Naysayers ....

    As someone WHO does a lot of low level programming for Linux, the portability is there. It's not the LINUX kerenel, its the fact that most disro's use the GNU Libraries, which makes going from on distor to another trivial. Even my beloved Slackware is fairly straight forward to port things to.

    Now, if a VENDOR decides to create his OWN library, well then all bets are off.
    linux4u
  • RE: Will mobile Linux distros hang separately?

    Some people still don't seem to understand that the kernel is the beginning of every Linux distribution. This is the most important part that's never incompatible. Different distros: That's the whole idea!! Why should every company aim for the same users? Some people like a purple device, others have different needs and tastes so they buy an other one. You find Linux installed in a washing machine, what do you expect then: a 64 bit kernel distro with Gnome installed??
    pinguinpat
  • RE: Will mobile Linux distros hang separately?

    When you try different distributions you have the CHOICE to decide which one you like the most. Red Hat is as good as Ubuntu. Just like BMW is as good as Mercedes. It's the flavor you know. Why would everybody change because of a new distribution? A lot of people will try it, but believe me when I say that this has always been that way since Linux was born.
    pinguinpat
  • RE: Will mobile Linux distros hang separately?

    The kernel base is always the same that is in all the different architectures of course. So there's always a common ground.
    pinguinpat
  • RE: Will mobile Linux distros hang separately?

    You are hitting the bulls eye! Real independent information is the great challenge for every OS!! Why should it be common knowledge what the pro and contras are using PHP5? It's not often easy to find information that isn't colored. Isn't it M$ & co
    pinguinpat
  • RE: Will mobile Linux distros hang separately?

    They will try, but then somebody in the OS community will device a package distribution system and that will be the end.. Open source is a one way route.
    Jacinto.davila
  • The best thing ever

    Different OS's is something we debate ad nauseam in here - Windows v Linux v OSX. These guys think that those guys don't know what they're doing. You know, the old "I've got used to Windows - why would I change?".

    Well, mobile devices, as readers of this post understand, use different OS's and you know what?. Consumers EXPECT there to be differences. They don't know or care what OS is on their device, as long as it works. They even refer to their manuals still (sometimes) and they are quite okay with going through some learning curve and discover new features, WOW - seriously.

    Different Linux on different mobiles? Who CARES?
    Finally proof that it's the user experience that counts.

    I'm on my 18th GSM mobile and I couldn't tell you what OS has been on any of them including my current Nokia N95 - as long as it works I just couldn't care less.

    (I still prefer Ubuntu over SUSE and Fedora though :P)
    freetulisten
  • Which of the 10,000 Linux distros are you talking about?

    That is the first question you have to answer...
    transposeIT
  • It's Linux so it will still suck...Move along people, nothing to see here..

    mt
    transposeIT