Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

Kiss That Chrome, Make A Wish It Won't Turn To Rust

If anyone can identify that lyric without an Internet search, I'll be so amazed....

I am getting really scared the closer Google's Chrome OS gets to RC status.

If you want to know why, just look at Android.

Google engineer Patrick Brady has stated, unequivocally, that Android is not Linux.  Some may call that bullshit.  After all, without Linux, there is no Android, so it must be Linux.  But the fact is, he's right.  Android is not Linux.  It's an app that runs on top of Linux (specifically, the 2.6.32 kernel), like how Windows runs on top of DOS.  This is important to remember.

See, Android has a lot of stuff that is not GPL'ed.  Because it is running on top of Linux instead of actually integrating it, they can't be forced to.  This means their security model with its hooks for the core system or their lock type or the unique framebuffer or how it handles power issues?  Everyone is relying on them to tell them how it works so they can come up with the drivers for smartphones that will make Android work for them.  And lots of people aren't happy.  St. Linus Torvalds recently dumped the Android drivers from the main Linux kernel.  Developers are angry because they can't use Open Source like they want to, they have to go through Google and use the tools they've created for their smartphones.

With so many devices trying to use it, Android has become a mess.  There are six different versions of Android out, with companies upgrading whenever, meaning some Android programs will not work.  This is counter to the philosophy of Linux, that what works on one distro can work on any.  Ted Ts'o, Google developer, poo-poo'ed such talk, saying, "I can't think of any shipping Linux distro, including Red Hat, that doesn't have some out-of-tree packages.  No one ever said, oh my God, Red Hat or Novell forked the kernel."  1)  You bet we've said they've forked the kernel, just not with Linux.  Remember the special remix of OpenOffice that Novell ginned up with their M$ patent indemnity.  2)  I will agree, you are not forking the kernel.  What you are doing is fragmenting, not forking.  In other words, you really are making Linux a UNIX-like OS.

The Android team is actually very small.  Getting some more people would be a help.  There are all kinds of people who would gladly volunteer to help make Android all it can be.  But not only is Google hesitant to relinquish such control, but their own team doesn't get it.  Ts'o recently said, "You know, you don't have to wait for the Android engineers to do this work.  You (or others who want to be able to use stock upstream kernel with Android devices) could just as easily try to do the 'bit more work' yourselves -- that is, do the open source thing and scratch one's own itch."  In other words, if you want something done, do it yourself.  This is unmitigated arrogance, that if you aren't smart enough to engineer patches and features yourself, you have no right to complain.  Take it from someone who knows -- learning to program takes years.  People are being told not to contribute to the community, but to do their own thing and fuck everyone else.  Or, if you can't do your own thing, to be fucked and quit bitching about it.  Linux is for everyone.  It's called the General PUBLIC License.  Elitism has no place here.

This worries me because Chrome follows a similar idea.  It uses Google's Chrome browser running on top of a Linux kernel as an OS, sort of like what Netscape was evolving into before M$ attacked.  Google has so much cache, they could spread Linux like wildfire this way.  But if Android is any indication, Google's help may cause more harm than good.
Tags: computers, digital rights, drm, foss, haven't we suffered enough, hypocrisy, infernal gall, linux, open source, patent law, technology is a beautiful thing
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