Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G


M$ has been putting coders to extra work on Windows 7 and dropping features taking too long.  Many of us felt it was just because Vista is such a bomb, and they are hoping a new coat of paint (plus a software market that has been phasing out XP to force users to switch if they want to run the newest stuff) will turn their fortunes.

Turns out, there might be something else there.

You can't keep secrets with Open Source, and a doozy has been discovered in Google's Android software for phones.  Android is based on Linux, you see.  A startup called Mobile-facts was working on Android source code.  The founders, Matthaus Krzykowski and Daniel Hartmann, discovered the code for Android contained two different product policies.  For the non-coders, product policies are instructions in the OS aimed at specific uses.  Android should only have one, for mobile phones.  The second is for MID's, or mobile Internet devices.

You know...netbooks.

Thinking they might be onto something, they took Android and compiled it for an Asus eeePC, specifically the 1000H.  It took four hours to compile and install.

Everything worked immediately.

Turns out, Asus has done some development on the Android code to make it eeePC compatible, and they are hinting that it could be ready to market an eeePC with Android as early as summer.  They say no firm launch date has been set, but with netbooks selling like crazy in a bad economy, this is where the money is.  Android is cheaper than Xandros, and there's no M$ Tax on it.  Besides, when you already have Xandros and other distros doing the heavy lifting to make their OS's run on the eeePC, would you want to waste money working on the Android if you weren't going to do something with it?  Speculation is that it will be out by the end of the year.  And, as Android is Open Source, that means it wouldn't take much to make it work on a desktop.  People were already being exposed to Linux under Xandros and such.  Now, here's an OS exactly like the one they are famliar with on their phones on a laptop.  Oh, here's an OS exactly like the one on their laptop on the desktop....

See?  Every cloud has a silver lining, and these tough times are Open Source's best friends.  In this lousy economy, M$' outrageous fees and lack of stability are harder to justify, especially when you have an alternative that runs rings around it.  Dell's Ubuntu netbooks are more expensive than the Windows offerings, but people are willing to pay the extra and do without things like a trial version of M$ Office that holds your documents hostage until you either 1) pay the $400 they are asking for or 2) install OOo and use that for your needs, like I have gotten several people at work to do.

Now I see why M$ is pushing Win7 so hard.  They supposedly have found a way to make it run on netbooks (most netbooks come with XP due to technical specs, so I'm guessing this will be a Win7 Home Basic like for Vista, or as we sarcastic jackasses called it, Vista Shareware Edition).  Google has too much mindshare behind it, and this Linux friendly company could annihilate more marketshare.  Ubuntu and Red Hat have been slowly decomposing it.  Google will just hack it off.  Hell, I might even start backing Asus as they won't be running Xandros on those machines anymore.

The only downside to this is Google's EULA.  Usually, Google gets it.  But the early days of the Chrome web browser, I vaguely recall something in the EULA that had FOSS advocates pissed (I think they removed whatever clause it is, but I prefer Firefox myself, and never gave Chrome more than a cursory look).  Google may adapt when people complain, but that means they've done something to slow their growth.  For this to be a hit, it has to hit the ground running.  Hopefully, people are making sure the EULA is good and won't inspire backtalk from the FOSS community.

What has Google done for Open Source?  They're about to broadside a marketplace monopoly.  That good enough for you?
Tags: computers, digital rights, foss, linux, open source, technology is a beautiful thing

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