[sf-lug] Now is the Time to hate Apple?

Blake Haggerty Blake.Haggerty at Sapphire.com
Tue Apr 13 14:56:20 PDT 2010

>The closest thing to a free-software smartphone running real Linux, 
>today, is the Nokia N900 running Maemo 5 (closely derived from Debian), 
>which is _not_ a vendor-captive OS platform (or hardware), and is almost 
>100% open source. 


What about Neo Freerunner Openmoko? 




Blake Haggerty
Permanent Placement Specialist

Sapphire Technologies U.S., a Randstad company

27 Maiden Lane

San Francisco, CA 94108

(p) (415) 788-8488

(f) (415) 788-2592




-----Original Message-----
From:Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com 
To: "sf-lug at linuxmafia.com" ;
Sent: Apr 13, 2010 05:24:00 PM
Subject: Re: [sf-lug] Now is the Time to hate Apple?

Quoting Christian Einfeldt (einfeldt at gmail.com): 

> I recently bought a Droid.... 

Cool. Glad you enjoy it. Unlike with many smartphones, including the very 
similar quad-band Motorola Milestone, the Droid's bootloader is _not_ 
DRM-locked to be willing to boot only vendor-signed firmware images, 
meaning that you're not totally dependent on the vendor and can, if you 
wish, run something other than Motorola/Verizon-controlled Android 2.0 & 
2.1. For example, you could run CyanogenMod 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CyanogenMod), the most highly respected 
community variant. 

The Google-standard Android environment is subject to heavy vendor 
control, partly at the insistance of the companies that provide 
commercial geographic mapping services (such as deCarta), who require 
that any smartphones to which their data will be served be 
vendor-controlled so that users cannot accumulate map data and use it 
for other purposes. This is one of the reasons why the OpenStreetMap 
project is so important: so that real open source smartphones with full 
feature sets can be practical. 

> ...and I am encouraged by the fact that a Linux-powered computer is 
> being promoted so heavily by North America's largest celluar provider, 
> Verizon. 

_Android isn't Linux_ in any meaningful sense. 

Android relies on a modified Linux kernel, sure, but with a different 
libc, completely different userspace generally, and a modified Java-like 
environment called Dalvik as the predominant development environment. 

The result is not a "distro", but rather a completely different OS, 
maintained by Google, Inc., that has essenially no input from the Linux 
community and has almost nothing in common with Linux as we know it. 

Looking from an open source / free software perspective, Android is a 
dead-end, and doesn't advance computing freedom significantly. 

> To the extent that the Free Software on the Android market place 
> continues to grow.... 

Ports of free software[1] to Android aren't currently significant, and 
probably never will be. It's a heavily vendor-controlled market. 

The closest thing to a free-software smartphone running real Linux, 
today, is the Nokia N900 running Maemo 5 (closely derived from Debian), 
which is _not_ a vendor-captive OS platform (or hardware), and is almost 
100% open source. There will soon be third-party alternative builds for 
the N900, N800, and N810 such as Mer (based on Ubuntu 9.04 with plans to 
merge in useful parts of Maeomo 5) that work around the remaining small 
bits of proprietary code and go all open source. 

[1] The term "free software" in this context is _not_ a proper noun, and 
therefore in the English language should be lowercased. 

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