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Cellphones Handhelds Linux

Why Open Source Phones Still Fail 322

Posted by Soulskill
from the strange-and-spooky dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Truly open-development, open-source phones like the Nokia N900 will never hit the mainstream in the US because wireless carriers in the country hate the unexpected, writes PCMag's Sascha Segan. The open-source philosophy is all about unexpected, disruptive ideas bubbling upwards, and that drives network planners nuts. So, you get unsatisfactory hybrids like Google Android, which uses some open-source components but locks third-party developers into a crippled Java sandbox. The bottom line is that while Linux the OS, the kernel, and the memory manager are attractive to phone manufacturers, Linux the philosophy — and users banding together ad hoc to create new things — is anathema to wireless carriers."
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Why Open Source Phones Still Fail

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  • by alain94040 (785132) * on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:13PM (#30331094) Homepage

    No carrier wants geeks. Geeks use up a lot of network resources, try to find ways around rules, and create problems for tech support.

    Yes. But geeks also build new cool applications never before thought possible, that become next year's must-haves.

    In a sense, the iPhone app ecosystem is proof to that, despite its less-than-open review process. Palm and the PC as well, if you want to go back in history.

    How hard can it be for the base-station to monitor bandwidth and avoid taking the whole network down?

    --
    Meet co-founders [fairsoftware.net] for your startup

  • Oh for.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:18PM (#30331128)

    "The open-source philosophy is all about unexpected, disruptive ideas bubbling upwards, and that drives network planners nuts."

    Open source phones are about being user configurable, extendable and customizable. Wireless carriers like to charge for features, by the feature, and they don't like forking over what you've already paid for. That's pretty hard to do when you don't control one end of the transaction, as others have found out.

    No buzzwords or BS about "disruptive ideas bubbling upwards" required.

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:29PM (#30331228)

    There are many reasons to lock shit down.

    Fear of teh hax0rs taking down a tower.

    Fear of pirates sucking up your bandwidth, and getting all your apps for free.

    Fear of zealots circumventing traditional pay schemes by getting voice, data, and other services off network (and thus free).

    Fear of the russian mob using the phone hardware to spy on or disrupt other people's communications.

    Fear of lawsuits when it gets out that you illegally used copyrighted shit when making the phone's os image.

    Fear of people finding out that you rig the fucking battery display to show higher than it is, or that you rig the reception indicator to show full bars when it shouldn't...until you make a call.

    Fear of Bob deciding to take his shiny new toy to another network.

    While virtually ALL of the reasons center around the company being afraid of people exploiting the company's stupidity, they are still valid concerns - the companies are stupid.

    However, TFA is completely incorrect. Companies don't fear the unknown - they know EXACTLY what we'd do with open phones.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:33PM (#30331254)

    But geeks also build new cool applications never before thought possible, that become next year's must-haves.... Palm and the PC as well, if you want to go back in history.

    But look at the Palm, which is dying. Look at the PC, where Linux adoption to the desktop hovers for a decade at a few percent. There is no control-freak network provider to blame there. Why doesn't open source take over then?

  • by iamacat (583406) on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:34PM (#30331260)

    If they had their way, we would be paying them large amounts of money for nothing whatsoever. It's up to us to show dissatisfaction by either political action demanding open access or refusing to buy smartphones until a completely open one comes to market.

  • Too costly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Medgur (172679) on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:39PM (#30331294) Homepage
    No.

    It's because they cost hundreds of dollars.

    I want an open source phone, I really do, but I can't justify spending 500 on little more than a PDA + phone. I already had a PDA once, hardly used it, and phones that just work as phones are less than a hundred these days. Make an open source phone that's a reasonable price and I'll buy it.
  • They don't fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lymond01 (314120) on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:39PM (#30331304)

    They fail in the mainstream market because there's such a small market for them. The Nokia n900 is a geek's dream, but most people want a phone, not a handheld computer. Most as in 99.99% of the marketplace. And even fewer want a multi-hundred dollar handheld computer/phone. So I'm sure it sells well in the market it was designed for...that .001% of the population that wants a hackable, programmable micro computer that makes calls. So it succeeds where its market is. Saying it fails is like saying the Audi R8 supercar failed. Though, at least that made it into Iron Man.

    You could say the iPhone is a failure as well: it only has 1% of the cell phone market. But I think most of the U.S. will disagree with that statement.

  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:41PM (#30331322)

    There is no control-freak network provider to blame there. Why doesn't open source take over then?

    There is a scapegoat for every problem. Microsoft, vendor lock-ins, corporations, bad managers, bad employees, government, society, temporary insanity, depression, depression medication, education, teachers, family, finances...

    Not to say we can't perhaps put our finger on real problems that prevent open source from "taking over," but just saying that one can reason and argue for a whole lot of perceived problems that may not actually be the reason.

  • by Zerth (26112) on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:41PM (#30331324)

    The Iphone ecosystem is a good example. An example of a phone where I'll have to install anti-virus for my relatives and make sure they are up to date on patches, otherwise their phone will get owned and I'll have to waste a weekend fixing it.

    Let's not go there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:56PM (#30331446)

    I suspect open development phones will become more mainstream as the smartphone and the laptop merge. As phone hardware improves, it's not so hard to imagine a phone with, say, a DisplayPort mini connection (or perhaps a pico projector), USB support, and bluetooth support will displace laptops as the mobile computers of choice. Perhaps instead of buying a laptop you instead buy a widescreen monitor and USB keyboard and mouse and plug those into your phone. Perhaps you just plug your phone into your HDTV and use a bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

    For me, the Nokia N900 represents the beginning of this trend. It really is more of a mobile computer which happens to have a phone function. However, longer term, I don't think this necessarily means Linux will be the dominant mobile computer platform. If Intel's Atom CPUs improve their power usage to the point where it's reasonable to put them in devices of the N900's class, then you'd have to suspect that Windows will become the dominant operating system as it is for laptops today.

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:58PM (#30331476)

    Then do it.

    Get the FCC approve your devices for use.

    Get any sort of decent battery life out of a mesh network with no towers while still maintaining access to the PSTN and emergency services.

    Sell the device at a profit.

    It's so easy why didn't I think of it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @08:02PM (#30331500)

    There's already a working example of this the model is quite profitable...

    It's called the internet. A bunch of service providers give out *relatively* unregulated bandwidth in limited amounts such that ppl CAN do whatever they want without killing the infrastructure. Complete, total, and unfounded bullshit to believe they can't just calculate: user.bandwidth = tower.bandwidth / average_users_per_tower

    Their business model, just like every other is an evolution of what they're familiar with: regulate everything down to the minimum, charge to give it back. We no longer have manual switchboards that require paid labor to operate, you can make a call to the other side of the planet for the same cost as next-door but they still charge more cause it's what people are used and it is profitable.

    Carrier will or won't adopt a Linux phone based, not on merits of it's operating system but their ability to market it. Most people never heard of Linux, most nobody has heard of maemo, and there aren't any mass appeal apps to it. The lack of a specific extraordinary (massively appreciated) quality makes it a competitor to every other large-screen keyboard phone out there, in which case just sell one of them which everyone is already familiar with (e.g. another WinMo phone). The sad fact of the matter is the most people still see cell phone as just phones, they don't care that you can install bittorrent and dl pirated movies straight to your pocket. I sure as hell do which is why I bought one, but despite explaining this to other people all I get is: "so you can fix my computer?"

  • Re:They don't fail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cyber-vandal (148830) on Friday December 04, 2009 @08:12PM (#30331564) Homepage

    Most people want a lot more than a phone, like an MP3 player, MP4 player, camera, video recording, MMS, email, social networking and many more things that haven't been thought of yet. You're massively underestimating the appeal of having one device that can do everything you want, especially to young and not so young wannabes.

  • And yet... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @08:14PM (#30331584)

    ...the same carriers will let you plug a mobile internet stick into your laptop and run anything you want over their 3G network. No sim locking... No "per message" charges. The stench of hypocrisy is hard to miss.

    The public message is that protectionist activities like SIM locking, sandboxing and removing features from phones is about "network security". The reality is that it is about MONEY. Carriers want a cut of everything you do on their network and this requires them to control the handset and the user experience. They will fight tooth and nail to ensure they maintain whatever control they can. BlackBerry, iPhone and Andriod are chipping away at the edges but it has been a long hard uphill struggle. In the end, the customers are the ones who lose.

  • N900 fail? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by svanheulen (901014) on Friday December 04, 2009 @08:14PM (#30331588)
    Yeah, the N900 will never hit main stream. That's why they had to delay the release because Nokia was over whelmed by pre-orders, right? Because that's a clear sign no one is going to get it.
  • Re:Why they fail (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @08:18PM (#30331618)
    It's not that this will be different it's that you're dealing with morons who still don't get that after 15+ years their little pet project has gone nowhere. Linux has failed in the consumer market because the same reasoning they use to cling to Linux is the same reason the consumer market rejects it. Consumers want predictable. Consumers don't want to have to be engineers to use a machine. Consumers don't want to have to keep up on geek trends.

    There will never be a year of Linux on the desktop. Linux has lost in the consumer market. It's over. But if a bunch of losers want to keep on going at it I won't stand in their way. They can keep on losing.
  • by JoSch1337 (1168265) on Friday December 04, 2009 @08:28PM (#30331712)

    "Truly open-development, open-source phones like the Nokia N900..."

    are you kidding me???

    what is "Truly open-development, open-source" about a platform that has

    * proprietary power management (bme)
    * no docs for the gsm modem interface (and no source code for the apps using it)
    * proprietary powervr graphics drivers
    * proprietary osso-dsp-modules

    read also:
    https://bugs.maemo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1584 [maemo.org]
    http://wiki.maemo.org/Why_the_closed_packages [maemo.org]

    i'm not so much pissed by proprietary applications as i can replace the rootfs by a free and open source one what pisses me off is the undocumented hardware used and lacking communication with upstream kernel development.
    dont call this device "truly open"-blah... it is definitely NOT.

    there are a few devices that strive to be as open as a linux phone should be:
    openmoko tried and indeed even though the calypso is undocumented they provided a implementation of how to interface it and thanks to it one can use all of its hardware without binary blobs - NOT POSSIBLE ON THE N900!!!
    then there is the FLOW by gizmoforyou which uses a gumstix overo as the base and added a telit modem for which you can download the FULL DOCS from their website - hey guys at nokia, this is the kind of modem you should have picked if you wanted your device to be called "truly open"!
    the modem used in the n900 uses ISI for which no reference interpretation in oss exists.

    is it only me or did the slashdot crowd forget what "truly open" means and is now all over a device that is open on the top but not if one wants to really start messing around with it?

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday December 04, 2009 @08:30PM (#30331724) Homepage

    Money:

    Manufacturing electronic devices costs it.

  • Re:Too costly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by turbidostato (878842) on Friday December 04, 2009 @08:30PM (#30331730)

    "No.
      It's because they cost hundreds of dollars."

    You think you are arguing against the thread when you are instead conceding.

    "I want an open source phone, I really do, but I can't justify spending 500 on little more than a PDA + phone."

    You seem to forget that *all* PDA+phone-like devices cost 500+. If you get some WinMo or iPhone almost for peanuts is because they are heavily subsidized by the carriers (wich, of course, get their ROI and way more on the long run). And as long as you (consumers in general) concede to the carriers' game you will get whatever is in the best interest of the carriers, not yours. And as long as your (consumers in general) concede to the carriers' game, device makers will produce them to the carriers' expectations, not yours.

    Obvious, isn't it?

  • Re:Oh for.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LockeOnLogic (723968) on Friday December 04, 2009 @08:40PM (#30331796)

    Open source phones will do just fine because there are great big markets

    1% of the most profitable users > 30% of razor thin profit margin users. That is why the iphone is a success, it has nothing to do with userbase. It's all a function of effort to profit. Most users aren't that profitable. Fat middle aged housewives using a $1500 iphone to occasionally call starbucks to see if they left their purse there where the $$ is at.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday December 04, 2009 @08:47PM (#30331850)

    Open source phones will take off. They will take off when someone delivers a model that uses a mesh network to render the existing carriers obsolete, at which point most of the existing carriers will go out of business. Pretty obvious if you think about it.

    We don't even have mesh internet yet.... and that would be infinitely easier - you could have driving cars with their antennas act at mesh points... (Please don't bring up OLPC.)

    The problem with any mesh network is to get decent latency, there eventually has to be a big local pipe that acts as a pipe so your message doesn't have to bounce around a million different devices (not that TCP/IP even allows that AFAIK, believe their self-destruct counter runs down from 256 max IIRC). Back to square one - someone always has to buy a connection for the rest of the mooches, dole out bandwidth, and all that. As well as deal with legal hassles.

  • Re:Why they fail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Friday December 04, 2009 @09:11PM (#30331972) Homepage

    ...then how do you explain MS-DOS and the first several generations of Windows.

    All of this "but it's so hard" nonsense sounds nice if you just fell off the turnip
    truck yesterday and have never actually used Linux. Otherwise it's simply absurd.

    If what you say were really true, Apple would have put Microsoft out of business a very long time ago.

    Now it might be accurate to say that people favor "predictable hard to use malware infested CRAP that they are used to" versus anything else. They would rather eat the dirt they know rather than try something new. THAT would be an accurate observation based on the actual facts.

  • Re:Too costly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stephanruby (542433) on Friday December 04, 2009 @09:37PM (#30332096)

    Fine. Don't pay $500 now. Pay thousands of dollars later in additional cell fees, and lock yourself into a two-year contract that's probably ill-suited for you and purposefully crippled by your provider in many hidden and unforeseen ways. Go ahead, I'm not stopping you. Go buy a brand-new car on credit while you're at it. Get a mortgage you can barely afford. Get all your furniture at Rent-to-Own. And buy all your computers, plasma TVs, and monster cables at Best Buy. No one is stopping you from screwing yourself in the long-run -- if that's what you really want for yourself.

    By the way, if anyone is thinking about buying the N900 through Nokia USA, realize that its maximum speed will only really work on T-mobile (it's some kind of frequency band thing, and T-Mobile's network is the only one that operates that band). Let's face it, Nokia is still not focusing on the US market right now, otherwise other providers would be supported -- not just T-Mobile's band. That being said, if you buy an unlocked N900 and get T-Mobile as your provider, you will have the fastest smart-phone on the US Market -- hands-down.

    I'm assuming that only a few people will do that, at least in the US, in the rest of the world -- the N900 will be selling like hotcakes. So in that sense, the original article is right that the N900 won't be that big in the US, it's just not for the reasons it mentioned.

    That being said, there are still many good reasons you should get yourself an unlocked phone, even if it's not the N900. There are many good quality smart-phones out there, and assuming the American currency goes back up to its previous level, and you do a little bit of research, you should be able to buy smart-phones directly from Asia, or directly from Europe, that should work just fine in the US and still make all your iPhone friends jealous.

  • by grcumb (781340) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:12PM (#30332216) Homepage Journal

    His email address is ...@ovi.com. Ovi is the name of Nokia's internet services brand, so it looks like this is just astroturfing.

    You couldn't be more wrong. Astroturfing [google.com] is when you hide your professional affiliation, pretending to be completely objective and disinterested. This person is doing exactly the opposite. That's commonly known as advocacy, and it's perfectly all right in my books, because we can weigh what they say on its merits.

    General note: I'm getting really, really tired of people who think bias has anything to do with the merits of an argument. Bias is good. It breeds enthusiasm and makes it clear which side a person is arguing. Until we all become Spock, there will be no objectivity in the world, so let's quit pretending that objective sources exist.

    That said, anyone who can't change his mind in the face of a better argument is just a fool.

    Go ahead, prove me wrong. I'm willing to listen. 8^)

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:45PM (#30332386) Journal

    What I meant by the kernel was the kernel should have the basic I/O-file systems, networking, etc and that the drivers for device foo belong in the ABI. And as for "windows drivers causing BSODs"? Yeah, that was true in 1998, but working PC repair I have had to deal with some seriously shitty hardware and since XP came out finding a BSOD due to 3rd party drivers is EXTREMELY rare. 99 times out of 100 the device simply doesn't work. And in 99 out of 100 of those cases a simple uninstall/reinstall fixes it right up.

    While I think your idea of a "retailLinux" is intriguing, and if I didn't suck ass at website design I have some ideas that could mitigate it somewhat, I think ultimately in the end Linux is doomed to stay just where it is at, and it is NOT because of some conspiracy. sadly, it all comes down to politics and the "SCoN!" (Source Code or Nothing!) brigade. They will NEVER allow a stable ABI, or an easy way to just slap drivers on a CD and ship it, because "Gasp!" you might actually get a few vendors that don't release their source code for RMS to rummage through.

    To see how militant the SCoN! brigade is, just look at the Anti-TiVo clause in GPL V3. Here you have the defacto leader of the GNU movement rewriting sections to specifically target a SINGLE company he doesn't like, and lets be honest here, okay? If the TiVo was easily "hacked" to run unsigned source code, how long do you think it would be before the net was flooded with "Free TiVo!" code and/or easy to use ways to copy any and all content off of said TiVo? I would say about a week, and TiVo would go bye bye, but RMS don't care about TiVo or any other busines for that matter.

    And THAT is why ultimately Linux is doomed to a niche at retail. It will cost serious money for advertising, fixing the problems I outlined in my previous post, making inroads with retail stores like Walmart, all that takes money. I'm sure there are plenty of companies that would be happy to meet with RMS and try to come to some sort of compromise, but to the SCoN! there is NO compromise, ever. To them GNU is NOT an OS, but a religion, a way of life if you will. They do NOT care if it ever becomes more than a niche, as long as their beliefs are upheld.

    And to ultimately make serious inroads on the desktop you will HAVE TO make shopping for Linux as easy as shopping for Win7 and OSX, which means you HAVE TO be able to put drivers on CDs and penguins on the box. But because the SCoN! has so much power within Linux that will simply never happen, because then companies might be able to release binary drivers like nVidia does, but without having to blow serious mountains of cash like nVidia does on driver development. The SCoN! would rather things be hard and Linux be a niche than to compromise, now or ever. That is the problem with zealotry, it always gets more extreme, never less.

    And I apologize for the length of this rant, but I have been hoping and trying different distros and waiting for Linux to finally get to where I can sell it without going bankrupt since WinME came out and stank up the joint (remember ME? Shudder) but every time the after sale support ends up costing me MORE than a Windows license, and in the end it is all because of paperweight roulette.

    What Linux needs is guys like me, the mom & pop shops, to sell your OS and make getting support for it as easy as dropping a windows box off at Worst Buy. And we LIKE your OS, as none of us enjoy cleaning porn bugs off an infected Windows box. But until I can sell a Linux PC without having my gut tied in knots waiting on the customer to get pissed at me because they lost playing paperweight roulette it just ain't worth the pain. Sorry, no sale.

  • What a load of BS (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @11:45PM (#30332686)

    I didn't even read the article, but this is the biggest piece of garbage ever. Open source phones are not "failing", Android is booming at the moment. And developers are certainly not "locked" into a Java sandbox, that's merely the method that is support by Google (by using Eclipse + Android plugin).

    See http://developer.android.com/sdk/ndk/1.6_r1/index.html:
    Android applications run in the Dalvik virtual machine. The NDK allows developers to implement parts of their applications using native-code languages such as C and C++. This can provide benefits to certain classes of applications, in the form of reuse of existing code and in some cases increased speed.

    The author also seems to be under the impression that Android is created by a bunch of "banded together" users, when in reality it's actually Google using predeveloped open-source libraries, plus their own bits and piece, which they have themselves open sourced.

    Sascha Segan should be fired.

  • by 10101001 10101001 (732688) on Friday December 04, 2009 @11:49PM (#30332710) Journal

    What I meant by the kernel was the kernel should have the basic I/O-file systems, networking, etc and that the drivers for device foo belong in the ABI.

    That's probably a bad idea. There's already a mishmash of userland drivers for things. Preferably, everything would follow a standard ABI.

    And as for "windows drivers causing BSODs"? Yeah, that was true in 1998, but working PC repair I have had to deal with some seriously shitty hardware and since XP came out finding a BSOD due to 3rd party drivers is EXTREMELY rare. 99 times out of 100 the device simply doesn't work. And in 99 out of 100 of those cases a simple uninstall/reinstall fixes it right up.

    A lot of that has to do with WHQL testing. That's certainly a way that could be done with Linux, even following a similar $250/submission fee for evaluation of test logs.

    While I think your idea of a "retailLinux" is intriguing, and if I didn't suck ass at website design I have some ideas that could mitigate it somewhat,

    It'd take a lot more than making a website. You'd need to fork the linux kernel, maintain it with the standard line, create a standard ABI, creating testing tools to create a WHQL-like program, and start an organization to actually handle processing of the test results. Overall, it's something that a large organization like IBM or Ubuntu could finance, but I don't think they have an interest in committing all that work--and I don't think it's for ideological reasons.

    I think ultimately in the end Linux is doomed to stay just where it is at, and it is NOT because of some conspiracy. sadly, it all comes down to politics and the "SCoN!" (Source Code or Nothing!) brigade. They will NEVER allow a stable ABI, or an easy way to just slap drivers on a CD and ship it, because "Gasp!" you might actually get a few vendors that don't release their source code for RMS to rummage through.

    True enough. There is virtually no interest in moving towards binary blobs of any kind. A lot of people who work on Linux do so precisely because of all the hassle of binary blobs.

    To see how militant the SCoN! brigade is, just look at the Anti-TiVo clause in GPL V3. Here you have the defacto leader of the GNU movement rewriting sections to specifically target a SINGLE company he doesn't like, and lets be honest here, okay? If the TiVo was easily "hacked" to run unsigned source code, how long do you think it would be before the net was flooded with "Free TiVo!" code and/or easy to use ways to copy any and all content off of said TiVo? I would say about a week, and TiVo would go bye bye, but RMS don't care about TiVo or any other busines for that matter.

    Why should they? The GNU movement's objective isn't to create "good will" at the expense of its ideology. TiVo, quite simply, chose the wrong tool for the job. Instead of choosing a closeable open OS, they went with an open OS and tried to force it to be closeable. Perhaps they did it because they were ignorant of alternatives (like FreeBSD/NetBSD/OpenBSD). Or perhaps they did it to capitalize on the interest of Linux fans (and for which they'd deserve backlash, not accolades). In either case, TiVo inadvertently forced GNU to action in finally updating their license to better deal with the issue of patents (something that had been mulled over for quite some time), and it taught a valuable lesson to companies like TiVo that GNU and Linux aren't in it as a part of a popularity contest above all else.

    And THAT is why ultimately Linux is doomed to a niche at retail. It will cost serious money for advertising, fixing the problems I outlined in my previous post, making inroads with retail stores like Walmart, all that takes money. I'm sure there are plenty of companies that would be happy to meet with RMS and try to come to some sort of compromise, but to the SCoN! there is NO

  • Re:Oh for.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr&bhtooefr,org> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:00AM (#30333208) Homepage Journal

    Of course, most people here are conditioned to buy their phones from their carrier anyway, and you don't get a discount on service if you aren't in a contract, meaning for most people, the Nokia N900 really is $600, versus somewhere around half that depending on carrier for the Touch Pro 2.

    Carriers definitely drive (or hinder) phone technology here, not manufacturers. The iPhone is one of the very rare exceptions to that, and that's only because Apple was able to use their hype to get a carrier to let them in... and then the carrier took the opportunity to gouge customers because they knew they could get away with it.

    Oh, and there's no reason that CDMA phones have to be the way they are about lockdown. Japanese CDMA phones use R-UIMs. (And, IIRC, Verizon was putting in an open network policy, to let you bring anything that will actually work on their network.)

  • by NickFortune (613926) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:31AM (#30333676) Homepage Journal

    And the fact that the government is mandating ANYTHING is a negative in my book

    So presumably you're an anarchist, then? Repeal the laws against rape and murder - can't have the government telling us what to do. Might as well disband the police force since there's now nothing for them to enforce. Everyone can just buy a gun and defend themselves. It's a bit rough on the infirm and elderly, but on the bright side, they're not likely to live long enough to cause a problem, so maybe that's OK.

    Or is it just that governments have no business telling corporations what do to? I have noticed that a lot of libertarians don't appear to have a problem with laws like the DMCA. Maybe the ideal here is that corporations be above the law, since all a law is, is a government mandate. After all, financial deregulation has worked out so well recently.

    It's just propaganda. The whole notion of a self-regulating free market working to the betterment of all is a myth.

  • Thanks a lot. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dtmos (447842) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @07:28AM (#30334288)

    ... so you're one of the guys screwing up communications on the amateur bands, just for your fun. Thanks. Thanks a lot. And thanks for caring about someone other than yourself. Would you corrupt others' Internet communications as readily?

    (n.b.: This type of illegal CB operation is especially bad because the illegal "channels" used are in the portion of the amateur 10m band used for international narrowband, weak-signal work -- usually in Morse code, and often at the threshold of audibility in a 250 Hz bandwidth. Since the transmission modes were different, the illegal operators often can not hear the communications they are disrupting; further, since the "freebanders" use wider, single sideband transmissions, a single illegal transmission can interfere with dozens of narrowband signals at once. Since this band is capable of worldwide communication at certain points in the sunspot cycle, the interference can quite literally be global in nature.)

    By the way, the world has changed. In the UK, an amateur radio licence is now free, valid for the lifetime of the user, and available online [ofcom.org.uk]. If you're worried about the licence examination (but you're a geek, so technical matters are no problem for you -- right?) there are clubs that will hire the room, give you the study book, and teach you the exam material, all for £45 [g0mwt.org.uk]. So if you want to talk to the world, why not just follow existing international standards and agreements, and get an amateur radio license?

  • Re:Thanks a lot. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ichigo 2.0 (900288) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @08:19AM (#30334430)
    While your post contained interesting information, it wasn't really relevant to the grandparent (try reading more than the first line, i.e. the part where he mentions that he does not use CB anymore). I also find it amusing that you immediately categorized him as "one of the guys screwing up communications on the amateur bands". You also forgot to end your post with "get off my lawn".

    Thank you.
  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:38AM (#30334768) Journal

    Did you read those links you posted? Thank you for pointing out EXACTLY what I said, that the problem is a political one and NOT a technical one. Their talk of "openness" as the FIRST part of that line is tipping their hats to the SCoN! so as not to piss them off. And I stand by my statement.

    No easy to use binary drivers equals no drivers on CDs, no drivers on CDs equals no little fat penguins on boxes, no penguins on boxes equals paperweight roulette, paperweight roulette equals consumers not touching your OS nor retailers selling your OS, no consumers and no retailers equals itty bitty marketshare, itty bitty marketshare means even less reasons for conumer device manufacturers to support your OS.

    It is REALLY simple here folks, remember KISS? It is nearly 2010, do you want a shot at the title, or do you want to remain a single digit niche hobbyist OS? Because in 2009 it is the either the height of arrogance or shows the depth of "infection" of the SCoN! brigade mindset when you get folks here with a straight face actually expecting consumers to play paperweight roulette or do fucking research like they were studying for a college entrance exam simply to buy devices for your OS. It is truly delusional behavior of the SCoN! crowd if they HONESTLY think Linux will EVER get more than the tiny niche it has with that attitude. THIS is why we are already seeing a schism in the community, with even Linus refusing to license the kernel under GPL V3, because he knows that RMS has gone too far.

    It is 2009 folks, You haven't had to play paperweight roulette with MSFT Windows since the end of Win9x a decade ago. You haven't had to play paperweight roulette with Apple since Jobs returned with OSX. Expecting folks in the age of plug and play and easy GUI everything to trawl forums, do research, put in piles of CLI commands, or even worse "tweak" those said commands in the hope to get a device to work is simply insanity. The vast majority out there are NOT hackers, and frankly could not care less about source code, they just want shit to work out of the box, and for everything to be easy peasy. Until Linux and the SCoN! along with the more arrogant kernel devs accept that the current model does NOT work for the majority of home users? Well sadly OSX and Windows will continue to absolutely dominate, and Linux will be looked at as the hard to use geeks OS, and rightly so. The age of paperweight roulette has to end.

  • by agnosticnixie (1481609) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @11:47AM (#30335800)

    I use macs and unless it's stuff that works with Linux (or, the one exception, the lexmark drivers, which are beyond horrible), you don't do much shopping for osx either.

  • by 10101001 10101001 (732688) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @06:34PM (#30339414) Journal

    No, apparently Linux is based on the idea of software freedom for Linux users only, on the idea of making itself the only player in the free-software gain. Otherwise the Linux kernel developers would realize that making a full arsenal of device drivers portable and available to the world of free operating-systems at large can do more to advance free software ...

    And you're missing the point. The current argument for why Linux drivers have to be GPL2 is that they are a derivative work of the Linux kernel. If any sort of stable API/ABI was created across multiple OSs, then it would be quite obvious that drivers aren't themselves a derivative work of the kernel and could be licensed however a driver maker pleases. And because Linux kernel hackers want to be able to actually debug and fix faulty components of the kernel space, like a driver, they desire the software freedom of open source for drivers and won't work to undermine it.

    Truthfully, this doesn't lock out other free software OSs. But, it does mean that those that wish to use an exiting Linux driver have to modify it for their own OS or clone the Linux behavior, however that might change. Yes, that's a painful barrier and it would be preferable to have portable drivers. But, the current situation is a byproduct of the limitations of copyright law's ability to coerce others to comply with the wishes of Linux kernel developers when it comes to Linux driver development.

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