Making Sense of Location Based Services

Back from the Wilderness with Linux

This is a first of a series of posts looking at alternative Mobile devices and Operating Systems that are not as well known as the “Big Boys” (you know which ones I am referring to) and their impact on the Location Based Services Ecosystem.

I have used Linux for 6 years now but only as an alternative to Windows. However for the last 8 months or so I have been focused in understanding the command line and with the advent of re-flashing my Nokia N900 due to a faulty camera (the fault is with a bug in the module for the flash operation) I have decided today, to give a very brief overview of my thoughts.

So why would I use a 3 year phone? For two main reasons. First because Easy Debian (a customised version of a flavour called Debian) can be installed on the external microSD card which allows for a fully functioning Debian system. The icing on the cake is the Nokia N900 can be used as a device for browsing through the Iceweasel browser with addons, giving a level of privacy which other mobiles phones are unable to do.  I don’t have to sign in to use a repository update or download a program (app) and let Google or any other pernicious OS use my behaviour to build a profile and sell that data with out my knowledge. In a world where privacy is a luxury, the Nokia N900 and other similar devices allow me to partake of this precious fruit.

And secondly, because of the Mer project as well as Nemo OS both of which are closely related to Tizen and Sailfish OS – to be explained further in my next post.  With the advent of these new Mobile OS’s (Tizen and Sailfish)  and the new Mozilla Phones, the privacy issue could be re-addressed and brought back in balance from a world where corporates are aware of one’s every move.

The Nokia N900 is not as powerful as the newer Android or iPhone cousins but there is a level of pliability which comes with the territory when using Linux which is not experienced with the newer OS. There are restrictions whilst using Easy Debian because it is used in conjunction with Maemo (the underlying OS driving the N900) but I still have to understand what those mean as I am in the latter stages in “cutting my teeth” with the system.

My sole focus was on Arch Linux as I feel I was blinded by the sheer difficult learning curve that I had to endure whilst mastering a level which would place me in the non noob grade. What changed my perception is the advent of another unstable OS distro entitled Aptosid. This post mentioned the blog writers migration from Arch to this “Sid” distro highlighting a key issue related to the security of the package manager (which Arch has addressed). This was enough for push for me to use this in conjuction with Arch.

Debian is one system that I have always liked but not really understood – I found it to be a bit regimented for my liking but Aptosid showed me that it can be as flexible as Arch. But most importantly it taught me the community was more open about how secure one can and has to be with solutions for every scenario.

So what is the next step?  I’m looking at flashing Nemo OS on the second N900 to test how good it is.

Next post will cover the Mer project and the new Firefox OS.

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