Category Archives: Mobile Linux

Linux leaning towards Mobile

Linux, which is arguably the most important free software project, is making a clear shift towards mobile development.  This is highlighted in the Linux Foundations latest Linux Kernel Development: 2013 Update  with mobile focused companies such as Qualcomm, Samsung and Google are pushing ahead of enterprise server vendors to make Linux their own.

Since 2005 the Linux community has included over 10,000 individuals across 1,000 different organizations. Not only is the group big, but it moves exceptionally fast: the Linux community merges 7.19 patches every hour, or roughly 171 changes every day and more than 1,200 per week. This is impressive on its own, but doubly so when we recognize that many changes don’t get accepted into the kernel and so aren’t included in that number.

According to the update, whilst Red Hat maintains its lead in Linux kernel development; Linaro, a non-profit engineering organization founded in 2010 by ARM, Freescale, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas instruments (TI), with significant behind-the-scenes engineering involvement from Canonical, climbed in the rankings from position 25 in 2012 to position 4 in 2013. Qualcomm also made a big jump in which in 2012 it didn’t even make the list but in 2013 it hit position 17.

Texas Instruments, Samsung and Google also all climbed alongside Linaro and Qualcomm.  Mobile is clearly claiming a significant role in Linux kernel.

Alongside this, Linux is also becoming more commercial with this trend hitting overdrive in 2013.  As the report notes, the top 10 contributors, including the groups “unknown” and “none,” make up over 55% of the total contributions to the kernel. Even if one assumes that all of the “unknown” contributors were working on their own time, over 80% of all kernel development is done by developers who are being paid for their work.

table_linux_kernelCompanies in Linux Development 2013

It is envisaged that volunteer developers are unlikely to remain such for long. As in other successful open-source projects, quality developers quickly get hired if they show talent. As a consequence, the volume of contributions from unpaid developers has been in slow decline for a long time. In 2012 developers with no corporate affiliation made up 14.6% of contributions which is now fallen to 13.6%.

As far back as 2002 the Boston Consulting Group found that the majority of open source developers were not only highly qualified, they were also generally well-compensated for their open source contributions.

This corporate involvement might be a problem if it were somehow restraining Linux kernel development, but it’s clearly not. Linux has remained relevant to a variety of different markets, including enterprise servers and consumer mobile, because it invites participation by a number of different vendors. Marten Mickos (a member of the board of directors of Nokia) stated that;

The purpose of the (free and open source) license and the governance model is not really to enable like-minded people to collaborate, although that’s a benefit too. It’s about enabling unlike-minded people to collaborate. The beauty of open source is that people who dislike each other can produce code for the same product.

Nowhere is this more evident than Linux development, for which we should be very, very grateful.

The following infographic shows the development of Linux trending towards Mobile in 2013..

Linux Infographic Sept 2013

Lessons of Software Development Management by Linus Torvalds

If anyone knows the joys and sorrows of managing software development projects, it would be Linus Torvalds, creator of the world’s most popular open-source software program: the Linux operating system. For more than 20 years, Torvalds has been directing thousands of developers to improve the open source OS. He and I sat down to talk about effective techniques in running large-scale distributed programming teams – and the things that don’t work, too.

Torvalds says there are two things that people very commonly get completely wrong, both at an individual developer level and at companies.

“The first thing is thinking that you can throw things out there and ask people to help,” when it comes to open-source software development, he says. “That’s not how it works. You make it public, and then you assume that you’ll have to do all the work, and ask people to come up with suggestions of what you should do, not what they should do. Maybe they’ll start helping eventually, but you should start off with the assumption that you’re going to be the one maintaining it and ready to do all the work.”

Torvalds continues, “If you start off with some ‘kumba-ya feeling’ where you think people from all the world are going to come together to make a better world by working together on your project, you probably won’t be going very far.”

For the full post please click here

The One Touch Fire for less than $1 !!

FireFox OS Phones are in the process of being launched. The first Firefox OS phone, the ZTE Open, made its debut on July 2 in Spain via Telefonica. Now the company has officially launched the Alcatel One Touch Fire via Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Mobile Poland. They have started selling the Firefox OS phone on July 12th online and it will be available in stores starting on July 15th.

Firefox is planning to make the phone available through Deutsche Telekom’s various subsidiaries to Germany, Hungary, and Greece in the coming Autumn. The United States will see the phone in 2014.

The price points are very attractive; The One Touch Fire (being sold in Poland) featuring a 3.5-inch, 480-by-320-pixel display will cost less than $1 “in combination with a very attractive tariff,”.

alcatel-one-touch-fire-2

Deutsche Telekom’s announcement comes only days after Telefonica Movistar in Spain started selling the first commercial device supporting Firefox OS – the ZTE Open – for €69.

zte-open-ofic

The rollout of Firefox OS devices follows the announcement at Mobile World Congress in February 2013 that more than 20 operators and handset vendors would support the new platform.

The key behind Firefox’s strategy is to bring the a smartphone experience at a low price point, with a particular focus on emerging markets. The question is, how will this impact on Android and Apple?

Source: PCMag

Firefox Phones Launched

The first Firefox OS phones have just gone on sale. Geeksphone has released two models, the Keon and the Peak both of which feature Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. The Keon has a slower single-core model, while the Peak has a faster dual-core chip; both devices have 512 RAM and 4G of storage space, and the Keon has a 3.5 inch screen while the Peak packs a larger 4.3-inch display.

Click the following link for fuller details: www.geeksphone.com They have sold out almost immediatley once they went on sale. However, there is an option to try out the new OS – as Sony hasn’t released a device for the new OS, Firefox have released a Firefox OS ROM for the Xperia E which can be played with.

Source: Linux Format Magazine

Tizen – a replacement for Android?

Tizen is the next OS that can be termed as a true linux OS which will be made available to the market at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.

Tizen is an open source OS and software platform for all sorts of computers but mainly mobile devices. This means that Tizen should eventually offer the same environment and applications for use on netbooks, smart TV’s and in cars. Development has already started on a Tizen In-vehicle Infotainment platform which would make Tizen applications be made available on cars, buses and airplanes

The Tizen platform is hosted by the Linux Foundation. There is a Tizen Association that looks after marketing and education, and handles requirements gathering and other functions – but the important decisions are taken by the Technical Steering Group. Currently the two largest active members are Intel and Samsung. Other Tizen partners with different levels of commitment which include manufactures such as Panasonic, Fujistu and mobile operators such as NTT Docomo, Sprint and Vodafone.

Tizen aims to be a successor to Maemo, Moblin, the LiMo Foundation and the Bada/Wave platform from Samsung. This begs a question, does the market need another Linux-based mobile OS? Diversity is good – but the answer is more political then that. In the past there were four main players in the smartphone market. Apple, with its OS running on its own hardware, Nokia and Microsoft, Google and HTC and finally Samsung which is running a successful campaign with Android.

The reason for Samsung developing Tizen could be related “because they can” and there should be diversity in the market. But this then begs the question wether the apps would be able to be ported over from Android and Bada? Apparently that would be possible because of the “Application Compatabilty Layer” from OpenMobile.

OpenMobile specifically deals with OEMs (Original Equipement Manufacturers) and mobile operators and its main business model is to put ACL inside phones before they are on sale. OpenMobile does offer a free ACL app, an online AppMail for ACL users, and another app to browse it. The AppMail integrates 10 stores in one single catalogue of more than 250,000 Android apps.

How does Tizen work? Tizen has been developed based on two assumptions; first that Android Apps maybe recompiled or just used with ACL and the second that the future belongs to HTML5-based applications making the OS optimised for that set of technologies.

Tizen has Linux at its core; the stack begins with a modified linux kernel and a set of device drivers. On top of that, from bottom to top, the so called Core, a native framework and a Web Framework. The Core subsystem consists of basic, common open source libraries and API’s.

The Native Framwork is a bundle of system services and libraries, packaged in namespaces. There are namespaces for graphics, location support, security and much more. All together, the namespaces provide thousands of open interfaces with which native applications can be built. The Web framework provides HTML5 support and integration with all the basic services, from audio and video to geolocation and messaging.

Tizen is now on its second stable release (2.0) entitled Magnolia which arrived at the beginning of 2013. It brought several native applications and new hardware API’s, with bluetooth and NFC support.

Source of information is Linux Format Magazine

Android restricts MTP access on Linux

If you are running a Linux box you may not be able to transfer files from your Android Device. Starting with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the OS switched to MTP from USB Mass Storage mode for access to the device’s storage via USB. MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) carries several benefits over USB Mass Storage. Unlike the latter, MTP allows you to simultaneously access the storage on both the device as well as the computer. Also, with MTP, corrupt file transfers are theoretically much less probable.

While accessing the storage via MTP from a Windows PC or a Mac is a piece of cake due to excellent driver support, doing so in Linux can be a hassle, as the OS doesn’t ship with said support by default. Why Android have decided on this restriction, I have no idea but I have found a small program in Arch’s AUR repositories which allows access.

gMTP.

There are no restrictions on the types of files gMTP can handle as it has the ability to handle all metadata correctly for all media files. And gMTP handles both internal and external media as well.

In conclusion this exercise has helped to better understand MTP and had given me the option to run various programs that I would not of been interested in if there was no restriction.

Adventures with Arch

I have managed to hone a skill that many people who are considering to install Arch Linux would want to do. Arch Linux is what can be termed as the “Power User System” but to be honest this description is a bit misleading. But saying that installing Arch is not really for people who are interested in a pre-installed system but requires a working knowledge of the “Command Line”. This knowledge is something that is always developing as there are many ways, not one, to solve a problem.

I have over a period of 4 months become more familiar with the system. and in the past two weeks gone through the installation procedure multiple times, testing out the various Graphical Front ends. This has helped to understand the system that much better, giving a better definition of the various commands and structure of Linux.

The Arch Wiki is really the best place to go for additional information, advice and tutorials – the knowledge based is not only applicable to this particular distribution but to other flavours of Linux.

Why is there is an interest in this?

The reasons are twofold; I can have a customised OS on my laptop that I use nearly everyday with out worrying about security and having the latest updates. Secondly, Linux is being adopted in the Smartphone arena which would allow users access to various liberties that have been taken for granted such as privacy.

But I am not here to expound philosophy as this freedom is only experienced when one has fully understood what this system can do. This is the first of many daily posts that I will be writing which will cover my experience and knowledge that is steadily developing and evolving.