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Linux, Android and Open Source in the Mobile Environment

A presentation that describes the quite various Linux-based operating systems available in the mobile space, especially contrasting MeeGo and Android. Some platforms include just the Linux kernel and some are full "Gnu/Linux" distros. Libraries, licenses and governance models also vary, making the situation confusing for both consumers and developers.

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Linux, Android and Open Source in the Mobile Environment

  1. 1. Linux, Android and Open Source in the Mobile Environment Alison Chaiken [email_address] 3/5/10 Survey of Linux on mobile Kernel+ open source in mobile world Curious status of Android and why we care
  2. 2. Why do we care? Linux is well-established on servers and in embedded, but mobile is wide open. Smartphone OS space is highly contested! Mobile outcomes for Linux will have significant consequences for other form factors.
  3. 3. What do we mean by “Linux”? "anyone can call any kernel-derived operating system Linux" -- Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation "Linux is the kernel . . . . Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called'Linux' distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux." -- RMS
  4. 4.'s definition Linux is a clone of the operating system Unix . . . It has all the features you would expect in a modern fully-fledged Unix, including true multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries, demand loading, shared copy-on-write executables, proper memory management, and multistack networking.
  5. 5. Full “Gnu Linux” implementations Name Supported by Hardware Based on MeeGo = Moblin + Maemo Intel, Nokia, Linux Foundation N900, LG GW990; ARM and x86 (Atom) Fedora or Debian + Qt LiMo + LIPS = ELIPS LiMo Foundation, Wind River NEC, Samsung, Panasonic, Vodafone, NTT custom Angstrom Archos Archos 5 Tablet OpenEmbedded Mer ? Fully open Maemo N900 Ubuntu AccessLinux, OpenMoko, MobiLinux Orange, Access, MontaVista, OpenMoko FreeRunner various
  6. 6. MeeGo Architecture Diagram Doesn't say “Linux”!
  7. 7. Intel's Moorestown SOC LG GW990 running Moblin on Moorestown
  8. 8. Prospects for MeeGo <ul><li>Motivation is earlier market failures
  9. 9. Aimed at netbooks and “slates” like Atom?
  10. 10. Intel and Nokia continue separate app stores?!
  11. 11. Committed fast-boot patches back to main tree
  12. 12. GTK and Clutter de-emphasized </li></ul>
  13. 13. Linux Kernel Plus Name Support Hardware Platform Language Bada Samsung Wave Own SDK C++ webOS Palm Pre, Pixi Browser/Mojo Javascript Chrome OS Google Samsung netbook Browser Javascript Android Open Handset Alliance, Replicant myriad JVM Java
  14. 14. The most valuable piece of I.P. in the world is . . . the GPL'ed Linux kernel.
  15. 15. WebOS (and Chrome?) Software Stack FaiB, even to OEMs, but not FaiF.
  16. 16. Android Software Stack
  17. 17. Android has some familiar features
  18. 18. But “ Android/Linux ” is not standard (based on material by Matt Porter and Harald Welte) <ul><li>System calls handled by Bionic, based on BSD's libc
  19. 19. Bionic is half the size of glibc
  20. 20. Existing uClibc already established in embedded
  21. 21. Chock-a-block with hard-coded constants and policies </li></ul>
  22. 22. Will the Android fork damage the kernel? <ul><li>drivers/staging/android removed from
  23. 23. Drivers don't build against main kernel
  24. 24. OEMs cannot contribute drivers back to the kernel </li></ul>
  25. 25. Licenses vs. Governance from Andreas Constantinou Is the source code publicly available or to members only? Are code check-ins publicly accessible? Are the minutes from meetings publicly available? Are there any fees or contractual commitments (NDAs, etc) required for members? Who has the authority to release code and binaries (how is the release schedule determined)? Who is entitled to branch source code? How is the roadmap formed . . . More to consider than just source availability!
  26. 26. <ul>“ Remixes” of Android coming from telcos: Frog Design . </ul>Android-based hacks
  27. 27. <ul><li>FLOSS Dispenser : a free market for Android
  28. 28. CyanogenMod Project, alt build of Android
  29. 29. Replicant Project aims to replace closed components
  30. 30. Debian can be installed on top of Android ?
  31. 31. OsmocomBB is FaiF GSM Baseband driver </li></ul>Android-related open source
  32. 32. <ul><li>LiMo, ELIPS, Bada, others will ship on millions of featurephones
  33. 33. MeeGo is desktop Linux rejiggered for mobile
  34. 34. webOS and Chrome OS are browser-based OS's founded on the Linux kernel
  35. 35. 800-lb gorilla is “less than free” but may be unstoppable </li></ul>Mobile Linux Take-aways
  36. 36. Summary <ul><li>Linux-based mobile OS's differ in architecture, libraries and governance , not just in licenses and packages
  37. 37. Linux community at large has a lot at stake </li></ul>
  38. 38. References and Sources <ul><li>Blog and Software Freedom Law Center podcasts by Bradley M. Kuhn on Android/Linux's Future and Advancement of Mobile Software Freedom and Software Freedom on Mobile Devices
  39. 39. Linux Weekly News
  40. 40. “Android Mythbusters” by Matt Porter
  41. 41. “ Mobile Megatrends 2009 ,” Andreas Constantinou
  42. 42. Ofono and middleware projects </li></ul>
  43. 43. Licenses and Mobile Phones <ul><li>Maemo had plenty of closed components .
  44. 44. WebOS and Bada: no licenses.
  45. 45. Android is Apache-licensed but drivers are closed .
  46. 46. Installation of “Google Experience” apps not permitted. </li></ul>
  47. 47. Symbian: completely irrelevant? <ul><li>As of 2010, fully open under Eclipse license – except for drivers
  48. 48. Based on ancient Psion real-time microkernel
  49. 49. Runs on many handsets, but they have closed bootloaders
  50. 50. Only open hardware is TI's Beagleboard
  51. 51. Free, but not “less than free” like Android
  52. 52. Apps must be signed by Symbian Foundation </li></ul>
  53. 53. Traditional OS stack
  54. 54. Smartphone Sales by OS
  55. 55. Chrome OS Stack The ‘Browser’ engine is the system execution engine.