Now’s a bad time to be an Apple fanboy…

It’s an unhappy day for Apple fanboys. Dan Lyons Newsweek’s tech correspondent just ditched the iPhone for Android, slamming the phone and Steve Jobs’s control-freak strategy in very harsh terms.

It might be tempting to dismiss this on the grounds that Dan Lyons is, not to put too fine a point on it, a fool whose confidence in his own judgment is in inverse proportion to its quality; his gullibility about SCO’s allegations in their lawsuit against IBM became legendary, and some of the stuff he’s written about blogging is hilariously stupid. Given his track record, betting directly against his technology and market projections would be smarter than betting on them.

Yes, but…Newsweek is an awfully big megaphone. And the larger news isn’t the bad stuff that pushed him away from Apple, it’s the good stuff the pulled him towards Android. The Android 2.2 feature list is a body blow from which the iPhone, already trailing Android devices in unit sales, may not be able to recover.

I’m not going to be coy about this. You can talk about all the other cool 2.2 features all day long, but the real killer is that Android 2.2 phones will be on-demand WiFi hotspots. This by itself will have all the laptop-toting road warriors I know falling over themselves to switch to Android phones. Imagine, no more airport and hotel connection fees; it’s easy if you try. Buh-bye Apple.

Announcing Flash 10 support twists the knife. OK, Flash is fragile crap and we’d all be better off if it disappeared, but as a way to ram home the contrast between Google’s “do what you want” and Steve Jobs’s “do what I want”, Flash support is a marketing gesture that’s pretty tough to top.

I’m not going to count off the rest of the feature list here, because I want to focus on the larger picture. Apple has been outflanked by Google’s multi-vendor strategy, outsold in new unit sales, and is now outgunned in technology and user-visible features. Again, I was expecting this…but not so soon.

117 thoughts on “Now’s a bad time to be an Apple fanboy…

  1. Some good arguments but is Android’s success really an argument for open source? An argument for open platforms, sure, definitely, but wouldn’t Google have been just as successful if they had released a closed-source but free-price and open-platform Android? Especially given that most phone vendors close up significant parts of the Android source that they run on their phone and the reports that Google accepts very few outside patches for Android. Even if they accept patches only from large phone vendors whom they trust, that’s no different from shared source initiatives that closed-source vendors like Microsoft use with their corporate clients. I think we can all agree that Apple’s current model is doomed to a luxury niche, but Android is not quite the “open source success” some would like it to be.

  2. Well that does seem pretty damning.

    If Fake Steve Jobs has ditched his IPhone…

  3. Do you know who else has the ability to be on-demand wifi hotspot? Windows Mobile. It also had most if not all of Android 2.2′s features for YEARS. And still… iPhone won. Because Apple doesn’t compete on features. It never did. Remember when it didn’t have Copy&Paste?

  4. No worries. With all due respect, half what you are hearing in the media is wrong. Unit sales for Android are large, but two things to consider: 1) the NPD sales figures have already been shown to inaccurate and 2) “buy one / get one” is not a road to enriching any platform– that is WHY the Android numbers are bigger than they should be. As for Flash, I hate it, and Apple likes to lead. They lead when they ditched the floppy. Here we are 12 years later– all the PC vendors have eventually followed suit. In a few years, Flash will be gone. Good riddance.

  5. Ajay -
    1) if not for open source, Google itself wouldn’t even exist, which I guess makes the rest of your point moot, however
    2) Many successful open source projects don’t accept a lot of ‘outside’ patching. that doesn’t make the project bad or broken

  6. Second paragraph, last line reads “market projections qould be smarter.” I think you wanted could instead of quold? Sorry to be a spelling critic, I’m just as bad.

  7. “but wouldn’t Google have been just as successful if they had released a closed-source but free-price and open-platform Android?”

    Almost certainly not, but I’m not saying this for the reason you think. The reason I say this is that even mighty Google could not have gotten Android going anywhere near as quickly if they had to start from scratch. There are some things you can’t just throw more people at with anything like linear speedup.

    Furthermore: The iPhone OS is supposed to be derived from OSX, itself derived in large part from FreeBSD. To the best of my knowledge the iPhone OS is closed, but it came from open. Apple probably couldn’t have come up with the iPhone OS without bootstrapping off the open, free stuff too.

    So, the fast-growing market players both bootstrapped off of open OSes, the ones getting their lunch eaten didn’t. I don’t think this is coincidence. Open source advocates have been predicting this will happen for a while, perhaps in this market we’ve finally reached the point where it is no longer economically possible to build your own de novo infrastructure (even if you pull from your own other proprietary code bases).

  8. I wonder what’s the battery life of the 2.2: a wifi hotspot, flash applications running, lots of good stuff, but the impression is that you need a nuclear power source to stay switched on for a day!

    Also, the presentation on 2.2 was funny and spot on, but flash is not an open standard, if flash will disappear from the web I won’t cry, html5 is way much more better.

  9. I thought about all of this for a long time and very throughly.
    Apple does not desire to try to add every feature (a toaster to the iphone) just to have more features.
    Steve Jobs is focused on making great consumer devices that are easy to use.
    I am going to tell a couple of recent stories that I heard from friends on the iPad.
    But first, my way list in the past. Still has a cheap LG phone. She play with my iphone but to high tech for her.
    Then I get my iPad. I cannot get it out of her hands. She too busy playing Scrabble on it.

    Then a guy in the office states his wife will never give up his blackberry, she never used an apple product that is until she saw the iPad. He told me he cannot get the ipad out of his hands.

    Grandma want to use the email and see photos. All she needs is an iPad.

    Does your kid like Youtube and gaming. Guess what they will want for Christmas.

    Who is in a position to offer a TV with an iPad as the remote. Try out the PBS or ABC application. Try out IMDb Entertainment app

    Do you like to read books. Kindle app or ibooks.

    I never played games on a computer or watched much video. Now I find myself doing it all the time.

    So what are you going to buy the iPad or the Froyogurt operating system on a tablet sold by HTC? Really. Will of the many Apple stores have that on display for you to play with and try out and bring it back for advice and repair if it works. Who is HTC? Oh, you are going to buy a Verizon pad. A Microsoft pad. A Google pad. It is more than have a great technology product. For years Apple had Microsoft beat hands down. Why did Microsoft beat Apple. When you mother or neighbor ask for your recommendation on a phone and tablet, I think you will recommend iphone and ipad.

    One more thought. The large North Carolina data center being constructed by Apple. How far of a stretch is it for Apple to have your video library at that location and you stream it from your iPad to a $50 like Airport Express device (without hard drive) that plugs in to the back of your TV. The iPad makes a great remote, just look at the demo that Comcast put out on the iPad.

  10. >Apple does not desire to try to add every feature (a toaster to the iphone) just to have more features.

    Then, as of Android 2.2, they fail.

  11. … is Android’s success really an argument for open source?

    Absolutely.

    … wouldn’t Google have been just as successful if they had released a closed-source but free-price and open-platform Android?

    Not at all. It’s a simple matter of trust and having companies like Microsoft show how easy that is to abuse. “Closed source” means “I can get you hooked and then charge you beaucoup bucks for the next version.” Don’t think for a minute the cellphone companies don’t understand that implicitly.

    Especially given that most phone vendors close up significant parts of the Android source that they run on their phone…

    I think you’re confusing the F and the O in FOSS, and in particular, the only thing about the O that the F people abhor.

    This is a huge win for open source. Android would not be nearly as successful if google didn’t say “Here’s the source; do what you want with it.”

    … and the reports that Google accepts very few outside patches for Android.

    Lots of “free software” (not just open source, but GPL-based) companies have this policy. Maybe in that sense it’s not what you would consider a “community project” but that doesn’t make it not open source (or even make it not free, for that matter).

    Even if they accept patches only from large phone vendors whom they trust, that’s no different from shared source initiatives that closed-source vendors like Microsoft use with their corporate clients.

    That’s so silly it’s not even worth rebutting.

    Android is not quite the “open source success” some would like it to be.

    I imagine google and the cellphone companies are quite happy with it. Are you perhaps suggesting that Apple and Microsoft would like it to be more successful? I’m really not seeing where you’re coming from here.

  12. >Great. What phones will have 2.2, and when?

    I don’t know who’ll get it second, but word from Google is that Nexus Ones will get the over-the-air update first.

    I think it’s a safe guess the upcoming Sprint EVO phone will have it at launch.

  13. “I’m not going to be coy about this. You can talk about all the other cool 2.2 features all day long, but the real killer is that Android 2.2 phones will be on-demand WiFi hotspots.”

    You’re saying that Android 2.2 will have tethering, and the iPhone doesn’t.

    True – in the US, the iPhone doesn’t have tethering on AT&T.

    However the iPhone is on sale in many other countries where it does offer tethering (not free… but it’s tethering). Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the US == the world.

  14. The OTA update for the Nexus One is already on the interwebs, and I’ve had it on my phone for almost 24 hours now. It should be going out to N1 owners OTA very soon now, if it is not already.

  15. >You’re saying that Android 2.2 will have tethering, and the iPhone doesn’t.

    Actually, it will be better than what people usually think of as “tethering” – neither a cable to the laptop nor special driver software on the laptop end will be required.

  16. evilnick, if not for open source, Google would have used their millions in VC money to license Solaris like every other dot.com startup, please. Besides, what that has to do with Android, I don’t know. If a successful open source project doesn’t accept much outside patching, isn’t it just a cathedral, albeit with a freely available blueprint? That doesn’t make it bad, just not much of an argument for the bazaar.

    Jeremy, good point about Android and Apple bootstrapping their products off existing open source code, but that’s a very limited success for the open source model, particularly when both Google and Apple are basically building cathedrals with the bazaar-produced products they began with. I disagree that it’s no longer possible to bootstrap off proprietary code, but it is good marketing to employ open source code instead, as that’ll give you a tiny bump from all the geeks and open source fanboys. ;) For example, I don’t think esr would be praising android so much if it were closed-source, even if it were an even better product.

    Patrick, since Android is mostly Apache-licensed, Google can always close it up at any time and replace the GPL-licensed kernel with a BSD kernel, so nothing has changed in that regard. I’m not confused about anything to do with FOSS, as that’s what I love about the O camp (as you can see by clicking on my name above). It’s a huge win for open source that phone vendors close up the Android source and their modifications that run on their phones? I should note I’m not against that hybrid model- I think something similar is the future in fact- I just don’t think it’s the great success for open source that some would like it to be. I didn’t say Android wasn’t open source, I said their cathedral approach wasn’t much of an endorsement of the supposed bazaar model of open source. “That’s so silly it’s not even worth rebutting” -> Translation: I can’t come up with a rebuttal, you’re right. ;) What do Apple and Microsoft have to do with this exchange? My point is that Android uses a hybrid model that doesn’t appear to utilize much of the claimed bazaar advantages of open source. To the extent that’s the case, it hardly matters that the source is open.

  17. I think it’s a safe guess the upcoming Sprint EVO phone will have it at launch.

    But will Sprint let it have the cool features? And will the other vendors let it on their Android phones, with or without the cool features?

  18. Wow one week of decent press for Android / Google and you are ready to forget why Apple of today is the industry leader.

    To date Android’s success can be tied directly to the fact that you can not buy an iPhone on Verizon, simply that from my perspective more than 50% of the people using Android will switch to an iPhone when they can.

    And in less than 2 weeks iPhone OS4 will be public along with the next generation iPhone hardware. With all the hoopla about Android 2.2 there is no talk about significant upgrades to the UI, which is where the iPhone is still years ahead of Google.

    The feature war is a losing battle, Apple can add wifi tethering / hotspot in a few days of development (basic Tethering is already there waiting on ATT). It still takes a lot more effort to do basic things even use google maps on a Android phone than an iPhone. Fins someone with a Droid and try a simple race to find directions including looking it up, you will be there in much less tie that them as it takes about 5 extra step on the Android. And lets not forget that CDMA Android phones can not do telephone calls along with data, as in they can’t do the most important multi-tasaking feature of all (this is Verizon CDMA not Androids fault of course).

    Apple as pointed builds all their products on top of open source code, OSX> BSD, Safari>Webkit, so any basic advantage regarding open source bases of Google is a red hearing.

    Google / Android is good for us all including “Apple Fanboys” their success as it is, puts pressure on Apple to keep on their game and keep up the pace of updates, improve cloud services, and rev their hardware. And hopefully Google will be a better market balance than Microsoft was.

    Apple still has many aces in the hole, but competition will make them better, I hope the same can be said of Google, so far not so much. Their feature war is not balanced by any innovation on the UI front and they still need to work on what they have to reach parity with Apple.

  19. >But will Sprint let it have the cool features? And will the other vendors let it on their Android phones, with or without the cool features?

    I’m expecting so. What happened with the Nexus One and Verizon makes me think Google is going to be a lot more hardassed about pushing out updates and features in the future. That is, if they refused to let Verizon cripple their phone, I can’t think of any good reason they’d let Sprint or another vendor get away with it.

    Besides, think about the market dynamic. All the carriers would have to cripple 2.2′s instant-hotpot feature at the same time to avoid a situation where customers bail to another provider to get it. And that’s only stable until one of them defects…

  20. >Wow one week of decent press for Android / Google and you are ready to forget why Apple of today is the industry leader

    Industry leader? By what metric? Sure looks to me like Google has seized the lead.

    Of course, it’ll probably take the iPhone hemhorraging half its existing customer base to persuade you of that. Nine months, maybe?

  21. flash?

    Be sure to wear your asbestos gloves!

    Battery and heat are also of concern: the pre-release beta we have, according to Adobe, lacks hardware acceleration. Ergo, our beloved handset got piping hot after about 30 minutes of heavy video watching, and the battery indicator in the upper right had a sizable dent.

    http://i.engadget.com/2010/05/20/android-2-2-froyo-beta-hands-on-flash-10-1-wifi-hotspots-an/

    I’m sure an update that runs fast and cool is right around the corner.

  22. > Of course, it’ll probably take the iPhone hemhorraging half its existing customer base to persuade you of that. Nine months, maybe?

    are you a betting man?

  23. > I don’t think esr would be praising android so much if it were closed-source, even if it were an even better product.

    And all it cost them was a phone. A phone they weren’t going to sell anymore. A phone they could leveage by pushing “cool” features to Eric. Features that the great unwashed will never see.

    Google bought a spokesman, a pitchman, a carney, for $200.

  24. Ajay:

    Google can always close it up at any time and replace the GPL-licensed kernel with a BSD kernel,

    a) It would still meet the open source definition; b) the old Android would still be around if people want to fork it.

    It’s a huge win for open source that phone vendors close up the Android source and their modifications that run on their phones?

    It’s a huge win for open source that the vendors are using it in their phones, period. The camel’s nose is well under the edge of the tent; in fact, I’d say his forequarters are completely inside the tent. Competitive pressure will be toward more open.

    I just don’t think it’s the great success for open source that some would like it to be. I didn’t say Android wasn’t open source, I said their cathedral approach wasn’t much of an endorsement of the supposed bazaar model of open source.

    Umm, not to be pedantic or anything — you may have thought that, but you never mentioned anythingabout the cathedral and the bazaar in your post. And the open source definition doesn’t require bazaar-style development. And most significant projects start out with some working code before the doors to the bazaar are thrown wide open. And Google started out with code that benefited greatly from bazaar-style development. And I’m sure that Google is still reaping many of the benefits of open source development which accrue when there are no royalties and source is freely available. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. In any case, I have no idea about whether the development model is more of a cathedral or a bazaar — when you have a community as big as Google and the cellphone vendors, you could certainly run a private bazaar. Especially when all the initial customers have to be cellphone companies, why spend the energy opening things up farther than that to start with?

    Even if they accept patches only from large phone vendors whom they trust, that’s no different from shared source initiatives that closed-source vendors like Microsoft use with their corporate clients.

    That’s so silly it’s not even worth rebutting.

    Translation: I can’t come up with a rebuttal, you’re right. ;)

    No, apparently the translation is “That’s so silly it’s not even worth rebutting, but apparently Ajay is so wrapped up in his own personal view of how to categorize software licensing and strategies that it needs to be rebutted anyway.” Microsoft charges royalties and no forks are allowed. What Google is doing is, AFAIK, truly open source, and nothing like what Microsoft is doing, despite your apparent need to call it “hybrid” or something else.

    My point is that Android uses a hybrid model that doesn’t appear to utilize much of the claimed bazaar advantages of open source. To the extent that’s the case, it hardly matters that the source is open.

    What you call a hybrid model was, AFAICT, deliberately encompassed by the open source definition. Your opinion that Google’s development model doesn’t make full use of all the possible benefits of bazaar development doesn’t change that fact.

  25. ha! My iphone can act as a wireless access point if I jailbreak it and buy the program that allows me to do so!

    Seriously though, competition is good. Do you honestly think Android would have gotten as good if it were still competing against the other various mobile phone OS’es?

    Apple has shown what can and should be done with mobile devices. The rest of the world may finally be catching on. Result? A clear customer win.

  26. > My iphone can act as a wireless access point if I jailbreak it and buy the program that allows me to do so!

    if you knew how to write ‘C’, you could do this without a jailbreak, and give it away to 99 of your best friends every year.

    What is more interesting is that Android is already a legacy system. Java is teh suck. If you font think Google has plans to put Chrome OS on the phone, and run all the apps in the browser, you are sadly mistaken.

    Perhaps they’ll offer an Android (“Yellow”) box, so existing apps can be run from your backups on google’s servers.

    Jay, I’m not saying Eric is being dishonest (at least not here, he does have a strong propensity to overclaim his accomplishments). I think they’ve done some marketing judo. They built a limited lifetime phone on which to demo fun technologies, then had Chris Dibona send one to Eric.

    Presto, Eric starts blogging about cool Android stuff. Stuff the open source world either doesn’t care about (Flash), or stuff the carriers will never allow without a tiered data plan in-place.

  27. You are comparing this year’s Android phone hardware to last year’s iPhone and declaring the Android spec sheet the winner. No surprise there.
    Then you are comparing the new Android 2.2 OS specs with last years iPhone OS 3.o software and declaring Android the winner when there are no phones sold with Android 2.2 OS on board and no old Android phones upgraded to Android 2.2. That is just not done. You can’t compare vaporware to the real thing. Let’s compare Android 2.2 to iPhone OS 4.0. There is enough known about both OSs to know that iPhone OS 4.0 will be in new iPhones in just over one month and it will out perform Android 2.2. Not only that, the iPhone G4 will be in the same ballpark, spec wise, as any new Android phone.
    Come back in a month or so and tell me how good Android is. Come back in 6 months, after iPhone has been on Verizon for a few months, and tell me about world wide Android sales.

  28. Patrick, the problem is that it’s essentially impossible for an Android phone user who’s not on a N1 (or maybe a few others) to do anything with that forked code. How do they get it on their phone? The proliferation of different phones with different OS versions and different software availability is still a major drawback. If Eric is right and Google is about to put their foot down and make it stick (the latter of which remains to be seen), then things may be about to get better.

    Quaker, I still disagree. Eric was writing about Android before Google sent him a phone. I also disagree about the open source world not caring about Flash, as having it makes the open source software more desirable to anyone but a purist (which Eric is the epitome of not being), and the tiered data plan? We’ll have to see. I happen to agree with you, but T-Mobile isn’t offering one yet.

  29. Patrick, I’d love to read this open source definition that says that Google can replace Android’s linux kernel with a BSD kernel and close up all the source code, but still be considered open source. :) Yes, you’re right about forking, the difference is that the phone vendors could still fork Android if Google closed the code now, but I think that’s unlikely given how Google dominates current Android development. If anything, the phone vendors would probably respond by forking Android and then closing it themselves. ;) What does it matter if source is open if it’s still developed cathedral-style? Suppose Microsoft made all their source available for anyone to read, but you couldn’t modify or use it in any way, does that really matter? That’s close to what Google is doing now, except that you’re always free to fork Android. I didn’t just “think” about the cathedral/bazaar model in my original post, I explicitly mentioned that Google supposedly accepts very few outside patches. I then used the cathedral/bazaar terminology because you got confused that I was originally saying Android wasn’t open source. All your quibbles about how it’s fine that Android is open source but not using a bazaar model add nothing that wasn’t already mentioned previously. The reason to form a larger bazaar is because that’s the claimed benefit of open source: otherwise, they could just use the shared source model of Microsoft with their phone vendors, as I already said. Nobody said Microsoft didn’t charge royalties or allowed forks: I simply pointed out that if Android only takes patches from phone vendors, that’s no different from Microsoft only sharing code with and then taking patches from their large corporate clients. Android is actually not “truly open source” as Google does not open up a few closed components, just like Sun did with they opened up their code. I don’t know why you keep bringing up the open source definition, which is irrelevant to me, and hybrid models probably don’t meet that definition anyway, since you can’t compile and run Android on your phone without those closed components that they don’t share (Jay mentions further problems). I love how you want to stick to trivialities like what the open source definition entails, :) which was never my original point, when I’m raising the larger issue of the bazaar model that is the supposed justification for open source.

  30. Joe:

    That’s your big argument, “Who is HTC?” I’ll tell you who is HTC — A company that probably uses relatively well paid labor in relatively safe working conditions in a relatively free country to build their phones, unlike the iCabal’s iSweatshop iSuicideChamber. The body count there is up to eight.

    And yes, I would buy any “Pad” that serves my needs and is NOT brought to you by Jobs’s Walled Garden/Pottersville.

  31. Jay:

    Whether google puts their foot down or not, I think we’re trending toward openness. As Eric has mentioned multiple times, the dumb vendors think they can control it and the smart vendors are just hoping it doesn’t erode their margins too fast.

    Ajay:

    I disagree with most of your most recent post, but I won’t argue any more — it’s too much like talking to Humpty Dumpty.

  32. Given the replacement rate, where most phone users replace their phone every 2-3 years, I figure the G1 ‘dead end’ is a non-issue.

    I’m one of those bizarre people who holds on to cell phones for 5-6 years…and I won’t buy a smart phone until the value proposition increases. I WOULD spend $20/month for tethering if I could pick and choose which months I wanted tethering on.

  33. >Yes, but Eric only started writing about Android whence purchased a G1 (HTC Dream).

    You have the causality reversed. I bought a G1 because I was already interested in Android. In fact I spent a couple months in 2008, between Google’s first targeted ship date and when they got the G1 out the door, praying that my rickety old Samsung wouldn’t croak before I could buy an Android phone to replace it.

    You have to understand that I consider Google a tentacle of my sinister conspiracy aimed at total open source world domination, bwa ha ha. There is some evidence that Sergei and Larry would actually agree that they are my willing minions. They sent me fanmail once. Seriously.

  34. >I figure the G1 ‘dead end’ is a non-issue.

    I held on to my previous phone for 8 years, until it was senescent to the point where I was just praying it wouldn’t die before the G1 came out. And the Nexus One was free, which certainly made it an improved value proposition. :-)

  35. @Puggg

    “A company that probably uses relatively well paid labor in relatively safe working conditions in a relatively free country to build their phones, unlike the iCabal’s iSweatshop iSuicideChamber.”

    I don’t know what the suicide rate is at HTC; I do know the suicide rate for South Korea. It is higher than Foxconn’s suicide rate. Compare the suicide rates for the ROK and the PRC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate. That should shut you up.

    Only “The Register” would call an air-conditioned clean room a “sweatshop”. Now we know where you get your bull.

  36. @Quaker Shaquer :

    Jay, I’m not saying Eric is being dishonest (at least not here, he does have a strong propensity to overclaim his accomplishments). I think they’ve done some marketing judo. They built a limited lifetime phone on which to demo fun technologies, then had Chris Dibona send one to Eric.

    Presto, Eric starts blogging about cool Android stuff. Stuff the open source world either doesn’t care about (Flash), or stuff the carriers will never allow without a tiered data plan in-place.

    That’s an awfully cynical view.

    First of all, your theory presumes that Google needs geek/hacker cred or coverage in the geek press for Android 2.2 or N1 that they don’t already have. Maybe that’s the case, but I don’t think so. Android already has plenty of coverage on Slashdot, Digg, Engadget, Techweb, CNet, Wired, etc. Do you really think that esr’s opinion is that valuable to them? Android 2.2 is already the big headline on Engadget’s home page right now, Slashdot has it on their home page, it’s all over CNet, Techweb and Wired.

  37. I like my G1. No need to replace it. It already does what I want it to. Would the bells and whistles of a nexus one with 2.2 be nice? Sure! But hey, I already got upgrades as far as the hardware will go. For free. And apps are doing a pretty good job of maintaining support for it (right now). It’s a very, very, very nice device.

    And guess what — it can not only copy and paste, it can also multitask. And make phone calls. ;)

  38. >Do you really think that esr’s opinion is that valuable to them?

    I think my good opinion has some marketing value to them, but not necessarily more than enough to justify what they’d want to do for cultural reasons anyway. I know Chris DiBona from way back, and even if that weren’t the case J. Random Googler’s reaction to hearing that I wanted one would probably have been: “ESR? Why haven’t we shipped him one already?” No cynicism is required here; lots of people in the open-source community want to do me a good turn, and sometimes I let them.

  39. I carried a G1 for 6 months, and went back to an iPhone 3G(S). The android GUI is awful. The phone was slow, and the ergonomics were … fucking grotesque.

    Perhaps the N1 is better than the G1.

    Did Larry and Sergy send you stock options with their fan mail?

    I agree with QS, Android (in Java) is not long for this world.

    Google will put Chrome over the kernel, then allow people to write and load Chrome apps. Presto, full speed apps, instant switching between apps (tabs), full multitasking (unix/Linux process per tab), tight integration with web apps (it’s all the same browser), and “android” becomes just another chrome plugin.
    Flash? Just another chrome plugin.

    Eric, you said you just wanted a good screen and good browser.

  40. >Did Larry and Sergy send you stock options with their fan mail?

    Sadly, no. :-)

    >Eric, you said you just wanted a good screen and good browser.

    Those were my main functional requirements, yes. But I wanted the open-source thing too; I was tired of the lock-in tactics and the nickel-and-diming of the carriers.

  41. @esr:

    I think my good opinion has some marketing value to them, but not necessarily more than enough to justify what they’d want to do for cultural reasons anyway.

    Yeah, I was going to say all that, but I got dragged away from the computer by my wife to fix the closet door, so I just said “f— it” and hit the submit button. Google employees engineers, hackers, and geeks. Many of them are probably fans of yours anyway. I don’t see anything sinister, just a nice gesture.

    @JF Sebastian

    I carried a G1 for 6 months, and went back to an iPhone 3G(S). The android GUI is awful. The phone was slow, and the ergonomics were … fucking grotesque

    The G1 is way old news. The Android SDK includes an Android Emulator, which gives you a pretty good feel for the differences between a G1 and something newer like an N1. Plus, after you install that, you’ll have the basic tools you need to start coding some Android apps ;)

  42. Now is actually an awesome time to be an Apple fanboy, because the hypothetical hardware and software we imagine will be introduced on June 7th at WWDC is so lovely and perfect in every way.

    The hardware that is actually introduced might well disappoint, but for the next two weeks we can revel in the anticipation. Even gloat a little, since the Google fanboys now have all their best announcements behind them. So at least for the next couple of weeks, their shiny new announced-but-not-shipping products can’t help but suffer by comparison with ours.

  43. >I don’t see anything sinister, just a nice gesture.

    Right. And occasionally allowing people to make gestures like that is a good thing for reasons subtler than the fact that it can get me nifty free hardware. It’s the kind of demonstrative act that improves the giver’s world a little, too.

    I got another example of this recently when I met a MechE who’s open-source friendly and working on a device to mechanically retrain people who need to learn to walk again because they’ve had strokes. The project team think it might produce some gait improvement in people with spastic palsy, like me, and he offered to get me into the experimental study. I could see that the prospect of doing a good thing for “ESR” gave him pleasure, partly because he wanted to be nice to me but even more as of as a way of affirming his tribal connection to the open-source community. And that’s OK; it’s from such choices that we construct our identities, and I don’t mind being the totemic-figure-on-the-spot when somebody wants to do that. I figure it’s part of my job. really.

    This is why, though I don’t really like it when people go all fanboy on me, I also feel a strong reluctance to shoot people down when they do it. Because that kind of behavior isn’t necessarily about me at all; it’s a way for people to narratize and act on their feelings about a bunch of ideas that I represent in their eyes. People need to do that sometimes.

  44. Glen Raphael says:
    >>> Now is actually an awesome time to be an Apple fanboy, because the hypothetical hardware and software we imagine will be introduced on June 7th at WWDC is so lovely and perfect in every way.

    Yeah I feel this is right on. It is an awesome time to be an Apple fanboy. I says this although I am not really one, at least as a user of the product. I do not own or use any Apple hardware. But I do have some respect for what Apple has accomplished.

    Saying this is a bad time to be an Apple fanboy is just wrong. The bad time to be an Apple fanboy was prior to 1997 when Apple was going nowhere, and almost dead. Fans of the company should not fear a little strong competition.

    If anything, it’s about time somebody stepped up to the plate. The frigtards at microsoft and in the rest of the phone industry have shown no sign of being able to really compete with the IPhone. Palm and RIM are not going to get it done. And that june announcement is exciting stuff.

    Personally, I love watching the smartphone wars.

  45. If an on-demand wifi hotspot is so important, why hasn’t Nokia’s N900 received more attention? Its had it and a lot more by being almost totally open. Could it be that its not widely known in the ever-so-vitally-important USA?

  46. @Roland

    I’ll second that. My (old) N95 does WiFi tethering with Joikuspot, and it works really well. I’m still waiting on a solution to allow my Liquid (Android 1.6) to do it it, but I was surprised that the N95 was so capable.

  47. >Could it be that its not widely known in the ever-so-vitally-important USA?

    That’d be my guess. I don’t think anyone has been trying to market the N900 aggressively here.

  48. If an on-demand wifi hotspot is so important, why hasn’t Nokia’s N900 received more attention? Could it be that its not widely known in the ever-so-vitally-important USA?

    Yes. The fact is that you can’t even buy one from one of the major wireless carriers, which is problematic because that’s where most of the public buys mobile phones.

  49. What really bugs me is the “all or nothing” tone of this posting. We’ve seen for far to many years what kind of aspects the winner takes all/there must be only one technology decisions. We really need healthy markets for technology with many choices, not the whittling down of the options to only one choice.

    I really, really like the iPhone interface and think that all the android interfaces I’ve seen are nowhere near as polished. I also think WebOS has a great interface and prefer it to android as well. However, I want to see all three of this interfaces succeed, and very much want to see windows mobile fail.

    Choices lead to a healthy market and choices are good. Winner take all is not good for that.

  50. Jay> But will Sprint let it have the cool features? And will the other vendors let it on their Android phones, with or without the cool features?

    Sorry so late to the party. Jay, WRT the above comment, I think AT&T & Verizon will fight this tooth and nail, but I think Sprint will welcome it with open arms. Here’s why:

    1. They are #3 in the US. Number 4 is Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), which has almost bottomless funding, so T-Mobile might as well be number 3. Sprint, however, is relatively tiny in comparison to the other players.

    2. Sprint bought Nextel and must give up the 800 MHz band next year. They are going to have a whole lot more churn than normal as they force all their Nextel customers to give up their beloved PTT iDEN phones, and they gotta offer features that make those business customers stick to them like glue. That’s why the $99 everything plan exists.

    3. Just a guess here, but I think Sprint is TRYING to drive the bandwidth usage on IP traffic through the roof. If they can do that successfully, they have a “Clear” advantage (Sprint owns Clear, formerly Clear Wire). They are rolling 4G out faster than any other carrier, partly to pick up the slack for Nextel (they’ve already got the towers and such, so why the hell not!) and partly to build on what’s going to the most valuable space in the Mobile industry… bandwidth.

    Sprint has a strategy, and high bandwidth is the crown jewel. It’s a risky ploy, but if it works, their gonna see growth similar to AT&T’s growth when the iPhone thing happened. I really think Sprint is betting the farm on things like Android, and I’d feel pretty comfortable placing a side bet or two for them.

    Now if they’d just build a damned tower near my house!!!

    ESR: This seems like good analysis to me.

  51. >Choices lead to a healthy market and choices are good. Winner take all is not good for that.

    I agree. Choices are good. Choices that are all open source are better.

    I’ve written before that one of the clever things about Google’s grand strategy is that Android doesn’t need to take the entire market in order for them to win. It will suffice for them to drive the market to a condition in which open source is everywhere and neither the telecomms carriers nor any other monopolists can get between Google and consumers. This doesn’t mean Android has to win all, but it does mean the iPhone and Widows Mobile must be beaten down to single-digit marketshares in favor of Android, Maemo, and WebOS.

  52. One problem with Sprint’s “4G” network: Sprint is rolling out on WiMAX, whereas the rest of the industry has settled on LTE Advanced. Sprint 4G therefore constitutes a form of vendor lock which will not be supported cross-carrier and may not receive adequate support long-term, depending on how industry standards evolve.

  53. Patrick, Humpty Dumpty? Is that some guy who outdebated you with better arguments so you gave up? ;)

    Tom, interesting link, are you implying the same for Android? ie since Android may not accept outside patches like Microsoft, it’s doomed like Atwood says MS is? Hilarious how that last Galloway link asserts that Microsoft can’t accept outside patches because of legal risk, despite large corporations like Nokia, IBM, and Apple having done so for years. :)

  54. Given his track record, betting directly against his technology and market projections would be smarter than betting on them.

    But then, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.

  55. When did Android 2.2 ship, again?

    Oh, right. It hasn’t, yet.

    (Seriously, ESR? Why the Apple trolling? You’re not making money off of hits or links here, so why do it?

    I like my iPhone not because I’m a “fanboy”, but because it had the best UI and best integration of any phone available when I bought it.

    Android is a nice spur to keep Apple from resting, but I’m not seeing it as actually better yet (especially on the integration/syncing front).

    I don’t, and won’t, give a rip about whether or not my phone’s OS is Open Source or not. Neither will 99.9% of the mass market.

    I’m perfectly open to an Android phone when it’s better for me. But it’s at best on par now.

    Flash 10 support in beta maybe this year and slowing down the phone and eating battery and only on brand new hardware? Yeah. I’m sure the “fanboys” are upset about that. But, again, real world? Nobody cares [enough to purchase based on it] about flash-on-a-phone.

    [Hell, I'd even consider Windows Mobile For Phones And Ponies 7, if it manages by some miracle to provide superior utility. But back in the real world...])

  56. >When did Android 2.2 ship, again? Oh, right. It hasn’t, yet.

    Wrong. The first over-the-air updates went out two days ago.

    I’m expecting mine within 14 days or so.

  57. dgreer: That might well be the case. It’ll be interesting to see whether Sprint’s willingness to give up control over features and be primarily a naked pipe vendor is enough to push AT&T and Verizon. I know I can’t even consider Sprint as my carrier; they simply don’t provide coverage in the places I go all the time (rural Minnesota and Iowa away from the Interstates). No matter what nifty features they have, if the phone won’t talk, then it’s useless to me.

    I do find it very interesting that Sprint, one of the CDMA carriers (and therefore not world-compatible), went with the world 4G standard…

  58. @Ajay:

    Humpty Dumpty? Is that some guy who outdebated you with better arguments so you gave up? ;)

    No, Humpty Dumpty is the egg who says “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less,” and Ajay is the guy who keeps talking about whether Android is open source or not, while simultaneously saying “I don’t know why you keep bringing up the open source definition, which is irrelevant to me…”

    You’re free to make up your own definitions and change them around at will to insure that you’ve “won” whatever argument you want, but now that I understand how you operate, I decline to play.

  59. Well, if you don’t mind a PS/2 style connector, I think I can fix you right up ;-)

  60. Patrick, I never said Android wasn’t open source in my first two comments, but I finally corrected you in my third comment because you repeatedly claimed that’s what I had said. In that third comment, I pointed out that Android is in fact not completely open source, as Google keeps a few components closed, so you’re actually wrong that it is even fully open source. Haha, I’m the last person to redefine words or try to “win” arguments, but I think I see that you’re just sore because you feel you’ve lost. :)

    Morgan, yep, never read that book, precisely because of the sort of facile verbal mumbo-jumbo in that excerpt. I’ll take Animal Farm anyday over whatever indirect analogy Carroll is trying to make.

  61. What is all this talk of “fanboys”? it sounds like someone who would wave a fan over the sultan on a hot day. He may do double duty as the pissboy.

    Eric sounds like a Google fanboy. All these posts making it sound like Apple is on the verge of collapse are a bit much.

  62. Didn’t Cory Doctorow switch to Ubuntu several years ago, and wasn’t he one of those who had an Apple tatoo? Why is some guy switching phones proof of anything?

  63. @ajay:

    Anybody who reads this thread can see that your very first question is “is Android’s success really an argument for open source?” You agree that Android is a success and later affirm that you believe that (at least some of it) is open source, but then you claim it’s not a success for open source. When I explain that the definition of open source encompasses what Google is doing, you then claim I’m quibbling about a technicality and reiterate that it’s not a success for open source, even though it’s a success, and even though a lot of the code is open source. Then you explain that you don’t read Lewis Carroll because of “facile mumbo-jumbo” — I guess you don’t have any room for any more of that inside your head if you really think that Google is handling the Android code the same way as Microsoft handles their O/S.

    In any case, even if I were to agree that what Google is doing is not truly in the spirit of open source, or whatever you’re trying to get at, it doesn’t really matter. In fact, Apple itself has been great for open source, even when they weren’t trying to look like it. In fact, I think even Microsoft’s lame attempts at shared source are great for open source — they show anybody who’s paying attention that there’s more than just smoke there.

    Google and Apple are showing that you can make hugely profitable businesses off open source, and other companies want to emulate that. Sure, Google and Apple can spend all the development cycles they need to resync their internal trees with upstream as frequently or infrequently as they like (or not at all), but that will not be a viable option for smaller companies trying to follow in their footsteps, who will find it much more cost-effective to contribute back in a tighter feedback loop than to try to keep pulling patches from upstream. (And the smaller companies have seen what partnering with Microsoft can do to a company, so anything non-Microsoft is a huge bonus.)

    Google and Apple have also apparently figured out that contributing back code (as they both do on several projects) is an excellent way to hire and retain the best developers. The best open source developers have figured out that showing publicly that they really are the best developers is really only possible with open source, and have figured out that being able to do this translates into real money, and the ability to keep their open source resume up-to-date is going to factor into every new job negotiation they enter into.

    All of these factors contribute to an amazing positive feedback loop. This amp is going to the rail and is going to latch there hard, and any time a company as big as Google has a “success” with “open source” that is not only externally visible, but actually externally measurable (by several metrics), that adds more feedback to the loop, so yes, it really is an “open source success”; whether or not you think Google’s behavior is bazaar enough — the feedback loop is certainly going to cause a lot more bazaar behavior to happen.

    Microsoft is utterly unprepared for the loss of their rent-seeking ability; you can already see the patent trolling starting to ramp up hard. It will be interesting to see if they manage to grow past this like IBM seems to have done, or if they just engage in a lot of destructive thrashing on the way down.

  64. >any time a company as big as Google has a “success” with “open source” that is not only externally visible, but actually externally measurable (by several metrics), that adds more feedback to the loop, so yes, it really is an “open source success”; whether or not you think Google’s behavior is bazaar enough — the feedback loop is certainly going to cause a lot more bazaar behavior to happen.

    Patrick, you’ve put your finger on one of the more subtle reasons that I refuse to engage in ideological purism. Quibbles about pieces of Android being closed indeed do not change the huge near-term impact of Android in forcing open the smartphone space, nor do they significantly change the longer-term impact of Google’s embrace of open source on peoples’ models of software best practices.

    Some people in the open-source world still need to learn that if you monkeywrench the 90% victory you can collect now, you’re less likely to get 100% victory you really want later.

  65. Patrick, I already explained that whether Android is completely open source or not is irrelevant when they apparently don’t accept outside patches, which is where the supposed benefits of open source come from. To illustrate this concretely, I posed a specific hypothetical question about Microsoft doing something similar, which you then ignored. I understand that you would rather focus on trivialities like the open source definition because you would like to claim Android as an open source success, even though their process supposedly bears little resemblance to the bazaar model, and because it’s easier for you to quibble about such technicalities as opposed to addressing the larger issues. Mac OS X also uses a hybrid model where Darwin is open source, without accepting much outside patching from what I hear, and the rest of the stack is closed: is that also a victory for open source? ;) My point is that Google’s and Apple’s hybrid source models which don’t use the bazaar development model can hardly be claimed as open source successes. One can have a situation like Android which is a success and happens to mostly be open source, but where open source is not the reason for its success, that’s where you’re either confused or trying to deceive. If Google accepts very few outside patches like Microsoft, then yes, they are handling Android the same way as them.

    Android is not profitable for Google so you’re jumping the gun by claiming that. As for Apple, Darwin is probably a small part of their success: it’s certainly not what makes or breaks Apple. I don’t think we’ll see any small companies follow in their footsteps till there’s an actual revenue model, which has yet to appear for Apple or Google’s open source work. It’s basically altruism at this point. I think Google and Apple’s hiring from open source is negligible compared to their conventional hiring, so I don’t think that’s much of an advantage either. The truth is that there is no amp or rail, open source is mostly a failure, even the companies you cite are really hybrid source companies. I see, so Google not employing the bazaar model with Android will cause more bazaar behavior? Wishful thinking at best. Hybrid source will be big, but open source has actually mostly failed, as it would be more accurate to credit Apple’s success to their hybrid model or closed-source than to anything else.

  66. @ Sigivald>> When did Android 2.2 ship, again? Oh, right. It hasn’t, yet.
    Sigivald>>
    @esr> Wrong. The first over-the-air updates went out two days ago.
    @esr>
    @esr> I’m expecting mine within 14 days or so.

    Not all is well in the land of 2.2: http://www.product-reviews.net/2010/05/25/android-2-2-froyo-update-problems-after-installing/

    Carrier: Vodafone
    Country / Language: UK / English
    Handset: Nexus One
    OS / Browser / build number (if applicable): 2.2 / – / FRF50

    These are some of the issues am having after manually updating to Froyo:

    1) Battery life reduced by 15-25%
    2) Phone seems to restart (randomly) – 2 times In 3 days
    3) Touch screen does not register correctly (also randomly and short lasting)
    4) Phone freezes (seem to happen when switching from app to home / when taping notifications)
    5) Email app does not saves the settings. (set to never update continues, sets back to 1hr)
    6) Messages display the 3rd party photo, but not my own, (i cant also find where to set it, i will guess it will use my google account image but no it just displays a grey box)
    7) YouTube widget never displays any video (always loading)
    8) YouTube widget becomes unresponsive
    9) YouTube app does not allow to sort anymore on the main scree the videos by “calendar” (today, week, month…)
    10) When staring the phone it takes very long for widgets to load (such as power settings)
    11) Screen scroll becomes laggy from time to time
    12) Volume rocker becomes unresponsive
    13) Gallery – Picasa sync does not show all albums
    14) SMS delivery failure “Message not sent”

  67. @Patrick: If you haven’t figured it out yet, Ajay enjoys spending his time on here trying to convince esr that his ideas around a hybrid open-source/closed-source model are the future and that he and everyone else here should drink his Kool-Aid.

    What Ajay doesn’t realize is that a hybrid open-source/closed-source model isn’t the future, it’s today’s reality and, more importantly, has been since before RMS got peeved about not being able to get the source for that printer driver. It’s been the natural state of things; before Linus wrote his kernel, the GNU userland and development tools were regularly added to commercial Unixes by hackers working at various companies. In the early days of Linux distributions, the browser of choice was the Netscape browser because no open source alternatives existed. Many people still have to add closed-source components to their Linux installations due to closed-source drivers.

    These days, companies like Apple, Google, IBM and even Microsoft are building systems, tools and applications that include open source components combined with closed source parts. Some are using them to create or reinforce walled gardens, others are trying to force certain markets to become or remain more open. Google created the Chrome browser to up the browser wars ante and usher in new, open standards like HTML 5 where a stalemate between Mozilla Firefox and IE were creating stagnation and complacency.

    You pick your ponies based on those that seem to match closely with your own values and goals. If you’re a fan of open markets, open standards, and open source, the pony that matches closely with that is Google and its Android platform. And the reason is that Google isn’t interested in created an infrastructure it owns and controls in and of itself: Google is a company that has consistently used open source tools to make money by selling ads. In the long, it benefits most from an infrastructure that is owned and controlled by no one.

  68. @lapin:

    7) YouTube widget never displays any video (always loading)
    8) YouTube widget becomes unresponsive

    Sounds like a JavaScript problem.

  69. Tom D>Supposedly the two standards are close enough that software may be all that seperates them.

    It’s been a while since I read up on this, but I believe you are correct (thankfully it’s not my job any more :^). Originally Clear Wire was rolling out Moto LTE gear. Moto designed the gear to be upgradable to WiMAX (unfortunately, early versions had problems that required replacement of the unit for the upgrade, but that’s always the danger with early adopters). Right before the Clear Wire/Sprint deal, Clear Wire became Moto’s first BIG WiMAX mobile customer by switching it’s entire network in the space of just a few months (they had a small customer base at the time so this was still possible).

    Most carriers started rolling out LTE for the same reason Clear Wire went with it initially, because WiMAX was not a standard when they started the R&D and Rollout. Some of those folks went with non-Moto equipment that is not upgradable to WiMAX, or don’t want to risk pissing off existing customer by pushing out the software updates (which I can tell you from experience have about a 2-3% failure rate… radios that have been undisturbed for months or years and then get rebooted show all sorts of warts!).

  70. Jay Manard> I do find it very interesting that Sprint, one of the CDMA carriers (and therefore not world-compatible), went with the world 4G standard…

    Not only CDMA, worst… iDEN. Remember they paid a BUNCH of money for Nextel just before 9/11, then right after 9/11 FCC told them that their 800 MHz freqs were being yanked. Double wammy.

    I think they learned a pretty serious (and expensive) lesson there.

    And I doubt they’ll pursue the rural market, there’s just not enough customers out there and with no installed base, it would be all new properties which makes it much more expensive to make it happen.

  71. ESR> Some people in the open-source world still need to learn that if you monkeywrench the 90% victory you can collect now, you’re less likely to get 100% victory you really want later.

    Or put another way, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

  72. Morgan, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I gave up on esr a while ago, when he responded to my essay last month with some nonsense about how open source will rule. It is fascinating that he has actually become as dogmatic about open source in his own way as Stallman is about “free software.” Not sure what you’re trying to say with your trivial point that pure open and closed software have always coexisted, when the topic is hybrid models where source files are closed and coexist within a single app. As for Google, it is true that they’ve done a lot of nice open source work, but their end goal of collecting all our personal information in order to datamine it for better ads is fundamentally scary. So whatever nice things they do along the way, one always has to be wary of how those “gifts” might be enabling that goal in the long-term. Google does have a huge server infrastructure that they own and exclusively control. Many people ignore that simply because it is different from the past Microsoft monopoly, which was actually more benign in significant ways since it is much easier to find backdoors in software running on your own desktop than it is to monitor all the processing that Google’s doing on their own servers. Ultimately, I am not that worried about Google, but I am wary of any company or govt getting that kind of control.

  73. >Morgan, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I gave up on esr a while ago, when he responded to my essay last month with some nonsense about how open source will rule.

    Gave up, did you? Then all the cranky drivel posted here by “Ajay” since was someone else, I take it.

  74. It’s not all lollipops and rainbows for open-source advocates using Android phones.

    After a long, tiresome wait, the Eclair update for the Hero dropped.

    It requires a Windows PC.

  75. esr, are you the only person reading this thread? I didn’t realize you were the only person on the internet. ;)

  76. Not sure what you’re trying to say with your trivial point that pure open and closed software have always coexisted, when the topic is hybrid models where source files are closed and coexist within a single app.

    You mean like Google Chrome? Eclipse? All the commercial Web servers based on Apache, such as Zeus and IBM HTTP Server? VirtualBox? StarOffice?

    No, that isn’t anything new.

  77. BTW, Ajay, enterprises aren’t built on individual applications, they are built on integrated systems of servers, applications, clients, networks, etc. Virtually no application exists in isolation; it must usually integrate with other systems to accomplish a business task. You should try actually learning something about IT.

    ESR says: I think he should should learn more than a superficial grasp of economic analysis first.

  78. Morgan, nobody said hybrid models are completely new, only that they are underused and that my conception with a time limit is new. Thank you for stating the obvious again, that all apps work together. Now try actually coming up with a reason why that matters to this discussion. As for esr calling my economic analysis superficial, hilarious considering his consistently shoddy and biased analysis. :)

  79. Morgan, nobody said hybrid models are completely new, only that they are underused and that my conception with a time limit is new.

    Underused? No, my point is not only are hybrid models not new, but they’re very common. Just ask Red Hat, Novell, IBM, Google, Sun/Oracle, Microsoft, Apple, etc. These are all examples of companies that are actively using hybrid open and closed source within a single product. Perhaps the time limit is new, but I see no value add there. Besides, in the end, software tends to naturally move from closed source to open source anyway. The free market seeks efficiency, and it finds it in open source software.

    Now try actually coming up with a reason why that matters to this discussion.

    Because in any enterprise there exists a mix of open and closed source applications. There are very few enterprises that exclusively use one or the other (even if they don’t know it.) Hell, even in your home, and even if you use Windows on your primary desktop, and Microsoft Office as your primary application suite, I guarantee you that you are using open source somewhere. For instance, just about anything that can open or display a PNG is using libpng. It’s already a mixed-source world.

    ESR grins impishly and points out that he wrote part of libpng.

  80. Morgan, simply asserting that Red Hat or Novell or Microsoft use hybrid source within a single product without being able to cite a single example is meaningless. Besides, whatever few hybrid products are out there, it’s well-known that those are the exception to the rule, which is pure closed-source software. Obviously you see no value-add with a time limit, that would imply you had the ability to evaluate new ideas. :) As for the flat assertion that open source is more efficient and will win out, so far that prediction has been empirically proven wrong. I actually do think more open source code will be written in the coming years, as hybrid-source apps start taking off, but pure open source will always continue to be a failure. Of course I’m running open source software, I run FreeBSD on my desktop and happen to only run open source on it. But you’re continuing to fail to connect your obvious point about enterprise mixing of pure open and closed-source products with the original topic of hybrid-source software, so I’ll just take that for the non sequitur it is and move on. :)

  81. @Ajay: Red Hat: the various JBoss products, Red Hat Enterprise Linux; Novell: the various ZENworks products, Open Enterprise Server and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, Microsoft: Services for Unix, also of note Windows contains a variant of the BSD TCP/IP stack, IE contains various open source components, as does Microsoft Office, and don’t forget about the ODF importer for Office, PowerShell at the very least contains libpcre code. I already pointed out Google’s products, including Chrome and Android. IBM has Eclipse and the various WebSphere applications. Did I mentioned Platform Computing’s entire product line? I could go on all day.

    No, the rule isn’t pure closed-source, it’s a mix of closed and open source.

  82. I’ve had a Motorola Droid since early November. I’ve got no problems with it’s speed or interface and my father’s HTC has given him no problems whatsoever (and he’s getting up there in years now). Those complaining of Android’s interface and speed are splitting hairs, methinks.

    I’ve used the iPhone and I have friends with iPhones. Without a doubt, 90% of the friends I have who own iPhones do not understand their phones and simply wanted a shiny thing that can play games and browse the web. The customer base of the iPhone is nearly identical (IMHO) to the customer base of AOL when the internet was still very new. It gives its users something simple and slick that connects them to the new killer technologies that everyone desires. It restricts them from doing anything that might alter their experience an in so doing cripples the experience.

    I’ve used the Blackberry and I have friends with multiple versions of the Blackberry. Without a doubt, 90% of the friends I have who own and use Blackberrys are people who understand their phone as a tool and desire to keep in contact with all of their calendars, e-mails, messaging networks, etc..etc.. and get work done. The customer base of the Blackberry reminds me of the customer base of Microsoft, people who work just wanting something that works friendly with business software and lets them get things done.

    Android is neither of these at the moment. Android is the geek smartphone OS of choice. Think about what happened to AOL as the user base slowly selected freedom and frugality. Think about what happened to Microsoft as the market evolved. Predicting the future is silly, but recognizing examples of the past repeated in the present tells you who is in the best position for the future.

  83. Jeremy, I think you’re missing out on one part of the iPhone market: people who are technically sophisticated and understand just what a true Web browser in a phone can get them. I’m certain I’m not alone in that category. I had Treos for a few years, but dropped them in a hurry when the iPhone came out and added the ability to run apps Apple didn’t write. I haven’t looked back.

    Like the rest of Apple’s products, I know that I can pull out the iPhone and it will just work. No twiddling, no tweaking, no endless, finicky setups. Just a working phone with a true Web browser. It’s a tool, and I don’t have time to fiddle with my tools. I use them to get real work done.

  84. Apple is now worth more than Microsoft — and Microsoft is still worth quite a lot. Now’s a great time to be an Apple fanboy.

  85. Morgan, someone grabbing open source BSD code, closing it up, and integrating it with their pre-existing closed source program hardly qualifies as hybrid-source. Alternatively, Apple’s use of an open source Darwin, which they continually release as open source, in the midst of a highly closed Mac OS X stack is hybrid-source, albeit with a cruder hybrid model than the one I’m proposing. If you don’t know that 95+% of software in any kind of usage is pure closed-source, you are completely clueless. Keep claiming otherwise though, it only makes you look more ignorant. :)

  86. @Jay Maynard Says:

    “…but dropped them in a hurry when the iPhone came out and added the ability to run apps Apple didn’t write. I haven’t looked back.”

    …and Android has always allowed people to run apps Google didn’t write.

    “Like the rest of Apple’s products, I know that I can pull out the iPhone and it will just work. No twiddling, no tweaking, no endless, finicky setups.”

    I don’t know *anyone* who has had to “tweak” an android phone to get it to work. It sounds like you’re complaining about the ability to customize how an Android phone functions. My Dad is 60+ and has no problem making anything work on his HTC. The tweaking on Android phones involves releasing functionality that has previously not been utilized or frankly just wasn’t put in the UI. For instance, I wanted to add a single-click icon on my Android desktop that would add a new contact (rather than deal with any menu). This was a function not offered on any standard Android phone installation to my knowledge. All I did was google search, and in 10 min I found a very simple way to do it. Of course you can do these sorts of modifications with an iPhone, but you generally have to root it.

  87. Ajay,

    > Keep claiming otherwise though, it only makes you look more ignorant. :)

    I think you and the people you are arguing with are all ignorant and clueless about one thing. You are clearly ignorant and clueless about what the words ignorant and clueless mean.

    Why do I say that? Because none of you are ignorant and clueless.

    It is true that none of you can persuade your opponents, but heck, almost nobody can do that.

    Yours,
    Tom

  88. Anyone else notice how Ajay likes to say something insulting and then finish it with a smiley face emoticon, as if that somehow takes the sting out?

    Let me try:

    Ajay you are an ignorant boob and your mom has syphilis! :)

  89. Jeremy, I’m referring more to Linux systems vs. OS X than I am iPhone vs. Android – but the same kinds of folks seem to like both Android and Linux. I don’t run Linux desktops because I spend too much time fiddling and too little time working, and everything I’ve read about Android leads me to believe it’s the same way. If you can configure something, you usually have to.

    It’s possible Google has learned that lesson and made something that will Just Work out of the box without twiddling. If so, it’s worth another look, assuming it’ll integrate with the tools I already use (OS X’s contact database, primarily).

  90. >If you can configure something, you usually have to.

    Hasn’t been my experience with Android. After my contacts synced over and I moved the SIM card, it made calls without any fuss. I did some configuration to personalize it, like putting my favorite astronomical photograph up as a background, but thast was all optional.

  91. Okkay, Eric, a simple question: Would you hand Aunt Tillie an Android phone in a factory-sealed box?

    ESR says: Yes, without any hesitation or doubts at all.

  92. > If you can configure something, you usually have to.

    Jay, I think your experience with Android was either pre 2.0, or tainted in some fashion. Android phones are easily as simple to use as any iPhone right out of the box, and with some customization can be a lot slicker than an iPhone.

  93. It looks like Android really will take over the internet tablet market. Gentlemen, I give you… the iPed.

  94. > Ajay you are an ignorant boob and your mom has syphilis! :)

    Darren would know, he gave it to her. :-)

  95. Bad time to be an Apple fan? What have you been smoking? Apple is one of the most valuable companies in the world, has changed the concept of cell phones, portable music players, and now seems to alter the portable computing market with the iPad, a product that isn’t even really that good. Still, they sold one million of them in the first 28 days.

    In addition, sales of Macintosh computers are up and the OS is becoming so popular that many PC users are converting to OSX. There is even a small computer repair facility about two blocks from me that is selling Systems pre-converted with OSX 10.6.3 installed. They will also convert your own Windows system if your motherboard is new enough to accept the conversion.

    Yes, Apple is really on their last legs. Too bad they don’t know it and keep on dominating the smart phone and music player market while selling billions of applications, songs, and videos. Meanwhile the Mac market share keeps increasing too. I’m sure Jobs and company will fold their tent and slink away any time, now.

  96. Exactly, James Smith João Pessoa.

    I said this in an earlier post on this thread. This is in fact a great time to be an Apple fan. But Eric is so disdainful of Apple that his wishful thinking comes out in postings with titles like this.

    Really it is too early to say that Android is dethroning the IPhone. The Android might in fact merely be growing the overall market for smartphones, without damaging Apple a bit. But don’t hold your breath waiting for Eric to point this out.

    To repeat: it is a fantastic time to be an Apple fan, and is going to be so for a few years to come, at least.

    BTW, Apple just this week passed Microsoft in total market cap. “Bad time to be an apple fan” indeed!
    Five or ten years ago who would have predicted that happening?
    If these are bad times for Apple fans, they should hope that these awful, horrible times never end.

  97. It looks like Android really will take over the internet tablet market. Gentlemen, I give you… the iPed.

    Cue jokes about kiddie porn in 3 …. 2…. oh, wait, wrong site. Nevermind. ;)

  98. Oh, get serious, Eric. Lyons has a bug up his ass about SJ because he’s never been important enough to get an interview. Jobs is a busy man, and Lyons just isn’t in the same league as Walt Mossberg (WSJ) or David Pogue (NYT). Or for that matter, Stephen Fry (Time Magazine).

    So, Lyons decided to troll for page hits with a “I’m ditching my iPhone” column like dozens of hacks before him have and many more after him will. Somehow, I’m sure that Apple, their fans, and all the independent app developers will get along fine with one less douchebag using the product.

  99. Android is a nice spur to keep Apple from resting

    Not yet, it’s not. It might be in a couple of years, if they come up with something better than Java for a primary development platform, but as it is they’re about six laps behind. Android will mop up the space that Windows Mobile vacates. It’s not going to affect Apple’s fortunes for a long time, if ever.

  100. the real killer is that Android 2.2 phones will be on-demand WiFi hotspots.

    You’re funny.

    It’s a long way from having the capability in the OS to getting a carrier to let you use it. Apple could have deployed iPhone tethering at day one, but even they don’t have the weight to make AT&T agree to it.

  101. > It’s a long way from having the capability in the OS to getting a carrier to let you use it.

    A long way is, umm, June 4th, three days from now, when the EVO comes out.

    Yours,
    Tom

  102. Steve Gibson, who is neither an Apple fanboy nor hater (but who owns two iPads), just tweeted this:

    SGgrc Current smartphone OS market shares: Blackberry/RIM: 36%, Google/Android: 28%, Apple/iPhone: 21%, All others: 15%

  103. Jeezus, the more I look through your recent entries on this matter the more I come to the conclusion that you have really lost your mind. We’ve gone from “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” to “The Cathedral of the Bizarre”, with ESR becoming the raving, lunatic, dogmatic preacher who only becomes a more fervent true believer the more his prophecies fail to come true. Apple fanboys have been called a cult, but next to the various open source, Linux fellow travelers, and now these Android quacks, Apple fans are left looking downright irreligious.

    So, lets take apart this shoddy exercise in wishful thinking dressed up as some kind of market analysis:

    “The Android 2.2 feature list is a body blow from which the iPhone, already trailing Android devices in unit sales, may not be able to recover.”

    I don’t even know where to begin with this. Do you really think people buy phones by going down a checklist of out-of-context “features”?

    “You can talk about all the other cool 2.2 features all day long, but the real killer is that Android 2.2 phones will be on-demand WiFi hotspots. This by itself will have all the laptop-toting road warriors I know falling over themselves to switch to Android phones. Imagine, no more airport and hotel connection fees; it’s easy if you try. Buh-bye Apple.”

    Buy-bye Apple? That would seem to imply that the vast majority of smart phone buyers are nothing more than laptop-toting road warriors. And they most certainly are not. You’re looking at a couple of percentage points. With a big chunk of them already locked in on carrier plans. And the fact that this very minor feature could be added and brought to market by Apple in no time. There’s a competitive advantage here, to be sure. But Apple has rightly surmised that they need to focus on more pressing issues.

    “Announcing Flash 10 support twists the knife. OK, Flash is fragile crap and we’d all be better off if it disappeared, but as a way to ram home the contrast between Google’s “do what you want” and Steve Jobs’s “do what I want”, Flash support is a marketing gesture that’s pretty tough to top.”

    Let me put your thoughts in more direct words: “Flash really sucks and will make Android slower than the iPhone, and that’s a good thing!”

    Okay, dude. Okay!

    And please, just stop it with this silly, lunatic notion that excluding Flash from the iPhone represents Steve Jobs “dictatorial” or “draconian” control. You’re old enough and smart enough to know better.

    “I’m not going to count off the rest of the feature list here, because I want to focus on the larger picture. Apple has been outflanked by Google’s multi-vendor strategy, outsold in new unit sales, and is now outgunned in technology and user-visible features. Again, I was expecting this…but not so soon.”

    You’re only seeing what you want to see. Android sucks. The average user can’t point to these “user-visible” features you speak of, and only the most fanatical religious kook Android owner can’t help but betray some cognitive dissonance when trying to boast about Android’s “great features”.

    iPhone has 3 times the market share of Android. It’s developer base is much more firmly established. Its user base is much more loyal to the platform. iPhone owners buy more apps and more content, and have the option to buy more apps and apps of much higher quality.

    Android is nothing more than a thing for religious quacks or for people stuck with carriers that don’t (yet) carry the iPhone.

  104. BTW, regarding Flash: people may not have realized the significance of the “farmville” developers showing up in Steve’s keynote last monday, so I’ll lay it out for you.

    Farmville is the most widespread Flash turd on the web; millions of people waste countless hours on it, and for it to show up on the iPad/iPhone is a way for Apple to tell the world “here’s a huge vendor that depended on Flash, and they’ve decided that the iPad is so important that ditching their previous, inferior deployment platform is something they’ve got to do.”

  105. Leif, it gets worse when you look at the things fosstards tried to do for fifteen or twenty years, that the Jobs-led Apple achieved virtually overnight:

    Developing an easy-to-use, mainstream Unix desktop OS
    Freeing the smartphone app market from carrier lockdown
    Getting developers to use HTML5 and Web standards and stop relying on cruft like Flash

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