[Community] OHSW -- processing ..............................................

rhn opcomali.rhn at porcupinefactory.org
Thu Nov 20 12:28:04 CET 2014

On Wed, 19 Nov 2014 20:33:11 +0100
"Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller" <hns at goldelico.com> wrote:

> Am 19.11.2014 um 19:58 schrieb wonderphone at posteo.de:
> > Bump
> > 
> > This list looks deserted now everybody has his mind set on the Open Hardware and Software Workshop.
> indeed…
> > Those who can't be there will benefit from a lot of new input that members of this list bring from there. Hopefully ;)
> Maybe they can already start to discuss what goes through their mind…
> Or state topics that should be addressed to make them come to the OHSW.
> Topics to be discussed are many:
> * the new Nokia tablet - how powerful, how open, how free, how fair?
> * the new Jolla tablet - how powerful, how open, how free, how fair?
> * what happened to the Vivaldi spark tablet?
> * why is everbody making tablets?
> * Apple’s smartwatch in comparision to others?
> * new end-to-end encryption developments?
> * …

I've been interested in how free the mobile ecosystems are. Some of the questions (Android) might be trivial for most people, but I only own a Maemo device.

The interesting aspects of a free and useful OS, for me, are:
1. How free is the software?
2. How big is the software selection?
3. What's the model of trust?
4. How familiar/compatible is the base system?
5. How useable is it, in relation to the device?

For example, Debian is based on free software (almost?) exclusively (1.), it has thousands of binary packages, but no paid software (2.).
The Debian project created the base system you install, but afterwards you can cut your ties by removing the software sources without losing functionality. I'm not aware of any phone home feature in Debian either.
Then again, the software sources are governed by a foundation whose goals do not involve making money off personal data (3.).
The base system includes X (for remote ssh), network tools (for advanced connectivity), and you can build anything from source in minutes if the official repo is unavailable (4.).
When installed on a desktop system, it's compatible with keyboard-and-mouse (5.).

What are the facts about any Android flavour?

AOSP is governed by Google with community having little influence over the project. What about Replicant?
The software available for Android is primarily their app store, which doesn't care about source and is curated by Google exclusively. I know there is some community version, how does it compare? Is it missing some important programs for a PDA, like calendar or offline maps?
What about compatibility? Can I install GCC/Python/GTK and run any odd app I find on Github? Or ssh -X to a remote host?
How fine-grained control over the device itself do I have? Can I connect to WiFi and mobile and over USB at the same time?

Same about Jolla: are their repos community-based? Can I compile natively? If not, do GTK/Qt/fltk apps require porting? Xwayland for remote SSH (yes, I'm one of those people who care :P).

Then again there's the other side approach. Ubuntu has its Plasma flavour, which would probably have Debian-enough answers for those questions for my taste. How easy is it to find compatible hardware? Is it stable on a tablet? What about phones - are they even a target?

So, this is what's been going through my mind recently. It's a shame that the Neo900/Openphoneux are not complete yet, because I believe they would be much better in those respects, but gotta make the most of what we have :)


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