December 21, 2014

Mobile Linux Not Supporting the Desktop Version

Just recently, we were tipped off to some exciting and somewhat disappointing news regarding the HTC Dream. I’ve been reading through everyone’s comments and many of them have been rather interesting to say the least. While going through them, something crossed my mind that I’d consider very disturbing and unacceptable… if not implemented in the HTC Dream and every other Android phone.

What could that be? Well I believe that Android being a Mobile OS which is based on Linuxshould have it’s phone tools compatible with popular Linux desktop distributions. And not just Android – all phones based on the Linux platform. It’s somewhat annoying to see these mobile phones having little or no support for its desktop counterpart. All I see is support for selected versions of Windows and Mac while Linux desktop is left out in the cold to fend for itself. Wait! Now I see why the penguin is the chosen mascot. Look at all of the Linux based phones from Motorola. Why is it that their Mobile Phone Tools software has no desktop support for Linux?

If you are a Linux user like myself then you may already know that once a phone has a USB cable, you can easily access your music, photos and more. But when it comes to synchronizing contacts and emails as well as using your phone as a modem, then problems arise. Yes I am aware that there technically are ways to use the phones as modem in Linux but the normal users may find this confusing.

All I’m really trying to say is this; The HTC Dream and all other Android handsets, should support the Linux desktop as much as Windows and Mac are supported by their respective handsets. If you are trying to ensure the adaptation and success of Linux Mobile, this is the perfect time and opportunity. We can’t simply overlook the desktop version which made all of this possible.



  • Justin

    That’s a nice notion and all but just because an OS is great to use in their mobile platform, doesn’t mean it warrants them to spend time and money developing and testing software for <1% of the market. As a part-time Linux user I can say It’d be nice to see that but I don’t think it is fair to ask for that when the two aren’t really related. We don’t really expect everyone who uses Linux in their product to write all their software for Ubuntu right (home routers, TiVo, PMPs, etc, etc)?

  • phatsphere

    hmpf :\
    i hope at least there will be specs how to read the internal data.

  • Tony S.

    This is an open source platform.
    Count on that linux support day 1 or maybe on day 2 as late.

  • http://www.vitor-pereira.com Vitor Pereira

    So, it’s open-source, unlocked, uncrippled but it will only sync with a proprietary, locked and crippled OS. That’s got be good.

  • http://commonsware.com/Android/ Mark Murphy

    “But when it comes to synchronizing contacts and emails as well as using your phone as a modem, then problems arise.”

    I can’t speak for phone-as-modem, as I’ve never used that.

    With respect to contacts and emails, though, problems arise with these on all desktop platforms, if you’re not using extremely mainstream tools (e.g., Outlook). This isn’t a “anything-but-Linux” thing, it’s an “Outlook-or-bust” thing. Name me a mobile OS that supports Thunderbird out of the box, or Eudora, or Notes, or Slypheed, or mutt, or…

    Make an open source sync solution that works across multiple mail clients, preferably on multiple platforms, and exposes a simple plugin interface for mobile OS provider to create their hooks to schlep data to/from devices. Then, and only then, will you see vendors start to ship tools that sync with Linux mail clients, because they can ship the whole solution while only having to implement a piece of it that pertains to their device.

  • lordhong

    email: IMAP
    calendar: hmmm… google calendar

    i dont see any problem here. phone is just part of the cloud…

  • Todd

    @Vamien McKalin WTF?

    Android phones use Gmail by default. Gmail is a cloud service. There isn’t anything to “synchronize” – the handset and your Gmail account are always 100% in synchronization. Disparity is impossible.

    Did Steve Ballmer secretly write this post under the pseudonym “Vamien McKalin” or something?

  • Todd

    P.S. THE DESKTOP IS DEAD!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.mindeye.net sargon

    OpenSync?
    Hope there will be an plugin for it :)

  • http://www.timothytuck.com Timothy Tuck

    I for one am looking for a Linux based phone SPECIFICALLY because i “was” hoping no issues in syncing back to my Linux desktop. While reading this does disturb me (for a millisecond perhaps) i also think its most likely more a mild hick-up than an real issue.

    Here is why.

    1: Based on Linux.
    2. Based on Open Standards
    3. Open API and easily available SDK

    Sure, it might not come with a cd you pop in and install the Linux version of “active sync”
    but being linux, with a USB connector and bluetooth and using open standards tends to lead me to think i would find some .ics files for my calendaring (ical) and most likely the address’s would be in .vcf format too. assuming i can somehow get a ssh shell on the thing and perhaps some kind of rsync client syncing is just a small bashscript away at most.

    Now for John Q Public perhaps its more of an issue but one thing every Linux User should know is within one week of availability there will be tens of thousands of posts on how to do X or fix Y issues and numerous other hacks cracks and fixes popping up all over online.

    Lets face it, the one thing the Linux Community does better than “ANY and Every other Community” out there is boldly face issues of non-compatibility, closed systems and a huge lack of documentation. To this they never stop sharing “How-To’s” hints tips and tricks and documentation.

    Every Linux User should know and understand this, the only reason Linux does work as well as it does is not because of the Hardware Manufactures efforts to make sure it does. Sadly its because of some poor souls countless hours spent reverse engineering how it works and what components it is using and then cobbling up a driver and over time refining it. If it wasn’t for all of these geeks time and efforts and countless hours we all (or at least most of us) would be stuck still dealing with MS

    Linux users tend to go the extra mile and throw another nine in to make it ten miles to help the next guy out, I do not see that as much with other OS’s and i’m not just singling out windows or macs here either. I have personally written tons of documentation for so many things in linux its not even funny and i have done the same for windows and macs when appropriate but honestly it was my expose to Linux and the endless help i found online that gave birth to the desire to give back to the community that has given me so much.

    In the end, I will happily blow up my new (not even 1 month old yet) Treo Palm 755P with whatever large quantity of “stuff to make it go boom” and never look back as i activate my new Linux Smartphone and begin to figure out what all i can make it do and document some of the harder to figure out stuff to help out the next guy as i search around for solutions to the stuff i cant figure out. While i like what my Treo does on some level. After endless crashes, lost data, missed calls and a endless number of never ending issues i will someday look back and question why the hell i ever tolerated such a unreliable device to begin with. I can hardly wait to say goodbye to Palm, hell the thing crashed just trying to activate it.

    Issues using a Linux Smartphone, Sure perhaps but easily resolved in quite sure and syncing with thunderbird and other “Non-Outlook” Clients, well if the app is open source it might take 6 months or so to see something pop up but count on it happening.

    I might even not blowup my Treo and instead hack the shit out of it and try to get Linux on to it, Lord knows its not like it could become any more crash-happy even if it does get bricked in the process.
    Tnt

  • Give and Take

    I usually do not get involved in debate/flame wars and that is not my intention here, but Justin’s comments seem somewhat skewed. First off, saying that Linux desktop support for a mobile device that is running Linux is unrelated, is incorrect by nature. If for no other reason, the fact that both platforms are running the Linux OS shows that they are related.

    Open Source software is a great thing and has brought about many innovations that would have been otherwise impossible. I believe it is the responsibility of the businesses, that reap the benefits of Linux and other Open Source software, to give back to the community. One way this could and should happen is by making sure that devices that are based on Linux have support for the Linux OS. Increased support for devices on Linux would increase market share. Increased market share would increase innovation and generate more software that could be used by these same companies.

    I believe that supporting the Open Source software that a business takes advantage of is not only the ethical thing to do, it is just good business.

    Thanks!

  • http://le-valombre.fr Eric De Vito

    “Make an open source sync solution that works across multiple mail clients, preferably on multiple platforms, and exposes a simple plugin interface for mobile OS provider to create their hooks to schlep data to/from devices. Then, and only then, will you see vendors start to ship tools that sync with Linux mail clients, because they can ship the whole solution while only having to implement a piece of it that pertains to their device.”

    There exist such solutions : ScheduleWorld (http://www.scheduleworld.com/) and Funambol (http://www.funambol.com/). I’m sure that androïd sync solutions around these stuff will arise very soon.

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