Saturday, October 11, 2008

On Linux as an operating system

Linux is a system kernel and it is in wide diverse use. But Linux is only a kernel -- it is not a complete operating system. Many pedants will argue this but completely miss the point. I expect this to happen. I promise not to sigh when I see it. I believe that there is a bit of myopia in the various Linux communities concerning how they relate to their various operating systems, and how they perceive the "failure" of Linux operating systems to be adopted by the mainstream. Instead I say they have succeeded quite well -- but "they" is crucial here.

It really isn't appropriate to discuss Linux as a singular operating system -- there are a large number of divergent Linux distributions each with significant application programming interface (API) differences. As long as the mantra remains "Linux", there will not be a consistent user interface experience, and there will not be a critical mass which draws commercial software developers (as they are drawn to Windows and Mac OS X). If a significant subset of the Linux community truly desires greater adaptation of a particular Linux distribution and the formation of a third major desktop operating system with commensurate mindshare and/or marketshare, they will begin to chant its name instead of "Linux" and reconcile that Linux is a spectacular system kernel but only a system kernel and not a desktop operating system. They need to promote the whole and not just a part.

"Hello Mr. Martian. I would like to introduce you to my friend, Matt. He is a foot like me!"

"Hello Mr. Martian. I would like to introduce you to my friend, Matt, he is a human like me!"

"What OS do you run on that PC?" "Linux"

"What OS do you run on that PC?" "Ubuntu"

What kernel do you run on that PC?" "Linux"

Once they promote the whole and not the part, they still have their work cut out for them. My first advice would be to make sure they back a desktop user interface api that has 0 lines of code from the X11 distribution -- second, base the desktop api on an object-oriented compiler efficient language such as Objective-C (first choice) or C++ (static typing makes UI development bulkier for everyone). For geeks aghast at Objective-C.... ok I am just going to sigh here. *sigh*

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wait, Is Google being evil?

Throughout my forays into marketing my new iPhone application (which I will leave out of this particular post in an effort to demonstrate that this isn't another marketing foray) I have stared at thousands of pages of Google search results. I have encountered some interesting anomalies. When I encountered this one today:

Publishing industry faces "Y2K" over new ISBN numbers - Software ...

Seb Janacek Minority Report: Apple alienating App Store developers? ... Fax - + 44(0)203 031 1357 Reference - JS/JK/SAP/CL/MAN/011 Country Code - UK ...,39024653,39126208,00.htm - 81k - Cached - Similar pages

which I discovered using this search, it gave me pause.

As I scanned down the results page I was immediately drawn to the text: Minority Report: Apple alienating App Store developers? I have read countless articles since the Android press conference last month with a similar theme. I checked the search result link here and the cached result here and I couldn't find the search terms I had originally searched for, nor the text "Minority Report: Apple alienating App Store developers?" These pages are from 2004 so it makes sense that mention of the App Store would simply be too prescient. I have encountered this often frustrating behavior often in Google search results when researching stories about my own app and company.

But the web mash up here, in the emerging arena of smartphone behemoths Apple and Google, reads as strategic and deeply sinister. Has Google been using subliminal techniques of suggestion in their search results? Have they been stoking the fire of iPhone developer ire to orchestrate a brain drain to Android?

You must love the conspiratorial implications!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

With the lifting of the NDA I am moved, and nauseated by my choice in movement, to quote Ronald Reagan. Repeat: "Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall!" Eliminate the sandbox. Don't make developers have to go to the trouble of making apps like AirSharing. Of all the apps that should be rejected for duplicating functionality of the iPhone, in an ideal world AirSharing would be it. Instead Apple has it featured on the App Store. All applications should be able to access any media -- music, movies, images, text -- that is available on the iPhone and freely move whatever data they desire to and fro by using the stock facilities of the operating system. Let the creative media apps flow --- let us Rip. Mix. Burn. And did I mention that we should eliminate the sandbox? Mr. Gorbachev?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

God Save the Queen

Cosmovox is featured on the UK App Store, under the "What's Hot" category, which surprised me. My very first daily sales report said that Cosmovox sold 10 times as well in the UK over any other country in Europe. The British have a reputation for a love and interest in electronic music so that may be an explanation. Another explanation might be the karmic debt an English Duke incurred after sailing around the horn to reach California in the mid-19th century where he declared the paternal ancestors bearing my (and sharing his) surname in the Sacramento Valley heathens and abruptly disowned them.