In a surprise move, the result of the Nokia buyout by Microsoft is a new Android based phone, the X2. (Yes, I double checked that it was not a 1st April story). BBC reports that the mid-range smart-phone will be Android based, but that the UI will look like Microsoft’s Windows Phone.
At an estimated price of 100 Euros, the specs are not overwhelming, with 1 GB RAM, 5 MP camera. However, interestingly it’s a dual SIM phone. That suggests it’s targeting the Asian market, where people are shopping around for the best SMS and calling rates, and dual SIM phones are very popular.
As expected, the phone will not feature the common Google service apps, like Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts, Maps, and Youtube, but instead replace them with Microsoft equivalents like Outlook, Skype, and Bing. However, it also means that the Google Play store will not be available either, so Microsoft and Nokia will somehow have to back-fill their own market. Or perhaps developers will have to submit their Android apps to yet another market. Many open source apps are already dual-hosted on Google Play and the free software based app market F-Droid.
Yesterday it was announced that Nokia would partner with Microsoft for their new smart phones. Investors did not like the news, and sent Nokia’s stock down 14% on heavy trading. Slashdot did not like the news, with comments like “rest in peace“, and several “this was the last Nokia I’ll own“. The Register called it Losers Alliance.
Although Nokia says they will keep MeeGo around, it seems unlikely that it will top priority. Microlith’s comment describes the bleak future of open smart phones in the near future:
“The problem with Android, IMO, is that the entire ecosystem composing it and much of what surrounds it is entirely insular, and to no great benefit.
It shares no common libraries or interfaces with what you find in most Linux distributions. It uses a unique libc that no other distribution uses. It uses a file system layout that is not found anywhere else. Its GUI rendering subsystem is completely unique and incompatible with all others.
The end result is that changes to Android stay within the Android system and do not benefit open source projects outside of it. And projects outside of it require heavy rewrites to work, at all, on Android. Not to mention that Android has no real repository type system, so you’re left trading .apk files and latching on to the market, which is only available on the default builds of some devices and not at all on others.
Maemo was developed with that compatibility in mind, and is a large part of the reason I bought it. It was most of what the OpenMoko Freerunner tried to be, and MeeGo only improved the openness aspect of it. MeeGo allowed mobile devices to retain continuity with the rest of the open source ecosystem you find in most desktop Linux systems, thus changes and improvements to both ends benefits everyone. In addition, it removed the non-device-specific closed bits and created a platform independent of any one handset vendor.
Android leaves you a second (or more likely, third) class citizen in this effort, as the AOSP does not, last I checked, flow upstream into the Android core and the AOSP only receives the latest changes to Android after it’s been delivered to device manufacturers (see Honeycomb and Motorola.)
So this is very much a Microsoft victory against Open Source, if not Free Software, projects in the mobile space. And Android is not a way forward that is very fair to end users and non-corporate developers.”
Somebody made the “mistake” of not testing their new web app for IE.
Here’s NoMoreNicksLeft’s response:
Ah. Don’t worry, anyone could make this mistake… I made it myself once. You see, they aren’t internet users, but cretinous rejects that don’t really “use” the internet. They sort of stumble through it, not really understanding anything and being confused even when things do work as intended.
Allow me to illustrate. The Grand Canyon is a beautiful natural formation… awe-inspiring and wonderful. The word majestic might as well have been invented for that place. But if you want to really see it, to climb down the side, it’s a grueling experience. It could even be unsafe if you were out of shape or infirm. Such people, if they want to go down the side, they need to get into shape, make certain they won’t trip over their own feet and plummet to their death. This is unfortunate that some can’t see it this way… it is the sort of thing everyone should see.
But just because it is unfortunate and that everyone should see it, this doesn’t mean I advocate carving up with jackhammers the thousands of feet worth of cliff face, importing it indoors to some supermall where 400 lb fatasses can take a glass elevator up and down the thing and “experience” it. It would be destructive to do so, to an extent that is beyond words.
In the same way, we shouldn’t do the same to cool webapps. If you just don’t have what it takes to view webpages (and IE isn’t a browser but an operating system component), then people that make webpages are not obligated to try to let you see them and are fools if they do anyway.
Everytime I see an error like this (and actually only from links and screenshots), I imagine the sound of some obese motherfucker screaming “AAAAaaaaaaaiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeee!” and then the big splatter when they reach the bottom of the canyon. You should too.
Microsoft has been rattling the IP cage over the past days. This is the best insight I’ve seen so far:
“Don’t be blind to what Microsoft is really doing. They’re not trying to stop the innovation or progress of OSS development. They are trying to stop the adoption of OSS by making these patent claims and then having the claims published in trade magazines and the web.
This is probably the most effective way to protect their bottom line. Going into court isn’t what they want. They want doubt in prospective OSS adopters. With doubt comes the likelihood of sticking with what’s safe. It’s the same sort of campaign they “allegedly” helped SCO take-on to help stifle OSS adoption. From what I can tell, it had a impact for quite some time.
I am sure Microsoft knows that quite a few patents may not hold up. They’ll only get bad publicity in the tech world, but to shareholders and the rest of the world, they’ll look like they’re protecting their assets. They had record profits last quarter and will continue to do so by spreading doubt in prospective adopters minds. It’s so simple and yet so effective.”
From the ZDNet article: “Microsoft (…) is adding the PC equivalent of a flight data recorder to the next version of Windows. [The tool] will provide Microsoft with much deeper information, including what programs were running at the time of the error and even the contents of documents that were being created”.
They claim that the user is in control of what is sent, however admit that “If [business customers] wanted total information, they could configure systems so that they’d know not only that a user was running Internet Explorer, for example, but also that he or she was watching a video from ESPN.com. Or, they might find out not only that a worker was running Instant Messenger but also that he or she was talking to a co-worker about getting a new job.”
I say, why not call a spade a spade. This is nothing but an extension of the US Total Information Awareness initiative. If it is found that a particular user was looking at content deemed politically or socially incorrect at the time, I am sure no alarm bells will go off. And should the trustworthy US regime ask Microsoft for information on specific content or users, I’m would trust Microsoft to keep their archives shut. After all, they have no incentives to lick up to the corrupt government that upholds their OS monopoly.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Personally, I’d feel safer with the keys hanging on the door handle outside my house, than Microsoft anywhere inside it.