Which Distro?

Ken Restivo ken at restivo.org
Thu Jul 17 09:46:15 CEST 2008

On Thu, Jul 17, 2008 at 06:17:07AM +1000, Carsten Haitzler wrote:
> On Wed, 16 Jul 2008 10:28:52 -0700 "Vijay Vaidyanathan" <vvaidy at gmail.com>
> babbled:
> > Hi Carsten ...
> > 
> > On Jul 16, 2008, at 6:14 AM, Carsten Haitzler (The Rasterman) wrote:
> > > all are included. learn the one u like most - that solves the problem u
> > > want to solve best! stop thinking that we will only ver ship and support 1
> > > widget set and then u have to learn that. you will be waiting a very long
> > > time. with FSO above you STILL will need to make a choice. back-end system
> > > functions are stuffed behind a dbus api. front end (widget set, toolkits
> > > whatever) is STILL your problem.
> > 
> > Thank you ... okay, I think I see what you are saying, but
> > regrettably, that confuses me even further, so let me rephrase mine
> > (and probably Dirk's) question.
> > 
> > Assuming that your aspirations for the phone are to create something
> > that is more than just a tinkertoy for a few systems nerds like me,
> > and that you are hoping to eventually (but in the near future) attract
> > widespread interest from end users fed up with current options, surely
> > you will have to support just a single supported UI and development
> > platform? Even developers of apps will want to code to one UI, one
> > toolkit etc to ensure their apps continue to work with new factory
> > released phones.
> i repeat... why ONE? why does everyone think we HAVE to support just ONE? why?

1) reliability, bugfixes, fit and finish
2) critical mass of applications
3) usability
4) it's a smartphone, I want to be able to actually use it, not just load distros endlessly on it

> does your desktop linux distro ONLY run gtk apps? you can't use kde or qt apps?
> or SDL based games? or java apps? the desktop distro must also just choose ONE
> widget set and then all apps must use it? NO! this is wrong. please stop
> thinking this way. it's a limiting way of thinking. we have available to

I agree with you about the widget sets. I think it's foolish to try to lock a distro to only one widget set, and thus ignore all the great apps that would otherwise be available using another widget set. That said, I want only one distro, which uses all the widget sets. My Debian system is loaded with apps that use every widget set ever known to mankind (Tk, Gtk, Qt, KDE, FLTK, whatever).

> developers their FAVORITE languages and FAVORITE toolkits - they dont NEED to
> go learn anything! that is the whole point! use what you already know!
> > Unless you really don't aspire to make anything beyond phones for
> > systems techies, you will have to pick just one distro that the phone
> > will ship with, won't you? You surely cannot switch distros from time
> > to time, since your existing user and developer base will expect to
> > see some continuity.
> switching distro is up to you. OM will ship a distro by default we work on one.
> the content and flavor of that distro is aiming at the above - support as much
> as possible so we dont alienate people. if we said "only gtk apps in c" then
> all the python, ruby, java, c#, qt, c++ etc. devs run away, or HAVE to change.

Again, I'm very glad that the phone lets me program in Python, or C, or whatever. It was a great thrill to sit here in my terminal and be working with an interactive Python interpreter on my telephone. But, again, as a user, I want one distro that has *everyone* pulling together to make it great and solid-- using whatever programming language, widget set, etc, that pleases them. Diversity in the service of unity. The two always exist simultaneously in tension, and the great art is deciding where to apply the diversity and where to apply the unity. I'm suggesting diversity in toolkits and languages, in the service of unity of finished product.

> same if we said qt/c++ only, or phython only, or java only. why should you be
> boxed into a single box and a distro is only allowed to have 1 box? why? just
> because every other phone maker works this way does not mean we have to.
> > So perhaps I can clarify: what distro do you intend to ship with to end users?
> > 
> > If it is ASU, and I must wait, thats just fine with me, but your
> > response above seems to contradict that.
> ASU is what openmoko is working on.
> > I'd appreciate your helping us out here since I'm probably not the
> > only one confused ... what am I missing?
> >

Then ASU is the one I will work on too. I'm glad to be running it now. It seems excellent. All I need is to get the matchbox keyboard to replace the quite awful and useless keyboard that comes with ASU, and I'm all set to really enjoy this thing.


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