Archive for December 18th, 2006

The new phones

The reviews of my two new (cheap) phones will go live early January, but I must write that I am impressed by the LG U8500 phone. It is a leaps and bounds ahead of the over-hyped LG Chocolate (GSM) that I reviewed last month (I still can’t believe that I wasted my month’s free gadget allowance to get this p-o-s). Its UI is more mature and most importantly for me, its web browser (latest Obigo version) rocks. Very nicely done little browser.

The other cheap phone I got was the Motorla SLVR L7. Some UI improvements over my old MOT-E398, but not as good as the new KRZR’s UI which also has a less-bad MiB browser in it (supports bg colors on table cells now among other improvements) and AA fonts. For example the L7 fails to render this mobile page while the older MiB browser version and the newer one manage it fine. UPDATE: Apparently the web browser runs out of memory on pages with more than 5-6 KBs of text (very poor).

One thing that really caught my eye though is that its lowly VGA camera is able to “see” extremely well in the dark. Where expensive cell cameras fail to produce clear pictures on low light conditions without using a flashlight, the L7’s VGA camera does well, without even enabling its “night mode”. Of course quality remains just as bad as any other VGA camera, but at least it’s good in the dark.

BTW, anyone’s interested in an almost-new LG Chocolate KG800 phone? I sell it cheap. ;-)

Linux and its closing window of opportunity with OEMs

FreeSoftwareMagazine posted today an editorial about the lack of Linux in OEM PCs. The author states three reasons for this status: lack of demand, Microsoft lobbying and support.

It’s very easy to point the finger to the computer users (lack of demand), the big bad wolf (Microsoft) and the OEMs (tech support). Yes, everyone is to blame, except the Linux companies/community. How stereotypical line of thought from fanatics: it’s everyone else’s fault, but not ours.

In 20 years from now, computer historians will have to write about this promising new OS, GNU/Linux, that sadly never took off and never had more than 2% market share on desktop installations despite it’s huge mind share. Then, the historians will elaborate why this happened, and the reason would be SEGMENTATION. When you have 370 Linux distros (latest count) and most importantly, none has above 25% of the overall Linux market (that’s Ubuntu right now), it means that 25% of a 2% that’s 0.5% from the overall PC market. And if that’s not enough, even if you decide to go with Ubuntu, SuSE and Fedora are big enough (about 13% each) to have their communities stir controversy and problems to the potential OEM company who would like to use Linux for their PCs/laptops. Going with Ubuntu would mean that they will only sell to 1/4 of what they could sell if Gnu/Linux was a single distro.

In other words, the real problem is the fact that “my linux distro is better than yours” mentality, and this just doesn’t work well in the marketplace. If there was a good-enough distro that would be able to have its own monopoly inside the Linux universe (e.g. if Ubuntu had 90% of all the Gnu/Linux desktop installations), things would be much better. OEMs want to sell something that it’s solid in terms of a product line, not having Joe shouting at them why they didn’t install Fedora instead, or having Jane shouting at them why her SuSE RPMs don’t work on Ubuntu. That’s a mess, and OEMs don’t want that.

So until the top-5 distros come together and create a single distro, OR, Ubuntu gets 90% of the Linux market, OEM PCs on a large scale will never happen. And it has nothing to do with Microsoft, or lack of demand, or tech support (which would be much easier as the OEMs would have to deal with a single major codebase and package management) that this article wants you to believe.