Sabtu, 26 Juni 2010

Locking Down Linux: Is it Necessary?

One thing I love about Linux is it's ability to be modular and customizable to degrees Windows users can only dream of it. The insides of the operating system are available to sift through if doing so peaks your fancy and the source code is free to take and edit. Many Linux Advocates, myself included, assert that our operating system of choice is more than ready for the "general public" or "average user". In recent years it seems the term "user friendliness" has become associated with the exact opposite of what I love about Linux:

Lack of freedom, and customization.

So long as "there is an app for that" it seems it really doesn't matter if your device is controlled by a company that feels it has a "moral responsibility" to filter content to it's users. The numbers speak for themselves, the iPhone has a 25% market share while the N900 had a 96% return rate for Vondaphone.

Is locking down your operating system so a user can't "hurt themselves" with it really the only way to sell a product in 2010?

Google seems to think so. It appears they thought correctly, Android has been rapidly gaining market share - so they must be doing something right. Will other distributions that are hoping to become more mainstream need to follow suit? Shuttleworth seems to think so. With MeeGo handhelds looming around the corner for later this year, I am wondering if they will also go down this path.

Before anyone says anything - yes I know we can jailbreak (or root) iPhones and Android devices, but honestly why should I have to hack at my own device just to have access to all the features it can offer?

What do you think? Is locking down the version of Linux we ship on devices the only way they are ever going to get sales with "Joe Normal"?
~Jeff Hoogland

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