This is absolutely amazing!:

I’m pleased to announce that the Linux 2.6 kernel has been ported to Apple’s iPhone platform, with support for the first and second generation iPhones as well as the first generation iPod touch.


The capabilities of OpeniBoot are still incredibly limited—at present, there’s no support for writing to the flash memory, using the touch screen, wireless networking, the cell phone, sound, or the accelerometer.

I should state outright that the pioneers are honest about the limitations of their achievement. And also that these people are doing important work aside from this little quest. Decoupling the iPhone from AT&T is a pretty important thing for anyone that wants the former instead of the latter. The thing is, though, if you don’t want the iPhone’s software at all, don’t get the iPhone! About the only reason I can think of for getting an iPhone so that you can strip the OS and replace it with Linux is so that you can tell people that you bought an iPhone and hacked it (to shreds) so you can look all kewl. I don’t generally despise computer nerds, but there is no computer nerd that I despise more than that guy. That guy who is more interested in showing off than doing anything useful.

Seriously, when you buy an iPhone you’ve already bought the software. The same goes for a Windows Mobile device. The software that was made for the device. The software that the hardware was built for. Software that’s relatively easy to use and does what you want it to do and (at least in the case of WM) gives you the option of downloading software for free that gets it to do more. You want to put Linux on a computer? I get that. Computers are often about maximum functionality. Smartphones? Pocket PCs? Not so much. They’re about ease-of-use. They’ve made tremendous strides, but that remains Linux’s biggest problem. Perhaps as importantly, an advantage of Linux on the desktop is that it’s anywhere from $75-500 cheaper than Windows. If you put a computer together from scratch, that’s certainly an appeal.

Even with that advantage, Linux has been unable to make a serious dent in the desktop market. Other than crass geekery, I fail to understand why anybody should be getting excited at the prospect of being able to utilize it where its two strongest aspects (licensing costs and flexibility) are negated or irrelevent and its weakest aspects (ease-of-use, hardware support) are most important.

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2 Responses to Worshipping The Penguin

  1. Webmaster says:

    Answer #1: Linux nerds will try to install linux on anything. Seriously. They’ve tried to hack into things like old video game consoles to run it, it’s crazy.

    Answer #2: They do this merely for the challenge of doing it.

    Regarding Linux for the desktop… tried it. Didn’t like it, had hardware compatibility problems, and that’s the end of that for at least the near future.

  2. trumwill says:

    I can understand them saying “Hey, look, they got Linux on a cell phone. Isn’t that cool?”… but what’s perplexing to me is that it’s more in the tone of “Hey look, they got Linux on a cell phone. Isn’t this significant?” It’s really not. In my view.

    Linux for the desktop is always “almost there”… and if I ever had to I could almost certainly make a go of it. The thing is that I don’t have to. Windows is already there.

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