[OT]: Smartphones and Python?

Michael Torrie torriem at gmail.com
Sun Feb 19 01:36:48 CET 2012

On 02/18/2012 10:46 AM, Lie Ryan wrote:
> Android does have a full Linux experience; what it lacks is the GNU 
> experience. Unlike "normal" Linux distros, Android does not use GNU 
> userspace, instead it have its own userspace based on bionic, toolbox, 
> and dalvik. Linux is a core part of Android's user and developer's 
> experience.

The fact that RIM is porting Android to QNX would seem to contradict
your assertion that Linux is a core part of Android's user and developer
experience.  Have you developed for Android?  In what way do you
interact with Linux in your apps and APIs?  Can you make system calls?
How is Linux a core part of Android's user and developer experience?  I
know that Android does allow some integration of native code, so that
does meld Linux and Android somewhat.

>From a user's pov (non-rooted), there is nothing of Linux exposed.  I
just install apps, run them, and manipulate my files which are stored in
my sd card.  The fact that it's in /mnt/sdcard is completely hidden, as
are all files that support dalvik.  The OS could be Windows, iOS, or
whatever.  It doesn't matter because the platform is not defined by the
kernel but by the APIs that apps need to use to run on the platform,
just like in Python!  In fact in some ways calling Android "Linux" would
be similar to calling Java and the Sun JVM "Linux" or Python, "Linux"
just because it happens to run atop that kernel.  I have mentioned those
specifically because they are interpreted or virtual machines
themselves; the "binaries" run regardless of underlying CPU type, or
kernel type.

In my mind, the fact that Android runs on the Linux kernel is almost
entirely coincidental to Android's aims.  Google could have developed
their own kernel, but of course it's much cheaper to use Linux.  And of
course Dalvik is currently written to consume posix APIs from the kernel.

In my mind, and in my experience with Android, Linux is irrelevant.  In
fact continuing to call Android "Linux" might just be doing ourselves a
disservice.  In any case, saying that since it's linux, you can install
anything you want on it, such as a JVM, is neither useful or accurate.

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