Remember how Windows home computers from big manufacturers came almost unusable due to craplets? Sprint has successfully introduced the craplet to a Linux based OS, and though my experience is limited to Sprint they probably aren't the only guilty ones. I personally have an EVO and Sprint, but I realize this is not isolated to just them, but I did write this with my own perspective in mind. Feel free to share your own in reply.
Now that the brief introduction is aside, it's time to get to the geeky core.
The real problem with the EVO in particular is simply Tying. I started researching the history of the tying issue and found out mobile phone makers could be in the same boat as Microsoft was in with IE. These crap software items the user's don't necessarily want, report back to servers regularly, and don't even provide useful services drain the battery in such a manner the inclusion of these programs at minimum should count as a civil liability against the phone provider. Why do providers feel the need to install this much spyware? If they were to install a single snooper app that keeps track of where I'm at at all times and then resell the data instead of installing four of five of their own plus letting Amazon put one on it would preserve the battery life. Sure it's a low life thing to do, but at least only one application doing it would use less battery life than half a dozen doing it separately.
On to the hacking, this is why I blame Sprint, not HTC or Google in my own case.
I jail broke mine for the single purpose of removing bloatware. This was NOT good enough. Turns out simple jail breaking doesn't work, the section of onboard memory that contains this crap ware is locked hard-core (I blame HTC for this) so not even simple rooting allows you to get rid of the crap from here. I wound up installing a really old version of Android plus a couple of other hacks to get rid of the garbage, I'm sure there's easier ways to do it than what I did, but Froyo 2.2 came on mine and they had just recently started packaging Froyo on this model when I got it so online how-to's were sparse at best. Afterward I re-upgraded to 2.2.
My phone that used to barely make it 8 hours stock with all the extra radio's etc turned off could immediately make it to 24 hours, some more uninstalls and OS tweaks I'm up to about three or so days of standby. I can't really test this, 24 hours is about the best I can do when it comes to leaving the thing unplugged and not messing with it. I've told the people at the phone store I could get at least 32 hours of standby, when I tell them I'm using the factory battery they refuse to believe me. All they've done is recommend I use ATK under their breath. I've proven setting the thing up properly is better than that.
Providers should be required to report what every one of these protected area programs gathers and reports about the users. Especially things like Amazon MP3 which don't even originate from the provider. It would be bad enough just installing the craplets. Installing craplets that a user can't uninstall without hacking is worse. Installing craplets that you can't even get out with simple rooting is akin to criminal.
My question to other SlashDotters — do mobile phone craplets fall into the same category of bundling as IE and Windows 95 and the famous lawsuit? Even with the legalese and the disclosures given in the pages of agreement they give you with the phone is this data gathering legal? Can the battery waste done by the applications constitute another form of legal misrepresentation outside of the initial ethical and privacy concerns? Has Google, HTC, or any of the other manufacturers weighed in on this? I've personally turned my barely portable due to short battery life machine into a long running mobile powerhouse, Google and the manufacturers are bound to be concerned about these apps making their hardware and OS look bad.
pecosdave writes: The HTC EVO is arguably the best phone on the market today as far as tech specs are concerned. Indeed, it can make an iPhone cry. The problem is, it has horrible battery life.
This is not HTC's fault (not solely anyways).
Have you ever bought a new Windows computer and it's almost unusable due to craplets? Sprint has successfully introduced the craplet to a Linux based OS.
Now that the brief introduction is aside, it's time to get to the geeky core.
The real problem with the EVO is simply Tying. The crap software the user's don't necessarily want, report back to servers regularly, and don't even provide useful services to the user on a regular basis drain the batter in such a manner the inclusion of these programs at minimum should count as a civil liability against Sprint. Why does Sprint feel the need to install this much spyware? Why can't they install a single snooper app that keeps track of where I'm at at all times and resell the data instead of installing four of five of their own plus letting Amazon put one on? Sure it's a low life thing to do, but at least only one application doing it would use less battery life than half a dozen.
On to the hacking, this is why I blame Sprint, not HTC or Google.
I jail broke mine for the single purpose of removing bloatware. This was NOT good enough. Turns out simple jail breaking doesn't work, the section of onboard memory that contains this crap ware is locked hard-core (I blame HTC for this) so not even simple rooting allows you to get rid of the crap from here. I wound up installing a really old version of Android plus a couple of other hacks to get rid of the garbage, I'm sure there's easier ways to do it than what I did, but Froyo 2.2 came on mine and they had just recently started packaging Froyo on my phone when I got it so online how-to's were sparse at best. Afterward I re-upgraded to 2.2.
My phone that used to barely make it 8 hours stock with all the extra radio's etc turned off now can make it 32 on standby, easy.
Ethics aside there's some serious civil liability here.
Sprint should be required to report what every one of these protected area programs gathers and reports about the users. Especially Amazon MP3 which isn't even a Sprint app.
I have actually stood in a Sprint store, told their sales people I hacked my phone and it gets 32 hour standby. They ask which after market battery I bought. They don't believe me when I tell them I'm still using the factory battery and why it last so much more. They sort of advise me to use ATK under their breath. This is much better than that.
It would be bad enough just installing the craplets. Installing craplets that a user can't uninstall without hacking is worse. Installing craplets that you can't even get out with simple rooting is akin to criminal.
The SlashDot community is usually vocal about stuff like this. What do you think?
pecosdave writes: Years ago I subscribed to the now defunct South Western Bell DSL service, it gave me 5 IP addresses and completely unfiltered internet access and I loved it, it was good. I ran a low traffic web server — that I mostly hosted Fark photoshop contest pictures on along with a few things only of interest to those who know me. Later, I used Time Warner cable, same thing, only 1 IP address this time, and I found evidence of them testing my SMTP serve on occasion to make sure it wasn't open to the world, it wasn't, so they left me alone and it was good.
Since then, I've been unable to find any national ISP that doesn't filter every sever port I could possibly want to use, at least for home access. Local ones are few and far between as well. For twice the cost of home use bandwidth I can forgo most home services that I might want in addition to internet access (triple play, bundles etc) and get half the bandwidth on a "professional" plan that may or may not come with a couple of static IP's, but really "professional" access is just an excuse to charge more for less in most cases. I'm probably going to move in a couple of months, and the availability of "real" internet access can largely affect where I will move to. There's a lot of information online about performance of different ISPs but I can't find anything about what I consider real net neutrality and individual ISPs. My particular dilemma is something a majority of home users don't care about so it's completely overlooked. To add complications to the matter you can't call up ISPs and ask them if they filter access or not, Verizon and some others will outright lie to you if you ask about filtering, and most of the people doing internet sales don't even know what an IP address is, much less if they block ports or not, they're just interested in the sale.
pecosdave writes: "Three of my friends argued this morning, and I was late to the party so instead of jumping in I'm just going to write my own article about why Linux doesn't have a lot of penetration on the desktop.
Right now, fingers are pointing because Linux isn't desktop ready. The question of "is it mainstream?" is answered. YES it is mainstream, on servers and embedded devices. The question is, who do you point the finger at as to why it's not on the desktop. My answer — the unnamed person who hasn't made it work yet.
Linux is absolutely ready for the desktop, but only on controlled systems. Before you call me crazy, first think about how many things BSD and Linux have in common, then realize BSD is on the desktop, it's popular, and it's run by a bunch of elitist who consider the command line, and I'm going to quote what one said to me as "Barbaric". It's Mac OS that is BSD.
Why does Mac OS work where Linux fails? The answer of course is Apple. Lets tear it apart:
1. Apple makes their own distribution.
2. Apple makes their own hardware.
3. Apple makes their distribution incredibly easy to use.
4. Apple makes their hardware really flashy, yet basic and to the point.
5. They keep choices to a minimum.
6. EVERYTHING JUST WORKS.
Linux has NONE of these things. Quite the opposite, especially #5. The closest thing we've got to Apple in the Linux world is ASUS with their Eee PC. I personally know the shortcomings of that, they focus on hardware while leaving the distro to someone else, not the worst of ideas, but they put their fingers in the distro just enough to screw it up.
I'm going to more or less outline my imaginary company that is going to make "Apple Formula/Apple Killer" systems.
1. We're going to have to maintain our own repository. Our distro is going to have to just work, and yes, I'm going to say, add another Debian derivative to the pile, heck, it may become Awesombuntu. We're going to have to have a mainline stable distribution that doesn't change that often other than patches and a few important updates, like browser updates and a few other things that need to be updated often. This is where Debian stable falls short, it stays unchanging enough, but it doesn't update important stuff, like browsers or plug-ins. That's why Ubuntu happened. On the other side of the coin, normal Ubuntu updates to much for this idea, the long term Ubuntu is just slightly better off than Debian stable in this regard.
2. We're going to have to make our own hardware dedicated to the task. This is where ASUS succeeded. Their Eee's were created with Linux in mind and it all works. That's the trick to making Linux work on the desktop. Sure us geeks can piecemeal a system together and it will work great, but we can't expect Joe Bob off the street to do it. We're actually going to have to make the hardware too. We can't just settle for an off the shelf relabel, we're going to have to design our own motherboards and cases so that our motherboard manufacturer can't just drop our model, or change chips on us. When you use Linux, buy by the chip, and build by the chip. This doesn't mean go proprietary, it simply means build in accordance to what you want to do. Just like Apple did.
3. We're going to have to make it easy to do. Why does Apple work as a Unix distributor? Their users don't have to learn Unix, that's why. Sure, Synaptic/Apt is awesome and easy to use where package management is involved, but hitting Alt+F2 > kdesu synaptic > password is out of the question. We're going to have to make it automatically refresh it's package list and check for updates weekly, like a Mac does (please don't lecture me on the already existent things that do this for Apt/Yast/Yum). Then we're going to have to make it get in your face and say "hey — I have a critical update!" like a Mac does with its annoying little bouncing icon. These critical updates need to include browsers, the default IM program, browser plug-ins, media player updates, and possibly even be extended to include an office suite. I would like to make that last one a variable. ITunes is a really big part of why Apple works, their main included software is handled automatically, but you can buy stuff from iTunes that you have to handle it through i-Tunes. We need something like a compartmentalized Synaptic to be iTunes.
4. Hardware — it needs to be sexy to attract buyers. The Sony Vaio originally did really well because compared to everything else of the era it first appeared in, it was slim and sexy — it was eye candy. Apple stuff does really well for same but different reasons. The Vaio was the table dancer covered in jewelry, perfume, and rubbing your crotch. Apple takes the approach of smiling girl next door who you just saw change her own oil and has an obviously huge chest under her shirt, but isn't wearing a plunging neckline. You want them both, but for somewhat different reasons. You have to portray one of those reasons and make it work. Apple is doing better than Sony because as I mentioned, she changed her own oil.
5. One of the things that hurts Linux is the vast array of choices. Sure it helps Linux for people like us Geeks, but it hurts it for the desktop. If we're going to make a desktop work, we have to decide for the customers. Not in the current Apple "if you make something cooler than us for the iPhone we're not going to let you distribute it" type attitude, but the the current Microsoft/OS X attitude. We provided you with good default setup, you can add to it, but you can't uninstall our stuff without breaking the warranty, or quite possibly the system. As much as I hate "can't uninstall" I think we should stick with that for the default desktop of our Apple inspired distro, remove the ability to remove the default stuff from the distro. That way they can add their own stuff all they want and make it default, but what we provided should always be there and working. That's software — we need to also standardize our hardware to not stretch out to much. We need to increment screen sizes an inch at a time from about 7" to 19", all of those need the same basic ports, they all need webcams and microphones, they need everything more or less the same. Only CPU speed, storage type/size and RAM varies within a screen size. The larger ones need everything the smaller ones have plus maybe an optical drive and a few more ports, possibly an express card slot, but keep it consistent, don't put firewire on the big ones but not the small ones. Don't give the small ones an SD reader but not the big ones etc..... We also need basic, normal, and awesome desktop models. We need to limit ourselves to two different basic video processors, and 1 type of LAN, 1 type of sound, etc..... Or if we do branch out a little keep it minimal and keep ALL of it up to date in the repository.
6. This is the most important part. It has to work. We can add one line to our repository configuration to specify a model repository if we must, but I'm actually against that. I like eeebuntu's method of having a lite, specialize, and full version. I think we could pull something like that and make it work for netbook version vs. an everything else.
If we actually make it big this way, and we become big enough, we will begin to drive everything else. We will make it well known the reason we chose the chip maker we did was because their crap works with Linux. We will make it clear we chose the software we did because it worked with our hardware, desktop, etc.
Then we dump money into our developers. Whatever software is on our systems we contribute to the development of that software, and I'm not above sending a note with request on it along with my contribution. I'm not against hiring a developer who's been making something for years, putting him on my staff, saying keep doing it, keep it GPL, but now you answer to me.
Apple is a cathedral, Linux is a bazaar. Apple backed programs on a Mac desktop are going to look more or less consistent, they're going to use the menu bar at the top of the screen instead of on a window, they're going to use the same file manager etc.... Something that isn't as easy/transparent in the software world is tool kit selection. We need to be able to swap tool kits easier. I'm a KDE guy and I would love to run Firefox in KDE compiled against Qt instead of GTK, I think of this every time I save a file. In turn, I think that if someone wants to run Konqueror with GTK they should be free to do so. Consistency is one of the lingering hurdles to market penetration. The whole front end concept is nice, but as we all know, all front ends are not created equally. It's my imaginary company, and we're going to push a KDE desktop. My competitors are certainly going to push Gnome. I see no reason why we can't offer the same applications tightly integrated into both of our desktops. Dumping money back into the developers with notes attached is probably the best way to accomplish this. As my friend said after I clarified this statement "You want choice for the geeks, but only so you can more tightly integrate a solution to sell to the morons?" Well, not a geek does not == moron, but yeah, that pretty much summed it up.
Linux is ready for the desktop, but right now it's only ready for geeks, or for businesses where you have a single geek at the top calling all the shots. Linux is ready to be "Appled" as we speak."