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Comment Re:or, maybe Google screwed up "ownership" (Score 1) 170

If Google had designed (? or something?) Android so that updating the base OS was something that could be pushed direct from Google instead of from each manufacturer's bollixed version of the system, there'd be no problem for any of us.

That may seem obvious now, but it's far from clear that Android would have succeeded the way it has if OEMs hadn't been allowed to differentiate their versions. That was (and is) something that's important to them, and they may well have decided that they wanted to do their own thing instead if Google hadn't given them the degree of control they wanted. Or maybe they'd have adopted Windows, since while it wouldn't allow them to customize it would have had the advantage of being from the then-biggest OS maker around.

It seems very likely that the ability of OEMs to customize was a core component of what made the Android ecosystem successful.

Also, keep in mind that the only way Google could really have kept OEMs from modifying Android however they like would have been to keep it closed. Personally, I'm glad that Google made the choices it did, not because I'm a Google employee working on Android (though I am), but because I've been an open source and free software advocate since before Google even existed. Android is far from perfect, and devices aren't as open as I would like, but I think the mobile software world is much better than it would have been without a F/LOSS mobile OS.

Comment Re:Outrageously short service life for updates (Score 1) 170

I still think that two years of updates is outrageous forced obsolescence that is prematurely adding electronic garbage to landfills.

FWIW, it's actually two years of upgrades and three years of security updates on Nexus devices.

I'm seriously considering going back to an iPhone on my next phone upgrade, despite all the concerns I have about them too. They at least support their hardware for around 5 years.

At least they have done so in the past. Note that they've never made any commitment to that, so they could stop.

Comment Re:Batten down the hatches - a bubble's bout to bu (Score 1) 162

The central banks of the world are conjuring money out of thin air and using it to buy stocks

Cite? I'm not aware of any central bank buying stocks. The "quantitative easing" they're doing -- AFAIK -- is all bond purchasing, which means they're not buying ownership in real businesses, they're lending money to real businesses.

Concurrently, interest rates are artificially low

That's debatable. Without the actions of the central banks, we would likely be in a deflationary cycle. Assuming interest rates naturally adjusted accordingly, they should go very low, or even negative. Some of the central banks have gone to slightly negative interest rates, but they won't go nearly as negative as would naturally occur in a deflationary cycle. Instead, they're pumping money into the economy (via QE) to avoid deflation.

Comment Re:"More Professional Than Ever" (Score 2) 291

You are confusing contributing with leading the project.

Determining what code is written, what new features are developed, is leading the project. Not merging the contributions after ensuring the code is well written.

Linus leads from behind. After a feature is developed, he decides whether it will be allowed into the kernel. It's the same sort of decisionmaking process as in most development workflows, it just front-ends most of the work.

In most development processes, someone will decide "the product should do X", and they'll make some slides and pitch the ideas and the leaders will decide whether or not to pursue it. If they decide to pursue it then the developers will build it, debug it, test it, etc. The process is optimized around conserving a scarce resource, developer time.

In the Linux process, someone decides "Linux should do X", and so they build it, write all the code, debug it, test it... and then they'll send it to Linus, who decides whether or not to merge it. Same process, the difference is that the leader decides on the basis of fully-implemented code, rather than slideware. In the Linux model, developer time is not scarce and the process does not optimize for conserving it.

Comment Re:Users mostly part of the "used phone" market? (Score 1) 157

I don't know and there's no point in baseless speculation. I would guess it would be something like a security chip in the Nexus 5 isn't compatible with the new secure boot mechanism, but again, I have no idea.

No, it's nothing like that. There are some security-related features that are improved on the new devices, but those in and of themselves wouldn't block upgrades.

It's actually pretty simple. Google has committed to supporting devices for three years, and the Nexus 5 is more than three years old. If you really want to run Nougat on a Nexus 5, though, you can do it. Just unlock the bootloader and flash it yourself.

Comment Re:Do we nned it? (Score 2) 157

what benefit will that give when most of the energy is consumed for the display?

That depends on your usage model, and on your display settings (most importantly, how long the screen stays on when you're not using it).

For most people the display is the biggest single consumer of power, but the combined radios (cellular & Wifi) are almost as big, and radio + CPU power consumption is considerably larger than display consumption. Doze mode conserves radio and CPU power, and for most people does provide a big increase in battery life.

This isn't the case if, for example, you spend a lot of time playing (CPU-light) games or reading books or other uses that keep the screen on for hours but don't use a lot of CPU or data. In that case, Doze mode won't do you much good because you're keeping the screen turned on all the time.

you'd still only see a 25% battery time increase at best.

A 25% increase is huge. The way batteries are sized in phones, most users get around 12 hours or so. Say, 6AM to 6PM. If you increase that by 25% you now get 15 hours which is very close to a full day. Make it 30% and you have a device that only needs to charge while the user is sleeping, in most cases. Given that most smartphone users have already arranged to plug their phones in at various points in the day (while commuting, etc.), even a 20% increase in many cases is enough so users find that their phone always has plenty of battery.

Comment Re:Stop chasing the shiny (Score 4, Insightful) 160

Now we use them as VR systems, which will drive the need for faster phones with better displays and better positional tracking for years to come.

Is this a need, or is this a want?

That question is irrelevant. If I want to have a device that does something, and I want it enough to shell out the money for it, why in the world shouldn't I?

Your whole premise is that people are somehow wrong if they want a shiny new phone every year. Who are you to tell people what they should want?

Comment Re:Hmmm how bad could it be? (Score 4, Informative) 522

Systemd-logind must be restarted every ~1000 SSH logins to prevent a ~25s delay

Except... it wasn't a systemd bug at all. Per comment #16:

Ok, with everyone confirming that the systemd patch is not required, I am closing the systemd part of the bug as 'Invalid' - let's only concentrate on the dbus part here. That being said, I would not like to release a new patch for dbus downstream if the patch hasn't been fully reviewed and approved upstream. In this case I would propose to wait a bit and see if a finalized patch will be available.

Not that the presence of one bug in systemd would indicate that the whole approach is a bad idea... but it's rather funny that the one example you pick turns out not to be a systemd bug at all.

Comment Re:12% is dangerously low (Score 1) 189

Yes I did.

Then you somehow missed that viewing distance is dependent on application, not pixel size. It makes no sense to move your phone further away so you can't see the pixels. Instead, pixel size should be decreased until the display provides perfect clarity at expected viewing distances -- which may be one inch if you're using your phone as a VR display.

With 1280x720, you can display more readable text than with 960x640. This is true no matter the screen size.

False. If the screens are at a distance where the 960x640 screen has sub-arcminute pixels, then the 1280x720 display will not allow you to display any more readable text. The minimum readable font size will be the same on both screens, and in fact you will not be able to distinguish any difference between them.

Comment Re:12% is dangerously low (Score 1) 189

Actually, what you really need is sufficiently-high angular resolution. The angular resolution of the eye is about one arcminute, or 0.0003 radians. You need pixels to be smaller than that so everything is smooth. Call it 0.0002 radians to be completely sure. At a viewing distance d, therefore, you need pixels that are tan(0.0002) * d or less in size. Close to zero, the tangent function is essentially a straight line, so that means you need pixels 0.0002d in size or smaller. Assuming you're measuring distance in inches, that means you need 1/.0002d = 5000/d DPI.

So, at an 18" viewing distance, you need 5000/18 = 278 DPI. At a 180" viewing distance (e.g. home theater), you need 5000/180 = 28 DPI. At a 6" viewing distance you need 833 DPI. Six inches is a closer than people use their phones most of the time, but not always. I see (young) people watching movies on their phones at that distance (us oldsters would need reading glasses). At a 1" viewing distance (e.g. Google Cardboard) you need 5000 DPI to be sure of indiscernible pixels.

I expect mobile display pixel densities to continue rising, into the thousands, to support VR headset use.

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