Running Linux on Everything

This absolute gem from Thomas Roach, who apparently lives in Tampa, Oraclenerd territory, popped up in my OraNA feed today.

Is it for reals?

This image came from Thomas Roach's Oracle Rant blog.

Image from BBSpot

A funny little bit of coincidence is I was planning to blog about another post I saw earlier in the week: Five Reasons Apple Should Open Source the iPhone. Hot on the heals of recent news that Linux had been ported to the iPhone (check out the video, very cool if you’re a geek) using OpeniBoot, Hurley makes some excellent points.

Ever since releasing the iPhone, Apple has been in a race with hackers, like it or not. The iPhone was unlocked (from AT&T as the phone service provider) and jailbroken (from Apple-approved software) soon after as hackers realized its value as a device and decided not to wait for Apple.

Unlocking and jailbreaking can now be done in a manner of minutes, and although not for the faint-hearted n00b (or even others of us), taking these steps does open the device to a multitude of features Apple has not yet provided, e.g. jailbroken iPhones have copy/paste and applications that run in the background.

Legal break: I won’t link to examples because I’m not condoning these practices in any way, just reporting on their existence.

Anyway, Hurley’s post is worth a read. His final point resonated, i.e. “They’re Gonna Have to Eventually”. He points to Android (natch) as a very credible threat, with its open ecosystem of developers and also to the increasing savviness of young people.

If Gen Y is the hyper-connected generation, the one behind them (or the tail of Gen Y) may be the modding generation. That’s twice this week (the other time was this jaw-dropper about Linux as “holding our kids back”) I’ve read about kids not even in their teens hacking with Linux and modding stuff.

This bodes well for the future of technology as a whole because it shows both a curiosity that leads to innovation and a lack of fear of computers, not just web sites, but of the guts.

So, this post is loosely about running Linux on everything, including root vegetables. I continue to be amazed at both the zeal of the Linux community and the quality of their various distros. I switched to Ubuntu back in July, and since then, there’s been a major update, from Hardy 8.04 to Intrepid 8.10, which added several new features improving the overall O/S.

Since October 2004, Ubuntu, which is based on Debian, has had nine stable releases, and the tenth release, Jaunty Jackalope 9.04 is already in alpha. In that same amount of time, commercial O/S vendors have been much less frequent with their releases.

Beyond its strength as an O/S, Linux is also small, powerful and portable, which makes the potato-port seem all the more plausible. Much more believable than OS X or Windows ported to a vegetable.

So, is it real or not? I don’t know, but either way, it’s still a testiment to the power of Linux.




  1. I wish I had a prize for you.

    That terribly awesome joke made it into my original post, but I took it out to run a contest in my head, i.e. how long until someone cracks that one?

    Not even an hour. You win. Be happy.

  2. Yeah, all good stuff, but not as semi-plausible (OK, maybe number of distros) as the potato-port.

    It is the suspension of disbelief time of year, e.g. flying reindeer, round peg/square hole erm chimney, etc.

  3. The main reason to jailbreak is to get Cydia (ATP port) and the free open source tools in the repository. I don't think Apple will open the door as it does, obviously app store's going to be challenged by 3rd part free/opensource ports.

    OSX is good at some point but I don't like it as it's proprietary and Apple's contribution to the opensource community is nothing in comparison with it asks for. Also, it's so boring to run such an OS everyday, I can't bear with it anyway.

    Ubuntu is a great release, while it's definitely far from the best. IMHO, Intrepid is a release of poor quality (performance, lots of bugs). If it is getting worse in 9.04 I'll definitely switch back to Debian. Or spend some time to try Archlinux and try its new package management system.

  4. Not that many of us suffer from O/S boredom to that extreme, but isn't it nice to have choices?

    I've heard great things about jailbreaking, but to date, I've not made that jump. Yet.

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