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Have you looked at Tizen?

Added by Bob Summerwill over 6 years ago

Have you guys been following the progress of Tizen?

I think that Tizen is going to prove a much more conducive environment for getting to a truly free mobile operating system.

Because it really is Linux, just on devices. Development happens in the open, with the project being coordinated by the Linux Foundation. None of the closed development horrors of Android. There are core committers to Tizen who work for neither Samsung not Intel.

It looks like the only closed part of Tizen on Samsung devices will be the store itself. I think that the aims of OpenMoko are achievable on Tizen.

Anyway - just wanted to start a chat on this theme. Best wishes!

Cheers,
Bob Summerwill


Replies (9)

RE: Have you looked at Tizen? - Added by Paul Kocialkowski about 6 years ago

Have you guys been following the progress of Tizen?

From a bit of a distance, yes. It is good that they are finally starting to produce actual devices using it, not just a few incomplete reference devices.

I think that Tizen is going to prove a much more conducive environment for getting to a truly free mobile operating system.

I don't think so, at least not until there are interesting devices out there that have Tizen support and a community of developers around it.
In my opinion, the most important thing to have in order to build a free mobile system is an ample community of developer such as the one Android has.
Having ten people working on a system and porting it to other devices severely limits the chances of success.

Because it really is Linux, just on devices.

I doubt the whole system is reduced to the Linux kernel. It does indeed use the Linux kernel, as Android does. Perhaps you meant that it is closer to a traditional GNU/Linux system (that's the case), which would make more sense :)

Development happens in the open, with the project being coordinated by the Linux Foundation. None of the closed development horrors of Android. There are core committers to Tizen who work for neither Samsung not Intel.

That doesn't seem true in facts. As far as I can see, the Tizen code is released in bulks, without proper commits but huge ones for each new version, which is not a community-friendly way of doing things. I haven't seen a lot of code committed by the community either, even though there seems to be a code review process in place.

Note that AOSP is open to exterior contributions and while some development happens internally at Google, it remains rather clean and convenient to use (separate commits). I reckon that Android is driven by Google and the community doesn't have a word to say in the process, but nothing seems to indicate that it is any different with Tizen. We'll have to wait for a community of developer to grow and see.

Note that Tizen already includes proprietary software for handling parts of the hardware, just as Android does. At first sight, it is not obviously better than Android on any level, except maybe technically.

It looks like the only closed part of Tizen on Samsung devices will be the store itself. I think that the aims of OpenMoko are achievable on Tizen.

Again, that is not true. There are many proprietary parts required for the devices to work (currently, the exynos reference devices).

Honestly, I'm not that enthusiastic about Tizen and I'm still convinced that Android is the easiest way to go to achieve software freedom on mobile devices :)
Hopefully, things will evolve in the right direction for Tizen and it'll become worth a shot!

RE: Have you looked at Tizen? - Added by Bob Summerwill about 6 years ago

Having a community of developers is crucial, of course, and that is going to hinge on the commercial success of the initial mobile devices, though there are already shipped devices using Tizen (cameras, washing machines, and most notably the Gear 2 smartwatch). The Samsung Z is going to be key. Everything I see is telling me that Samsung are going to be running parallel product lines, with Samsung Z being their Tizen equivalent of Galaxy S. I imagine that when the Galaxy S6 launches they will co-release a pretty equivalent Z2 (and maybe even re-number to have S6/Z6). Samsung don't need to choose, they're going to eat BOTH pies, because they are greedy. See their recent release of Gear Live (their Android Gear device). Some naive journalists see that as Samsung stepping back in line with Google. Nope. They don't need to choose. They will do both.

Yes, I meant GNU/Linux, of course. Everything we're seeing with MonoTizen is pointing to Tizen effectively being just A-N-OTHER distro, in effect. See http://monotizen.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/monotizen-update-week-1/, and https://github.com/mono/mono/pull/1139. Literally ONE #ifdef change to get the Mono runtime working on Tizen. More changes for getting testing working, building RPMs, but nothing crazy. See https://github.com/kitsilanosoftware/.

That doesn't seem true in facts. As far as I can see, the Tizen code is released in bulks, without proper commits but
huge ones for each new version, which is not a community-friendly way of doing things.
I haven't seen a lot of code committed by the community either, even though there seems to be a code review process in place.

You may be right. I haven't done development work on Tizen itself yet myself, so it's second hand information to me.
I'll need to kick the tires personally and report back, but I think the source is downloadable live.
Though maybe behind "account setup". I don't think they're ONLY batch releasing.

https://review.tizen.org/git/
https://source.tizen.org/documentation/developer-guide/getting-started-guide/tizen-development-working-mechanism
https://source.tizen.org/documentation/developer-guide/getting-started-guide/contributing-code-tizen
https://source.tizen.org/documentation/developer-guide/getting-started-guide/cloning-tizen-source

I reckon that Android is driven by Google and the community doesn't have a word to say in the process,
but nothing seems to indicate that it is any different with Tizen. We'll have to wait for a community of
developer to grow and see.

The difference is that Tizen has a consortium, not a single vendor. But yeah, having an active community REALLY driving
is critical. Funnily enough, that indirectly already exists for Tizen, via its extensive use of vanilla GNU/Linux packages.
The other thing to bear in mind with Tizen is that Samsung's mobile phones are only one of many different devices which
Tizen already targets, or will target in the future.

Check out http://www.tizenexperts.com/2014/06/1-porting-tizen-open-source-hardware-devices-beginners/, for example.

Again, that is not true.
There are many proprietary parts required for the devices to work (currently, the exynos reference devices).

That is true if you're thinking narrowly of Tizen as just the Samsung Z phone. I'm not.
You guys have lots of experience of the horrors of Samsung devices. I'm thinking broader than that.

If Tizen is successful for Samsung (I'm sure it will be) then it will be appealing to other vendors too. They can get
out from under Google, and make their own devices based on Tizen without using ANY Samsung stuff.
No OSP. No Tizen Store. No Samsung proprietary stuff. They will make their own. HTC Store, Sony Store, etc.
I think we'll have a store per vendor, but they can all share all the FOSS code, and run compatible binaries.
And they will all just be GNU/Linux distros in disguise.

Check out Tizen:Common ... https://wiki.tizen.org/wiki/Common. Tizen is way broader than just mobile, and many of
those other customers (ie. IVI automobile stuff) want nothing to do with weird Samsung stuff. They want Qt. They want EFL.
They want existing GNU/Linux packages.

So irrespective of what the corporations want, I think that Samsung and Intel's greed have spawned a FOSS genie
which they won't be able to put back in the bottle, and that getting that working on open hardware won't be hard.

Getting it working without proprietary blobs and software on Samsung devices will always be a hassle, but I think we don't
need to do that. Instead we can make compatible devices which will run the same apps. There will be some cleanup to
get something which would be FSF-approved from the current state of Tizen, but I don't think the delta is large on that.

That's the project I am going to chase - getting to a Tizen distro which passes
http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html. From there I will try to solve the hardware problem.
I would want to TRY to get that workable on the Samsung Z, but if that never happens because of barriers they put in the way,
that is fine. We'll make our own phone. That's needed anyway, for freedom, right? We don't want proprietary hardware
really anymore than we want proprietary hardware - there just hasn't been a good alternative. I think there will be with
Tizen.

Honestly, I'm not that enthusiastic about Tizen and I'm still convinced that Android is the easiest way to go to
achieve software freedom on mobile devices :) Hopefully, things will evolve in the right direction for Tizen and
it'll become worth a shot!

I'm more enthusiastic. Race you there!

Cheers,
Bob Summerwill
(http://bobsummerwill.com | http://monotizen.com)

RE: Have you looked at Tizen? - Added by Bob Summerwill about 6 years ago

See also http://gplcentral.org/. I've reserved a bunch of domain names for use in the near future :-)

I will set up GPLMobile.com, GPLMobile.org, GPLPhone.com and GPLPhone.org to point at Replicant for the time being.

Do you support Replicant on any tablets? If so, I will point GPLTablet.com and GPLTablet.org to you too.

RE: Have you looked at Tizen? - Added by Paul Kocialkowski about 6 years ago

I can see that you have good intentions, but I don't really see how buying a massive amount of domain names would help the cause, unless maybe for search engines ranking, but that's not the way we want our message spread, is it?

Also, I couldn't help but notice that the domain names are prefixed with GPL. I suppose you're talking about the GNU GPL license and that is very confusing: most of Replicant is not released under the GPL, but under the Apache 2.0. Google explicitly decided to not use copyleft licenses to make it possible for manufacturers (and Google itself) to make proprietary versions of Android.

The GPL central website looks nice but it really makes it feel like something huge is going to happen and we're all only waiting for it. Instead, perhaps you could highlight the work that is being done today, for instance with the OpenPhoenux community (GTA04, Neo900).

You seem very enthusiastic about Tizen but it's not going to be a miracle life-saver for freedom as your blog seems to suggest. Tizen is not developed with freedom in mind either.

RE: Have you looked at Tizen? - Added by Bob Summerwill about 6 years ago

I do intend to highlight all of the existing projects. That's what the .COM registrations are for. To block off commercial registrations, and to have a "forwarding site" per device category with content along the lines of ...

Freedom-respecting X devices don't currently exist. What do we mean be that?
Here are a bunch of links to existing FSF material.
And here are links to existing projects in that domain

I agree in retrospect that maybe GPL* is the wrong prefix, though I'm glad to get them blocked off. I see that libre* domains are available for most of the .orgs at least, so I will reserve another batch right now. DONE!

Search-engine hits are hugely important. I want to direct as many eyeballs as I can onto the message of the FSF, onto existing projects and eventually onto the truly free projects which we are all working towards.

For Tizen, I think the difference is that what we have there is incredibly close to the mainstream of GNU/Linux development which has been built up over the last 20-odd years, rather than something which is very forked and moving further away all the time. Like Android.

Samsung have not made their huge investment for their love of freedom, no, but for greed. They want to be Apple. They have been willing to "leverage" existing work on mobile GNU/Linux to achieve that aim. They think that having a proprietary store on top of that, along with a secure bootloader, will secure their investment's benefits onto (or very primarily) to them. They are SO wrong. They won't be able to keep the genie in the bottle. They have unleashed the Gnu and the Penguin.

I think that Tizen will be hugely successful for Samsung, but will also spawn a free "brother" implementation which will be entirely compatible, running on non-Samsung hardware. The huge significance here is that this free alternative won't be of something which is not consumer-facing (as UNIX was). It will be of something which is compelling, ubiquitous and known to nearly everyone in the world, in the same way as "iPhone" and "Android" are.

Imagine that Richard Stallman had been born much later than he had, and that GNU/Linux was an alternative to Windows rather than UNIX. That's what I think we are going to see with the future free version of Tizen.

Imagine if every user with a laptop/desktop currently running Windows had the option of switching to a GNU/Linux distribution, and that distro would run all of their Windows applications unmodified. That would be a much more compelling story than the current situation.

I know that is your aim for Replicant too, but you will always be struggling, because you are getting dragged along so fast with very limited resources. Even the resources you can apply are a tiny fraction of the "army" of free software developers working in the mainstream of GNU/Linux development. That's where I think Tizen wins. It will be so much closer to the "mainline" of GNU/Linux development that it will get much of the work happening on desktop/server applying across onto these devices for free. It will get much more interest from those developers, because it really is "just the same".

My MonoTizen project, for example (http://monotizen.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/monotizen-update-week-3-mono-application-running-on-tizen/) turned out to need only a single #define change for the entire Mono Runtime. It really is that similar to any other GNU/Linux distro. There is more work to get all the tests passing, but much of that is issues with the test-suites themselves (race conditions, bad assumptions, etc). I think the story is likely to be similar when bringing many other GNU/Linux packages into Tizen-world. They will mainly "just work".

When it comes to UI toolkits, the current official solution is OSP (which came from Bada), which is a Samsung-specific technology. That used to be under a weird (bad) Flora license, but was recently dual-licensed as Apache. Even that is built on EFL, and might well die off in the near future. Qt is already working. I'm going to be getting GTK+ on there, so we can self-host MonoDevelop on devices. It's all good.

Tizen Developer Summit Russia happens this Thursday, where the Samsung Z Unwrap event will happen. I expect they will announce price and release date that day. I think devices will be on general sale by the end of July, and worldwide for Thanksgiving. Within a year or two I expect there to be a huge install base, with the delta to a free distro of Tizen being really rather small.

I'm going to build that distro if nobody else is!

Back to the shorter-term, anything you could do to help educate me on existing projects which should be highlighted would be much appreciated. And I'll build up those web-pages drawing in more freedom-yearning eyeballs.

Cheers,
Bob

RE: Have you looked at Tizen? - Added by Paul Kocialkowski about 6 years ago

I agree in retrospect that maybe GPL* is the wrong prefix, though I'm glad to get them blocked off. I see that libre* domains are available for most of the .orgs at least, so I will reserve another batch right now. DONE!

It is good to provide clear information about the freedom and security issues that we encounter with mobile devices. Thanks for taking time to spread the word about these issues and the (partial) solutions we are developing.

Search-engine hits are hugely important. I want to direct as many eyeballs as I can onto the message of the FSF, onto existing projects and eventually onto the truly free projects which we are all working towards.

Most of the time, I truly don't care about having lots of users or making lots of people aware of Replicant. Mostly, I want an alternative to exist but don't care so much is people are actually using it or not. However, it seems to be our duty to spread the word about free software (and these issues in particular), as part of our responsibility as good members of our community, trying to help others. That's all about making the information accessible and spreading the word about it. On the other hand, we have to make sure we don't compromise on our principles when doing so. For instance, I wouldn't try to have the highest rankings in a search services since I don't recommend nor endorse the use of search services at all.

There is however a fundamental difference between making the information available (spreading the word) and having a growing number of people on our side. Having a big userbase makes it easier to have weight in public debates, for instance to have influence in the making process of standards and laws. Then again, even though those are important to reach some of our goals, I don't think we should ever compromise on our principles to reach these goals. But I understand that this is all about effectiveness to reach an end goal.

For Tizen, I think the difference is that what we have there is incredibly close to the mainstream of GNU/Linux development which has been built up over the last 20-odd years, rather than something which is very forked and moving further away all the time. Like Android.

That may be true, but I don't see why that would make the difference regarding freedom. Android has a huge community of developer, so this is not really a problem at this point.

Samsung have not made their huge investment for their love of freedom, no, but for greed. They want to be Apple. They have been willing to "leverage" existing work on mobile GNU/Linux to achieve that aim. They think that having a proprietary store on top of that, along with a secure bootloader, will secure their investment's benefits onto (or very primarily) to them. They are SO wrong. They won't be able to keep the genie in the bottle. They have unleashed the Gnu and the Penguin.

I don't see why you think the fact that they use GNU/Linux-based technologies will make anything different than Android. You can still have proprietary software on top, you can still make non-free HALs, still have bootloaders that are signed and unreplaceable, still not allow for flashing a new image, still not ship with root, etc. There is no fundamental difference when compared to Android. Talking about genie and bottle is just an image that doesn't match anything in reality.

Imagine if every user with a laptop/desktop currently running Windows had the option of switching to a GNU/Linux distribution, and that distro would run all of their Windows applications unmodified. That would be a much more compelling story than the current situation.

Have you heard of ReactOS? ;)

I know that is your aim for Replicant too, but you will always be struggling, because you are getting dragged along so fast with very limited resources.

Our aim is not at all to make it easy for people to use Replicant because it can run Android apps. It just turns out to be this way. Replicant is just the easiest and most effective way to make a fully free mobile system, not anything else.

Even the resources you can apply are a tiny fraction of the "army" of free software developers working in the mainstream of GNU/Linux development. That's where I think Tizen wins. It will be so much closer to the "mainline" of GNU/Linux development that it will get much of the work happening on desktop/server applying across onto these devices for free. It will get much more interest from those developers, because it really is "just the same".

Again, this doesn't match any reality. The proprietary parts in Tizen are the same as the ones in Android. If nobody (but us) was working on replacing these parts, I don't see why the fact that the rest of the system is GNU/Linux will bring it more interest and more developers. For the record, there are already GNU/Linux distributions for mobile devices, such as SHR, and very very few people are working on porting new devices and replacing proprietary HALs.

I think the story is likely to be similar when bringing many other GNU/Linux packages into Tizen-world. They will mainly "just work".

That sure might be good, but that's not going to solve the problems we have today, which are about not having free drivers. Those drivers don't exist in the GNU/Linux world either.
As for apps, F-Droid has more than a thousand, so that's not really a problem either.

Back to the shorter-term, anything you could do to help educate me on existing projects which should be highlighted would be much appreciated. And I'll build up those web-pages drawing in more freedom-yearning eyeballs.

I suggest you look at Replicant and the Osmocom projects, which are lower level and more in-depth.

As a conclusion, I more or less agree than Tizen may be technically better and be more convenient to develop on for people used to GNU/Linux, but I don't think it will help solve the freedom issues (proprietary HALs). Perhaps I am wrong however, maybe Tizen will bring in lots of new developers and some of them will try to replace the proprietary parts as well, but I don't see any reason to believe that it will be the case for Tizen while it was not (except for Replicant) the case for Android. I cannot predict the future. Pardon my lack of optimism, but I'll be really enthusiastic about Tizen when I see any actual improvement take place.

In the meantime, thanks for spreading the word about software freedom and privacy/security issues on mobile devices!

RE: Have you looked at Tizen? - Added by Bob Summerwill about 6 years ago

Omsocom and ReactOS are new to me, so thanks for that information!

I don't see why you think the fact that they use GNU/Linux-based technologies will make anything different than Android.
You can still have proprietary software on top , you can still make non-free HALs, still have bootloaders that are signed and
unreplaceable, still not allow for flashing a new image, still not ship with root, etc.
There is no fundamental difference when compared to Android.

GNU/Linux can still have proprietary software run on top of it. Eliminating people's choice to use proprietary software would be not be freedom-respecting.
The really problematic proprietary software which we MUST have alternatives to is the stuff at the bottom of the stack which you currently have NO choice about.

I think the fundamental difference is numbers. With Tizen being close to "just another distro", it becomes trivial for anybody in the existing desktop
GNU/Linux world to bring their weight over to mobile, because mobile is where all of the action is in computing now. Desktops are dying or dead in the
consumer market. Even laptops are being beaten out by tablets, and even just phones. Around the world, phones are going to be the first computers that
many people have. Weight of numbers raises the importance of getting solutions to the burning HAL, bootloader and free hardware issues.

I am an optimist. You have to be. Otherwise why bother?

Most of the time, I truly don't care about having lots of users or making lots of people aware of Replicant.
Mostly, I want an alternative to exist but don't care so much is people are actually using it or not.

And maybe that is where we are different? I truly care about broad adoption, and would prefer that huge numbers of people had something which is more free
than they currently have, even if it isn't perfect. That is a bridge to freedom. With regard to search engines, perhaps 99.9% of people use them all the time,
me included. Many of those people are unaware what they are "selling" in doing so. I am aware and use them anyway. They are just way too useful for me
not to use them.

IMHO to choose NOT to leverage that existing system on the basis that it would be compromising your principles is really cutting off your nose to spite your face.
It is accepting defeat. Similarly, not having a Twitter or Facebook presence is to miss all of the eyeballs. I know these are "enemy tools", but you use them
knowingly and turn their own tools against them. Well, that's my approach anyway. I don't see that as immoral. I see it as rational "war strategy and tactics".

If you don't care about having users then you won't have users. Don't you want more people to be using free OSes?
There are millions of people out there who would love to use your software, if they only knew it existed, and why it was important. Don't you see that as a key part of your mission?

Just building something so that people have the option is like having a life-changing religious experience and then living in a cave for the rest of your life :-)

Don't you want to get out there and spread the word, so we can change the world?

All the best!
Bob

RE: Have you looked at Tizen? - Added by Paul Kocialkowski about 6 years ago

With Tizen being close to "just another distro", it becomes trivial for anybody in the existing desktop GNU/Linux world to bring their weight over to mobile, because mobile is where all of the action is in computing now.

I hope you're right and the technical proximity between Tizen and other GNU/Linux distros will make it easier to have a strong community of developers working on the core issues of the system, the proprietary hardware abstraction libraries.

Around the world, phones are going to be the first computers that many people have.

I always makes me very sad to hear such claims. Tablets and phones are mostly tool to consume information and content, not to produce any. Have you tried writing a blog post from your tablet or your phone? Traditional computers are much more usable to create content, so I hope they survive despite your sayings. I don't want computers to be yet another way to make people passive consumers while they're an opportunity to be the exact opposite!

Weight of numbers raises the importance of getting solutions to the burning HAL, bootloader and free hardware issues.

Right. As much as I find phones and tablets useless, I figured that we might as well have them running free software if people are going to use them.

I am an optimist. You have to be. Otherwise why bother?

Well, it's a matter of carefully deciding on which task to spend your time when you want to achieve a goal. If the goal is software freedom on mobile devices, I don't think Tizen will be so much of an asset (but hopefully, I'm wrong), so I'm not so optimistic about it.

And maybe that is where we are different? I truly care about broad adoption, and would prefer that huge numbers of people had something which is more free than they currently have, even if it isn't perfect. That is a bridge to freedom. With regard to search engines, perhaps 99.9% of people use them all the time, me included. Many of those people are unaware what they are "selling" in doing so. I am aware and use them anyway. They are just way too useful for me not to use them.

What's the point of having many people use free software if they don't know the ethical motivations behind it? So many people have Android devices which run free software for a big part, but only a fraction of them are aware of the stakes of free software and really care. What did having a large number of users bring us? Mostly weight in debates about standards and such. Of course, I'm all for spreading the word about free software and if many people come to agree with our ideas, I'll be very happy, but when you start compromising on your ideas to make free software widely spread, you soon end up with that same Android situation, where people are using free software but still don't care (that's the whole issue with open source by the way).

IMHO to choose NOT to leverage that existing system on the basis that it would be compromising your principles is really cutting off your nose to spite your face. It is accepting defeat. Similarly, not having a Twitter or Facebook presence is to miss all of the eyeballs. I know these are "enemy tools", but you use them knowingly and turn their own tools against them. Well, that's my approach anyway. I don't see that as immoral. I see it as rational "war strategy and tactics".

Using tools such as Facebook to promote our system implies that we endorse the use of such tools, which we don't. This gets in the way of the message we are trying to deliver. I think it is our duty as good neighbors to try and educate the masses about the issues we are dealing with, but it doesn't mean this has to be an absolute final goal. People have to take a few steps in our direction in order to reach our message. This means for them not relying on tools such as Facebook to learn about it.

If you don't care about having users then you won't have users. Don't you want more people to be using free OSes?

I don't understand why I would want that. I do not claim that I hold some kind of truth that others are too blind to see. If people are happy with their proprietary systems, iPhones, facebook or whatever, well, good for them. My aim is to provide an alternative for people with interest in the stakes we're dealing with, not to make sure every single person on Earth agrees with me.

There are millions of people out there who would love to use your software, if they only knew it existed, and why it was important. Don't you see that as a key part of your mission?

If people are not aware, it's good to let them know about this, that's our duty as good members of our community, but I don't think this is really a problem nowadays. The Snowden revelations were covered by national television all around the world and I'm sure that anyone with interest in these topics can easily find out about free software. The information about Replicant is pretty easy to find out about if you're looking for it: we have a blog, a wiki, a wikipedia page, etc.

I disagree this is the real reason so few people are interested in Replicant and software freedom on mobile devices in general. The real reason is most likely that people just don't care and even though they know about privacy issues, know that software somewhat restricts them, they just don't care enough to do anything about it. Mainly, privacy and freedom are not the values that prevail in their decision making processes. In today's modern societies, it is all about passive consumption, easiness, doing as few as possible, etc. The idea of happiness is totally detached from any notion of effort or intellectual process. That's the model of societies we live in. Now of course, I agree that it doesn't suit me at all, but who are we to decide for the masses what is good for them? If most people are very happy with it, who are we to say that we know better? Of course, the people who turned our societies this way at first went ahead and forced people down that path, that's for sure, but that still doesn't make it right to try and decide for others what is good for them, even if it only seems fair.

Just building something so that people have the option is like having a life-changing religious experience and then living in a cave for the rest of your life :-)

The comparison with religion is sort of relevant here. I would say that trying to make as many people as possible use my system is indeed the same attitude as religious people trying to convert more and more people to their religion. I just do not understand that attitude. As long as facts are easily available for people looking for them, that shall be enough. Why try and force people to change their mind?

Don't you want to get out there and spread the word, so we can change the world?

I don't aim to change the world. I am to provide the tools to make it possible for people to change the world, if they feel like it.

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