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Re: Shashlik running Android apps on Linux


I know how irritating a bunch of "me-too" replies and rants are. But in this case we're talking about the one reason Ubuntu phones don't work and can't work. A crowd of people yelling might actually achieve something.

I also carry two phones, a very nice MX4 and a very beaten-up iPhone 4. I absolutely do not have the option of leaving my desk without the iPhone.

Two apps I can't live without: WeChat and Alipay. And I'm not unique: those two apps are just as essential to practically everyone in China. China being a fifth of the human race, so possibly meriting some strategic consideration*. Tencent and Alibaba own the internet here. They do not care about you or your little operating system. All they care about is beating each other to death using tactics so blatantly unfair and illegal they make 90s Microsoft look like Harper Lee. The general population is precisely as concerned about "software freedom" as you would expect from people living with a corrupt communist dictatorship. So if I'm waiting for WeChat and Alipay to return power to ordinary people with open APIs and software choice, I'm going to have to be pretty bloody patient.

(There is talk of WeChat coming soon to Ubuntu, in partnership with China Mobile. This is a glimmer of hope. But if it's as crippled as their desktop app or, heaven forbid, their website, it isn't going to move the needle. The very best I can hope for is something Skype-on-Linux-esque. Too little too late.)

I suffered for decades with a Linux desktop, and I could cope with that. A desktop is primarily a content-creation device - and when you're done, you might like to tell people about it in an email. If you're collaborating there are significant network effects, but there are ways around that.

A phone is a communications device. It's ALL network effect. There is no point having a phone in your pocket unless you can talk to your friends with it. So there is absolutely no point developing a phone operating system when you know full well that it won't plug into the communications networks people actually use. There are open messaging platforms, but guys, the war is over. We lost. Get over it.

And meanwhile my elevator is suddenly plastered with posters for Apple Pay. Payment processing is another natural fit for monopoly and cartelisation (EMV, Swift, PayPal). Only play that game if you're playing to win. Alipay has already won in China. And people are surprisingly unwilling to accept "I left my other phone at home" as an excuse for not paying them. Android can be a player in the mobile payments market. Ubuntu isn't even in the fight.

As for "defeat[ing] the security work that has been put into Ubuntu", yes please! It's a constant frustration that I'm not allowed to access MY content on MY phone. That's precisely what I hate about my iPhone, but my iPhone is a lot more generous than my MX4. If it's a choice between security and being able to use the damn thing, I'll just be careful to not install any malware thanks.

The lesson I learned from my beloved Nokia N900 is that, in a pinch, having to do something in a clunky, inconvenient way is infinitely better than not being able to do it at all. That phone could run Gnumeric! Not "gnumeric reader", the whole package! Ever tried running desktop spreadsheet software on a four-inch screen? You don't do that for fun, you do it because the sky will fall if you don't. So you put Android in a sandbox and if you want to send a photo over WeChat you have to manually copy the photo into the sandbox first. Inconvenient. But right now when I see something amazing I don't photograph it with my very nice MX4, I reach for my god-awful iPhone 4, because what's the point if I can't send it to anyone?

Android on Ubuntu is an opportunity. How jealous the Wine developers must be! Can you imagine how much easier that would have been with an open-source reference implementation to work from? .apk is the best plausible de-facto standard for mobile apps. Come up with your own ideas, sure, but not at the expense of compatibility with the rest of the world.

I'm very excited about the potential for Ubuntu on IoT. Can't wait to get my hands on an Artik 5. Every elevator here includes (often multiple!) advertising screens with a cracked piezo speaker turned up to 11. They tend to run Android, but I'm very optimistic that in the future it'll be Ubuntu's security model making me want to smash my brains out against the wall by around the tenth floor. Ubuntu on my phone though? No, can't see it. Not unless Android apps work.

For now... seriously, can anyone point me to reliable instructions for how to reflash my phone with Flyme? It's actually kinda hard to google that.

* No-one's going to use Ubuntu Touch in China until something's done about the unfit-for-purpose pinyin keyboard. But unlike Android apps, this is not something Ubuntu is actively opposed to.

On 2016-02-23 07:34, mtx_lives@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

Hi all,

I realise it's a contentious question and the previous emails have covered the argument for and against. Here's my two cents, whilst I use my Nexus 4 running UT as my daily device, I keep having to check whatsapp on an alternative device. Having signed up for it on that device ppl don't seem to understand that I won't necessarily get a msg from them now(and clearly don't understand the arrow notification) I appreciate that is not a failing of UT and I agree that native app is preferable and I'd rather use Telegram but whatsapp is the one everyone seems to be using,



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