Feb 2 2010

Linux Foundation Chief Admits Linux Lacks Apple iPad “Magic”


Jim Zemlin, the Linux Foundation’s executive director, identified the inhibiting factor to mobile Linux’s growth on his blog last week, in response to the iPad’s launch.  It was not a specific hardware or  software defect he mentioned, but instead the culture of the Linux product world.  Quite simply, he said, “Apple’s consistent user experience is far closer to magical than most things currently running Linux”.  It is a sobering but honest point that he makes regarding one of the iPad’s indisputable advantages.

The iPad, despite its lack of features and questionable pricing scheme, is fairly immune to attacks regarding its UI.  If staying true to the iPhone formula, it will likely capture the attention of  general market and garner acclaim for its smoothness and user experience.  This elegant performance that Apple boasts is something that has eluded Linux interfaces for decades now.  Only recently have its desktop platforms attained the level of consistency that people expect from an Apple OS.

Does this mean Linux already is forced to sit out in the free-for-all that is the tablet market? Far from it, argues Zemlin.  Future Linux products will be spared from the oft-called “Apple Tax” that prevents the iPad from entering impulse-buy territory.  Furthermore, even if Linux lacks the oh-so-important “magic”, it does offer something most computer users take for granted: freedom.  As stated by Zemlin:

“Apple is the most locked down closed system imaginable, from the software ladened with DRM, all the way down to the custom silicon they use for their Apple A4 chip. Commercial success is important, but freedom is also important.  “

Ultimately, what can be taken from this is that the Linux does have its sights set on cornering the mobile market, and it is not afraid to improve itself in order to get there.  Undoubtedly, it does not plan on being pushed into oblivion as it was for much of the desktop market and sees the tablet field as a chance for redemption.

Via Ars Technica.



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