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11:55AM

Will too many forks doom Android?

Linux_Sucks2In 2007, Alex Wolfe declares Linux is a forking mess, with too many distinct versions – called distros, available, causing user angst.

In fact, I believe I piled on in this post, asserting that the chances for a Linux Desktop Revolution were so remote that “even if you strap Linux with multiple high-yield thermonuclear devices, like a failed martyr, it wouldn’t blow up”!

Is that the same fate that awaits Android?

Microsoft seems to have learned, tightening up on the numerous Windows SKUs, even recovering from that utterly disastrous foray into abject imbecility known as Windows Vista Ultimate Extras. While the five SKUs of Windows 7 in North America are still a lot, it is not as bad as it was, as certainly not the mess Android is in.

Why?

Simple: every piece of software written for any version of (a release of) Windows runs on all versions of that release. That confidence is what makes enterprises stand (love?) Windows despite its quirks.

Contrast that with Linux and Android devices.

The very granular customizability that makes Linux and Linux-like distros attractive to geeks is what is probably going to kill it for the general consumer. For right now, hardware OEMs are able to fork the OS in ways that totally make it hard for the common user to have faith in the product.

Surprisingly, knowing that I am Windows Fan, and even going against my recommendations and free-large-android-examplepurchasing an Android device, the six yum-yums masquerading as my friends have the gall to call me for technical support when their devices fail to do even the simplest of tasks. Don’t worry, at times like that, I remind them of the error of their ways.

Why Android today?

Well, Jon Brodkin of NetworkWorld.com tweeted a link to a Steven Vaughn-Nichols post, Five Reasons Android Can Fail. Among the reasons is the issue of too many cooks distros.

This is the same issue with Linux on the desktop: too many distros and too much of an intellectual exercise to use it when there are easier to use alternatives.

Will the 'Droids learn before they're marginalized?

Is Android already a forking mess?

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