[maemo-users] OS Stability

From: Thomas Waelti twaelti at gmail.com
Date: Wed Dec 2 22:36:12 EET 2009
With Windows Mobile, you almost never update - but not because of inherent stability, but commercial issues: the device producer normally just buy a certain version of WM for their device, but won't offer subsequent upgrades, so you end up with the original version and are pretty much stuck. Had a ViewSonic V210, beautiful hardware, touchscreen - but very limited software.

I reflashed the PalmOS and updated to slightly never version a few times (mostly .1 version increases, like 3.5.1 or so IIRC). PalmOS however was a VERY simple and limited OS. I had 3 different Palms overr the years. Normally, the upgrades just fixed some stability issues, no new features.

On Symbian, you get an initial firmware version of something between beta and release quality when you buy the product, then a really usable version about 6-12 months later :-) Same pattern on N82 and N97.

I would say the Maemo pattern has followed the Symbian pattern quite "well", including the maturity of the released software (first initial firmwares with some bugs, more mature releases with additional features later on: see Chinook > Diablo). However, there are a number of differences that make me quite optimistic:
- Forget about the current N900 firmware stories; they are mostly linked to the prototype devices we got in Amsterdam
- Maemo can do OTA (over-the-air) updates, so there is an opportunity for release-more-often / incremental patching/upgrading

Also, I have quite a large number of hardware devices running (Noxos Radio, Dreambox, Synology, Diskstation), all of which:
- Are inherently unstable
- Needed multiple firmware upgrades over timespans from 6-18 months to achieve the level of functionality originally promised

My conclusion is that today's software ecosystems (OS and Apps) have reached a complexity where economic needs make it impossible to achieve superior quality. This might be especially true for going-alone reinventions. In that sense, I think that the open approach of Nokia with Maemo might be helpful, as they work with upstream in the OS and get open source developers to help with various items in the stack, be it Kernel, Framework or Apps.

> On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 3:17 PM, Henrik Madsen <hm at imm.dtu.dk> wrote:
>> If you have never had an issue with stability on Windows Mobile
>> you are the blind person. Almost all producers of mobile phones
>> are now leaving Windows Mobile and considering Linux devices
>> instead. Are you hired by Microsoft??
> Yeah, I'm a Micro$oft fanboy, that's why I run Linux on all my machines...
> I've never had an issue with stability on Windows Mobile because I've
> never had a Windows Mobile device. What I said was that "I've never
> _heard_" of Windows Mobile devices being reflashed like Linux devices.
> That also goes for PalmOS devices, Symbian devices, SX0 devices,
> etc... (In)stability is one thing, being forced to periodically
> replace your OS is quite another. So you tell me: do Windows Mobile
> devices get constantly reflashed? With new versions of the OS? Even if
> they do, the fact that Linux devices do means that Linux is no better
> or more stable than Windows... I know for a fact that Linux is far
> less stable than PalmOS and Epoch.
> Mark
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