Why an Android fan is tired of Google’s lack of interest towards the platform

Before I start, I must admit to be somewhat of a Linux fan and use it as my daily workhorse at work. I am also a minor contributor to some Linux distros like Mageia, openSUSE and Mandriva. I have also played around with some esoteric distros like Arch Linux as well. I can easily tinker my way across to the depths of the kernel and also the userspace to get a performance up to my linking.

 

I am also a “proud” owner of a Google-branded Nexus S which is completely unlocked and free of any carrier restrictions. I am also a “crack-flasher” and have used almost every single custom ROM from Oxygen, MIUI, Peter Alfonso and Cyanogenmod. I waited impatiently last year when ICS was released for the Galaxy Nexus and then “sorta” released for the Nexus S as well. I enthusiastically loaded the pre-alpha, pre-beta and beta builds of CM9, MIUI, Peter Alfonso etc..waited it out on the myriad bugs like the dialer being slow, lag-free launcher, random reboots, battery drain etc etc.

 

We were told that the AOSP 4.0.3 update for Nexus S was pulled late December-January because of several bugs. We were told that the 4.0.4 update would fix “everything”. I waited and waited for the update..for the bug fixes. I hoped that the modding community (whom I hold in very very high esteem) would find a way across those bugs. But it wasn’t so. I wouldn’t blame the modding community, they can only go so far. Such bugs have to be fixed at the source- i.e. Google. But Google shows scant regards for its own Nexus S and hands us out a buggy 4.0.3, only to promise that an update will be out (very soon) (http://goo.gl/DwtyQ). Google has let me down…BIG time.

 

I need to have a phone whose dialer wont crash on me when I need to call, a dialer that doesn’t freeze for 30 seconds before showing up (yeah, I know that its a bug), a launcher that won’t freeze when I need to access Google Maps and the entire interface freezing up when I try to access a website. I’ve had enough of waiting for the “next release” to fix these major irritants that have nothing to do with apps and have completely to do with the performance of the underlying OS. I can overclock the phone up to 1.4Ghz, liveOC it to 105%, change kernel governors or change the scheduler. It won’t have an impact on any of these.

 

Exasperated, I began looking around for another platform and looked at “shudder” Windows Phone 7.5 as the iPhone is too expensive for me at the moment. Me considering a Microsoft product is something unthinkable as I come from an unshakeable Linux/OSS background (and still dislike Windows from the bottom of my guts). It needs a very strong leap of faith to go from a partially Linux-based platform like Android to Microsoft.

 

Google, you’ve screwed up big time. I’m sure, that I’m the only person who feels so…

Who are we?…

Who are we as Indians? I frequently ponder at this question while I’m driving on the road. I see utter chaos on the roads…people cutting traffic rules brazenly, driving on the wrong side of the road, jumping signals without regard to their safety or others. This is not just about the traffic in India…but a larger question on who are we? Is this what we are as Indians?

I find the traffic scenario to be a manifestation of our Indianness. The Indianness that we all so proudly cherish. Yes, as Indians we have a lot to look and feel proud about. Our rich culture and heritage, our famed resilience for any adversity and our will to survive any odds. But is this will now becoming a means…a free pass for us to disregard the feelings of our fellow Indians?

Life is a struggle for us, yes..we all start our day with the motivation to earn two square meals for us and our dear ones. We start our day from home by praying to God that the day passes through fine. With a smile on our faces we step out of the house, only to be confronted with the harsh realties of life. Be it on the road, the train or the bus. We brazenly break rules..display a callous indifference to our fellow passengers who’re just as eager to reach their destinations and get their day started. We drive on the wrong side of the road and if someone dare question us for that..we shamelessly shout back at that person or just turn a blind eye to him. While in the bus or the train we do not forsake our prime seats for the women, children or the elderly. In our mad rush…have we forgotten something called “insaniyat”…the beautiful word that could have only come from this land?

As a society we’re an uncivilized, disorganized, unruly, unlawful and yes…unsympathetic bunch of people. We preach morality to the rest of the world, but forget basic etiquettes of civilized behavior when it comes to practicing it among ourselves.

Rule of law is something that we have absolutely no regard for. This feeling permeates through every strata of our society…be it the rich executive or the simple thelewala. If the police catches us breaking the law, we simply think of bribing them to achieve our purpose.

Now mind you, one might say that its the government…its the system. But what is the government and the system? It is us..we the people that form the government and system. If we’re willing to have our way by bribing the constable…why would he refuse it? He is human and needs that money for his family. But are we right in offering him a bribe to save our skin? Absolutely not, we’re the greater offenders in my opinion…we’re committing a double crime by committing the first offense and then the second offense of bribing a law enforcement person.

In our private discourses we often hurl choicest of abuses at the Western world. Fair enough, they have their own massive drawbacks…too much consumption, disregard for elders, too much of an emphasis on “me” and an undercurrent of racist behavior (more on this later…). How are we any better than them is what I ask? We have no regard for rule of law, no sense of civic responsibility (look around and see how we openly urinate in public, deface public monuments…and the ubiquitous paan stains all over) and bad habit of poking our noses in other peoples’ lives.

I feel disgusted by this behavior of our fellow Indians. I am proud to be an Indian…but watching their behavior makes me ponder…who are we??

Some Linux observations…

My first blog about an issue that i’ve been feeling somewhat passionate about since the past few months. I managed to get my good ol’ desktop back in February. It just so happened that a colleague of mine handed me a CD containing Ubuntu, recommended to me that I try it out.

Now mind you, i’m no newbie to Linux. I’ve used Suse 9.0 in circa 2002 (yes, paid 75$ to buy it from BB) and tried installing it on my desktop. It brought me nothing but grief…the sound card wouldnt work…YaST was a mess, graphics card was a no-go…and the OS would crash often. Not to mention the OS, it would crash every now and then.

Zoom forward to 2007…we have new kids on the block…Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS..the old hats openSuSE from Suse and Fedora from RedHat.

Now, I inserted the CD into the CD-ROM drive…changed the BIOS settings to boot from the CD drive first..and voila…I was greeted by a nice little splash Ubuntu splash screen. Now this was something i’ve experienced. It took all of 2-3 mins for the system to bootup and greet me to a fresh looking desktop. I was amazed…and told myself..”Is this Linux?”.Gone was the endless command-line bootup, gone was the clumsy interface that called itself X-Windows and gone was the painful process of locating additional packages (more on that later)