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…

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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)