Linus Torvalds talks Nexus One and Greg Kroah addresses the removal of Android from Linux

Linus Torvalds, self proclaimed phone hater and founder of the Linux kernel, just bought a Nexus One and he loves it. 😉

He wrote about it in his blog yesterday. He described cellphones as “an opportunity to be irritated wherever you are”. He was hesitant to purchase a handset from the internet without having seen it beforehand but as soon as he found out the Nexus One got the multitouch upgrade, he went for it. Torvalds said he got the G1 when it first came out but hardly ever used it, aside from playing games on it during long flights. But he loves the concept of a phone that runs Linux and he called the Nexus One a winner and an admittedly good-looking phone. I like you, Linus…a lot. 😉

Here’s the excerpt from his blog:

Saturday, February 6, 2010
Happy camper
I broke down and bought a Nexus One last week.

I got the original G1 phone from google when it came out, and I hardly ever used it. Why? I generally hate phones – they are irritating and disturb you as you work or read or whatever – and a cellphone to me is just an opportunity to be irritated wherever you are. Which is not a good thing.

At the same time I love the concept of having a phone that runs Linux, and I’ve had a number of them over the years (in addition to the G1, I had one of the early China-only Motorola Linux phones) etc. But my hatred of phones ends up resulting in me not really ever using them. The G1, for example, ended up being mostly used for playing Galaga and Solitaire on long flights, since I had almost no reason to carry it with me except when traveling.

But I have to admit, the Nexus One is a winner. I wasn’t enthusiastic about buying a phone on the internet sight unseen, but the day it was reported that it finally had the pinch-to-zoom thing enabled, I decided to take the plunge. I’ve wanted to have a GPS unit for my car anyway, and I thought that google navigation might finally make a phone useful.

And it does. What a difference! I no longer feel like I’m dragging a phone with me “just in case” I would need to get in touch with somebody – now I’m having a useful (and admittedly pretty good-looking) gadget instead. The fact that you can use it as a phone too is kind of secondary.

Linux chief architect, Greg Kroah, also took some time last week to talk about the removal of Android from the Linux kernel tree. He made it quite clear that he absolutely loves Android and all that it stands for but there are issues that are preventing the Android core code from remaining in Linux.

First, there is a new lock type that needs to be accessed in order to create a working driver for Android. As well as gaining access into their security model. Without being able to access these areas of code that live ONLY in the Google kernel, any drivers or platform codes written for Android will fail to build in the main kernel tree. This new lock and security model essentially creates a roadbock in the Google branch that prevents any vendors that are relying on it from accessing the main kernal tree and giving back to the kernel community.

Kroah says branches like this are normal and acceptable but there are specific areas in the Android code that need to be cleaned and fixed in order for it to integrate properly. Some of these changes would affect the kernel/userspace boundary and in turn, changes to the Android userspace would need to be completed as well. This is something only a Google employee can do. Which leads to what Kroah says is the biggest issue, no one cares.

Google is not showing any signs of trying to get their code working upstream. He has made many attempts and offers to help Google developers get these changes made but to no avail. He hopes that in the future Google will either make the necessary changes to get their codebase merged or accept his offer to help make it happen.

He will be addressing this at the upcoming CE Linux Forum 2010 conference. 😉

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Source: Android and Me, Linus Torvalds, Kroah Linux Blog