I have recently been faced with the terrible dilemma of buying a new mobile phone. This unexpected event was thrust upon me after falling over my daughter’s dog (i’m actually the grandmother) when we were out for a walk. We were literally on the downhill run or the home stretch when she crossed in front of me while I was checking my phone for new tweets. I went in the air at first, however I had time to think “Oh no this isn’t good” and then I was sliding on the bitumen-hands first, then elbows and finally knees. Why am I describing this in detail? Well I think the memory is still very vivid and it was this incident that put me in the position of needing a new mobile device.
The choice, as far as I can gauge in today’s market, is primarily between 2 players- Samsung, Galaxy s5, and Apple, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Of course there are others, but that’s anther story. The issue here is not about which company has the best feature packed phone or how many mega pixels the camera sports but what does it signify to purchase a phone based around a particular operating system. Users may know that the Galaxy S5 is built on an Android platform and the iPhone 6 on the IOS platform however, that is probably as much as they do know or want to know. Should users be more proactive with their buying power and base their decision on the perceived contribution to society via technological development? Lets see-benefit to society, or fantastic, super cool new phone with a 16 megapixel camera? On what should users base their final decision? Perhaps users should be observing the way in which each platform is managed and developed .
Is it OK that Apple keep the IOS platform ‘locked up’, allowing only rigorously pre-approved developers to build Apple apps? Does this policy inhibit the natural flow of creativity? The ‘coolest’ way to manage the development of platforms and the interaction by users can be found in The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Written in 2001, by Eric Raymond, he details the development of the open source Linux platform by Linus Torvald and the rest of the Linux community which is described as:
a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches (aptly symbolized by the Linux archive sites, who’d take submissions from anyone) out of which a coherent and stable system could seemingly emerge only by a succession of miracles.
It’s the same mob that preached the ‘release early, release often’ dictum with anything in the ‘not quite ready state’ classified as a Beta version. Gmail began its life as a Beta release. Another point that is make in the essay is that Torvalds reused and remixed code borrowed from other sources. Dictum #2:
Good programmers know what to write. Great ones know what to rewrite (and reuse).
In the spirit of the Linux platform, I am not going to finish this blog. I am putting it out there just as is. Perhaps it would benefit from a conclusion or not. The choice is yours!
PS. To finish my original story- I couldn’t make a choice between Samsung and Apple- so I got one of each.
PPS. When I was out for a walk earlier today, I tripped on an invisible banana skin and slammed my new Galaxy into the pavement. Oh Well C’est La Vie!
Henneke, C 2013, Android vs iOS: Comparing the Development Process of the GQueues Mobile Aoos, GQueus Blog, 29 July, viewed 12 September,
Raymond, E. (2001) The Cathedral and the Bazaar [pp.1-31], viewed 10 September 2013,