View Full Version : OS Convergence - Can it be done?

May 6th, 2014, 02:31 AM
I'm not sure if I've already posted this, but I wanted to get the feel from the community on convergence, and discuss what I feel will work and won't work.

Mac OS X and iOS - they've been trying to somewhat converge it. The look and feel is similar to one another, granted Mac OS X is more high-end for what you will work on. I haven't used OS X since... 10.6 so I can't really discuss much - as I don't use iOS either - so not sure what's happening here.

WP8, WinRT, Win 8/8.1/8.1 U1 - These three work alright together, not great, not perfect, but they work alright. The main issue I see with convergence on these ones is varying CPUs e.g. ARM, x86, and x64. Things are shifting to 64-bit, ARM is headed that way, x86, while still around, is really slowing down. I doubt x86 will be made soon. Architecture differences also make it difficult with the vast array of software available for windows alone. Along those lines, the software for WP8 and WinRT is only a "modern ui" app - no desktop mode. If they made something to translate the desktop equivalent to a modern UI version that may help ease people into the modern UI. I also feel that if they drop the desktop (like they did with RT), people won't be able to work as effectively if they were to have a full desktop. I think they need to implement the modern UI with the current elements of UI system. They'e started with "modern UI" apps having close and minimize buttons to allow them to open in the desktop, but they're not resizable, (except for snapping to the sides). Windows seems to be the closest, if they could just implement a system to blend it all together while keeping the desktop and adding more functionality and power to WinRT and WP8. Mac OS X 10.4.11 and 10.5+ had Rosetta to allow PPC apps to run on Intel. They could do the same here.

Android and Chrome OS - Unfortunately, this is a mess. Web browsers are great for using apps, but the HTML5, PHP, etc. are really limited to what modern applications can do. Granted this has all really changed recently with WebGL, Storage APIs, etc. but still limited in the sense of offline usability (at least for Chrome OS). There isn't much convergence here other than Chrome OS is a browser with a few offline apps, and Android is its own system with Chrome being a browser you can install. If android could open multiple apps like a desktop and converge some of the properties between it and Chrome OS, they could start working on convergence. I doubt Google is really working towards this. Apps are plenty, but annoying (ads, I hate ads). I doubt they'd be able to do this in less than 3 years.

Ubuntu Touch & Ubuntu - Wonderful! Seemless convergence really, everything is similar, built upon a great foundation thats cross-compliant with one another. Granted the coding is a bit of a twist from my most used languages, but it does tie in together. Here's the thing, the Ubuntu Phone that they were trying to get backers for, they could have done it. With the amount of power the phone could have had, they could have created (kickstarter or indiegogo has it already by another person) a docking type item to make your phone a tablet or laptop. With the Motorola Project Ara, this could have been a limitless opportunity to converge 1 device for EVERYTHING! This may be a possibility here in the very near future. SEED - http://www.seedphone.com/ - So Ubuntu has my choice for winning.

Others - Don't know Tizen seems to be more for phones and wearables, Salifish is more for phones, and if I haven't heard or or mentioned any let me know.

May 6th, 2014, 02:40 AM
Like I tell my clients: "For enough money I can make it do anything you want."

What "can" be done is one thing. "What is likely to be done given market conditions" is another.

I think Mark Shuttleworth is really committed to convergence and is willing to put his money where his mouth is. But no pocket is infinitely deep.

May 6th, 2014, 04:32 AM
Honestly I believe Ubuntu will be the only one that can do it. Linux has always supported multiple CPU architectures from MIPS, ARM, x86, SPARC, x64, etc. and is the only one that will probably have true convergence for the OS and Apps. M$ and Apple (I think Apple may be switching CPUs again (probably when the A8's come out) for their regular macs) probably will never attain that status.

May 6th, 2014, 03:49 PM
Read the headings: What do you mean by device convergence and What makes you think you'll succeed.


and then install Utopic Unicorn and change the repositories to the devel repositories and watch how daily updates change Utopic development branch into Ubuntu 14.10 and then become the 15.04 development branch and so on through to the release of Ubuntu 16.04. By then for sure there will be a converged Ubuntu code base.

There is a market for Ubuntu smartphones that can become PCs. But do the business leaders and the IT buyers have the imagination to see the advantages? Do they have the courage to make the decision? This I am not confident about. Not at all.


May 6th, 2014, 03:56 PM
I think that to a large degree, this is sort of a fad that will pass. The average PC screen is what, 20 inches now? And the average person types how quickly on a keyboard compared to a touch screen?

Mobile devices might be used for some of the same things, but until the form factor morphs, they are still serving an almost completely different role than a desktop PC. So why would anyone think that the "best" solution is for both to run the same OS?

I carry one of the largest screen phones you can buy (Note 3) and I still would never dream of serious document creation or such on it. Let alone graphics or video editing. Make my desktop platform work as best it can for what it's intended for, and my phone as best possible for what it's created for. The reason Windows 8 is so terrible is because they force desktop users to navigate a version of Windows 7 tweaked to be touch-friendly. No thanks.

May 6th, 2014, 04:27 PM
"Convergence" means whatever the marketing department wants it to mean. It suggests that *some things* in two different platforms will be the same. (And, only some things. If everything is the same, it's only one platform.)

So, the questions are: What's the same, and why?

For a vendor, it seems the answer is reduced cost. In theory, a converged code base should cut maintenance and future development costs.

For consumers, I suspect it means different devices use an interface that looks and works the same on each, plus the availablility of the same software across the devices. The former does not require a converged underlying code base, while the latter can only happen when applications are altered to deal with the constraints of the target hardware. (Think Gimp on a 3-inch screen versus Gimp on a 32-inch screen.)

In the end, consumers will use what they like, converged or not.

May 8th, 2014, 09:13 AM
Never heard of Virtualbox or VMware?

May 9th, 2014, 03:04 AM
Well, they allow you to run one or more OSes on your machine inside an OS. The kind of convergence we're talking about is a sort of symmetry across computing hardware for the same development OS. Think iOS and Launchpad on Mac. Think Modern UI on Windows 8/8.1 and Windows Phone 8. What M$ is now doing is making it to where you can make an app for the phone that works on WinRT and Win 8 - the reverse they'd like to do, but I don't know if they've implemented that much. Write once, deploy on varying form factors.
Phone = Tablet = PC
Phone = PC = Tablet
Tablet = Phone = PC
Tablet = PC = Phone
PC = Phone = Tablet
PC = Tablet = Phone

May 10th, 2014, 09:26 AM
Ubuntu is Linux as it is called UBUNTU LINUX!
Also Android is Linux based too!
And may I Add that the Internet is very much Related to the Operating System or Systems.