In case you are not familiar with Vivaldi, here’s a quick recap: the idea is to have a tablet running Linux (Mer, the continuation of Maemo and MeeGo) and Plasma Active. Apparently the easiest and cheapest way to achieve this was to get all the sources code for the software running on one of the many tablets which are sold with Android (which is, after all, a variation of Linux).
But then problems arise: those tablets run Android and vendors often provide only binary drivers, which is useless for Mer (or any other distribution of Linux). Once they finally got enough source to move Vivaldi forward, the board (electronics) changes and back to square 1 (or almost).
According to Aaron, it seems this time they have found a partner which is willing to provide the device and the source. Grea!
However, since the beginning of the Vivaldi Project (back when it was called Spark), there is one thing there is one thing I have always wondered.
Why Mer? In fact, why a Linux distribution? I know, I know, Plasma Active needs Linux to run.
But what about taking a completely different approach?
Instead of trying to get Mer and Plasma Active running on a tablet which is meant to run Android, why not taking a less radical approach?
We have Necessitas (Qt for Android).
So why not taking the opposite approach?
Instead of adapting Mer (operating system) + Plasma Active (“desktop environment”) to a tablet (the “device”) which is meant to run Android
what about this:
Port Plasma Active (desktop environment) to Android (operating system), which is already running on the tablet (the “device”).
Then create KDE’s own “CyanogenMod” that can be installed on top of many tablet devices. And sell those devices: you get to choose 7”, 9.7”, 10.1”, etc
Or maybe even sell Plasma Active and the application in the Android Market, if that’s possible (I don’t know enough about Android and the Market Terms and Conditions to know whether it’s possible technically and legally to replace the desktop).
Yes, that’s a different business and it’s probably not what Make·Play·Live had in mind.
With this approach, the business is no longer about selling hardware + software but mainly only about selling software. How to make that profitable is a topic for another post.
And there are technical limitations: Bionic, the amount of linked libraries, applications may need tablet-specific details (not unexpected, even with Mer), etc
But at least it’s something that we know how to do: it’s code, not hardware, and there is no need to deal with people who will promise source code and then won’t deliver. It will work on top of Android, and we just need to create our own distribution.
It’s just one more platform for KDE: first it was Linux, then other Unices, Mac, Windows… next Android.
Am I too crazy or dumb?