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Nexus One First Phone Linus Torvalds "Doesn't Hate" 308

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it-ain't-half-bad dept.
SpuriousLogic writes "Linus Torvalds, the inventor of the Linux kernel, has an absolute disdain for mobile phones. All of the ones he has purchased in the past, the man writes on his personal blog, ended up being 'mostly used for playing Galaga and Solitaire on long flights' even though they were naturally all phones run on open source operating systems. Things have changed now, he adds, now that he has caved and bought Google's Nexus One a couple of days ago."
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Nexus One First Phone Linus Torvalds "Doesn't Hate"

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  • He bought one? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by suso (153703) * on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:31PM (#31061494) Homepage Journal

    Why? I mean the man is responsible for the free kernel that the phones use. The least companies could do is send him a free one with service contract. I thought Linus did get gifts like that.

    • by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:34PM (#31061528) Journal

      Hell. Now even Linus is slave to the Google panopticon.

      Hope you like your new, NSA hotline, Mr. Torvalds!

      • by chill (34294)

        What is this "new" of which you speak?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        "Doesn't hate."

        Dammned with faint praise... [reference.com]

        • Re:He bought one? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday February 08, 2010 @02:43PM (#31063118) Homepage Journal

          Dammned (sic) with faint praise...

          Actually, the "doesn't hate" line doesn't appear anywhere in Linus' words. His actual statement about the Nexus One is not "faint" at all.

          From Linus' own blog (TFA):

          "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."

          That doesn't sound anything like "damning with faint praise" now, does it?

          • Re:He bought one? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by npsimons (32752) on Monday February 08, 2010 @03:45PM (#31063872) Homepage Journal

            That doesn't sound anything like "damning with faint praise" now, does it?

            Even "damning with faint praise" is pretty high approbation, coming from a geek like Linus. Most software geeks are this way; cf. mutt's "All mail clients suck. This one just sucks less." motto, or "X is the second worst windowing system in the world - all the rest are tied for first." re: XWindows. That's not to say that geeks/engineers are more pessimistic than most people - just more honest.

  • You'd think that a guy like Linus would at least have an in-dash GPS unit so he's not distracted while behind the wheel futzing with the phone.

    Hopefully, he's not also eating a cheeseburger while inputting addressess...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      How is using the Nexus One as a GPS any different than a dedicated GPS unit? It has voice input and turn-by-turn voice prompts just like a "real" GPS so there's no need to touch it once you set it in the car dock. The experience of these post-2.0 Android phones is a lot different than the lousy Google Maps feature you'd find in lesser phones like an iPhone.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday February 08, 2010 @01:19PM (#31062102) Homepage

      Most "in dash" GPs's are inferior than a $99.00 pocket cheapie.

      Why? well the Updates for in dash units are typically so outlandish that nobody buys them A buddy of mine has a BMW 525i that it will cost him $399.00 for the map data update discs, he bought a pocket garmin unit he stuck to the windshield.. I buy a new $99.00 garmin yearly and that not only gives me a new map data set, but new hardware to boot!
        Plus I get POI data. press one button and it will tell me that the next two exits have gas stations and restaurants..

      Nope, it's dumb to spend a couple grand on an in dash unit and then pay out the butt yearly for updates.

      • by Score Whore (32328) on Monday February 08, 2010 @01:28PM (#31062200)

        Nope, it's dumb to spend a couple grand on an in dash unit and then pay out the butt yearly for updates.

        You know, when people are reaching back behind themselves whenever they need money... they're not digging around in their asses. They have this thing called a wallet and you put money in it. Then you put the wallet in your pocket. And thus you see people reaching back whenever they need some cash.

        It's a lot easier than stuffing rolls of coins and wads of cash up your rectum. More hygienic too.

      • by sznupi (719324)

        I buy a new $99.00 garmin yearly and that not only gives me a new map data set, but new hardware to boot! ...
        Nope, it's dumb to spend a couple grand on an in dash unit and then pay out the butt yearly for updates.

        Times have changed. Now the biggest manufacturer of cellphones offers proper navigation in their smartphones, with free updates.

        It's dumb to spend additional $99 yearly.

  • by SaidinUnleashed (797936) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:35PM (#31061548)
    How can a Finnish man hate mobile phones?! Aren't they like the national bird there, or something?
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:40PM (#31061614) Homepage Journal

      Yea you would think the would have an N900 wouldn't you?
      He has sold out his own birth Nation! How dare he!
      Naw it is just a phone and the Nexus one is a pretty nice one at that.

      • by Jazzbunny (1251002) on Monday February 08, 2010 @01:07PM (#31061946)
        He has same pragmatic approach to the issue as you do. At his blog here [blogspot.com] he said:

        everybody: my dad got himself a N900, so there's one in the family. Don't worry about it, there's room for more than one Linux phone.
        I like the Nexus One, maybe I'd like the N900 too. But I certainly don't like cellphones enough to have two.

      • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday February 08, 2010 @01:23PM (#31062140) Homepage

        Dude, as a phone the N900 lacks a LOT. I was able to sell mine on Ebay to buy a unlocked Nexus One.

        I tried to love the N900, as I loved my N710. but it's clunky.

        This is coming from a guy that has been die-hard Nokia forever. I tried like heck to love my Nokia 5800 xpressmusic phone. it had a great idea, but was only half there. They almost made it, but not close enough for me to suffer using it day in and day out.

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          But it is a Nokia that runs Linux....
          Never mind..

        • by Znork (31774) on Monday February 08, 2010 @01:51PM (#31062434)

          Personally, I find the N900 is pretty much the first phone I don't hate. Not that it's so much a phone as a very slick ultraportable that you can make calls with.

          I can mount my filesystems at home and play my mp3's over the radio transmitter. I can use it as a GPS. I can use it for pretty much anything I could use a netbook for.

          As far as phone functionality goes, I'm considering not bothering and simply keeping the cheap fixed rate unlimited wireless data SIM I've got in it now and simply using skype, or perhaps even going to SIP with a PBX of my own. Meh. We'll see. (hmmm, maybe the n900 can run asterisk and _be_ a pbx...)

          If I was looking for a 'phone', on the other hand, I think I'd be looking at one of the $30 ones, and certainly not at any of the current generation smart phones.

          • I third that. (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Kludge (13653)

            When I got my N900 it was several days before I bothered moving my SIM card over to it. It was so much fun to carry around and use anyway. I used local WIFI connections.
            The phone functionality is pretty minor part of the device.
            Popping up remote X windows on the phone rocks, and the display is awesome.
              I am now omnipotent!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Miamicanes (730264)

        From what I've read, Maemo suffers from the same problem that's always plagued Windows Mobile -- it's a great OS for a pocket-sized laptop, but it's not exactly the greatest user environment for making and receiving actual, voice phone calls.

        Compare the way Android handles incoming phone calls to the way Windows Mobile and Linux in general do. When Android notices an incoming phone call, it instantly suspends the foreground app and devotes its full attention to handling that incoming call immediately. In st

  • Why (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:39PM (#31061586)
    I am supposed to care about his opinion of smart phones why? I mean I will be happy to listen to anything he has to say about the Linux Kernel. I would pay to hear him talk about the early days of Linux development, but his thoughts on smart phones? What could possibly make me care?
    • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xanator (1740516) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:44PM (#31061668)
      you dont have to care, he just gave his opinion like you are giving it right now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pinkj (521155)
      I hate mobile phones too. I've refused to have one for most of my life. And if a person, be it Linus or anyone else, hates mobile phones as much as I do and likes the Nexus One, I'll listen.
    • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Draek (916851) on Monday February 08, 2010 @01:09PM (#31061976)

      You're not "supposed" to care, it's just that a lot of us do as result of him being a celebrity among geeks. Besides, his viewpoint is more likely to be closer to ours, as a fellow geek, than that of Steve Jobs or any such marketeer that gets published by pop media.

      This article certainly raised *my* interest in the Nexus One. Not enough to buy it blindly, but at least give it some consideration along with the N900 I was eyeing before.

      • Besides, his viewpoint is more likely to be closer to ours, as a fellow geek, than that of Steve Jobs or any such marketeer that gets published by pop media.

        You realize that we could apply that to the likes of Richard Stallman, too? The guy who uses wget to print out webpages to read rather than "browsing the web."

      • Re:Why (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday February 08, 2010 @03:08PM (#31063438)

        You're not "supposed" to care, it's just that a lot of us do as result of him being a celebrity among geeks. Besides, his viewpoint is more likely to be closer to ours, as a fellow geek, than that of Steve Jobs or any such marketeer that gets published by pop media.

        He's exactly the sort of person I would want to hear give an opinion about this stuff. I may not agree with his opinion, time may prove him wrong, but it certainly provides an interesting starting point for a debate. Look at Clifford Stoll and his whole Silicon Snake Oil thing. He raised interesting questions about the internet and viability of e-commerce. I disagreed with his thesis and he has subsequently been proven wrong.

        I'll listen to what a Jobs has to say. While I may not agree with all of his ideas, he has certainly had some winners over the years. He's someone who understands the industry. People I'd be less interested in listening to are Balmer and Gates. I don't think they really have a good grasp on the industry at this point and feel that we're living in the time future historians will point to as their decline years. I could be wrong, it's certainly good debate fodder, and time will prove it one way or another.

    • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 0racle (667029) on Monday February 08, 2010 @01:16PM (#31062060)
      For the same reason we're supposed to care what celebrities think about foreign policy and medical procedures.

      It's just more evidence of societies celebrity worship.
      • you don't care about what celebrities think about foreign policy and medical procedures, because those are serious subject matters and the opinion holders are fluff

        but you do care* what linus torvalds thinks of his mobile phone, because both the celebrity and the subject matter are fluff

        *when i say "you do care" i am not saying you care in the same way you care about war with iran or flu shots causing autism, you care in the same way you care about whether batman could beat superman, or exactly how much jar

      • Re:Why (Score:4, Insightful)

        by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Monday February 08, 2010 @02:27PM (#31062920) Homepage
        You are correct that in general, there's no good reason to listen to the opinion of a celebrity. However, one might argue that Torvalds is someone who has relevant expertise. Given his background in programming and extensive experience with all sorts of computer systems, it isn't unreasonable for someone to see him as an expert in this case whose opinion is worth listening to. Neil deGrasse Tyson is a celebrity but his opinion on many science issues is still pretty relevant.
  • Original blog post (Score:5, Informative)

    by surmak (1238244) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:40PM (#31061604)
    here [blogspot.com]
  • by ninjagin (631183) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:42PM (#31061628)
    I don't share much in common with Linus except maybe the phone, but I got my N1 exactly because of how evolved android had become, how beefy the hardware specs were (I was building PCs with roughly the same specs 8 years ago), and because I preferred a phone not marketed to me with a direct tie-in with a carrier. Overtly unlocked? Yes, please. Granted, it's not for everyone, but it is my first smartphone and I'm glad I waited.
  • by Carik (205890) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:44PM (#31061680)

    ... most of my phones haven't had an OS that you could play Galaga or Solitaire on. Or really do much more than make a phone call.

    Is it possible that the reason he hates phones is that he keeps buying computers masquerading as phones, rather than phones?

    Also... he comments that he's always hated phones because they interrupt while he's trying to work or read. I don't know about anyone else, but if I don't want to be interrupted, I turn off the phone. The ringer, if it's a land-line, or the whole thing, if it's a cell. People can leave me a message and I'll listen to it later.

    Basically, I can understand not liking the sound quality, or the microphone quality, or the weight, or the fact that it doesn't work anywhere you want to use it (all problems I've had in the past), but really... the things he's complaining about are issues with how he's using it, not with the phones. Maybe, like me, he's someone who just shouldn't have a cell phone, or should buy a small cheap one for emergency use, and not pay a monthly fee for it.

    • a new phone every year for the last 10 years. Even one of my first phones, some Nokia from 2000, could play snake and solitaire.

    • Sony phones, like the K750 can play games like Galaga and it's certainly not a smart phone. Hell you can probably get landline phones that play Galaga now.
  • I think most computers in general have been relegated to playing solitaire and Galaga, not just mobile phone platforms.
  • Mislabelled (Score:4, Funny)

    by grub (11606) * <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:48PM (#31061736) Homepage Journal

    This phone shall be referred to as the "GNU/Nexus One with GNU/Linux".
    Now excuse me, I have to comb my beard.

    Richard

    .
    • by chill (34294)

      Now excuse me, I have to comb my beard.

      You had me going until that part. Something like this would be more apt:

      He stood up straight and looked the world squarely in the fields and hills. To add weight to his words he stuck the gnu/rabbit bone in his beard. He spread his arms out wide. "I will go mad!" he
      announced.

    • by jareth-0205 (525594) on Monday February 08, 2010 @01:17PM (#31062068) Homepage

      I call fake!

      RMS has never combed his beard.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by macshit (157376)

        I call fake!

        RMS has never combed his beard.

        Actually one of RMS's most obvious behavioral tics is a habit of combing his beard with his fingers. It may not actually make much difference, but he spends an awful lot of time doing it...

    • That's GNECK/Beard, you insensitive clod!
  • by noidentity (188756) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:52PM (#31061796)

    Linus Torvalds, the inventor of the Linux kernel, has an absolute disdain for mobile phones.

    Finally, an article summary that explainings who some obscure person is, rather than assuming we know everyone in the tech universe.

    • by martas (1439879)
      please tell me you really are joking.

      otherwise, leave this place and never come back.
  • by buruonbrails (1247370) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:54PM (#31061822) Homepage
    I expected Linus Torvalds to use something more geeky, e.g. N900 or one of OpenMoko devices, but in this case he has chosen user-friendliness instead of endless tinkering. Nexus One is probably one of the most user-friendly Linux-based devices to date (competing with WebOS devices in this respect), and it is very functional as well, so the choice seems obvious.
    • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday February 08, 2010 @01:09PM (#31061972)

      ...he has chosen user-friendliness instead of endless tinkering

      The lesson is: Even people famous for endless tinkering still like a simple, clean user experience once in a while.

      Design your software with this in mind.

      • by Angst Badger (8636) on Monday February 08, 2010 @01:27PM (#31062188)

        Even people famous for endless tinkering still like a simple, clean user experience once in a while.

        Once in a while? I find that I want to tinker with the subjects in which I am most interested, and prefer drool-proof interfaces the rest of the time. FOSS at its (unusual) best makes tinkering possible but not necessary. Programs should work well off the shelf but be readily amenable to user modification if the user cares to.

      • by BESTouff (531293)
        Or maybe the lesse is:

        Linus has become too old to spend time tinkering with new hardware.

        • I'd say it's more along the lines of:
          Linus already has all the tinkering he could ever want right in front of him; adding a phone to the mix would just be redundant.
      • Speaking from my own experience - I've found that if you are in the kind of business where you spend all day tinkering with stuff you have a tendency to shy away from devices or software that require tinkering at all.

        One of the reasons I don't personally beta test software ;) (because it was at one point pretty much my job).

      • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday February 08, 2010 @02:58PM (#31063302) Homepage

        Even people famous for endless tinkering still like a simple, clean user experience once in a while...

        ... especially if it's something like a phone.

        Honestly, I'm not a super-geeky tech genius, but I like to screw around with computers and that has lead to a career in IT. However, I learned a long time ago that I like to keep a separation between "the gadgets that I tinker with" and "the gadgets I depend on." The two can't really be the same, because if I'm screwing around with something long enough, I *will* break it. I'll probably also fix it, but it might take hours or days.

        I wan't my phone to work all the time, and therefore I don't want a phone that I need to tinker with.

  • by martas (1439879) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:55PM (#31061826)
    he could've made serious $$ if he charged google for expressing this opinion. imagine all the linux devotees who are going to buy it now. i mean, there's gotta be, like, at least 10 who can afford it!
    • Re:stupid Linus (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BitZtream (692029) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:58PM (#31061862)

      Except as soon as anyone finds out that he accepted money for expressing his opinion, people will value his opinion a whole hell of a lot less.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Skuld-Chan (302449)

      You ever stop and think that a person who developed the core of an OS and gave it away isn't in it for the money?

      I think if more people behaved like Linus this would be a more pleasant world to live in.

  • As Galaga and the solitaire are the only games woth playing, along with rougue-lke.
  • mostly used for playing Galaga and Solitaire on long flights

    He's confused a mobile phone for a games console. A surprising mistake really, considering how well-versed he is on most other technical fields. Personally, all I want from a phone is a few buttons that let me call people and a very, very long battery life. If I ever felt the need to play video games I'd use something that has a screen large enough that I didn't get annoyed at it - with Linus seems to, from his response.

  • Wow, Slashdot Plagerising a Washington Post article that is plagerising an article on Android Community. Practically word for word identical. Not sure if linking to the article is the same as providing citation. :-p

  • Things have changed now, he adds, now that he has caved and bought Google's Nexus One a couple of days ago."

    It's only been a couple of days, let's see if he likes it after he had a chance to really use it. I speak from experience. I'm still have my android phone, but the only thing keeping me on the platform is T-Mobile.

    Besides, why should we really care?

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      I still like my Android G1 (mostly for the hardware keyboard), but if the iPhone was available for T-Mobile, I would probably replace it. (Are you listening, Apple?) In theory, iPhone and Android have the same capabilities. In practice, not having multi-touch on the Android is a serious deficiency, and the software keyboard on the iPhone does a much better job of figuring out which key I meant to press than the Android software keyboard. Also, the G1 is slow to respond to touch input; hopefully this problem
      • by bnenning (58349) on Monday February 08, 2010 @02:20PM (#31062816)

        The Android API has always supported multitouch, and the recent update for the Nexus One adds multitouch for the browser and maps and images. Presumably there was a legal situation with Apple that's now been resolved.

      • Well it's a love/hate relationship with my myTouch 3G. It crashes with a "Green Screen of Death" when I use the camera functions, but I usually don't use the sub-par camera anyway.

        The irritation comes from the multitasking. Pressing the home button to switch apps took some getting use to, but my pet peeve is that some applications will stop doing notifications because it gets pushed off by the OS to make room for another app. The weather bug app works but doesn't update its location until I run the app in

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by codepunk (167897)

        The iphone is multi-tasking for those built in apps that are allowed to. Even as a developer I am perfectly fine with this
        as I know it keeps craplications from installing service listeners, ram chewers and other junk to my device. In use and in development
        I have never seen the need for it on a phone device. All applications are required to save and have the ability to resume
        when restarted so I really don't see the big deal about it. As a end user it just plain works and keeps the devices fairly junk
        free whi

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by NiteShaed (315799)

          I have never seen the need for it on a phone device.

          Yeah, I'm probably just being completely unreasonable, wanting to listen to my XM radio app, while reading an ebook, using the FaceBook app, or browsing websites with my Touch. I should thank Apple for helping me learn the discipline to pick one time-waster at a time and stick with it. Unfortunately my Pre is reinforcing those bad habits with its needless multitasking.....damn you Palm!

          • Down is up, war is peace, single-tasking is the new hotness.

            On January 9th, Apple will introduce iPhone, and you'll see why 2007 will be like 1984.

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Monday February 08, 2010 @02:35PM (#31063018) Homepage Journal

    My little brother just got a Nokia N900 and brought it over to show off. My impression: this just might be the first phone I've ever seen which doesn't suck. apt-get install whateverthefuckyouwant totally embarrasses everybody's "app store" and on top of that it's a fully working product.

    Is Nexus One getting there too? Cool. I knew shitty phones' days were numbered, but had no idea just what that number was. Looks like we've finally gotten to 0 and I can start taking the phone market seriously.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by C_Kode (102755)

      The N900 was the phone I was hell bent on getting before purchasing the Nexus One. The whole reason I changed my mind was all the in-depth reviews of it and the stories about how there are so many things that should be standard in it that are all marked as something like "Community Fix" meaning, let the developer community fix it rather than Nokia fixing it.

      That just seems like a bad way to view one of your high end products. I liked that the Nexus One had a larger screen and was much thinner than the N90

  • John Carmack Before (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Monday February 08, 2010 @03:07PM (#31063402)

    This reminds me of when Carmack got all excited about gaming on a Mac...that turned out so well for Apple's gaming options (boot into Windows, play game developed for Windows).

"If a computer can't directly address all the RAM you can use, it's just a toy." -- anonymous comp.sys.amiga posting, non-sequitir

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