Originally Posted by ascii
That HTML5 comment was not smart. Way to undermine your (current) developers dude.
People always worry that someone will come along and copy Apple and eat their lunch. But like someone once said (Guy Kawasaki?), the same reason they don't invent the stuff themselves in the first place also means they don't know what to copy. In this case they thought curation was an inessential feature and so did not copy it, but it looks like they were wrong.
Actually, that's a very good point. When you take the Desktop and Server Linux market (by opposition to phones), you'll essentially see distributions. The software is "open source", which essentially means for you as a user that you can compile it yourself, and modify it if need be. However, most users of Linux want things that "just work". In order to get this, you need a compatible computer (which is actually often the case "out of the box", given Linux's huge driver base) and a reliable distribution.
What this means is, Linux users delegate curation of their software to people. When, for example, you aptitude install software on your Debian, what happens is your computer goes to the Debian App Store (a very revolutionnary concept of the 90's), which is called a repository, and asks it for a curated version of that software, precompiled for your computer.
Yeah, that's sweet. And it runs just fine under the amazing Mac hardware.
However, when your try to take that metaphor to the telephone, you hit a brick wall. The main problem is that reinstalling your computer is easy. I installed my first Debian with floppies! "Reinstalling" a mobile phone is not for the faint of heart. Resinstalling a computer, simple as it is, is already complicated enough for the base user, imagine the act of reinstalling his/her phone...
Hence, it becomes extremely hard to have a "Ubuntu" of mobile phones, that anyone could install and that would have a curated repository of apps.
Google could have gone the route of curation, of course, with Android, but it would have undermined its position with the hardware vendors, as well as with the service companies, since it would have given Google way too much control over the phones. Android would have failed from the start, where it actually has a healthy market share right now.
In the end, if you want real open source, Debian Style, you need OpenMoko or some sort of Debian Android. If you want complete peace of mind, and are ready to sacrifice a bit of freedom, you need an iPhone. And if you want something in the middle, you can get an Android phone.
There is, however, yet another solution. You can get an iPhone, get a Apple (cheap) developper license, and find the open source software you want on the Internet. Then you can compile it on your iPhone, and do the curation yourself, the way Linux users did it "in the days"... and since that solution is available, maybe, just maybe, the real open source platform is the iPhone (when you only consider the software that runs on it, and not the OS...)