Is Android really better than iOS?

Today in Open Source: Is Android better than iOS? Plus: How to run Linux on your Windows computer, and a Pennsylvania school district embraces open source solutions

Is Android Better Than iOS?

Paul Stamatiou has switched from iOS to Android, and he has a compelling list of reasons why he thinks Android is better than iOS.

It was just meant to be a quick experiment. I started using a Nexus 4. I was going to go right back to my iPhone after a week. I was designing more and more Android interfaces at Twitter and realized I needed to more intimately grok Android UI paradigms.

A week in it started feeling normal; the larger form factor was no longer a nuisance. A month in I didn't miss anything about my iPhone. Two months in I sold my iPhone 5 and iPad Mini. It has now been three months since I made the switch. I'm loving Android.

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I generally hesitate to wade into the "this product is better than that" kind of discussion, for the simple reason that everybody's needs are different. If you read Paul's commentary (and it's worth a read), it's clear that Android is meeting his needs much more than iOS ever did.

Angry iOS and Android Fans

I'm sure Paul is going to catch some heat for his commentary from some of the Apple devotees out there. What he is saying amounts to heresy to some of those folks, but I give him credit for honestly stating his preference in mobile devices.

I think he'd be catching heat if he'd written it the other way around, and had switched from Android to iOS. Some Android fans are as equally passionate as their iOS counterparts for sure.

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

But beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to mobile devices and ecosystems. My friend Kevin used to use an Android phone, but switched to IOS and he's never been happier. I've asked him why and his answer amounted to "it just works" and he's happy with that.

I have yet another friend though who switched from iOS to Android because he has large hands and needed a larger size screen on his phone. Patrick is able to shift easily between operating systems, and may yet move back to iOS if Apple ever releases an iPhone with a larger screen.

Choice is a Beautiful Thing: Android, iOS or Something Else

If the product you choose isn't meeting your needs, then it makes sense to switch as Kevin, Patrick and Paul did. That is why competition and market alternatives are so important. No two users are exactly alike, and no product is going to make everybody happy.

Choice is a beautiful thing, whether you choose iOS or Android or something else entirely.

Have you switched between iOS and Android? Or did you choose something else? Tell me why in the comments.

How to Run Linux on a Windows PC

SJVN had a great article yesterday here on ITworld about how to run Linux on a Windows PC. It's a guide that will help get you started with Linux.

Steven did a fine job on this article, and it covers different ways you can get Linux to run on your Windows computer. Even the "secure boot" problem is covered if you have a Windows 8 computer.

So, you're finally considering giving Linux a try. It's about time! And it's really not as scary (or different) as you may think. The myth that you had to be some kind of computer guru to use Linux is utterly untrue. Today's top desktop Linux distributions, such as Mint, openSUSE, and Ubuntu are easier to use than Windows 8.

More at ITworld

I always enjoy articles that help bring in new Linux users, and this one is particularly easy to read. So if you're considering Linux, please do give Steven's article a read.

Open Source in a Pennsylvania School District

Charlie Resinger at has an inspiring article about how open source solutions have been embraced by a Pennsylvania school district.

I always love reading articles like this, it underscores how well open source software can really work if given a chance. The district in the article actually did this twelve years ago, so they were well ahead of the curve.

I took a risk. Dismissing the big proprietary vendors, I chose to work with a talented, young software developer named James. Far from a nefarious "hacker" with a shady back-story, James was a superbly talented and professional programmer. He wrote quality code and deftly translated teacher feature requests into efficient grading tools and time-saving reports. In a few short months, James worked with us to design, develop and deploy a locally hosted web gradebook customized by teacher input, principal requirements and parent requests. The result was extraordinary — we received the gradebook teachers needed, had access to the code, and saved a bundle of money.

Our developer also wielded a secret weapon: The LAMP application stack. Fueled by a flexible open source engine, the final product demonstrated how open source software could power a complex school software project to a successful implementation while cutting costs significantly. No nefarious plots were stirring — just an open source philosophy to aid our schools in efficiency, fiscal responsibility and control of student data.

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The decision to go open source instead of using proprietary vendors worked out very, very well for them. Since then it seems that more and more schools in that district have actively embraced open source solutions. An open source seed was planted with the first project, and it seems to have grown into a mighty forest.

Are your schools using open source software? Tell me in the comments.

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