Is Google preparing to dump Android?
Today in Open Source: Google getting ready to dump Android? Plus: Tox secure messaging, and Duke Nukem 3D Megaton for Linux beta
Google Preparing to Dump Android?
Apple Insider has a fascinating article that explores the possibility of Google dumping Android for Chrome OS. You might at first think this is a crazy notion, given the popularity of Android phones in particular. However, it's not as far fetched an idea as it might seem initially.
Android has not brought much money in for Google, after you add up all of the costs associated with it (development, legal hassles, etc.). In fact, the company that has benefited the most from Android is Samsung, not Google.
While Android has been widely deployed on smartphones globally and is almost universally considered a tremendous success, the platform and its close association with its namesake Rubin, who was himself nicknamed "Android" while working at Apple in the early 1990s, has inflicted more liability and expense on Google than it has strategic opportunity, revenues or profits.
Evidence from multiple sources, including the design decisions behind Google's latest Chromecast product, support the idea that the company now sees more future potential and interest in investing in Chrome OS than in continuing to support Rubin's Android and defending the platform from ongoing intellectual property disputes, even if the company has no interest in publicizing those intentions.
Android was supposed to insure Google's continued flow of search profits, but it has instead become something of a millstone around Google's neck as Samsung as absconded with most of the profits from Android device sales. Couple that with the hugely expensive acquisition of Motorola, and you have a financial mess on Google's hands.
Chrome OS might offer Google another chance to offer something that is closer to what Apple has with iOS. Companies like Samsung would not be able to so easily profit from Chrome OS the way that they have with Android. Google would have more control over who uses it on their devices.
We'll see how this plays out, I found the article fairly compelling in making a case that Google is slowly moving away from Android. What a shock it will to the technology world if this proves to be true.
Tox: Free, Open Source Secure Messaging
There's quite a lot of media news about the NSA spying scandals, and the general feeling among a lot of people is that most applications do not protect people's privacy from unwanted and unconstitutional government spying.
Enter Tox, a free and open source platform for messages, calls and video. Tox promises "leading-class encryption" as well as an easy to use interface, and the freedom to use it or modify it as you like.
Tox is built with the idea that you can keep up with friends and family without having your privacy violated. While other big-name services require you to pay to unlock features, Tox is free in both price, and in liberty.
It's still early for Tox, apparently it's in alpha right now. But this seems like an open source project worth keeping an eye on. I wish them well.
Duke Nukem 3D Megaton Edition for Linux
Hot Hardware is reporting that there's a public beta of Duke Nukem 3D Megaton Edition out now. It's for the Steam platform, and should please a lot of Linux gamers.
As the story points out, this isn't the Duke Nukem Forever game. This is a compendium of Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition and three expansion packs.
Included in the Megaton Edition is the game itself, Duke Caribbean: Life's a Beach, Duke It Out in D.C., Duke: Nuclear Winter, and Duke Nukem 3D Classic. These were all fun back in the day, though by today's standards, they're bound to feel a bit dated, even with the updated graphics.
This is the latest in a growing number of ports headed to Linux on Steam. Valve has been championing Linux as a viable gaming platform for some time, especially since the release of Windows 8. Valve founder Gabe Newell has been especially outspoken about Windows 8 and what it could mean for the future of PC gaming, hence part of the reason why Linux has become such a big focus.
I remember the years when Linux got little or no games being made for it. It's such a pleasure to see announcements like this coming regularly for Linux gaming. Kudos to the Steam developers, thanks for all of your efforts to put games on Linux.