[kwlug-disc] Android data backups

L.D. Paniak ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com
Tue Jul 24 23:15:45 EDT 2012

Hash: SHA1

While I wholeheartedly agree that unlocking a bootloader and leaving
instructions for rooting a device in a pastebin do not constitute a warm
embrace of the FOSS ideal, I would vote with my wallet to support
(small) steps in this direction by RIM.  Yes, Android presents an open
and extensible framework for making the device  your own, but this
community didn't appear overnight.  It took several years to develop to
the point where now hardware vendors like HTC provide tools to unlock
devices in the field.  The key is to have the mod community reach a
critical mass where the people who produce the devices recognize and
respect the modders.  As you point out very nicely below, this does not
require a very large community as the modders tend to be the 'tech
gatekeepers/advisors/support' of their immediate social circles:
spouses, kids, parents, relatives, neighbours...

Of course, to truly win over the modders, one has to allow more than
changing wallpaper and moving icons- they will want at the guts of the
system.  I can understand that RIM might not want to allow too much
tinkering with the internals of its messaging system and that's OK.  In
fact, I can see this as an opening where they can have two lines of
products:  the fully-locked enterprise device and the unlocked, hackable
dev device.  Same hardware, same base software, where the dev community
does the beta work and vets (much needed) new ideas for the enterprise
line (think Red Hat/Fedora).  Possibly the switch to QNX will allow for
this kind of bifurcation with a codebase the community can get its hands
on. Certainly a change in approach along these lines will turn a lot
more heads on the release of BB10 than just casting yet another
candy-bar phone into the sea of options.

The question is if there are sufficiently many interested modders to
take up this kind of project even if the corporate side gives them all
the tools.  It sounds much like the last days of Palm, no?  Maybe there
really is room for only one "open" mobile device OS - an argument I do
not buy.  Definitely, a change of this scale would have been easier to
push through with 20% market share.

On 07/24/2012 05:12 PM, Chris Irwin wrote:
>> Background: working for RIM, I'm looking for evidence to show bosses that
>> we should sell unlocked devices.
> Sim unlocked, or bootloader unlocked?
> If the former, I'm seriously surprised RIM doesn't sell SIM unlocked
> devices.
> If the latter... WAIT, let me put a disclaimer in here:
> ***
> I know RIM is a great Canadian company, and employs lots of people
local to
> this list (and probably a few on it). RIM has some interesting technology,
> I'll admit that. I have a couple friends that work there, too. So I don't
> mean this to sound as harsh as it may come across in text. But in the
> interest of it hopefully sounding like constructive criticism, I'll offer
> my opinion.
> ***
> It will take a lot more than an unlocked bootloader to interest me in
> device. What benefit would there be? When I was shopping for my phone,
> there was never a moment that I considered an iPhone, Windows Phone or
> Blackberry, and it wasn't due to bootloaders. Even though actual Android
> development (and WebOS until nowish) was not steered or influenced by the
> community, it was still open enough to play and change things. Android is
> almost entirely open, which allows for some great customizations and
> changes. Sure a few parts of WebOS were closed source, but the technology
> used (the entire UI was HTML+Javascript) and open & common components
> (Linux, Pulseaudio, etc) allowed some great modifications and changes,
> if somewhat more limited than with android.
> I could never grab the source and recompile my kernel on a blackberry. Or
> build a customized version of the OS that adds new features (look at
> Cyanogenmod, or any other ROM, and compare it to AOSP).
> As a person who wants to tinker with his toys, Blackberry offers none of
> the stuff that interests me. Open bootloaders wouldn't change that --
> Unless Android/OpenWebOS/something-interesting was ported, and I doubt
> there would be enough interest to hack together drivers (it's hard enough
> getting android running well on a touchpad, or getting ICS running on GB
> devices, and those had code dumps!).
> To put it a different way (I haven't seen a car analogy lately): Why
> opening the hood if I still can't change the oil.
> Now, granted you can say "Well you're not the mass market consumer", and
> you're right. But folks like myself have influence on those mass market
> consumers: my Mom, for example, has a Galaxy S2 (SIM locked, bootloader
> locked, no root. Hackable, but not the point). She actually was also
> considering the blackberry (torch? the touchy/slidey one), particularly
> because she could BBM with people at work. But after discussing how if she
> ever has trouble I can only help her with an Android device, that pretty
> quickly changed her mind toward getting the S2 and a SMS package instead.
> She doesn't care about locks or root, but she does care about having a
> device that she knows is good, and I literally had no experience or advice
> I could offer toward the blackberry. She didn't want to experiment
with her
> money and be reliant on tech support for help.
> My wife got a Galaxy Note (ditto on locks) instead of an iPhone for a
> similar reason, and she's an exclusively apple/itunes/ipod user. That
> should be the easiest sale you can possibly get! But she wasn't willing to
> risk spending a considerable amount of money on a device she might not
> (especially since she'd have to live with a smug "Gee, that's too bad.
> Works fine here").
> So because RIM and Apple don't cater to me, there were *three* sales that
> went to Android (side note: My mom was previously a very happy Palm Pre
> user. Guess why.). Also, they'll have those phones for three years until
> their contracts expire. In the last three years I've purchased three
> and two tablets, and am considering a third. But no, I'm not a mass market
> person, I'm *five* of them :)
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