Linux hits the iPhone. Do you care?

Group of developers ports Linux to the iPhone, setting off a wild night of Digging and backslapping. But no one outside the geekiest of the Linux community could even muster a yawn.

In the annals of history, November 28, 2008, is unlikely to stand out as a Big Day in Computing. What happened? Well, a group of developers ported Linux to the iPhone, setting off a wild night of Digging and backslapping.

Meanwhile, not a single person outside the geekiest of the Linux community could even muster a yawn.

One member of the iPhone Dev Team tried to posit some compelling reasons for the port, but the best it could muster was this:

...iPhone Linux will actually be of tremendous value. There will be no more need to port applications over: The applications already run on the iPhone! Also, with a familiar kernel, we can do all kinds of things I've wanted to do: doing security related work with the wi-fi for example. Plus, knowledge that we are gaining/will have gained about the iPhone hardware will be of incredible practical value to the homebrew iPhone community. We've always wanted to be able to plug in the iPhone as a simple USB mass storage device. With USB and NAND FTL drivers, we can actually implement this ourselves.

So, there you have it. Are you racing to the AT&T store to buy an iPhone that you can hack to run Linux and all of its many (?) applications? No, I didn't think so.

Look, Linux is fantastic. There's no question about that. But there also should be no question that it's not really all that useful on the iPhone. It's nice that someone proved with a science project that they can run Linux on the iPhone, but it has little practical value even for the Linux community, much less than mainstream users who just want something that works, and don't inquire into operating systems.

The Linux community has better things to do.

Tags:
Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Show Comments Hide Comments
    Latest Galleries from CNET
    Tech industry's high-flying 2014
    Uber's tumultuous ups and downs in 2014 (pictures)
    The best and worst quotes of 2014 (pictures)
    A roomy range from LG (pictures)
    This plain GE range has all of the essentials (pictures)
    Sony's 'Interview' heard 'round the world (pictures)