Bach’s premise is that the multiple variants of Linux on mobile devices is bad for customers because of the lack of consistency. But Zemlin argues that the ecosystem of support around Linux on mobile is key to its success.
Linux as the underlying platform of such mobile offerings as Android, Moblin and many more is growing exponentially, and precisely because it affords this choice. Palm, Motorola and others have jumped ship from Windows Mobile to Linux-based offerings in recent years. LG is now using Android on 50% of its handsets. According to Gartner Group, Windows Mobile’s market share fell to 7.9 percent in the third quarter of 2009 down from 11.1 percent the same quarter of last year.
Beyond the technology, Zemlin said that the Windows model is a business problem in the mobile device market, pointing out the per-device licensing fees and overwhelming branding emphasis reduce device manufacturer flexibility and increase cost.
To me, it appears that Linux on mobile is here to stay. The individuality offered by the various Linux flavors, and the creativity of the open source community behind them will continue to make Linux offerings more interesting and useful for consumers and device manufacturers.