Enterprise Linux Log

Nov 19 2007   9:40AM GMT

Google’s Linux-based Android takes on Ma Bell


When Google launched Android earlier this month, many people assumed that because it was an open, Linux-based mobile operating system, the target was Microsoft. Throughout the relatively brief history of Linux, the first competition was with legacy Unix systems and Microsoft Windows. Closed versus open, proprietary versus open source. It’s David versus Goliath in a Tron-like world (ok, maybe not that cheesey). Add to that the fact that today many mobiles run a Microsoft operating system, and the table appeared set for another Linux vs. Windows rumble in the data center jungle.

And while we don’t typically cover mobile Linux on SearchEnterpriseLinux.com or even here on the quirky Enterprise Linux Log, I couldn’t resist a quick link to a Slate article that discussed Google’s plan to take over the world. Here’s a free Pro Tip: Microsoft is but a small rival in the overall big picture. This isn’t so much a battle between technologies as it is a battle between ideologies.

Google’s truest and most formidable foes are much older and more powerful. Today we call them Verizon and AT&T, but their real name is the Bell system. Their ideology, which today governs the cell phone world, is called “Vailism,” and it can be traced back to 1907 and the origins of AT&T’s domination of American telephony. The Bells’ philosophy, as promulgated by AT&T’s greatest president, Theodore Vail, is based on closed systems, centralized power, and as much control as possible over every part of the network. Vailism is the antithesis, in short, of everything Google stands for. It is this—conquering the business culture of the telephone, as opposed to the computer—that is Google’s great challenge.

Do no evil? You tell me. I, for one, welcome openness not only in my software, but in my Internet and my wireless as well. But that iPhone sure is tempting…

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