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Fragmentation is Good and Bad for Linux

May 11, 2010, 18:32 (0 Talkback[s])

"Lately I have been hearing criticism about embedded Linux and how fragmentation, as represented by the many flourishing Linux projects such as Meego, Android and webOS, is bad and dangerous for Linux; these critics suggest that fragmentation will hinder Linux' ability to compete with companies like Microsoft and Apple. I disagree, which is not surprising. But the market and marketing strategists also disagree. Citing the familiar ogre of fragmentation shows a limited view of the Linux economy.

"The Linux platform is both fragmented and unified.

"Linux already has a unified base: it's called upstream components. An Embedded Linux OS, just like an enterprise Linux OS, is comprised of core upstream components like the Linux kernel. First, at the kernel level — where most hardware support happens including all driver support — the Linux ecosystem is extremely unified. Device makers or silicon suppliers that wish to support their hardware with Linux - whatever the variety - simply contribute code to the mainline Linux kernel project hosted at kernel.org."

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