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Old 04-09-2013, 11:58 AM   #1
SaintDanBert
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why so few *nix features on Android devices?


Why don't we see Android devices with more *nix features for use to connect and share data:
  1. with other 'droids,
  2. with associated laptops,
  3. with desktop workstations, and
  4. using the associated home or office networks?
The Unix (*nix) family of systems has been around for decades and has numerous wonderful features for connectivity and data sharing between and among systems of widely different configurations. Over the years, *nix systems have also incorporated new technologies like Bluetooth™ and network-aware file systems. It would be wonderful if my Android devices had built-in features or applications that let me make use of these *nix resources.

For example, there is a user-mode file system (FUSE) based implementation using the secure shell (SSH). It is called SSHFS.
Once you configure an SSH server and security credentials, a client can connect and authenticate. This client will see remote folders and files as a local mount-point and can manipulate the remote data as if it were local.

An Android deployment would enable just such a sharing between the 'droid and resources available through a network or bluetooth connection. When my 'droid phone sees my laptop, it might automatically connect and share files and data using an sshfs implementation.

Alternately, if I had an ssh server for my 'droid phone, my laptop might connect automatically when it sees my phone and systematically grab files and data for synchronization, backup or other uses.

In both cases, the ssh-based credentials prevent unwanted and unauthorized connections and access to the files and data regardless of which end (maybe both) provides the SSH-server.

Thanks in advance,
~~~ 0;-Dan
 
Old 04-09-2013, 12:05 PM   #2
SaintDanBert
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Follow-up
For those who are interested, here are some references about the technologies mentioned in the original post.In addition to connectivity and data sharing features, why don't Android systems offer some sort of built-in scripting so that an end-user might implement and deploy services of their own?
I know there is Python for Android. As this article describes, the scripting engine is available from Scripting Layer for Android (SL4A). All of my attempts to deploy SL4A have yielded no joy.

ASIDE -- My 80's vintage MS-DOS box had better scripting for the Hayes® modem than my 2013 'droid phone.

More thanks in advance,
~~~ 8d;-/ Dan

Last edited by SaintDanBert; 04-09-2013 at 12:13 PM.
 
Old 04-09-2013, 03:20 PM   #3
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The purpose of Android is to get you to use Google services. You'd not need their "cloud" storage if you could move data more easily between systems.
 
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:35 PM   #4
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The answer is rather simple: Because Android is not designed to be Unix like, it's sole purpose is to give you a nice UI from which you can browse the web or start apps for simple things, like media-players or games.
 
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:04 AM   #5
ottavio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
The answer is rather simple: Because Android is not designed to be Unix like, it's sole purpose is to give you a nice UI from which you can browse the web or start apps for simple things, like media-players or games.
Well said, and in my opinion Google should merge Android with Chrome OS as the latter handles the above mentioned job better (plus it's a much cleaner OS).
 
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottavio View Post
Well said, and in my opinion Google should merge Android with Chrome OS as the latter handles the above mentioned job better (plus it's a much cleaner OS).
They're making Chrome the default browser in Android so, in some ways, they are merging the two.
 
Old 04-10-2013, 04:36 AM   #7
jpollard
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Android was designed to be friendly to cell phone vendors, not UNIX/Linux admins or users.

The underlying kernel has all the features. They just are used by the created applications. If you put a different/additional application launcher, you can get everything you want. The main difficulty is getting access to the display, and input.
 
Old 04-11-2013, 05:08 PM   #8
SaintDanBert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
The answer is rather simple: Because Android is not designed to be Unix like, it's sole purpose is to give you a nice UI from which you can browse the web or start apps for simple things, like media-players or games.
In other words, 'droid is M$-DOS or Win v3.11 for a phone platform?

We could all hope not...

~~~ 8d;-/ Dan

Last edited by SaintDanBert; 04-11-2013 at 05:09 PM.
 
Old 04-11-2013, 05:51 PM   #9
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintDanBert View Post
In other words, 'droid is M$-DOS or Win v3.11 for a phone platform?

We could all hope not...

~~~ 8d;-/ Dan
This has nothing to do with DOS or Windows. This has to do with purpose driven design. Unix-like features are neither needed nor wanted by the large mass of Android users, they provide no added value (most Android users wouldn't even know what Unix like features would look like).
Many navigation systems run Linux, many other appliances run one of the BSDs (mostly NetBSD for embedded devices) and you won't find Unix like features in their user interface either, just because there is no need for them, just like with Android.
 
  


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