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BB10 Killing Phase 2 started

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AVR4000
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PostPosted: Thursday, 06.Apr.2017 13:21    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

The only thing that can save QNX/BB10 is the creation of an independent QNX Inc managing development and support for the system. Compatibility with Linux drivers would be appropriate if it can be arranged OR creation of them for Snapdragon 6xx and 8xx series.

A key issue is the inability of people to think critically, especially when it comes to the interpretation of sales numbers and so on. I am talking about all anti-BB10 propaganda that have been circulating, especially phrases such as 'unable to compete with Android' and so on or that everything is about the 'app gap' ignoring the true causes.

Community support is a great idea *if it is an open platform* but a disaster for a closed/proprietary one since there are no available source code, which in turn hamper development. Thinking that CrackBerry can support a closed system as BB10 is a bad joke and will just undermine things even more.

I am still hoping that QNX will be sold to an independent company, which then create a new QNX OS with support for embedded systems and also Snapdragon 6xx and 8xx for smartphones and tablets, thus making it operational on standard hardware, thus attracting OEMs that can take 'off the shelf' designs and use the system.

The history has shown the dangers of platforms that are completely under control of *one* company only. Success is built on platforms supported by different OEMs and I think Android, Symbian and PocketPC/Windows Mobile is the best proofs for the thesis.
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MeowTseDong
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PostPosted: Thursday, 06.Apr.2017 14:16    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

Linux driver compatibility for QNX is close to impossible. QNX and Linux driver architecture are fundamentally different. In order to get system support for QNX you basically have to port the Linux drivers to the QNX architecture which requires a lot of man power.

QNX will likely to end up is some US company who cans the OS completely and just use technology parts from. Look what happened to Symbian, it was bought up and canned, nowhere to be seen ever again.

As far as I know, QNX is dead, not only in BB10 but everywhere. Companies are leaving in herds from QNX right now.
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Michal Jerz
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PostPosted: Thursday, 06.Apr.2017 20:51    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

Quote:
'unable to compete with Android' and so on or that everything is about the 'app gap' ignoring the true causes.


The sad truth is that no one is as much responsible for the famous "app gap" (and therefore not being able to compete with Android) as BlackBerry themselves. They literally ENFORCED it.

They restricted access to so many important functions and APIs that literally tens of thousands of great and useful native apps (easily doable on Android or even quite restricted iOS) simply could not be made as developers couldn't access those features (they have permissions reserved only for BlackBerry). Developers spent 4 years repeatedly requesting those features to be made available in order to be able to make apps using them, to no avail.

The platform was so badly harmed with countless idiotic restrictions making it impossible to create advanced apps, while BlackBerry kept whining about "app gap". I have something like 20-30 projects that I started to code and left half-way due to not being able to use functions they needed. I only wasted precious time.

This contradicted the whole idea of a permission-based system, where it is the user who's supposed to be in control of what an app could be allowed to do, not the manufacturer. Even funnier, when it comes to the most sensitive permissions that the user should fully control, like e.g. Internet access, on BB10 they are just granted automatically (the user is not asked to allow or deny it nor can change it later), so it has nothing to do with security but only with lack of good reasoning. Most of the restrictions are completely idiotic, like e.g. that an application could turn WiFi ON but it couldn't turn it OFF (whereas it is potentially much more dangerous to allow an app to connect to the Internet without user's knowledge than to disconnect from it) or that audio could be recorded through the microphone but not internally (whereas it is much more dangerous to be able to spy on whatever the user says than to just be able to record apps' sounds, which the microphone also captures anyway, just with much worse quality), and so on. All of them were technically possible and fully implemented, just intentionally restricted from developers' access. The list of such amazing and senseless restrictions could go on for many pages and prevented creation of countless applications. Funniest of all, an Android app lauched on BB10 could use many of such features, only a native app couldn't. So, again, nothing to do with security.

And then they switched to Android, which allows the developer to freely use all such features on a BlackBerry Android phone, and they don't seem to have any problem with that and call it "secure".

Add to it that dungeon-like un-browseable app store where people can't find anything and mostly only view the front page where always the same apps have been featured since ever and you have the best recipe for "app gap" disaster because if developers couldn't make any advanced apps and sell even those simple ones (due to people not finding their apps in the store) then they were just leaving in masses.

Those two things alone killed this platform, it didn't take much else. Outdated and underpowered hardware only helped it.

=====

Today's CrackBerry headline is "BlackBerry begins rollout of April Android security update". I find it endlessly amusing how that "secure Android" takes such MONTHLY security patches (I can't recall a single month without one) while users of those Android phones blindly believe they are a fraction as secure as BB10 which hasn't had a security patch for years and still doesn't need any.

An even funnier headline is that Chen has just said that "We make it our business not to know your business", which is actually 100% true as Chen has already proved that developers' and customers' business definitely isn't of his interest if he withdraws support for his products overnight and directs everyone to look for help on fan sites. At least he's honest this time, finally.
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AVR4000
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PostPosted: Friday, 07.Apr.2017 13:48    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

The idea of restricting API access for developers and to lock the system down is the two worst things I can think of in OS design. It is one thing to aim for security and implement solutions aimed at protecting the system from malicious code but providing 'dual standards' where the manufacturer are free to do whatever they want with APIs etc, while restricting users and developers severely is just a complete stupidity.

I think the major issue with BB10 was that BlackBerry made it an in-house platform. I.e. a platform fully controlled by them and we know how it typically ends - namely that sooner or later the company will 'loose interest' in it (for different reasons such as acting in the interest of competitors or economical ones), thus followed by actions aimed at phasing it out only to be replaced by an externally sourced system.

BB10.x would have been a success *if* QNX had been an independent company (or a company where BlackBerry had shares together with other OEMs) since it would have broaden the appeal of the platform - and protected it from getting killed off.

Making it compatible with Linux compatible hardware, either by creating a new system or by developing appropriate support for Snapdragon 4xx, 6xx and 8xx would be perfectly doable and the preferred route.

I think every 'in house' platform will live under the constant threat of its maker to change their mind and opt for an 'easy solution' - i.e. a system sourced from an external partner.

Edit: Regarding security patches. I think it is a complicated issue - the question is what kind of issues there are and how the system security model should be designed. The best thing is a system that mange to balance a high security level with openness and flexibility, perhaps with user choice (i.e. corporations can configure it for maximum security, while customers who prioritize more freedom can select a different level).

The problem with BlackBerry Android is its restrictions, which also put a lot of pressure on the company to actually update the system. Since they offer a locked bootloader and everything, they should provide updates for a couple of years rather than abandoning their devices early. It would have been better if they had used their resources on BB10 - actually created an independent QNX Inc and then used the system, while marketing it toward other OEMs than the current situation.
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Michal Jerz
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PostPosted: Tuesday, 25.Apr.2017 19:08    Post subject:   Reply with quote   

Quote:

It is one thing to aim for security and implement solutions aimed at protecting the system from malicious code


Locking down access to some APIs or specific functions for security reasons is fully understood. As long as it really has anything to do with security. I don't mind having to trade some functionality (and some programming possibilities) for much increased security of my device and my data. And indeed, many restrictions do have valid security background, and it's OK because it is them what makes my BB10 phones so secure.

But there are also countless restrictions which have absolutely nothing to do with security or actually any other reasonable purpose I can think of. They only severely restrict developers' abilities to make great useful applications, while not really giving anything in exchange.

Like I wrote earlier, there's just no valid explanation for being able to turn WiFi on programatically but no way to turn it off, whereas it is actually much more insecure that an application can enable WiFi without user's knowledge than that it can turn it off. Moreover, there exists a permission on BB10 for WiFi control ("access_wifi_public") so it's completely irrational that this permission is granted automatically and the user is not prompted to accept/deny it nor can change it later. What's the use of a permission that the user cannot control? And why at all a permission to control WiFi if it only allows turning it on but not off? Et cetera.

Similarly, the Internet permission (allowing an app to connect to the Internet) is also granted automatically and the user has no control over it (in fact, the user is not even informed that an app he installs has requested and has been automatically granted this permission). What does it have to do with security? Absolutely nothing...

Well, maybe it would have evolved into something more reasonable, if Chen didn't kill BB10 development already in late 2013 / early 2014. Since then only minor fixes had been developed rather than any system-wide improvements and ehancements, so we have what we have...

Quote:

I think the major issue with BB10 was that BlackBerry made it an in-house platform.

Fully agreed. And not only an in-house platform but also a platform restricted to phones only. I wrote here years ago that BB10 was an ideal OS (so resource efficient, stable, secure, etc.) for lots of other devices like e.g. Smart TVs, and obviously also tablets.

But after they scr*wed up with the Playbook (which wasn't even BB10 but some kind of incomplete pre-release of it) they never touched anything else again, nor did they even just bother to release a fully functional BB10 upgrade for all the Playbook owners. Yet another example of how a company that wants itself to be seen as the most reliable and trustworthy on the market has been treating its customers.

But another thing has been their permanent absolute lack of promotion. Not only of BB10 itself but QNX in general. Look, in their press releases they brag about some 30% or so of car audio systems being powered by QNX, which is really an impressive figure. But who knows about it? No one at all. And surely not a single person out of all the millions of people who own such cars and have absolutely no clue that their multimedia system is QNX-powered (or that such a thing as "QNX" exists at all). If Apple makes such an iOS-based multimedia system for cars, every person on this planet will know about it because it will be promoted ad nauseam and it will show Apple logo as the first thing you see whenever you enter your car. Whereas the QNX-based solution never shows anything - neither QNX logo, nor BlackBerry logo, nor anything else. It is just INSANE how the only truly global and massive product they had was not used at all to promote their brand and their OS, whereas they kept whining about hardly anyone even knowing about the existence of their platform and their marketshare kept shrinking from 6% to zero. I can easily imagine that if only all those millions of car owners knew that the multimedia system in their cars is QNX and BB10 smartphones are QNX as well, it would surely make part of them willing to at least check a BB10 smartphone, so it would DRASTICALLY increase public awareness about the existence of such a smartphone OS.

But no. They didn't do even just that.
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