1. deadcowboy's Avatar
    So I've read a few comments about how if BlackBerry went Android, they could potentially use a QNX kernel or base? Is this possible? Could this ever be as secure as BB10? With the boot checks and such.

    What would a QNX version of Android act like? How would it function differently than stock Android? Would it be a sandboxed virtualization like we have now? Or would it be a fully-functional OS?

    I personally love BB10 and many of the Apps that are available to on BBWorld (some are more reliable and better than what I can find in the apple app store, though mostly due to file browser integration). And Cascades is the best UI language on the market. But what's the alternative?

    Posted via CB10
    03-20-15 01:46 PM
  2. Richard Buckley's Avatar
    When you are speaking hypothetically just about anything can happen. Much of what we think of as BB10, Android, iOS, Windows, etc is the user interface and applications. Each could run just as well, or nearly so, on the underlying OS of the others. There are some things that would allow QNX to make Android more secure than the current Linux base, but the Linux base could be made more secure, as a number of high security Android phones demonstrate. The reduction in convenience of those high security devices also demonstrate the natural tension between security and convenience.

    One of the reasons I stopped using Android is that they never got close to realizing the level of security they could have. Instead if has become the main source for big data.

    Z10STL100-3/10.3.1.2576
    03-20-15 02:11 PM
  3. meltbox360's Avatar
    Android is really is just the android runtime. It used to be Dalvik and is now ART. I just want to know when we will have android apps working on par in terms of performance with android devices. It's very frustrating that most of the apps we have at our disposal lag much worse than on a native android device.

    Posted via CB10
    03-20-15 04:39 PM
  4. deadcowboy's Avatar
    When you are speaking hypothetically just about anything can happen. Much of what we think of as BB10, Android, iOS, Windows, etc is the user interface and applications. Each could run just as well, or nearly so, on the underlying OS of the others. There are some things that would allow QNX to make Android more secure than the current Linux base, but the Linux base could be made more secure, as a number of high security Android phones demonstrate. The reduction in convenience of those high security devices also demonstrate the natural tension between security and convenience.

    One of the reasons I stopped using Android is that they never got close to realizing the level of security they could have. Instead if has become the main source for big data.

    Z10STL100-3/10.3.1.2576
    So you're saying Windows and all of its up-to-date third-party programs could run properly with a Unix base? If Microsoft wanted to do such a thing, I mean.

    In this case, it could be engineered in such a way that the performance would be the same or better? Isn't there more to it all than just a UI?

    I don't quite understand, but I am very interested.

    Posted via CB10
    03-20-15 11:43 PM
  5. Richard Buckley's Avatar
    So you're saying Windows and all of its up-to-date third-party programs could run properly with a Unix base? If Microsoft wanted to do such a thing, I mean.
    Yes, if Microsoft wanted to do such a thing. It would mean potentially giving up their domination of the desktop market. It would also be very expensive, so they aren't likely to do that.

    In this case, it could be engineered in such a way that the performance would be the same or better? Isn't there more to it all than just a UI?
    Yes, and no.

    An operating system, OS, is just a program or set of programmes that make it easier to use a computer to run more complex programs. The first computers I used either didn't have operating systems or they were very simple.

    The PDP-8 I started programming on didn't have an OS though DEC would eventually write one. When we first set up the PDP-8 any program we wanted to run we had to enter into the front panel switches. The first one we entered was very simple and allowed us to use a paper tape reader to enter a slightly more complex program that in turn could read in an assembler, BASIC interpreter and so forth. Then we could write programs.

    As computers get more and more complex, so did the need to abstract that complexity and provide a common interface that can be used by programs. Even though OSs very a great deal in how they do things most modern ones comply with POSIX, or Portable Operating System Interface. Any program written to POSIX can be compiled and will run on QNX, Windows, Linux, iOS, OSx or BSD.

    There are standards for graphics and user interface, X11 and Motif, give us the "Common Desktop Environment" that was used on OSF1, but that never really took off.

    Right now, most people associate the user interface with the OS and marketing forces take it from there.

    As far as performance goes, that is all in the implementation and it can get very complex. a micro kernel architecture like QNX is very efficient when supporting hardware that has limited or variable hardware. This is why it does so well in the embedded market. And why it was a good choice for a mobile platform. A monolithic kernel architecture like Windows has performance advantages on larger systems because more functionality can be built into the kernel. In Windows, for example, graphics and font handling are in the kernel. This is good for performance, but not so good for stability and security.


    I don't quite understand, but I am very interested.

    Posted via CB10


    Z10STL100-3/10.3.1.2576
    03-21-15 08:50 AM
  6. deadcowboy's Avatar
    Yes, if Microsoft wanted to do such a thing. It would mean potentially giving up their domination of the desktop market. It would also be very expensive, so they aren't likely to do that.



    Yes, and no.

    An operating system, OS, is just a program or set of programmes that make it easier to use a computer to run more complex programs. The first computers I used either didn't have operating systems or they were very simple.

    The PDP-8 I started programming on didn't have an OS though DEC would eventually write one. When we first set up the PDP-8 any program we wanted to run we had to enter into the front panel switches. The first one we entered was very simple and allowed us to use a paper tape reader to enter a slightly more complex program that in turn could read in an assembler, BASIC interpreter and so forth. Then we could write programs.

    As computers get more and more complex, so did the need to abstract that complexity and provide a common interface that can be used by programs. Even though OSs very a great deal in how they do things most modern ones comply with POSIX, or Portable Operating System Interface. Any program written to POSIX can be compiled and will run on QNX, Windows, Linux, iOS, OSx or BSD.

    There are standards for graphics and user interface, X11 and Motif, give us the "Common Desktop Environment" that was used on OSF1, but that never really took off.

    Right now, most people associate the user interface with the OS and marketing forces take it from there.

    As far as performance goes, that is all in the implementation and it can get very complex. a micro kernel architecture like QNX is very efficient when supporting hardware that has limited or variable hardware. This is why it does so well in the embedded market. And why it was a good choice for a mobile platform. A monolithic kernel architecture like Windows has performance advantages on larger systems because more functionality can be built into the kernel. In Windows, for example, graphics and font handling are in the kernel. This is good for performance, but not so good for stability and security.





    Z10STL100-3/10.3.1.2576
    Thanks for this explanation. Fascinating stuff.

    Now I'd imagine that designing an OS for a kernel is easier than changing the kernel and keeping the same OS.

    That's why I'm asking what QNX Android would look like. If you're basically just applying workarounds everywhere to make things work. Or if it could ever work elegantly.

    Posted via CB10
    03-21-15 04:27 PM
  7. Richard Buckley's Avatar
    Thanks for this explanation. Fascinating stuff.

    Now I'd imagine that designing an OS for a kernel is easier than changing the kernel and keeping the same OS.

    That's why I'm asking what QNX Android would look like. If you're basically just applying workarounds everywhere to make things work. Or if it could ever work elegantly.

    Posted via CB10
    Actually it would be pretty easy to run Android on top of the QNX kernel, especially if you were re-compiling everything. The Android runtime works as well as it does because BlackBerry have modified the QNX kernel to understand and respond to most if not all the Android (which are really Linux) system calls. That is how BB10 is able to run applications that are not pure Java without recompiling them. Part of the reason is that both Linux and QNX are srictly POSIX compliant. The gaps in Android coverage are from license encumbered libraries (like Google Play) and system calls that don't have close matches and so haven't been translated yet.

    In fact I can't think of anything that would prevent someone from porting Android to run on top of QNX, except that it would be a lot of work to put yet another Android fork into the world.

    Z10STL100-3/10.3.1.2576
    JeepBB likes this.
    03-21-15 05:12 PM
  8. herbersh's Avatar
    Enjoyed the explanations, thanks.

    Posted via CB10
    03-21-15 05:46 PM
  9. deadcowboy's Avatar
    Actually it would be pretty easy to run Android on top of the QNX kernel, especially if you were re-compiling everything. The Android runtime works as well as it does because BlackBerry have modified the QNX kernel to understand and respond to most if not all the Android (which are really Linux) system calls. That is how BB10 is able to run applications that are not pure Java without recompiling them. Part of the reason is that both Linux and QNX are srictly POSIX compliant. The gaps in Android coverage are from license encumbered libraries (like Google Play) and system calls that don't have close matches and so haven't been translated yet.

    In fact I can't think of anything that would prevent someone from porting Android to run on top of QNX, except that it would be a lot of work to put yet another Android fork into the world.

    Z10STL100-3/10.3.1.2576
    Ahh, brilliant. That explains a lot. Thank you.

    So do you think a QNX fork of Android could ever be more secure than standard Android? Or is that all just the OS? The hardware check that BB10 does during boot is possible on in a QNX-Android fork? What would be the benefits of QNX?

    Sorry to keep asking so many questions.

    Posted via CB10
    03-21-15 09:02 PM
  10. Richard Buckley's Avatar
    Ahh, brilliant. That explains a lot. Thank you.

    So do you think a QNX fork of Android could ever be more secure than standard Android? Or is that all just the OS? The hardware check that BB10 does during boot is possible on in a QNX-Android fork? What would be the benefits of QNX?

    Sorry to keep asking so many questions.

    Posted via CB10
    Yes, but Android itself could be more secure. The secure boot sequence is implemented to a greater or lesser degree on all mobile platforms. It could be implemented on desktops as well but there is still resistance to that.

    Z10STL100-3/10.3.1.2576
    03-21-15 11:28 PM
  11. thurask's Avatar
    Actually it would be pretty easy to run Android on top of the QNX kernel, especially if you were re-compiling everything. The Android runtime works as well as it does because BlackBerry have modified the QNX kernel to understand and respond to most if not all the Android (which are really Linux) system calls. That is how BB10 is able to run applications that are not pure Java without recompiling them. Part of the reason is that both Linux and QNX are srictly POSIX compliant. The gaps in Android coverage are from license encumbered libraries (like Google Play) and system calls that don't have close matches and so haven't been translated yet.

    In fact I can't think of anything that would prevent someone from porting Android to run on top of QNX, except that it would be a lot of work to put yet another Android fork into the world.

    Z10STL100-3/10.3.1.2576
    Incidentally, there has been some work on porting Android to a microkernel base: http://l4android.org/

    Posted via CB10
    03-21-15 11:44 PM
  12. meltbox360's Avatar
    Incidentally, there has been some work on porting Android to a microkernel base: http://l4android.org/

    Posted via CB10
    So why is it that BlackBerry has not piggybacked on this. I can only think of security as a reason.

    Posted via CB10
    03-22-15 03:48 AM
  13. JeepBB's Avatar
    So why is it that BlackBerry has not piggybacked on this. I can only think of security as a reason.

    Posted via CB10
    It would cost money and time, probably lots of both. POSIX compliance gives you only so much. And, at the end of the process you'd have a forked Android that *still* wouldn't be able to access the Google Play Store or use Google Services.

    So, as an exercise for the interested reader, yes. As a solid commercial strategy, erm no!
    03-22-15 04:55 AM
  14. Richard Buckley's Avatar
    It would cost money and time, probably lots of both. POSIX compliance gives you only so much. And, at the end of the process you'd have a forked Android that *still* wouldn't be able to access the Google Play Store or use Google Services.

    So, as an exercise for the interested reader, yes. As a solid commercial strategy, erm no!
    Exactly!

    Z10STL100-3/10.3.1.2576
    03-22-15 08:08 AM
  15. birdman_38's Avatar
    It would cost money and time, probably lots of both. POSIX compliance gives you only so much. And, at the end of the process you'd have a forked Android that *still* wouldn't be able to access the Google Play Store or use Google Services.
    A prominent member of rubber chicken's Top 5 club once stated that's the first thing BlackBerry should have done when they acquired QNX. Perhaps at that time Google would have allowed access?
    03-22-15 09:22 AM
  16. JeepBB's Avatar
    Exactly!
    Yup, we agree I think.

    I've now read up the thread and now realise that you said much the same earlier... so my apologies for missing it.
    03-22-15 09:22 AM

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