Android; tags=FOSS, Rant, Fail, Android


To make things clear: I'm having a Android 4.0.$recent tablet with considerably more horse-power than my Nokia n900 smartphone so don't tell me this is due to under-powered hardware – the android is 3 years newer both in hardware and software.

Background Tasks

Being somewhere with my Android Tablet. Network is kind of crappy and this site takes minutes again to load. So the most natural thing to do would be doing something else while the site continues loading in the background. This works really well on the n900. It might work with android. But of course when you switch to another Program the browser might also be shut down while you're doing something else and randomly when you switch back to your browser, not only the site hasn't loaded but the browser also forgot where you were heading. Now if you followed e.g. a link in a email you might have closed the mail program long ago (or the mail program has decided to stop) and you have to find the link again, wait again for the site to load. And remember not to background the browser or you might have to start over again.

With the n900 Maemo smartphone I was able to load several pages in the background with whatever application in the foreground (like playing tuxracer) so don't tell me android has to do this to give enough power to the foreground process. If a Meamo device can load 5 pages in the background while a OpenGL game is running in the foreground there is no reason Android, with more CPU and RAM, can't load a single page in the background while I check email.

Software installation

Can you imagine a system where you are unable to install software from your standard repository without registering an account first? Like after nearly two decades of Linux distributions? Maemo had this for mobile devices – more than five years ago. Plus, on Maemo you'll easily find tons of good, free (as in freedom) and banner-add-free software – try this on androids "Play Store".

-- Christoph Egger <> Sa, 20 Okt 2012 05:14:16 +0200


Indeed; I desperately want the ability to download software from the Play store without an account, but no, you can't do that.

-- Anonymous <> Sa, 20 Okt 2012 07:49:22 +0200

About the apps repository, you can install and use F-Droid ( Lots of free as in freedom software apps without no registering an account.

-- larjona <> Sa, 20 Okt 2012 09:21:51 +0200

What pissed me off about Android was not being able to look up a word whilst writing an email/etc. without the email app "cleverly" reverting to the home screen — again, no real multitasking. Has this been fixed on Android 4?

The N9, on the other hand, I love.

-- who <> Sa, 20 Okt 2012 12:09:49 +0200

This is a direct result from the way the Android API is structured.

There is no concept of anything like C's "int main()". Instead, there is an "app lifecycle", which tends to favour applications in the foreground.

See for the full details on how this works. Now in theory an app should be able to continue doing stuff in the background, but there's language in the API guides strongly discouraging this.

Which is a pity; I too much preferred the way maemo worked, but unfortunately that platform is dead -- not to mention that my (physical) n900 is dead, too.

-- Wouter Verhelst <> Sa, 20 Okt 2012 18:14:19 +0200

Android, probably following (and trying to fix) the example of Windows Mobile, does not have concept of running applications. You leave the application and it will eventually die of neglect in the background. It will die suddenly, by SIGKILL, no less. Application can tell the system it's doing something in the background, so the user would probably be upset if it was killed, but it's quite a bit of extra work so few bother.

This combines unfavourably with the fact that most of Android is written in the least memory efficient programming language in the world, Java, so it runs out of memory (which causes it to terminate the background applications) much sooner than any decent system. It also uses a particularly poor implementation of the Java virtual machine as the Mono port tried by Xamarin suggests.

-- Jan Hudec <> Mo, 22 Okt 2012 07:54:15 +0200

Sounds like you want to run Mer?

-- John Hughes <> Fr, 26 Okt 2012 18:29:29 +0200

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