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Ken-Young's Avatar
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#51
Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
I guess my own question would be, wouldn't Solu make more sense as a pure cloud service, rather than a sort of combo portable computer / cloud service? [...]
I like having the hardware. It allows a use case like the one I have for my N900. During the first ~50 years of my life, I collected a huge quantity of paperwork that I knew I would probably never need, but I was reluctant to throw out. Old tax returns. Elementary school report cards(!). Receipts. Banking records. Car registrations. Medical records. Letters from loved ones. Now all of that has been scanned, and resides in an encrypted filesystem on my N900 which is backed up to Dropbox. I've shredded all the old hardcopies. Now most of the time having that available in the cloud would be just fine. But it's nice to know that if I really had to, I could show someone my Birth Certificate or 1990 income tax forms even with no internet access at all.
 

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#52
Originally Posted by Ken-Young View Post
I like having the hardware. It allows a use case like the one I have for my N900.
Ok, but why couldn't you use your N900 to run Solu? (Well, yeah, other than the fact that nobody today supports the N900. ) I'm not saying that having a portable computer is bad; I'm just saying that I don't see why it has to be Solu's portable computer. There are lots of portable computers out there, and since all your Solu data and apps are actually hosted in the Cloud, I don't see why you couldn't access it from an existing machine...
 

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#53
Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
Ok, but why couldn't you use your N900 to run Solu? (Well, yeah, other than the fact that nobody today supports the N900. ) I'm not saying that having a portable computer is bad; I'm just saying that I don't see why it has to be Solu's portable computer. There are lots of portable computers out there, and since all your Solu data and apps are actually hosted in the Cloud, I don't see why you couldn't access it from an existing machine...
Hi, the reason for the device is that for the application environment to really work, we have to go all the way down to the kernel. Now, we could have a virtual desktop environment running under OS X, or a separate bootable OS. The problem with both is that they quickly become 'geek only' solutions, and there has not been a single OS in the history of computing that has been successful that way. All the successful ones were bundled into hardware. It is a psychological thing, but also an experience thing, as we know which device we are targeting and we can work to make it good, plus it helped us defines things in the hardware that work nicely with the software (the full surface, edge-to-edge touch, and the chipset, for instance).
 

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#54
Originally Posted by Setok View Post
Hi, the reason for the device is that for the application environment to really work, we have to go all the way down to the kernel.
Hmm. Ok, I will admit that you can derive a wide variety of benefits for yourself by assuming full control over the OS kernel yourself. On the other hand, I would also imagine you'll need to have a fairly significant effort getting an initial suite of apps developed, and you'll have an even more significant long-term burden maintaining and upgrading a custom OS... But I digress.

Now, we could have a virtual desktop environment running under OS X, or a separate bootable OS. The problem with both is that they quickly become 'geek only' solutions
This is, I think, a fairly old view. A concept that is now widespread in the mobile world (and quickly working its way into the desktop world) is to have all apps run in their own private "sandbox". At least in the Android world, users have become accustomed to approving access to a variety of hardware and data sources whenever they install an app; so, the concept of "isolating" an app from the underlying system has already gone mainstream.

In any case, I just don't believe that a modern consumer base already fairly knowledgable about cloud computing and sandboxing would find it all that hard to understand a cross-platform "sandboxed OS".

It is a psychological thing, but also an experience thing, as we know which device we are targeting and we can work to make it good, plus it helped us defines things in the hardware that work nicely with the software (the full surface, edge-to-edge touch, and the chipset, for instance).
True! I do admit having a specific target platform will ease the burden on creating a usable UI and a performant hardware interface. I just think you're giving up on what I personally think is the main advantage of cloud computing -- hardware independence.

For me, the only reason I would be interested in putting data in the cloud, is that the cloud is "everywhere"; I can access my data anywhere I go, using (in theory) any device connected to the internet. But if I use Solu, I'm tied to the Solu hardware. It doesn't matter if I have a beautiful 27 inch iMac in my den, or a powerful Surface Pro with me in my hotel room, or even an all-but-nonexistent Jolla tablet. I have to use the Solu hardware. If I use anything other than the Solu hardware, I'm not going to be using the Solu system.

I guess the issue I have here is that you're not just trying to create a new desktop computer, or a new operating system, or a new network data storage system; you're trying to do all of these things at once. Solu will apparently not take advantage of any user's existing desktop computers, or mobile devices, or network resources; and I would guess that there are very, very few potential Solu customers who haven't already invested quite a bit in one or more of these categories.

I guess, what I'm trying to say is that the approach Solu is taking just doesn't seem all that efficient to me. Solu users are probably going to be sacrificing quite a bit to completely buy in to your world-view...
 

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#55
Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
I guess the issue I have here is that you're not just trying to create a new desktop computer, or a new operating system, or a new network data storage system; you're trying to do all of these things at once. Solu will apparently not take advantage of any user's existing desktop computers, or mobile devices, or network resources; and I would guess that there are very, very few potential Solu customers who haven't already invested quite a bit in one or more of these categories.

I guess, what I'm trying to say is that the approach Solu is taking just doesn't seem all that efficient to me. Solu users are probably going to be sacrificing quite a bit to completely buy in to your world-view...
I understand your argument, definitely. I'm a software guy myself, and have not previously built hardware or hardware companies. However, this time we felt we had to do it. As mentioned, a mere Solu app will not suffice. It's not just the limitations on AppStore/Play etc, we do actually go down into the kernel level to make this whole model work. Now we could possibly have a virtual desktop environment, but none of those have ever been successful and, I believe, for good reason: the experience is too 'geeky'. You end up having an OS with its oldschool windows which then contain another OS with a completely different model. There is too much mental load and the experience is bad.

Technically we could provide a complete OS that you could install to replace, for instance, OS X, but then we would need to be very conscious about the many different hardwares we would have to support and, also, this would cut out most of the people out there who would never even think of installing a new OS on their machines. There is a strong psychological link between the hardware and OS.

Solu is a great piece of hardware that you can connect to many kinds of displays out there. You get a guaranteed good experience. You can use it on the go as a mobile device. It's beautiful and made in Finland, and actually pretty inexpensive for what you are getting. I think it's a pretty good offer :-)
 

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#56
Originally Posted by Setok View Post
As mentioned, a mere Solu app will not suffice. It's not just the limitations on AppStore/Play etc, we do actually go down into the kernel level to make this whole model work.
Honestly, this makes me worry about the model. You're basically trying to introduce a new operating system here, and you're following Apple's model for that -- the Solu OS only works on Solu computers. But I just can't see you guys managing to entice lots of Apple-style consumers; Apple has already pushed hard to get cloud support throughout their OS and into their major apps. And the Apple user experience is second to none.

I'm just not sure that you'll get enough benefit out of that kernel-level support to convince users to give up _both_ their existing desktop environment and their existing mobile environment. And the Solu is not a phone! Each time a Solu user makes a call on their smartphone, they'll be getting lured away from the Solu environment and into a different one...

Technically we could provide a complete OS that you could install to replace, for instance, OS X, but then we would need to be very conscious about the many different hardwares we would have to support and, also, this would cut out most of the people out there who would never even think of installing a new OS on their machines. There is a strong psychological link between the hardware and OS.
It isn't just a psychological link -- there is of course a very physical link between the hardware and the OS. But yeah, this is where I now point to Jolla. They've already done the hard work to create a beautiful mobile UI, but they've placed it on top of a hardware-agnostic (and substantially open-source) underlying operating system. People have been porting Sailfish to all sorts of hardware (I am personally quite interested in the Raspberry Pi port), which, yes, is very "geeky"; however, this serves both to create additional interest in the OS, as well as making it that much easier for established manufacturers (such as Intex) to port the OS to their own machines.

Solu is a great piece of hardware that you can connect to many kinds of displays out there. You get a guaranteed good experience. You can use it on the go as a mobile device. It's beautiful and made in Finland, and actually pretty inexpensive for what you are getting. I think it's a pretty good offer :-)
Oh, absolutely, I agree hands-down that the Solu device is beautiful. I also personally favor devices that can be used both as a mobile device and a desktop device.

But is it really a good offer? As I understand it, the only software I can run on Solu is the software provided by Solu: I'm not going to have access to any of the programs I've already spent time and effort learning how to use. All the data I can run on Solu will be hosted by Solu: I'm not entirely certain I want my personal photo collection somewhere in the cloud, or my sensitive business documents, regardless of how seriously Solu takes security. The only processor hardware I can use is provided by Solu: All my existing PCs, phones, and tablets are completely unusable in the Solu world.

It's a beautiful little box, but it takes the existing "walled garden ecosystem" already in place in the mobile device world and extends it to every facet of my life. That involves a cost that goes beyond just the purchase price and monthly fee; and I honestly don't know whether it really is a good offer when I take that into account...
 

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#57
Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
But is it really a good offer? As I understand it, the only software I can run on Solu is the software provided by Solu: I'm not going to have access to any of the programs I've already spent time and effort learning how to use. All the data I can run on Solu will be hosted by Solu: I'm not entirely certain I want my personal photo collection somewhere in the cloud, or my sensitive business documents, regardless of how seriously Solu takes security. The only processor hardware I can use is provided by Solu: All my existing PCs, phones, and tablets are completely unusable in the Solu world.
Unless both the OS and backend code is fully open source this basically screams single point of failure on all levels (os, applications, hardware and backend) - which is actually quite an achievement.

It would be quite different if the code is available though: The community would be able to independently add support for other hardware (even if the main developers don't want to be bothered by that), it would be possible to run your own backend if every something happens to the default one, people could contribute back fixes and improvements, it would be possibly to actually check if the platform really is secure and not just claimed to be secure, etc.
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#58
Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
Honestly, this makes me worry about the model. You're basically trying to introduce a new operating system here, and you're following Apple's model for that -- the Solu OS only works on Solu computers. But I just can't see you guys managing to entice lots of Apple-style consumers; Apple has already pushed hard to get cloud support throughout their OS and into their major apps. And the Apple user experience is second to none.
It's basically a desktop as a service, bound to lightweight, portable device that can be replaced as needed without the fuss of reinstalling, restoring stuff from backups etc. It's different from ordinary desktop where emphasis is strictly on on-premise HW and installations with cloud services supporting some workloads. If I interpret it correctly, Solu is first and foremost a cloud service with on-premise/portable HW supporting the use of those services.

However, the question is, will it be enough to have only a portable computer and if not, is it even possible to pack enough performance in the form of smart-phone to use it (without making it too bulky, ugly and restricted because of battery life). So far nobody has really been able to do it successfully.

I'm just not sure that you'll get enough benefit out of that kernel-level support to convince users to give up _both_ their existing desktop environment and their existing mobile environment. And the Solu is not a phone! Each time a Solu user makes a call on their smartphone, they'll be getting lured away from the Solu environment and into a different one...
True, however, doing it with dedicated HW platform instead of trying to sell it as a service on top of existing desktop environments would be very, very difficult. Current way is more effective way to offer real alternative instead of just trying to augment something already existing in restrictions set by those platforms (not to mention compatibility-issues when trying to support multitude of different setups).
 

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#59
Originally Posted by MartinK View Post
Unless both the OS and backend code is fully open source this basically screams single point of failure on all levels (os, applications, hardware and backend) - which is actually quite an achievement.
Hate to be "that guy" again, but in my experience, there have been as many failed and abandoned OS project as closed ones. If not more.

"Closed" is in it generally for the money, which implies at least some level of commitment. "Open" is in it for the fun and thrills and leaves the moment something more fun and thrilling comes along. Yes, in theory someone else would pick it up and carry the baton but in reality that does not happen that often. And when it does, it ends up with a multitude of forks and confused and frustrated users who eventually end up turning to proprietary solutions.

Unless, of course, your "single point of failure" also includes misuse. Then I am with you 100%.
 

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#60
Originally Posted by pichlo View Post
Yes, in theory someone else would pick it up and carry the baton but in reality that does not happen that often.
The important point is that you can do that. If that actually is relevant in the end is another thing.

On the other hand if you don't have sources for the thing - you can just can't do it.

I think that's a rather important distinction, especially as probably everyone has been already hit by some project or service shutting down without being able to do anything about it. Especially in cases where you known you have the means (coding skills, computing resources to run the thing at least locally) to do something about it but you can't simply due to the source code not being available (you can take all the closed source components on the N900 & N9 as an example or a random proprietary API that is no longer available).
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