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Thread: 2013 : is this the year, finally?

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    Mod - all of it. SapporoGuy's Avatar
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    2013 : is this the year, finally?

    Well, is this year finally?
    Android has made a huge impact, car manufacturers have taken what lots of you all pioneered, and pioneer's appradio might finally be getting some footing, win8 might be a reasonable alternative, I can go on but you all know what I'm talking about anyway

    Once again, I'm gonna bring up an old idea And topic.

    I was just reading about sailfish again and I keep thinking that we are just barking up too many different trees. Sure each one of us has different priorities and needs and sure there is a huge "do it yourself" mentality here but I keep coming across post by people that make me think that something needs to be changed.

    Tablets are so close to what many people who work on limited budgets and tech skills almost make the carpc possible, but tablets are limited just enough that a PC is still the option.

    However in the same sense a PC is just too much work to get most people over the hump. Lets not forget that the underlying OS is something that we must live with for certain pieces of hardware that most of us want ... Ugh ....

    Back to Sailfish (meego) and I'll even throw in webos and android (sorry iOS my love, you just don't cut it).

    That is 3 pretty decent OS / app pieces of software when you think of it. So what?

    Think about it, a major reason why windows has us tied down is because of some simple pieces of hardware that most of us want: obd, GPS, radar, hands free, tire pressure sensors or what not. Really not much, but game killers.

    I was hoping Meego would be the we go solution but well not.

    WebOS is finally going opensource and meego is born again as sailfish.

    Ok, the point is that I really finally think its the time the community started raising their voices in a unified choice. We want a solution to our needs. So I really think its time that we either pick one of these OSes and do something or push for something that works for us.

    I don't want to fall back into windows, I want to have even android running my stuff from the beginning. This means that the OS is relatively already the core of the carpc rather than a front end that sits on top of the OS.

    Obviously, obd and Bluetooth are the major spoilers to our fun but why? Because its easier to for a company to just update their software that already works? Obviously yes but what would happen if we started unifying our voice? Get mp3car known to bloggers and what not? Would we still be such a minority? Could we all not stand behind mp3car when they talk to hardware manufacturers in China?

    To be honest I really don't see webos or sailfish really gaining more share than win8 in most of the industrialized world but I could see how our special needs could help them.

    As for the Chinese factories, I also seem them going more and more android over winCE which means that we would provide them with an excellent back ground of knowledge and usage experience that the sorely need.

    Sailfish or webos I can imagine be willing to listen to what we have to say, while android I think could be ported or at least skinned like so many phone manufacturers have done already. Hmmm, maybe HTC might be interested.

    The only real missing piece to the puzzle is coming up with attractive and sexy skins, yes, I've seen some really good ones here but I'm thinking some more industrial based that most people are used to on their phones or tablets.

    Hurdles to overcome?
    Number 1 is our community, which I'm sure is possible since most of us want a solid OS that works in the car and tht is extensible for what ever we can think up!

    Number 2 is getting something that works, do we really care if we us a different OS than normally? I don't since I use windows in my car out of hardware necessity. I would be just as willing to go android in my car even though I have an iPhone!

    Number 3 is getting the drivers working for the varies hardware that we want. It's really sad to see some of the great ideas here go barren because it was just too much work. I can really see lots of manufacturers open up code if there are going to be sales and if we petition them enough. I can even see Palmer jumping on board if there seems to be enough traction for them to make more sales.

    Number 4, apathy, yep, we really need to be seen as a community rather than as a few individuals wanting 1 off items. If we had mp3car approaching some of these companies our voice will be even that much stronger.


    Anyway, I'm just thinking that we can make a difference and at the same time finally getting our hands on a OS - front end that really works.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by SapporoGuy View Post
    Think about it, a major reason why windows has us tied down is because of some simple pieces of hardware that most of us want: obd, GPS, radar, hands free, tire pressure sensors or what not. Really not much, but game killers.
    Windows has tied a lot of us down due to Navi. I've yet to come across any hardware that I can't make work in Linux.

    Quote Originally Posted by SapporoGuy View Post
    Ok, the point is that I really finally think its the time the community started raising their voices in a unified choice. We want a solution to our needs. So I really think its time that we either pick one of these OSes and do something or push for something that works for us.
    How do you define our needs? One thing I've noticed is that the "needs" of people is SO varied, that to provide any kind of global solution would wind up like android: Bloated and slow.

    Quote Originally Posted by SapporoGuy View Post
    Obviously, obd and Bluetooth are the major spoilers to our fun but why? Because its easier to for a company to just update their software that already works? Obviously yes but what would happen if we started unifying our voice? Get mp3car known to bloggers and what not? Would we still be such a minority? Could we all not stand behind mp3car when they talk to hardware manufacturers in China?
    How are they spoilers to your fun?

    Quote Originally Posted by SapporoGuy View Post
    The only real missing piece to the puzzle is coming up with attractive and sexy skins, yes, I've seen some really good ones here but I'm thinking some more industrial based that most people are used to on their phones or tablets.
    I totally agree to this. One of the primary reason I see a lot of new frontends fail, vs the ones that succeed, is how good they look. The good looking ones succeed, the ugly ones fail, no matter what else they offer.


    Quote Originally Posted by SapporoGuy View Post
    Number 2 is getting something that works, do we really care if we us a different OS than normally? I don't since I use windows in my car out of hardware necessity. I would be just as willing to go android in my car even though I have an iPhone!
    There are a great many topics here about what the barriers are to preventing people from switching to Linux, or Android. Most people will stick with Windows since it's what they are comfortable with.

    Quote Originally Posted by SapporoGuy View Post
    Number 3 is getting the drivers working for the varies hardware that we want. It's really sad to see some of the great ideas here go barren because it was just too much work. I can really see lots of manufacturers open up code if there are going to be sales and if we petition them enough. I can even see Palmer jumping on board if there seems to be enough traction for them to make more sales.
    I've worked to fix this, but a lot of the issues is getting the right hardware into the hands of the right people. I've written OBD2 libraries and software for linux, boomzbox libraries for linux, even Visteon software and libraries. But I can only do so much, and I can only afford so much hardware. You need to figure out how has the knowlege to get things moved forward, and get hardware into their hands. I've only seen one or two people here who have the motivation to actually provide such things to the community. There just isn't a large open source mentality here, and that's whats really required for jumping the OS gap to Linux.

    Quote Originally Posted by SapporoGuy View Post
    Number 4, apathy, yep, we really need to be seen as a community rather than as a few individuals wanting 1 off items. If we had mp3car approaching some of these companies our voice will be even that much stronger.
    The trick is finding a common goal. So many people here have such varied goals, that there aren't that many people who all want the same thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by SapporoGuy View Post
    Anyway, I'm just thinking that we can make a difference and at the same time finally getting our hands on a OS - front end that really works.
    If you have the proper OS, you don't need a frontend.

    I think it's a novel idea getting mp3car to push for better hardware and software support, the trick will be getting everyone to agree on what they want.
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  3. #3
    Mod - all of it. SapporoGuy's Avatar
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    I agree with you in some many ways!

    Part of the problem of participation is that everybody is all over the board, much of this is obviously because of drivers for hardware, wanting to have something that works and then finally programmers who just like to do it themselves.

    I program php and have seen so many projects that go through similar issues and the ones that become big normally are ones that most people can just use, vB, Wordpress, etc ...

    Which is why I'm thinking that we could use some unity besides the fact that its really sad seeing car companies getting written about when most of the people have been doing this since the turn of the century!

    "Needs" for a majority of people are almost satisfied by android + tablet but once you do go that route the limitations are so blatantly visible that even my GF would notice eventually.

    Like you mentioned and I was alluding to, we really need an OS that is also the Front End. Windows just doesn't cut it nor iOS/osx.

    The next issue is that it should be both PC/tablet friendly. That is why I mentioned webos, sailfish (meego) and android.

    I'd love a full *nix distro but for some reason I think that it be harder than trying to bring attention to a OS that is already tablet orientated. However, Ubuntu TV might be something to consider here ...

    The major problem with this is drivers, too many products are firmly routed in windows and thus "spoil our fun". Which is why I really think we could stand up behind and give credence to mp3car when they make the rounds to their suppliers.

    Before I forget!
    The OS really needs to be the front end with the OS supporting multi-threading, a some variety of platforms and allow for extensions/plugins/hooks (this will solve probably all but edge cases for needs).

    Lastly, like you mentioned is time and money. However, that all depends on how you approach this :-)

    Android - I'd hit up google for a grant!
    Ugh, win8 - possible grant since they really need to get their OS into more hands but I'm not sure if Microsoft wants to really allow independents hacking away at their stuff
    Sailfish, webOS or Ubuntu would require more work and probably no direct funding.

    But!!!!

    What better way to gain public attention than going directly to the public! Kickstarter and a few well placed emails to pcworld, gizmondo, techcrunch and the verge!

    I can really see the public stepping forward to supply funds for something that they want. A few years ago people had no clue, I didn't and if it wasn't for google and me looking for a way to connect my iPhone to my car I would never have found this place!

    So I really think we could get funding and developers on board.


    Needs:
    Media playback
    Storage
    Hands free
    GPS / maps
    Bluetooth - audio and hands free
    Obd
    Wifi / connectivity
    Camera - front, back
    Themes and customization
    Phone connectivity but this falls under; audio, phone, storage

    Going beyond the basics:
    Apps from phone including browser
    Hvac
    Steering controls
    Starter
    Remote entry - car, home
    Tire pressure
    Multi-person viewing, usage
    Various gauges
    What dreams are made of

    I'm sure I missed something but the list isn't all that huge considering people are trying to get the basics working and stable.

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    Mod - all of it. SapporoGuy's Avatar
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    Replying by phone and tapatalk, looks like I missed a few points

    Windows vs Linux :
    Yes people are comfortable with windows but lots of those people don't use a winPhone so I'm sure they can move on to another OS for their car

    But I really think that this is more of OBD, Bluetooth and navi issue than OS.

    Navi can be worked around, rim and sailfish seem to allow android apps!

    Another reason for windows is because so many people can handle developing VB/.net and they let their project into the wild. But lots of folks are developing on android so ... I wonder if more attention was brought to what the pioneers here started if the tide won't change a bit.



    And I do agree, bringing the community here to support 1 major OS/FE is a hurdle. Too many of us have watched cool things drop to the "is this still alive" post syndrome.

    This is why I'm thinking we really to come to agreement on a base set of functions and base requirements of the OS. Then we need to get mp3car to at least be a spokesman for the greater net marketing. Their approval and press releases will bring a project like this some credibility.

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    Maximum Bitrate Borte's Avatar
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    I agree that it would be great if everyone could agree upon one common approach but I don't think that's gonna happen any time soon since everyone want's something slightly different than the rest.

    As it stands now the "cover all" approach isn't around so people create their own specific solution which works wonders for them but doesn't quite do it for the next guy and he makes another specific solution and so on...

    But I absolutely agree that the best for the community would be if we all work together for a common goal, we're stronger as a united force and by looking at all the cool stuff that's come up from this community over the years it would surely produce some stunning results.
    But then again this is a community with "tinkers" who like to play around with stuff in their own way.

    If such a common approach would take place how would it be handled? Who should lay out the outline of a solution? Who should be in charge of keeping the project to the overall scheme to keep it from drifting off to a specific solution.
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    Mod - all of it. SapporoGuy's Avatar
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    "One common approach"

    That is where the idea of not an application FE but rather an OS that operates as the FE. The auto manufacturers probably are taking this route, appradio seems to be the same and many of the Chinese units too.

    By having an OS/FE, tinkers will be able to tinker to their hearts delight! I'm not trying to fit something into a mold but rather help along what many have done and unify our efforts.

    Put it simply, we are happy enough with smart phones, tablets and PCs so I really can't see much debate beyond the "core" OS choice.

    If we don't stand up to bat, win8 and metro are going to fill the gap eventually. Nothing wrong with that besides we will have to live with what parameters are given to us.

    "Project management"
    I haven't thought of that yet. So thank you for bringing that major issue up!

    I doubt mp3car will want to manage that since they probably have already chewed on that bone.

    "But we already have ..."
    Centrafuse, open mobile and RR!

    They are awesome and the only thing holding them back is the OS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SapporoGuy View Post
    "One common approach"

    ...and the only thing holding them back is the OS.
    Hehehe...Unix is more than 40 years old. Windows more than 30. Linux is a mere pup at 20+ years old. Android has been around for about 6 or 7 years already too. Making an "OS" is not exactly easy. In fact, making any reasonably complex piece of software is a significant undertaking (ask the OpenMobile guys....or me). It takes a LONG time, and time = money. Open source or not, I'm pretty sure the developers need to eat. So either they sponge off thier parents, or they have a real job that pays the bills. Which means they don't work 8 hours a day coding the OS. Hence the lengthy product gestation and development timeframe. And last but not least, even if a 1000 mp3Car guys wanted to use it, that's just not a big enough market to sustain the level of effort needed to develop the product. Again, as an example, think how long the OpenMobile guys have been working. How many full-time, fully functional (to the extent possible) OM installs would you say there are? 50? 100? 500? Now scale that effort up exponentially in order to develop a full OS ala Android, and you realize there simply isn't any realistic way to do it. Not enough interested developers and not enough customers. Unless you have several million dollars you would be prepared to donate (and I DO mean donate, 'cause you'll never see a return on the cash), I don't think you'll ever see this happen.

    Here's a fun game: Speculate on the financial health of any of the companies you think derive their primary source of revenue from the carPC market. Mp3Car.com, Centrafuse, maybe Mini-box and some of the other hardware manufacturers. Which of them do you think is in a position to support a multi-year, multi-developer project of this magnitude? Here's a hint: the answer is < 0. Odds are some of them won't even make it through 2013.

    Obviously, my opinion is not exactly unbiased. But I think the effort should be focused on improving the current frontends and developing new ones, that fully integrate the apps and features we want, while preserving the "general purpose" nature of the existing OSes. Focus resources on sustainable levels of effort and realistic goals rather than chasing unicorns. But that's just an opinion, and no more valid than yours.

    Cheers!

    VegasGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasGuy View Post
    Obviously, my opinion is not exactly unbiased. But I think the effort should be focused on improving the current frontends and developing new ones, that fully integrate the apps and features we want, while preserving the "general purpose" nature of the existing OSes.
    There once was a story of a developer, who upon seeing that there were two different ways of doing something (frontends), he said "Well... why don't I take the best features of both, and make a third, then everyone will use mine, and be happy!" So he went off and got help and developed his software. He released it on the market and a bunch of people used it.

    A year later, there was another developer, who upon seeing that there were three different ways of doing something (frontends), he said "Well.. why don't I take the best features of all three..."

    yada yada yada.


    Same reason there is Android vs IOS vs RIM, same reason there is OSX vs Windows vs Linux, XBox vs Wii vs PS. CF vs RR vs everything else. No matter how much effort, and how many people you put on a project, at LEAST 30% of the people left won't be happy, and will either continue to use the other thing, or branch off and do their own thing.

    As much as I can't believe I'm saying this, being an independent frontend developer, I agree with VegasGuy. Realize you can't change the world, and dedicate your energy to a single project (CF, RR, or whatever you think is the biggest). Then push to get THAT frontend up to par with all the things you believe that it is lacking. Don't start from scratch.

    That being said, so as to avoid ruining my reputation I have to say; I still believe that both CF, RR, Driveline, and OM have it all wrong, so the only way to really get anywhere IS to start from scratch

    Or..... do what I did: Write the "perfect" frontend to meet all your needs and you'll be in the same spot as me. The only one using it, but at least you'll be truly happy with it.
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    Maximum Bitrate Borte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasGuy View Post
    In fact, making any reasonably complex piece of software is a significant undertaking (ask the OpenMobile guys....or me).
    I can confirm that... OM started off with a "bang" but after a while we realized that we were heading off in the wrong direction, so we had to go back and readjust several things. And YES it does take a whole lot of hours!

    Quote Originally Posted by malcom2073 View Post
    That being said, so as to avoid ruining my reputation I have to say; I still believe that both CF, RR, Driveline, and OM have it all wrong, so the only way to really get anywhere IS to start from scratch
    I'm sure I'm not the only being curious now I'd like to know your thoughts about that if you'd like to share. Not to argue against it but to get other opinions and viewpoints as well. After all the ones developing the software tends to get kinda "narrow minded" after a while (me included ).
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    My opinion is that we extend the frontends we currently see as favorites , that just a few , for example riderunner.

    If someone or a small group of people work on making in more complete , possibly work on different OS , that will make a difference , I would love to go linux but the lack of front ends still being supported and updated I wont go there.


    If someone can make a frontend compatible with several different OS and make the frontend either easily customizable or already very complete you wont need to create something new.

    Adapt whats out there , preferably some software that already has earned it's stripes.
    View my worklog here

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