Linked by David Adams on Fri 25th Mar 2011 14:48 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless The company revealed Thursday that it will delay publication of the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) source code for the foreseeable future - possibly for months. It's not clear when (or if) the source code will be made available. The decision puts Android on a path towards a "draconian future" of its own, in which it is controlled by a single vendor - Google. The Ars link linked above is a pretty inflammatory editorial, so see also: Businessweek, GigaOM, The Register.
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metalf8801
Member since:
2010-03-22

It would be great if Meego could take advantage of this but I doubt that will.

Edited 2011-03-25 15:11 UTC

Reply Score: 3

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

I think it surely will. Those who prefer openness will be more eager to support Meego instead of Android.

Reply Score: 3

Dryhte Member since:
2008-02-05

Not without a good number of Meego handsets available, it won't...

Reply Score: 1

vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

Not without a good number of Meego handsets available, it won't...


You need just one handset to be able to support MeeGo at expense of Android. Because, well, you will probably buy just one handset ever so often.

Reply Score: 3

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yeah, but if its going to have the same limited carrier support that the n900 had .. we can't really choose it. The n900 only worked for 3g on T-mobile with no subsidy available in the US. If Nokia can't do better than that for a meego phone, than it wont be any more successful than the n900 was.

I can't justify the additional cost for a phone thats just ever so slightly more libre-free than android.

Reply Score: 2

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Having no subsidy is good - that's the only way not to get all that garbage and locks. T-Mobile used the right policy for plans - cheaper plans for non subsidized devices without a contract, and more expensive ones for subsidized and contracted ones. So getting a non subsidized saves money in the long run and doesn't drag any restrictive contracts with it.

I wonder what will happen now, when AT&T plans to swallow T-Mobile which is the only sensible carrier in US. Other carriers are too greedy, and want to feed their customers devices more often, so they don't provide a cheaper option for non subsidized ones.

Edited 2011-03-25 20:20 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well, here's the thing it was much cheaper for me to do a subsidised plan on att than a non subsidised plan on t-mobile.

Android phones are now on every carrier. Having only one phone that only works on one carrier, just puts nokia in a really bad spot. Allowing users to choose the service they use for your phones is a much better business strategy.


Side note: the N900 isn't offered any more on nokia's USA website. Its only offers symbian based phones now.

Reply Score: 2

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

I'm not sure why you think it's not offered. N900 is listed here:
http://www.nokiausa.com/find-products/phones/nokia-n900#/main/landi...
May be it's not available still - I didn't actually try to buy it from there.

T-Mobile offers pretty good plans:
http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/plans/flexpayplans.aspx?direct=yes&typ...
$59.99 for 500 min, and unlimited Internet.

The problem is, they are hiding the fact that they have these. It might mean they are trying to get rid of them before they sell themselves to AT&T. AT&T doesn't offer such good plans, but they might need to keep current users. So T-Mobile doesn't want to attract new users to them possibly.

Edited 2011-03-25 22:11 UTC

Reply Score: 1

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

In Australia (and most other countries) phones can be bought unlocked and used on any carrier.

Reply Score: 3

elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

Not without a good number of Meego handsets available, it won't...


Any Android compatible handset should be able to support Meego. Just as the modding community sprang up around Android, I don't doubt they could get Meego running on an Android handset (heck, they have Android running on an iPhone).

It would be an extra step to unlock the Android handset and flash a new Meego-based ROM, but I suspect that the people that value that openness would have no problems doing so.

The mass market won't care either way, as long as things stay shiny and blingy.

Reply Score: 5

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Meh, who cares. All these mobile systems are developed in-house. They aren't community projects.

Edited 2011-03-25 23:10 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

Meh, who cares. All these mobile systems are developed in-house. They aren't community projects.

Well, there are parts that get code submitted from the community (like Qt). If that would no longer be... then, when you have a free/libre system, the community can start a derivate project whenever it's needed :-), as the license allows you to see the source code of the program, study it, modify it, improve it, audit it, compile it, distribute it, etc.

Edited 2011-03-26 04:41 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Fri 25th Mar 2011 15:15 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

So much for "open" Android. Meh, Meego is much more open.

Reply Score: 4

There there...
by geertjan on Fri 25th Mar 2011 15:25 UTC
geertjan
Member since:
2010-10-29

Wow, that Ars Technica article seems kind of biased and overdramatic. This is not the beginning of the end, it's just a one time delay in a source code release. As long as Google adheres to all the relevant open source licenses, I don't see the big deal. The source code of Android 3 will come, only after support for phones is finished.

Reply Score: 3

RE: There there...
by dsmogor on Fri 25th Mar 2011 16:15 UTC in reply to "There there..."
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

As far as I remember google reimplemented number of core system components under a license that allows them much more than GPL would.

Kernel is one thing but that remained actually the sole component that may remain under community supersivion in the longer term.

Edited 2011-03-25 16:33 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: There there...
by whartung on Fri 25th Mar 2011 17:19 UTC in reply to "There there..."
whartung Member since:
2005-07-06

Actually, it is pretty bad.

This is the money quote:

Rubin told BusinessWeek that Google has made the decision to keep the Honeycomb source code under wraps because it doesn't want hardware vendors to adapt it to run on other form factors where it might not function properly. Rubin says that Google cut corners during Honeycomb's development in an effort to rush it to market. He believes that widespread adoption at this stage in usage scenarios that Google didn't anticipate would lead to a very negative user experience.


This basically boils down to being unhappy with the vendor community around Android. They lack the controls and simply don't trust the vendors to "read the readme" and not use 3.0 where it's supposed to be used. To not test their hardware, and to ship crappy product with Androids name on it.

This a bigger rift than simply not releasing source code. It goes deeper than that to basic control over the platform.

As they say, "Freedom is letting others do things you don't like", but in this case it hurts the brand and becomes a tragedy of the commons as some shoddy vendors spoil the name for others that "use the same platform".

As someone else mentioned, there needs to be an "Android Inside" or some other certification process in place to maintain the brand consistency, or less than stellar performers can make it a mess for the entire platform. But that will slow down adoption and increase costs.

At this point, the phone audience is still pretty unsophisticated. Android needs to build brand recognition above and beyond the handsets (something the cell vendors probably aren't really keen on anyway). Depending on the marketing, a consumer that has a bad experience with an Android phone could well "blame Android" rather than the handset manufacturer.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: There there...
by Alex Forster on Sat 26th Mar 2011 00:19 UTC in reply to "RE: There there..."
Alex Forster Member since:
2005-08-12

Couldn't they withhold use of the Android trademark? Wouldn't that solve exactly this problem?

Reply Score: 3

RE: There there...
by cmost on Sun 27th Mar 2011 22:33 UTC in reply to "There there..."
cmost Member since:
2006-07-16

I agree. Google is merely delaying the release until it has polished the code sufficiently enough to let it work on myriad devices. And the big deal is?... People are impatient and quick to jump to (incorrect) conclusions. Just wait. It'll come!

Reply Score: 1

RE: There there...
by tetek on Mon 28th Mar 2011 09:46 UTC in reply to "There there..."
tetek Member since:
2010-10-04

It is a big deal if you thought that Android is "open" as it being advertised. And as you can see it's open as long as google want it to be.

I do not understand how i.e. Oracle publishing Solaris code after every major update is evil,anti-open source and this makes Solaris code-closed, but Big G doing the same thing with Android makes it open source software.

But I think it's what happens when big corpos starts messing with open source community and projects trying to make them profitable for themselves using PR and advertising them as being open source cause it's "feel right", "feel open".

Reply Score: 1

Open Source is a double-edged sword
by mbpark on Fri 25th Mar 2011 15:28 UTC
mbpark
Member since:
2005-11-17

While Android is doing very well, a lot of vendors have released "Android ePad/Google iPad" devices that have cut-down CPUs, bad screens, and no access to Android Market. Ars reviewed one:

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/reviews/2010/11/worst-gadget-ever-ar...

The issue for Google here is that the Android name has taken a large hit due to crap devices being released in stores like Walgreens, KMart, or other avenues like eBay and Craigslist. These are usually devices with ~600Mhz devices that can barely run Froyo, let alone Honeycomb.

Putting the latest and greatest OS on hardware that truly does not reflect its capabilities will cause a negative perception of the OS itself. It would be like running the latest Ubuntu on a Pentium II.

In this case, I understand that they want to make Android look good by having devices from vendors that have great hardware (Motorola, Samsung, etc.) to market it.

Reply Score: 3

dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

That boils down to the Android trademark and logo usage licensing.
If these devices couldn't be advertised and sold as providing Android (tm) experience then the brand damage could be kept in check.

E.g. google could publish minimal HW requirements for devices that entail Andoid logo.

Reply Score: 3

Priest Member since:
2006-05-12

Speaking of Motorola, they are creating their own mobile OS to compete with Android. What stops them from using honeycomb as a starting point?

Reply Score: 2

Comment by vivainio
by vivainio on Fri 25th Mar 2011 15:47 UTC
vivainio
Member since:
2008-12-26

honecomb aside, here's the real problem w/ Android openness (that not every Linux "newcomer" realizes):



What makes it all the more troubling is the extent to which Android deviates from the conventional upstream Linux stack. The insular nature of the Android userspace makes interoperability between Android and conventional mobile and desktop Linux platforms difficult and impractical. Android's Linux kernel is even diverging from the official upstream Linux kernel due to seemingly irreconcilable differences regarding approaches to power management. This creates situations where drivers created for Android aren't guaranteed to work with regular old Linux.

Because Android operates its own Google-controlled fiefdom outside of the upstream stack, its growing popularity doesn't materially benefit upstream Linux. As more hardware vendors flock to Android, the growing ubiquity of Google's platform necessarily marginalizes the healthier and more inclusive environment that exists upstream.

The vendor-neutral mobile Linux space is gradually being displaced by a walled garden in which Google is the ultimate arbiter and has complete control. In that sense, Android is unambiguously detrimental to the goal of encouraging software freedom on mobile devices.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by vivainio
by dsmogor on Fri 25th Mar 2011 16:28 UTC in reply to "Comment by vivainio"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

This plays both ways. The community haven't taken care of integrating google's changes in mainline either.

If the danger of marginalising mainstream linux is real somebody should step in and do that with google consent or not. Especially if google changes carry some added value that could benefit other mobile linux incarnations.

Correct me if I'm wrong but actually the worst case scenario is that android's linux fork carries changes that relate to Google owned patents. If these became part of the kernel/user space api, google would efectively bypass built in GPL2 protections and steal linux. Google could easily use that to fight off RIM for example.
AFAIK GPL3 is designed to prevent such a scenario.

Edited 2011-03-25 16:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by vivainio
by Boldie on Fri 25th Mar 2011 18:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by vivainio"
Boldie Member since:
2007-03-26

the kernel patches are gpl v2 and needs to be released upon distribution. The jvm stuff is apache license and changes does not need to be released when distributed. No?

Go GPL go!

Edited 2011-03-25 18:29 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by vivainio
by Soulbender on Sat 26th Mar 2011 09:33 UTC in reply to "Comment by vivainio"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Because Android operates its own Google-controlled fiefdom outside of the upstream stack, its growing popularity doesn't materially benefit upstream Linux


Ah, you see this is where I'd like to quote Lennart Poettering:

"So, get yourself a copy of The Linux Programming Interface, ignore everything it says about POSIX compatibility and hack away your amazing Linux software."

http://www.osnews.com/story/24516/Choosing_Between_Portability_and_...

What goes around comes around.

Reply Score: 2

Too much unneeded drama
by porcel on Fri 25th Mar 2011 17:42 UTC
porcel
Member since:
2006-01-28

So waiting to release the code until it is fully baked for all kinds of devices rather than the few tablets for which it has been "optimized" is supposed to be some major sin?

I don´t think so. The combination of google phones and google apps has made it possible for millions of business to get off the Windows/Exhange/Office trademill. That alone removes one of the biggest barriers to Linux migrations as Exchange was often cited as a show-stopper.

Now businesses are saving millions of dollars and enjoying really cool phones that deliver great productivity without the pain of having to maintain a huge server infrastructure. And who careso of gmail isn´t open source? You can download and backup your email just like you can download and backup your calendars. Without lock-in Google has to and competes on merit and quality of service.

Reply Score: 1

Microsoft Lawsuit
by Sauron on Fri 25th Mar 2011 18:23 UTC
Sauron
Member since:
2005-08-02

Makes you wonder if this has anything to do with the existing lawsuits Microsoft are throwing around about Android devices!

Reply Score: 2

Well duh
by mrhasbean on Fri 25th Mar 2011 21:59 UTC
mrhasbean
Member since:
2006-04-03

You mean you honestly couldn't see this coming somewhere along the line? Again, so naive...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Well duh
by JAlexoid on Sat 26th Mar 2011 10:54 UTC in reply to "Well duh"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Aaaa.... I see you trolling on Google again? Google has withheld Android releases multiple times. This is nothing unexpected.

Reply Score: 2

Another reason why...
by Neolander on Fri 25th Mar 2011 22:34 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

...the post-PC era, should it happen as currently scheduled, would be a disaster of incredible range.

Reply Score: 2

Screw Google.
by crhylove on Sun 27th Mar 2011 19:46 UTC
crhylove
Member since:
2010-04-10

Seriously. They are evil.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Screw Google.
by Priest on Mon 28th Mar 2011 02:52 UTC in reply to "Screw Google."
Priest Member since:
2006-05-12

Seems like a conclusion that could wait till after we have a better idea of why they decided to do this?

Maybe they are tired of watching others cripple their product? Maybe it is related to the Sun/Oracle lawsuit or the Microsoft lawsuit? There could be a bunch of things we have thus fair failed to speculate on.

Reply Score: 2