Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th Apr 2011 22:48 UTC
Google Is Android still open now that Google has postponed the source code release of Honeycomb, version 3.0 of the mobile operating system? I've been reading a whole boatload of articles and blog posts on the web claiming Android is no longer open, but it seems like very few people seem to actually understand what 'open' really means when it comes to the GPL and the Apache license. Here's a short primer.
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Motorola
by umccullough on Tue 5th Apr 2011 23:17 UTC
umccullough
Member since:
2006-01-26

Technically, the Xoom is distributed by Motorola, right? So you should be contacting them for the GPL-derived sources. They must have access to the sources per the GPL as well, and subsequently make them available for distribution.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Motorola
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 5th Apr 2011 23:24 UTC in reply to "Motorola"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

True, good spot. Fixing...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Motorola
by JAlexoid on Tue 5th Apr 2011 23:51 UTC in reply to "Motorola"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Technically, the Xoom is distributed by Motorola, right? So you should be contacting them for the GPL-derived sources. They must have access to the sources per the GPL as well, and subsequently make them available for distribution.


Guess what? The nVidia's kernel modifications are already in the GIT repositories for quite some time now. Since nVidia have been distributing the dev board for over a year now...

http://android.git.kernel.org/?p=kernel/tegra.git;a=summary

Reply Score: 3

Comment by testman
by testman on Tue 5th Apr 2011 23:29 UTC
testman
Member since:
2007-10-15

Right! Google are doing the right thing by the letter of the license and arguable, the spirit as well. In the interests of good business, they are not obligated to release everything/give everything away/save the planet.

This was a good article for the most part, ruined only by the "curiously incredibly emotional language" in the footnote. Why was it necessary to address (John) Gruber personally?

Ah, I've just read some of the other threads. So Mr. Gruber is rather unpopular around these parts? At least he makes no pretense about being about being unbiased.

Edited 2011-04-05 23:35 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by testman
by mrstep on Wed 6th Apr 2011 03:30 UTC in reply to "Comment by testman"
mrstep Member since:
2009-07-18

Guess people just got confused after Google made statements like "mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ..." implying you can actually grab the Android source and compile it yourself. Rubin didn't seem to have a bunch of caveats about 'well, once Google decides its close partners have had time to market themselves with exclusive access'. So fine, they follow the letter of whichever open source license, but they certainly fail in terms of fulfilling their own marketing BS.

Reply Score: 6

Trademarks
by Delgarde on Tue 5th Apr 2011 23:29 UTC
Delgarde
Member since:
2008-08-19

If they don't want cheap Android tablets to tarnish the Android brand, they should just do what Haiku and Red Hat do: protect the Android trademarks through a licensing and quality control program, and restrict access to Google services such as the Android Market to devices that are properly licensed.

One of the Mozilla guys made the same point, since that's their approach too (the whole Ice Weasel thing).

And I agree - if the problem is the potential for damage to the Android brand, then solve the problem directly by regulating third-party use of that brand, not indirectly by trying to restrict access to the code.

Edited 2011-04-05 23:32 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Trademarks
by bhtooefr on Wed 6th Apr 2011 07:58 UTC in reply to "Trademarks"
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

Of course, now it's too late for that - the Amazon version of the market is being distributed on devices that don't comply with Google's standards.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Trademarks
by arpan on Wed 6th Apr 2011 14:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Trademarks"
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

No, Google can still restrict the use of the Android trademark. They can't stop the software from being used, just the name. So those devices wouldn't be Android devices anymore. They'd have to be sold under a different brand name.

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

They can also restrict access to the services and repositories to only official Android release not child forks. Do like Canonical did; "fork our distro all you like just don't claim it's an Ubuntu and don't use our repositories"

Reply Score: 2

Fragmentation
by Lennie on Tue 5th Apr 2011 23:48 UTC
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

Isn't this all because Google wants to prevent fragmentation by keeping the source slightly closed ?

Interresting enough it is the device builders/telecom providers which want to differentiate.

Maybe someone should define very clearly which parts are part of the 'platform' and need to be kept compatible. And which can be customized to their hearts content.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Fragmentation
by Delgarde on Wed 6th Apr 2011 02:22 UTC in reply to "Fragmentation"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

Isn't this all because Google wants to prevent fragmentation by keeping the source slightly closed ?

Interresting enough it is the device builders/telecom providers which want to differentiate.



I don't think it's fragmentation/differentiation, so much as the quality of products being associated with the Android brand - not dissimilar to Apple's attitude towards running MacOS on non-Apple hardware.

For the time being, it looks like Google's approach is to limit who they supply the newer versions of Android to, so that each product released with 3.0 is a tested and supported configuration. So for better or worse, no more cheap Android tablets from obscure manufacturers that even Google hasn't heard of...

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Fragmentation
by fatjoe on Wed 6th Apr 2011 13:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Fragmentation"
fatjoe Member since:
2010-01-12

You are confusing quality and price. High price does not automatically imply high quality.

Just take a look at Motorola XOOM: high price, low quality. If google wants android to be associated with high quality, why the hell did they release XOOM so early?

disclaimer: I run honeycomb on a high quality/low cost tablet thanks to XDA.

Reply Score: 1

Open... right...
by tuzor on Tue 5th Apr 2011 23:48 UTC
tuzor
Member since:
2007-08-07

If there's a hypocrite here then that's the writer of this article.
Google doesn't give a rat's ass about openness. All they care about is making money, just like any other major corporation.
They've only used the notion of being "open" to position themselves as the Apple competitor.
They knew they couldn't beat Apple on their terms so they had to position themselves on the opposite extreme.

Vic Gundotra in his keynote at I/O last year: If Google didn’t act, it faced a draconian future where one man, one phone, one carrier were our choice.
That’s a future we don’t want.
[…] So if you believe in openness, if you believe in choice, if you believe in innovation from everyone, then welcome to Android.


You can talk all you want about licenses and what Google is legally obligated in doing and what not, however it's a fact that behind closed doors they're starting to impose their own rules on carriers and device makers and withholding source code (seems everyone was cheering along at Andy Rubins tweet a few months ago but shutting up now). And they're doing this because they need to keep their platform viable for developers and consumers.

Andoid is not open. Google develops it on their own terms without any contribution from the community. They distribute prerelease builds to whomever they choose fit. They release source code whenever they see fit. And now they're imposing rules on what carriers can alter on the OS when selling the devices.

PS: It's funny how many Android and MS fanboy bloggers/writers are taking jabs at Gruber lately, hoping they'll get a response (a desperate shot at getting numerous hits and the blogosphere noticing your existence).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Open... right...
by JAlexoid on Tue 5th Apr 2011 23:55 UTC in reply to "Open... right..."
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Andoid is not open.

Android is open.(using the command in rubin's status still produce an Android image ver 2.3.3) Honeycomb has not been opensourced. Google's apps and Market were never open.

Can we stop at that?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Open... right...
by mrstep on Wed 6th Apr 2011 03:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Open... right..."
mrstep Member since:
2009-07-18

Oh, open as in 'old source' being open, not the current stuff. Sure, we can stop then - I assume Google will stop being a giant corp beating a "we're not another big giant evil mega-corp" marketing drum too, right?

I think it makes sense for Google to control the platform more tightly - they are becoming Windows Mobile as it is. But then their marketing crap should get tossed. Open as in 'you can contribute' open? Uh, no. Open as in 'we release it and everyone has access' open? Uh, no again. I'd criticize Apple or Microsoft for not being 'open', but then again they never made that sort of claim part of their marketing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Open... right...
by unoengborg on Wed 6th Apr 2011 09:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Open... right..."
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

Oh, open as in 'old source' being open, not the current stuff.


Android 2.3.3 is the current stuff, for phones. Honeycomb is for tablets. My guess is the Honeycomb was more or less prematurely pushed out the door to some hardware venders to make them ship Android 3.0 devices before iPad2 was out. It could very well be that the code quality not yet is good enough for a general release in an uncontrolled environment.

Another reason for holding back could be to have some leverage against hardware venders that want to modify the platform in a way that makes it harder to integrate phones and tablets.

If we should believe Andy Rubin the code will get released when they have integrated the phone and tablet versions, i.e. in Ice Cream sandwich. In the long run this may not be a bad thing. I think we should wait and see what happens in the future before blaming Google too hard of not being in the FOSS spirit.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Open... right...
by testman on Wed 6th Apr 2011 00:00 UTC in reply to "Open... right..."
testman Member since:
2007-10-15

They knew they couldn't beat Apple on their terms so they had to position themselves on the opposite extreme.


Yep. Marketing. That's what "major corporations" do. Or any business for that matter.

It doesn't matter how open Android is; only nerds, hippies, freetards and other people with vested interests care. The important thing is that the overall public understand the importance and percieve Google as being a champion of their "freedom".

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Open... right...
by tomcat on Wed 6th Apr 2011 00:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Open... right..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

The important thing is that the overall public understand the importance and percieve Google as being a champion of their "freedom".


Except that Google is NOT a "champion of their 'freedom'"; where 'freedom' means the ability to use a device any way that the user wants to use it. And, frankly, that's the only definition that makes sense.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Open... right...
by testman on Wed 6th Apr 2011 01:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Open... right..."
testman Member since:
2007-10-15

Again, it's just marketing. It doesn't need to make sense, it just needs to push the right buttons with the target demographic.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Open... right...
by mrstep on Wed 6th Apr 2011 03:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Open... right..."
mrstep Member since:
2009-07-18

Exactly. Google wants control of more of their own ad delivery channel. That's fine - they're a big ad delivery company. But framing that as 'freedom' is a bit of a stretch.

Reply Score: 1

v RE[2]: Open... right...
by milliamp on Wed 6th Apr 2011 04:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Open... right..."
RE: Open... right...
by Soulbender on Wed 6th Apr 2011 05:29 UTC in reply to "Open... right..."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

a desperate shot at getting numerous hits and the blogosphere noticing your existence


are you talking about Gruber or the fanbois? It's hard to tell...

Reply Score: 4

The question of openness
by WorknMan on Wed 6th Apr 2011 00:02 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

It doesn't matter how open Android is; only nerds, hippies, freetards and other people with vested interests care. The important thing is that the overall public understand the importance and percieve Google as being a champion of their "freedom".


I don't think the question should be whether this move by Google will mean that Android is less open; I think the real question is, does it really matter? Google withholding the source and (hopefully) putting the smackdown on the vendor bloatware means that (again, hopefully) the user experience will be more consistent from device to device, and there will be no more of this, "Oh, this widget won't work on my phone because it has HTC's NonSense on it' horseshit.

Of course, I assume this means that there will be no more nightly builds of custom roms that people can install to find out which of the features on their phone won't work on that particular build, but 98% of the population doesn't give a rat's ass. Anyway, you'll still be able to tweak the hell out of it; it'll be like a jailbroken iPhone/iPad out of the box.... on steroids ;)

Perhaps Google has finally learned the lesson that Linux on the desktop never learned... having 900 different variants of your product is not going to have people lining up around the block on launch day

Edited 2011-04-06 00:04 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Comment by t3RRa
by t3RRa on Wed 6th Apr 2011 02:00 UTC
t3RRa
Member since:
2005-11-22

* I mean, really, Gruber, Apple has withheld source code releases in the past quite often, and in fact, the code to the open source components underlying iOS are not made available at all, yet not a peep from you about that - despite the fact Apple regularly touts the open source underpinnings of its operating system. If there is one "hypocrite" here, it's you.

It was a surprisingly good read despite recent much Apple trolling from the author.

However, what are those components underlying iOS that are not made available? Can you let me what they are?

If those components are not modified at all from Apple, they should not really need to provide themselves nor someone would care at all.

However if they are modified by them and if its GPL licensed, GPL crowds would not stay still already. If the components are made by Apple and opened to the masses, Apple could make it dual licensed so that they can keep their own bits for their OS closed. period.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by t3RRa
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 6th Apr 2011 03:53 UTC in reply to "Comment by t3RRa"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

If those components are not modified at all from Apple, they should not really need to provide themselves nor someone would care at all.


Not true. If you distribute, you must comply with the GPL.

However if they are modified by them and if its GPL licensed, GPL crowds would not stay still already. If the components are made by Apple and opened to the masses, Apple could make it dual licensed so that they can keep their own bits for their OS closed. period.


You'd have to be more specific in order to really make a point here. But, in general, if you modify a GPL program and distribute it, you cannot dual licence your changes in such a way as to not comply with the GPL. Your modifications must also fall under the GPL.


Although, I must admit, I am not aware of any recent delays in compliance with the GPL or LGPL by Apple. There were some such cases in the early days of Safari. It was derived from the LGPL based KHTML, and they distributed Safari without making the source immediately available.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by t3RRa
by arpan on Wed 6th Apr 2011 14:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by t3RRa"
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

Although, I must admit, I am not aware of any recent delays in compliance with the GPL or LGPL by Apple. There were some such cases in the early days of Safari. It was derived from the LGPL based KHTML, and they distributed Safari without making the source immediately available.


I think you are incorrect here. They did make the code available, they just waited until they released the final version and then released the entire code at a time. Basically they adhered to the letter of the license, not the spirit.

Now, they have changed that, and all development for webkit happens in the open, which also allows independent developers and developers from other companies to contribute to the development and direction. As far as I am concerned, this is what open source is about, not just having access to the code, but being able to participate in the development.

In addition, this means that a user or a developer can download a nightly and see what changes and improvements have been made and not have to wait for the final release. For example this allows web designers to comment on the behavior of new CSS features and allows even non-developers to influence the behavior if it is not satisfactory. In the end, it is the designers who are going to be using these features, and so it is really good that they get to test it when it is developed and when there is still a chance to change it.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by t3RRa
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 7th Apr 2011 16:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by t3RRa"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Looking back at the history, you are correct. They released the source at the same time as the first public beta.

I couldn't find that while before I wrote my first post.

I thought there were other instances, but maybe not.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by t3RRa
by JAlexoid on Wed 6th Apr 2011 03:56 UTC in reply to "Comment by t3RRa"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

However, what are those components underlying iOS that are not made available? Can you let me what they are?

Specifically, without touching the UI stuff, the ARM port of XNU. There is i386 and PPC, but no ARM.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by t3RRa
by steve_s on Wed 6th Apr 2011 11:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by t3RRa"
steve_s Member since:
2006-01-16

Current XNU source does come with ARM support. For reference, here's the readme:
http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/xnu/xnu-1504.9.37/README

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by t3RRa
by JAlexoid on Thu 7th Apr 2011 02:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by t3RRa"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Current XNU source does come with ARM support. For reference, here's the readme:
http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/xnu/xnu-1504.9.37/README

I base my conclusion not on the things that are written in the README, but on the fact that there are no adequate pieces such as there are for i386, x86_64, ppc and ppc64.

Sample:
http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/xnu/xnu-1504.9.37/libkern/i3...
http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/xnu/xnu-1504.9.37/libkern/pp...
http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/xnu/xnu-1504.9.37/libkern/ar... << Does not exist.

Also under the following directory there are no ARM labelled files.
http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/xnu/xnu-1504.9.37/libkern/co...

It's hard to believe that there is no need for ARM specific code in the whole kernel, but there is ppc, i386, x86_64 and ppc64 specific code.

And a grep over the sources gives embarrassingly little amount of results for ARM.

EDIT:
More to the point, some kernel crashes from iPod Touch show that there are actually those ARM pieces, but not opensource - /osfmk/arm/trap.c found in the report on the following topic is nowhere in the public sources.
http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2269543

Edited 2011-04-07 02:11 UTC

Reply Score: 3

InformativeCommenter
Member since:
2011-04-06

I think you have written a good article, but I may differ on some views.

Let me say I have no problem with proprietary software or controlling the brand identity. I do have only a few conditions though.

Google have already said the Honeycomb 3.0 build that is already deployed will not have it's source released. The build that will be open source will be changed from that which is on the Motorola Xoom etc.. Yes whatever they haven't changed will be open source, but the parts that weren't up to scratch will never be open source. This is the same as Chrome in that Chrome is not open source, but Chromium is. It is impossible to take the source and verify it is the same as Chrome because of certain additions like branding and other stuff. You can do this with Firefox though. This is an important distinction that has real world consequences. So I respectfully disagree that currently "Android is still every bit as open today as it was a few months ago". Coming from a multi-national personal information-mining corporation this is troubling because one of the reasons Google likes to tout that something is open source is to imply their isn't anything nefarious hidden inside.

Even though Chrome is mostly Open Development (Crankshaft V8 engine and VP8 were code dumps), they fork projects without trying to work with upstream and this is problematic like Android's NIH stack because even GPL projects can be taken ahold of by a more powerful entity. (If someone makes significant changes and gains momentum the upstream project (e.g. the project that was forked) can be left behind.

As to the degree of openess that can be claimed, an interesting addition is that neither of these projects do Open Planning.

The openess is further nullified by closed source changes by the manufacturers and carriers, because to the user, they have no guarantee of no lock-in, or lack of tracking mechanisms added by the manufacturers and carriers in addition to the ones Google puts in place already. "The vast majority of Android smartphones are encumbered by lockdown mechanisms that block installation of third-party firmware. Some mobile carriers even block installation of external software entirely, in stark contradiction of Google's early promises." Given that Google proclaimed that Android would not block external software, then to not restrict the removal of this freedom in the contract makes "open" just pure marketing.

I'm particularly disenchanted with Google's actions is because they continually scream "open" and "open source" when they are not open as much as you would think. I think because Google puts so much emphasis on "open", they should be doing development out in the open, otherwise don't claim at the top of your lungs you are, because it's just deceptive. Why I think Android in particular should be Open Development is that Google is exploiting the fact that it doesn't
matter as much that they release the source code as a code dump because it makes the choice to use a community provided build an unreasonable choice, as it holds back development of a branch (resources can't be spread out like in Open Development, particularly important for non-full time projects), making a significant time delay take away the choice for many people. This is behaving like a QPL application with "Choice of venue" clause.

"I believe that if you deem it necessary for your project to be developed behind closed doors, you should be able to" I agree with this (on the condition that there is no tracking mechanisms, otherwise if I'm going to pay for something like this I might as well use something open source with tracking mechanisms that is "free"). Just don't claim you're open, Open Source yes, but I think Open is just such a ambiguous word that can be abused by advertising, press releases and public statements that the community should prefer that it be reserved for a project with a significant degree of "openess" (I'm aware that itself isn't exactly defined).

If I have to buy the product before I am allowed to inspect the code then it is not public, and this is one important facet of open source. (I'm not going to inspect it, but I'll never buy an Android device anyway.)

I respect that Ryan Paul had the guts to write an article that showed Google is not as open as people like to claim. I say guts, because in the comments Google fanboys are upset, but as you read, you realise at least some of them have never even heard of Open Development, and do not understand Open Source does not mean Google is not in control or that you can even fork the project. It's just ridiculous to complain whenever there is negative publicity about Google. I'm really fed up with how you cannot say anything factually correct that shows Google in a bad light. I know that people earn money through their websites through Google's online advertising monopoly but a little impartially would be welcome (this is not directed at you Thom). The same exceptions are not granted to other businesses.

"Google has long exhibited a pattern of behavior in its Android dealings that reflects a disregard for openness and the third-party development community. It started even before the first Android release, when Google silently stopped making SDK updates available to the public for months and used nondisclosure agreements to gag the privileged few who were given access." This in particularly isn't very "open".

Google's stance on the CyangenMod case is disappointing, they want to tout Android as Open but can't let modders, a very small community distribute it with the proprietary/closed source applications like Google Maps. Remember Google benefits from people using their bundled proprietary applications so they should have not taken the same bully boy behaviour they did with the Googol comic girl. I believe both Eric Schmidt and Andy Rubin said the nature of open was that carriers could modify it, even if it meant to the detriment of the platform, so if they are OK with that, why can't they not take such a controlling stance on a community that helped Google improve performance among other things. Google should be grateful for the free development.

"by adding closed-source applications to Android, they can't consider it truly open source" I won't say that Android is not open source because of this, of course if you mean that on a vanilla build, everything that ships on a device is considered as Android, then yes it is only partially open source.

"restrict access to Google services such as the Android Market to devices that are properly licensed." Ordinarily I'd be perfectly accepting of this, I'd even suggest something like this. But because Google touts "open" and nullifies (to a large extent) the point of Android being open source, in this case I disagree (this is idealistically, I've never assumed Google would allow this).

Android is not free, I believe partners need to pay to access the source tree. Secondly, the cost is your privacy (or lack thereof). Free as in freedom is largely irrelevant as well, without privacy, there is no freedom. With all due respect, it's Free as in smokescreen.

I'm not an MS, Apple or GPL/BSD devotee so no ad hominem attack thank you. This isn't directed at anyone in particular.

Edited 2011-04-06 03:12 UTC

Reply Score: 2

milliamp Member since:
2011-03-29

>Google have already said the Honeycomb 3.0 build that is already deployed will not have it's source released.

Did Google release the source for 3.0 to Motorola to deploy the Xoom? If yes, then they comply with GPL.

Reply Score: 2

arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

I'm pretty sure that the copy right for most parts of Android (except the Linux kernel) are owned by Google. As such, they are under no obligation to release the source. Upto 2.3 they have done it, but for 3.0 they have decided not to do it yet, and since they own the copyright, the license does not apply to them. It just applies to others who decided to use code that Google wrote.

Same way how QT is licensed under a GPL & a commercial license. You can't take the QT's GPL code and release it under a commercial license, but QT can do it because they own the code.

Reply Score: 4

v Fact
by Governa on Wed 6th Apr 2011 03:38 UTC
RE: Fact
by JAlexoid on Wed 6th Apr 2011 03:53 UTC in reply to "Fact"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

There's more source code available for iOS 4.3 than there is for Android 3.0.

http://opensource.apple.com/release/ios-43/
http://android.git.kernel.org/


Not true. The whole kernel tree there. And specifically the Tegra2 kernel.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Fact
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 6th Apr 2011 06:48 UTC in reply to "Fact"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

He's trying to bait Gruber/Apple users for hits and free publicity, something Dvorak and Enderle have been doing for ages.


If I want Gruber to link to us, I shouldn't be writing well-reasoned articles. Gruber usually link sto two kind of articles:

- those which are kissing his or Apple ass
- those which are so outrageous they can be ridiculed (ZOMG APPLE IS GOING BROKE TOMORROW LOLOLO!!1!)

This allows him to keep up the illusion that he is always right.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Fact
by _xmv on Wed 6th Apr 2011 13:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Fact"
_xmv Member since:
2008-12-09

It's sad people still talk about him.
He's posting trash all the time, on purpose as it's his job to mislead people.
Needless to say I've a very low opinion of such people ;-)

Osnews posts, even if not always fully correct are not even comparable.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Fact
by testman on Wed 6th Apr 2011 23:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Fact"
testman Member since:
2007-10-15

Grow up, Thom.

Reply Score: 1

let's make it straight
by vege on Wed 6th Apr 2011 04:58 UTC
vege
Member since:
2006-04-07

two different questions to answer:

- legal: does Android 3 comply with GPL, Apache and other licences for each software pieces? [Yes]

- popular: is Android 3 (as a whole) open yet? [No]

As simple as that. For what it's worth.

Reply Score: 2

RE: let's make it straight
by pepa on Wed 6th Apr 2011 05:53 UTC in reply to "let's make it straight"
pepa Member since:
2005-07-08

How can it possibly comply with the GPL when they say that the Honeycomb source won't be available to "anyone"?? (I mean users of the binaries, I'm sure Motorola has access. Thinking further, couldn't Motorola be pressured to provide the source code, as they are actually distributing it?)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: let's make it straight
by vege on Wed 6th Apr 2011 06:04 UTC in reply to "RE: let's make it straight"
vege Member since:
2006-04-07

I am guessing they make GPL licensed parts (like the Kernel) available in one way or another, meanwhile they keep their own additions closed.

Reply Score: 1

Oh, come on!
by acid_head on Wed 6th Apr 2011 07:39 UTC
acid_head
Member since:
2007-05-23

Really, someone who has Xoom should request the sources from Motorola!? Are you seriously thinking they would get anything? When Google made it clear that they won't give away the sources at least for a while?
You seem to be confusing the copyright holder (Google) for a licensee (Motorola). Google as copyright holder can release the source/binaries under whatever license they want. They release it to the public under GPL (for versions lower than 3.0) and they probably release it for Motorola and other big customers under a proprietary license. If you think that Motorola has to releas any source you are sadly mistaken.
The clear, plain to see in my oppinion, thing is that Android versions lower than 3.0 are FOSS, while Android 3.0 is not. At least not yet.

Edited 2011-04-06 07:43 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Oh, come on!
by quique on Wed 6th Apr 2011 07:54 UTC in reply to "Oh, come on!"
quique Member since:
2005-07-07

Really, someone who has Xoom should request the sources from Motorola!? Are you seriously thinking they would get anything? When Google made it clear that they won't give away the sources at least for a while?

Yes (explantion below).

You seem to be confusing the copyright holder (Google) for a licensee (Motorola). Google as copyright holder can release the source/binaries under whatever license they want.

Right: and that's what they do with Android. Up to 2.3.3, Android was released as FLOSS under Apache2. Android 3.0 is not Free/Libre/Open Source.

However, Google is not the copyright holder of the Linux kernel. That part of Honeycomb is GPL'ed.

Therefore, if you get Android 3.0 from Motorola, you're entitled to get its kernel's source code if you request it (but only for the kernel -or any other GPL'ed component-, not for the whole system).

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Oh, come on!
by acid_head on Wed 6th Apr 2011 08:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Oh, come on!"
acid_head Member since:
2007-05-23

So you agree with me that Android 3.0 is not FOSS yet. That was the point of the article, not if Google is in compliance with the GPL components they use (which I'm sure they are). But all the GPL or other FOSS licensed components that make up Android do not make an Android by themselves. So, my conclusion (and yours) stands, and it's pretty obvious.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Oh, come on!
by quique on Wed 6th Apr 2011 15:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Oh, come on!"
quique Member since:
2005-07-07

So you agree with me that Android 3.0 is not FOSS yet. That was the point of the article


Of course we agree on that: it's a simple matter of fact.
Honeycomb is not FLOSS under any definition.

Free Software Definition?
No, we lack freedom 1: The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Open Source definition? Nope, it fails criteria 2: The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form.

Android creator Andy Rubin's definition of Open? Neither.

Up to 2.3.3 Android was FLOSS, and hopefully future version will be too, once the phone and tablet versions merge.
Right now, Android 3.0 is proprietary software.

Reply Score: 2

Emulator is a binary, no?
by dgoemans on Wed 6th Apr 2011 07:58 UTC
dgoemans
Member since:
2008-08-23

Isn't the emulator also a binary? Would this mean that anyone who has downloaded the latest android sdk has the right to request 3.0 source?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Emulator is a binary, no?
by unoengborg on Wed 6th Apr 2011 09:11 UTC in reply to "Emulator is a binary, no?"
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes, you would get the GPL:ed parts of Android i.g. the kernel. I really doubt Google would fail to comply that would result in too much bad publisity.

However, if they want to mess with you, they could charge you some minor administrative fee for the trouble of giving it to you.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Almafeta
by Almafeta on Wed 6th Apr 2011 09:05 UTC
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

This means that the only people who have the right to access the Honeycomb source code (the part covered under the GPL) are those who have bought a Xoom.

It's not like the GPL has the phrase "must be publicly documented and available to the public in source code form" or anything.

All members of the public probably includes at least a few people who haven't bought a Xoom.

Edited 2011-04-06 09:10 UTC

Reply Score: 2

.
by Icaria on Wed 6th Apr 2011 11:08 UTC
Icaria
Member since:
2010-06-19

Good editorial.

Reply Score: 1

dru_
Member since:
2011-04-06

The problem with this entire discussion isn't what Google is doing, I don't honestly think most of us really care if it means that Android improves as a platform,.

At the heart of the issue is the difference in reaction from the communities.

Look at the number of gripes still being held against Apple for it's treatment of OSS projects, despite the volume of contributions they have made and continue to make. CLANG, LLVM, WebKit, SprtouCore, Launchd, etc. Hell, it comes out that Apple is not going to ship a product that has not even been announced on a date that has only been speculated at with no official word on either the existence much less shipping date and Apple gets blasted in the press for 'missing a ship target'.

Google acknowledges shipping something early, that was not ready for consumption and they are changing the rules on the fly and they get what amounts to a free pass, with much of the press?

That is what has so many people annoyed.

Look, Google did what they had to do, and the Xoom is suffering for it. HP appears to be taking the oposite tack and trying to get it right before they ship, God knows what RIM is doing. Microsoft is still trying to sell us on Tablets being a fad.

So right now, it is a 2 horse race and the jockeys are being playing under different rules where the trade press is concerned, and *that* is what bugs me,.

It's not like Google fixing the fragmentation issues in Android isn't the best thing for the platform, but giving a free pass to Google for such a significant, and sudden policy shift in the lead up to the regime change at Google just stinks.

Reply Score: 2

Small correction
by anda_skoa on Wed 6th Apr 2011 14:52 UTC
anda_skoa
Member since:
2005-07-07

The only way to get Honeycomb (the binary) is to buy a Xoom. This means that the only people who have the right to access the Honeycomb source code (the part covered under the GPL) are those who have bought a Xoom. If you do not own a Xoom, you have zero and nada right to claim access to Honeycomb's source code.


This is not entirely true as it depends on the version of the GPL and the chosen option for fullfilling the source availability clause.

The Linux kernel is licenced unter GPL version 2 and if the Xoom did not ship with the kernel sources e.g. on a CD/DVD as part of the package, the written offer to ship the source code is valid for any third party (GPL v2, Section 3b).

The easiest way to comply with the GPL is really to just ship the source with the binary. In this case ones doesn't have to bother to have it available as a download or on request.

This is, btw, a reason why excuses like "can't have GPL in app stores because it would require app store to have source downloads" are just that: excuses.
The app store's policy could just require that the app bundle contains the sources, thus complying to section 3a (GPLv2) or 6a (GPLv3).

Reply Score: 3

Open and the average user
by tony on Wed 6th Apr 2011 15:02 UTC
tony
Member since:
2005-07-06

The average consumer doesn't care if a phone is "open" or not. It might benefit them directly if the openness spurs innovation, but in the US that's not really the case because the carriers lock it down. In that particular case, Apple has an advantage because they dictate to the carriers what the build will be, instead of the carriers modding the ROMs and putting in ridiculous restrictions (like Verizon making Bing the only possible search engine).

Because the carriers can (and do) put in those restrictions, the openness of Android is mostly kept from the average consumer.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by siki_miki
by siki_miki on Wed 6th Apr 2011 17:21 UTC
siki_miki
Member since:
2006-01-17

I think Google does this to enforce their rules on vendors. Yes it's open, and you can do whatever with it, but until next release. Then you wait for the code while others, who are well behaved, profit from it. And maybe they also don't want cheap chinese knock-off tablets with gingerbread flooding the market from the start (although - why not?:))

Delayed "openess" is a small cost for better user experience and less fragmented platform in the longer run.

Reply Score: 2

Weasel words
by Tony Swash on Wed 6th Apr 2011 17:36 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

Lost of weasel words from Google apologists.

Can anybody see any hypocrisy in this:

Vic Gundotra in his keynote at I/O last year:

quote:
If Google didn’t act, it faced a draconian future where one man, one phone, one carrier were our choice. That’s a future we don’t want. […]

So if you believe in openness, if you believe in choice, if you believe in innovation from everyone, then welcome to Android.



Businessweek last week

quote:
From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google’s most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans. And they will seek that approval from Andy Rubin, the head of Google’s Android group.



I guess all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than other ;)

What a shameful performance

Reply Score: 2

v RE: Weasel words
by FrankenFuss on Wed 6th Apr 2011 18:35 UTC in reply to "Weasel words"
RE: Weasel words
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 6th Apr 2011 18:53 UTC in reply to "Weasel words"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Lost of weasel words from Google apologists.


So let me get this straight - I actually clearly disagree with Google's actions, and I also clearly explain why. Yet, I'm a Google apologist?

Lolwut?

Reply Score: 5

RE: Weasel words
by DeadFishMan on Wed 6th Apr 2011 19:33 UTC in reply to "Weasel words"
DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

Oh, man... Look what you did... I can't believe I up voted one of your comments!

Your Apple fanboyism makes me want to puke sometimes and hence it baffles me that in the middle of all this drivel you actually made a point! A reasonably fact backed one while we're at it!

Yes, Google has not been acting as they should with regards to this whole Honeycomb enchilada but I am still willing to sit back, give them the benefit of the doubt and wait to see whether they're gonna to fix it or not.

Now excuse me while I walk to the toilet to wash my hands, will ya?

Reply Score: 4

Marketing War !
by martini on Thu 7th Apr 2011 03:14 UTC
martini
Member since:
2006-01-23

We need to understand the marketing strategies here.

Apple market itself as "simple" "perfect-design" "easy to use".

When the media started to complain about iPhone 4 antenna problems and told it was a "bad design" problem, it was a direct attack to the Apple brand because they are known as the company that has "perfect-design" products. Apple and his fanbois made all the effort to deny any design problem, because acknowledging it will be harmful for the brand. (even that they indirectly acknowledge it by searching to hire more antenna specialist at that time)

Google is marketing Android as "open" as an advantage to iOS "perfect-design".

So now you have an well-design, easy to use and "open" OS to compete with iOS. It is hard competitor for Apple. Fanbois strategy is trying to discredit Android at a marketing level (the ground they known for many years). So they are starting to attack and say that "open" is overrated. And that is better to have a constrained and controlled iOS than a full of potential malware installed on Android.

Android stills shows their "Openness" at the ecosystem level. You can not install on iOS software that is not controlled by Apple. If you are in a third world country you can not buy apps from the App Store, you can not buy music from the iTunes store (your credit card it is not accepted).

Android allows you to install apps not controller by Google. You can have local "Apps Store" that will be more customized for your geography. That is "Open" from another perspective. (not the open source one).

So, in a marketing level, Android keeps being more open than iOS.


(crap, my post does not make sense with the article anymore)

Edited 2011-04-07 03:18 UTC

Reply Score: 1

or...
by martini on Thu 7th Apr 2011 03:26 UTC
martini
Member since:
2006-01-23

From the non-marketing and more pragmatical perspective my comments are:

- Google, open source the Android 3.0 stinky code, otherwise you will loose reputation.

- Fanbois are under Steve Jobs reality distortion field and it is impossible to reason with them. There is no point on arguing with hypnotized people.

- Thom, keep bitch-slapping that fanbois.

Reply Score: 1