Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th Apr 2011 21:57 UTC, submitted by JAlexoid
Google Andy Rubin, the head of Android at Google, has responded to all the talk going on across the web over Android's openness. I would almost say he sounds a bit irritated, but that's probably my own imagination. In any case, his opinion is clear - "I think I'm having a Gene Amdahl moment", referring to the man who coined the term 'fear, uncertainty, and doubt'.
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v Umm, what?
by mrhasbean on Thu 7th Apr 2011 22:43 UTC
RE: Umm, what?
by mkone on Thu 7th Apr 2011 23:01 UTC in reply to "Umm, what?"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

[q]
You're kidding right? The rules are clear alright, and the rules dictate that it is NOT open. Open source, yes, open, no way. If there can be only one contributor to the core it cannot be considered open. If there is only one person / entity that manages and determines direction it cannot be considered open. If Android, or WebM for that matter, were open projects, they would have community involvement at ALL levels, including management, direction and code contribution to the core.


Rubbish. Google's Android is open. You can take it and make a competing platform if you want. Like you can take Redhat's OS and make a competing system if you want. You just can't call it Android, like you can't call your clone OS Redhat. There is no appetite to create an alternative platform, at least not right now.

The fact that Google is the only contributor is immaterial and a red herring. Google doesn't maintain the Linux kernel used in Android. They contribute back. They just don't accept any code into their platform. They control Android, but not necessarily all the components that make it up.

Reply Score: 12

RE[2]: Umm, what?
by lemur2 on Thu 7th Apr 2011 23:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Umm, what?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"[q] You're kidding right? The rules are clear alright, and the rules dictate that it is NOT open. Open source, yes, open, no way. If there can be only one contributor to the core it cannot be considered open. If there is only one person / entity that manages and determines direction it cannot be considered open. If Android, or WebM for that matter, were open projects, they would have community involvement at ALL levels, including management, direction and code contribution to the core.
Rubbish. Google's Android is open. You can take it and make a competing platform if you want. "

This is the crucial, key point. The ability for other parties to produce a competing product after all is the thing that defines "competition".

This is just as true for Android as it is for WebM.

Here, for example, is an alternative codebase called ffvp8, not written by Google, which implements the WebM standard

http://linuxers.org/article/ffmpeg-now-has-fastest-vp8-decoder-ffvp...

Competition. Anyone may implement. Open.

Edited 2011-04-07 23:12 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE[3]: Umm, what?
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 7th Apr 2011 23:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Umm, what?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Well, he is our resident *Apple* fanatic after all. You can't expect HIM to know about 'open' and 'anyone may implement'.

Reply Score: 6

v RE[2]: Umm, what?
by mrstep on Fri 8th Apr 2011 01:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Umm, what?"
RE: Umm, what?
by JAlexoid on Thu 7th Apr 2011 23:04 UTC in reply to "Umm, what?"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

If there can be only one contributor to the core it cannot be considered open.

Let's just let's forget about this - http://source.android.com/source/submit-patches.html
And these -
https://review.source.android.com/#q,status:open,n,z
https://review.source.android.com/#q,status:merged,n,z

If there is only one person / entity that manages and determines direction it cannot be considered open.

Now lets strictly apply your definition to other popular opensource projects: Linux is closed. Python is closed. SpringFamework is closed. JBoss is closed. PostgreSQL is closed.

If Android, or WebM for that matter, were open projects, they would have community involvement at ALL levels, including management, direction and code contribution to the core.

Probably only Apache's stack can be considered open by that definition.


Otherwise Android is a very closed system.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Umm, what?
by No it isnt on Thu 7th Apr 2011 23:07 UTC in reply to "Umm, what?"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

You're a liar. Android isn't limited to only one contributor, and it couldn't be, as then how the hell was it supposed to be able to use the Linux kernel and all the other stuff it uses? Oh, wait, you're just full of shit. Consistently.

Reply Score: 9

RE: Umm, what?
by JAlexoid on Thu 7th Apr 2011 23:34 UTC in reply to "Umm, what?"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Google say "oh, and here's the source code, do with it what you will, BUT DON'T YOU DARE USE XXX NAME ON IT IF YOU MAKE ANY CHANGES TO IT!"


http://www.mozilla.org/foundation/trademarks/faq.html
http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal/TrademarkGuidelines
http://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/

You have a very "interesting" understanding of open. Apparently trademarks should also be included in the open part.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Umm, what?
by daedalus on Fri 8th Apr 2011 07:31 UTC in reply to "Umm, what?"
daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14

I don't see the problem with trademarks being explicitly excluded from open stuff like that. Why should Google let their logo be used on any crash-happy software Joe Bedroomcoder writes based on their code? It could ruin Google's reputation overnight. Mozilla don't allow the Firefox name or logo to be used on other products built with their code - that's why we have IceWeasel, TimberWolf and so on. Nothing new there.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Umm, what?
by Soulbender on Fri 8th Apr 2011 17:01 UTC in reply to "Umm, what?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Your handle is very appropriate.

Reply Score: 4

Honeycomb source will be released
by rawlinc on Fri 8th Apr 2011 01:39 UTC
rawlinc
Member since:
2009-07-21

I find it interesting that all of this has blown up in the news about Google not releasing the source yet for Honeycomb. The news has been using statements like "if and when" google releases the code just to get more page hits. It has nothing to do with "if", it is only a matter of "when". They _will_ release the source code.

The only reason it isn't released yet is because they rushed it to market and it doesn't work on smartphone devices. They need time to integrate the changes back into the main branch so the same code base supports both tablets and smartphones. Once everything is integrated, they'll release it. If they released two source repos (one for smartphones and one for tablets), I can see how it could create problems. Just be patient and wait for the integration to happen. It will be better for everybody in the long run.

Reply Score: 2

testman Member since:
2007-10-15

Just be patient and wait for the integration to happen. It will be better for everybody in the long run.

I find it interesting that you feel Google should be exempt from the same analysis and scrutiny that applies to every other high-profile brand by the media.

Reply Score: 2

Is Android open?
by spiderman on Fri 8th Apr 2011 06:05 UTC
spiderman
Member since:
2008-10-23

Is Pluto a planet?
If a tree falls in the forest, and no one hears it, does it make a sound?
http://lesswrong.com/lw/nm/disguised_queries/

Those questions don't exist. We know exactly what Android is.
The question you want to ask is if you are allowed to do what you want to do and how easy it is to do it.

Or maybe the real question is something like Spiderman or Wolverine, MeeGo or Android, iOS or Android, etc.
If that is the question you ask, then the answer is quite simple. MeeGo pwnss teh Android su><0rs nubz z0mg!1one!!elevel!!!1

Edited 2011-04-08 06:14 UTC

Reply Score: 7

Open but controlled tightly
by e_val on Fri 8th Apr 2011 07:48 UTC
e_val
Member since:
2005-11-02

> Everybody is free to modify Android, but if you want to market it as 'Android-compatible' or include Google's applications, you'll need to conform with some basic compatibility requirements.

Yep that's true. The problem is (and this very link makes it clear) you are not guaranteed to get certification and Google Apps even if you are technically compatible.

You can find many postings on the Internet accusing Google for working with only several selected manufactures leaving nothing for other, and this is close to the truth. For the last few months we were developing a firmware for Android-based tablet marketed by local manufacturer. We do comply with CTS and we've contacted Google with numerous requests, and got no replies so far. This company is quite clever on making the software open-source and controlling it very tightly simultaneously. The recipe is:
1. Develop good open-source platform
2. Develop numerous value-added services on top of it
3. Make those services very attractive to the third-party developers, so they become vital part of the ecosystem.
4. Now you can control who can obtain those value added services. Everyone is free to use the platform, but unfortunately it's nearly useless (or at least non-competitive) without proprietary services you provide.

Not that it is bad (although it gives me as a firmware developer a lot of pain), but it is the reality to keep in mind while speaking of Android's openness. I'm not to whine since we got the whole mobile platform for nothing and were able to modify it to our heart's content without seeking anyone's permission. But my user, who will find himself unable to install Angry Birds without going to file sharing site, will naturally be upset (yeah I know there are Market alternatives - and we are exploring them; they are not quite a drop-in replacement).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Open but controlled tightly
by JAlexoid on Fri 8th Apr 2011 08:41 UTC in reply to "Open but controlled tightly"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Try Amazon. But Google does respond, if you can show that you can move a considerable amount of devices and actually support the sold devices.

Been there, done that.
Oh, and BTW, Google is quite literally swamped with requests like yours. To actually get to them, you'll have to find a person on the inside to help you with it. That is how I got my questions answered...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Open but controlled tightly
by e_val on Fri 8th Apr 2011 08:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Open but controlled tightly"
e_val Member since:
2005-11-02

Try Amazon.

Thanks for a hint. We are looking at it, as well as several other alternatives.
But Market is only one part of a story. Look at C2DM - you need to have GApps ion your device in order to use the technology. Remember network location - again, you need com.google.something in order to make it working (or am I wrong?). None of it is actually provided by Amazon and alternative Markets. It's about stack, not the only app, and Google definitely has the rights not to give its own apps to anyone it considers 'uneligible'.


But Google does respond, if you can show that you can move a considerable amount of devices and actually support the sold devices.

I know it's theoretically possible. I've heard it's impossible in case similar to ours (www.appslib.com has a nice coverage on the topic although some of their claims can obviously be invalid). As you've said, you need "a considerable" amount of whatever Google considers important ;) Again, it's not evil - it's just not as "open" (or how do you call it) as one can think.

That is how I got my questions answered...

That's the way most state agencies work here in my country.

Edited 2011-04-08 08:53 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Facebook will be the tell
by Tony Swash on Fri 8th Apr 2011 09:06 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

Nothing in the interview precludes Google holding back Andrioud releases selectively. Nothing precludes Google holding back releasing the latest builds from a particular OEM and not explaining that decision fully in public. Google's criteria, specific criteria, for why it would release a new build of Andriod to one OEM and not another is not public.

The tell on all this will be if Google let's Facebook access to the latest builds immediately and at the same time as Googles favourites. I bet they don't.

Reply Score: 2

Definition of open
by thebluesgnr on Mon 11th Apr 2011 15:55 UTC
thebluesgnr
Member since:
2005-11-14

Based on Andy Rubin's definition of open, I expect him to know that you need the source code to be ready before you can compile and distribute the object code. Honeycomb is already out in stores, so it doesn't make any sense to say that "Finally, we continue to be an open source platform and will continue releasing source code when it is ready,"

Might as well be honest and say "we want to give our partners a window of exclusivity and only after that we'll we release the latest version of Android as open source.". Until then, the latest version of Android isn't open source.

I love how he pretends he's being a victim of "FUD". Don't worry guys, Google is not evil!

Reply Score: 2