Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 13th Feb 2014 23:38 UTC
Google

Another day, another fear-mongering 'Android is closed!'-article at Ars Technica. After Peter Bright's article last week (sharply torn to shreds by Dianne Hackborn), we now have an article with the scary title "New Android OEM licensing terms leak; 'open' comes with a lot of restrictions".

The title itself is already highly misleading, since one, the licensing terms aren't new (they're from early 2011 - that's three years old), and two, they're not licensing terms for Android, but for the suite of Google applications that run atop Android.

This article makes the classic mistake about the nature of Android. It conflates the Android Open Source Project with the suite of optional proprietary Google applications, the GMS. These old, most likely outdated licensing terms cover the Google applications, and not the open source Android platform, which anyone can download, alter, build and ship. Everyone can build a smartphone business based on the Android Open Source Project, which is a complete smartphone operating system.

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RE: Is AOSP still 'Android'?
by WorknMan on Fri 14th Feb 2014 00:38 UTC in reply to "Is AOSP still 'Android'?"
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Thom, I think the point is that whilst AOSP is still clearly open, AOSP and Android are diverging so rapidly that it's starting to get difficult to say they're the same OS. If the most popular applications written for one version of a platform will not work on another, and if the user experience is fundamentally different, are they really still the same OS?


No, they're really not. That's why I think that any so-called Android device that doesn't come with the Google suite of apps (ESPECIALLY the Play store) doesn't really qualify. For example, the Kindle Fire is NOT an Android tablet - it's an Amazon tablet running a bastardized Android hybrid.

And do you know what? That's okay with me. To me, Google Play and GP services is sort of the glue that holds the whole thing together, and prevents Android from turning into the fragmented mess that is desktop Linux. I'm not really a fan of 'open' systems for the sake of them being open. I like a hybrid system like this, where one entity has a little control, that keeps things at least somewhat uniform between the various builds/vendors.

Edited 2014-02-14 00:40 UTC

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