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.
Thread beginning with comment 467846
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Comment by vivainio
by vivainio on Fri 25th Mar 2011 15:47 UTC
Member since:

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 in reply to "Comment by vivainio"
dsmogor Member since:

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 Parent Score: 2

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

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 Parent Score: 2

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

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."

What goes around comes around.

Reply Parent Score: 2