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 These old, most likely outdated licensing terms cover the Google applications, and not the open source Android platform, which anyone can download, alter, build and ship.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

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Is AOSP still 'Android'?
by JAlexoid on Fri 14th Feb 2014 00:57 in reply to "RE: Is AOSP still 'Android'?"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

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.


Any device that can pass the compatibility suite is an Android based device. Kindle Fire does not pass that suite.

But technically any device that has no GMS will not have the permission to be named AndroidTM.

Reply Parent Score: 6

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

But technically any device that has no GMS will not have the permission to be named AndroidTM.


Nor should it, IMO. Some people may thing Google having proprietary hooks into the OS is a bad thing, but I do not. It keeps vendors from rewriting the whole damn thing so that only a fraction of the apps work, and still calling it Android. I suppose it would be possible to have the whole thing entirely open source, but forbidding certain modifications to keep things from breaking, but that's really two sides of the same coin, in that either approach violates at least one of the '4 freedoms'.

Like Linus, I am more of a pragmatist when it comes to this sort of thing ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Is AOSP still 'Android'?
by l3v1 on Fri 14th Feb 2014 06:30 in reply to "RE[2]: Is AOSP still 'Android'?"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

But technically any device that has no GMS will not have the permission to be named AndroidTM.


Very good. At least you know to expect something different. Noone would like to find that out later.

Reply Parent Score: 3