back to article Google's Android code deleted from Linux kernel

After removing Google's Android driver code from the Linux kernel, Novell Fellow and Linux developer Greg Kroah-Hartman has argued that the mobile OS is incompatible with the project's main tree. Kroah-Hartman deleted the Android drivers on December 11 - Android code is no more as of version 2.6.33 of the kernel release - and …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Coat

Forking hell

Google in embrace, extend, exterminate shocker . Who'd'a thunk it?

14
4

An evil fork?

Seems like the fruity guy was right, something does stink about this story. Goodbye Nexus. Nokia, here I come...

4
1
Flame

Kind'a

Some of Greg's argument is that he wants Android to start modifying kernel internals at the same maddening pace as the 2.6 mainline tree. That is a "no way in hell" item and I am glad that a company that is large enough to say "no way in hell" has finally said "no way in hell". Applause.

It was about f*** time for someone to take offence with the current practice where every distribution maintains its own kernel fork, there is no stable tree and no development tree. That may suit Linus very well, but it does not really suit anyone who uses Linux in production or has to try to port a driver once in a while.

3
1
FAIL

LOL - you 'tard

Why would a dispute about source code and branching make you choose a Nokia over an Android handset?!?!

So dumb.

2
1
Unhappy

Looks like

the conspiracy theorists were right.

Google's whole sparkly 'We <3 Open Source" and "We will contribute" messages were simply marketing ploys with no more than token gestures made to following through.

Should have known it was too good to be true.

12
4
Megaphone

WTF are you smoking?

The google code is open, it was posted to the tree but NOBODY did anything with it, it went stale and Linux Admins removed it as stated.

To all and sundry who are slagging google try reading the article.

IT is a sad day, in terms of compatibility. Perhaps if the open source comunity would have embraced and not let it fall from the tree then we would all be happier.

However thsi is not the end of android and it is not the end of it being open source.

1
0
Silver badge
FAIL

google ftl

Google if it could, would just as soon push for everything to be under BSD licenses and outright steal it like Apple and M$ do. This pretty much assures Android's contribution to OSS ecosystem will be minimized. I guess that is the way Google has always operated.

10
3
FAIL

Er,

Er, so why didn't they just base it on OpenBSD, then?

As for Google, the fork is still GPL-encumbered, so it's just as much part of the OSS ecosystem as the non-forked kernel, RTLinux, uCLinux, etc. etc. The counter to the position of the Linux developers is that maybe server-grade Linux is not the best choice for a mobile OS, just as it's not the best choice for a real-time OS, or the best choice for a microcontroller-based OS. The kernel devs are right not to have a problem with this; forks are one of Linux's strengths, not one of its weaknesses.

BTW, if you use BSD-licensed code commercially, that's not stealing. You're explicitly allowed to do that. BSD and GPL reflect differing philosophies. The GPL philosophy is not some sort of universal default.

1
0
Silver badge

That's overstating it.

As long as Android stays open-source (GPL) then the world still has access to source code for mobile-phone hardware. So if someone decides that they want to port Linux onto hardware on which Android runs, they'll have access to working copylefted code. Some parts of it will be reusable. Other bits won't be usable except as documentation, but at least it's documentation that's been tested and de-bugged on the hardware, rather than a figment of a document-writer or translator's imagination.

I once connected hardware to VMS, given the source code for interfacing it to MS/DOS. None of the code was portable, but the working source was nevertheless a great help compared to the (hopeless) English language hardware documentation (translated from Japanese?)

And I think the jury is still out on whether one O/S (Linux) really can scale across everything from a mobile phone to a datacenter cluster. The phone environment is one where you pay (in battery life or weight) for inefficiency in the software, and maybe the linux kernel represents too much of a handicap. Or maybe not. Time will tell.

0
0
Silver badge
Linux

points well taken

I suppose you are right about just using BSD and I do acknowledge that google contributes somewhat to the OSS movement. Whether they contribute in fair share to the massive revenue they generate by building out the worlds largest OSS structure could be debated. I will agree also though that Linus (and associated henchmen) though a great contributor to mankind can be a bit of petty tyrant as well (cough bitkeeper). Still I hope both continue even more so to make Linux such a joy owned by all of mankind.

0
0
FAIL

He's had to do that to IBM & MSFT too

Basically, if he's totally ignored by the developers for the code, gets no replies to his emails, etc. then he just drops it on the floor, because he doesn't have much choice.

Google apparently wants to look like it's contributing, but not actually doing it, then blame the kernel developers for "oh, they wouldn't accept our lovely code!" - other people have done this too, it's not a new dodge.

What part of "has dependencies on code that only lives in Google's kernel tree" do they not understand? Why aren't they contributing all the code?

14
1
Gold badge

Not great, but not terrible either

It's not great that the android drivers can't be put into mainline... I think it'd be better overall if they were. But, I do agree that if they are using their own locks, their own framebuffer code, slapping in an extra security model, etc., and not really trying to use what's in the kernel (or make a good reason why they NEED seperate code), then it's better to pull it out... every platform having it's own platform-specific lock types and etc. would be a huge mess before long.

It's not terrible either though, it's fairly common for odd platforms to have their own kernel versions... MIPS and PA-RISC did for quite a while (the bulk of the MIPS or PA-RISC support was merged in, but it took a while for the bugs to be worked out of mainline, requiring platform-specific kernel patches to actually yield a bootable kernel.) A lot of embedded platforms have their own branches, with lower memory and CPU power than a typical desktop or server, the branch can be cut down in ways that are not portable but speed up the kernel for that platform; embedded platforms (including Android) also don't have expansion slots, so the user is not going to put some new card in then lament not having drivers from a newer kernel.

Ultimately, if there's enough interest, I suppose the Android code can be made to use regular locks and framebuffer code, and then be merged into the mainline kernel. If it turns out the performance is lower or something (maybe the special locks sped things up...), people would then still have the choice between a "stock" mainline kernel and an Android kernel.

5
0
Silver badge

Typical.

"preventing anyone except a Google employee from making the changes"

So much for Android being open source.

Just say no to google. They are an accident waiting to happen.

13
2
Anonymous Coward

Google is Evil

Google are an accident that happened already. They were once quite innovative, but to be honest they are like MS in terms of stealing / parasiting good ideas from elsewhere and using their financial muscle from their advertising success to enter and eventually flood other markets / products.

In my view Google are worse than MS because everyone has known what MS' game is all about, whereas Google have been ever so sneaky, playing the nice guys whilst all the time using that image, to con people.

Just look what they did with Mozilla. Supported it and then stuck up 2 fingers once theyd achieved a critical mass to launch their own browser.

El Reg, we need a new icon "Google is Evil"

3
0
Flame

Rings a bell?

"...this fork is "much worse" than the typical fork. ...are locked out from ever contributing it back to the kernel community,"

A bit like BSD code which gets lifted by the Linux people, and then GPL'd so any changes can never be contributed back to the original BSD code.

10
5
Grenade

BSD license allows for this, it's perfectly legal

Microsoft and Apple are also doing it, so what exactly is your problem ? Oh, and one more thing, GPL license also makes sure you contribute back to the community.

To make this clear to you, the GPL license is not free in the same way you are not free to take away other people freedom. Get it?

7
5

His problem...

"Microsoft and Apple are also doing it, so what exactly is your problem ?"

His problem is exactly that - Apple and MS are doing it. Quite a few Freetards have issues with Apple's use of OSS, despite Apple's contribution to WebKit - you know, the best browser engine out there by far. Freetards really think everything should be - and *can* be - free, and that no-one can make money from OSS, licenses be damned.

Microsoft are of course paying OSS lip-service in exactly the way Google does. "Don't be seen to be evil."

2
1
Anonymous Coward

RING RING

RING RING.

You realises that all the emo linux fa{ng} boys will mark you down. But yes it does piss me off how they just take BSD code, change it a little and then refuse any of the improvments (if any) to filter back to the BSD code. Would be like Apple taking a bookstore interface from another company and redoing it in such a way that they could deny the other company even thought of it at all. There again I've always thought of linux as the microsoft of unix's since version 2 onwards. So to read how the Linux kernel click go emo over some changes they cant fully steal and bastardises is frankly the most funneist and sadest things I've read this year.

`"No one cared about the code, so it was removed," writes Kroah-Hartman` If we translated that into theo speak it would read "I cared so meh to the rest of you" :).

That said the politics of kernel managment is very much onpar in its parrelesls to school playground politics. Just a clear observation there.

FAO REG HEADS - were is my BSD icon, I want one now dammit Jayne.

3
1
Stop

Re: BSD license allows for this, it's perfectly legal

"Microsoft and Apple are also doing it, so what exactly is your problem ?"

Just this: The hypocrisy. Do as I say, not as I do. There's enough of that about without infecting open source with double standards.

What part of "Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer" do you not understand?

Relicensing is NOT an option. BSD code stays BSD licensed. Extracting strings from the Windows XP nslookup binary proves that Microsoft have fulfilled their obligations. Relicensing BSD code under GPL, however, is not compliant.

But who cares? It's only BSD, right?

1
0
Thumb Down

It's legal, but morally dishonest.

The BSD license is good, precisely because it doesn't push people into a constrained model of software distribution and development (which both closed source and the GPL do). I have no problem with commercial/closed source organisations taking BSD code, doing something useful with it and hopefully furthering its visibility even if nothing is contributed back. Sometimes companies do contribute back to BSD code anyway, which is is always useful.

Taking away someone's freedom in order to push your own viewpoint is an extremely dubious definition of 'free' - this is precisely what the GPL does, because it is limited in ways the BSD license is not. I'll grant that there is perhaps a limit to how far proponents of the GPL are morally obliged to contribute back to the original BSD source, but I would suggest that the limit is considerably above zero.

In other words, many of the aims of BSD and GPL fans are identical, so expecting programmers to enhance and contribute to your code whilst refusing to do precisely the same to the original BSD source could be considered both hypocritical and abusive.

2
0

So...

...perhaps you can explain to me how the BSD licence allows people to take away other peoples' freedom, then? If I don't want to contribute my code under BSD, I'm free not to. As a user of the software and/or licence (which is basically all I care about), the BSD model is actually a lot more free than the GPL, and I am more likely to use it as a result.

Sometimes, I *might* *not* *want* every Tom, Dick and Harry to have automatic rights to the work I have done. I might actually want to profit from it! Given how many OSS advocates happily work for free, though (and consequently place zero value on their time), I don't think many will understand that I value my time at greater than zero.

At least the BSD model is fairly clear. The GPL is not, and can ultimately be circumvented in exactly the fashion Google have done - by simply withholding vital components on which everything else in the build depends. Sure, people can now say "Let's move everything to GPL v3!" - but the existing v2 code can never be eliminated.

The barn door is open. The horses have bolted, and you can bet that in the future, Microsoft will also be trying this trick on GPL v2 code, and there will be a lot of forks for the Linux community to deal with in the near future, with no net gains for the OSS community as a result. In effect, Linux has just been declared open season.

1
0
Jad
Unhappy

RE: BSD license allows for this, it's perfectly legal

the BSD license does allow for code to be reproduced, however there are incompatibilities between the BSD and GPL licenses that mean you cannot take BSD code and re-license it GPL or vice versa.

A good number of projects run dual licensing, but that requires the permission of the original authors.

If you search the web you will find a fair number of projects that have arguments over this sort of thing, in both directions, just have a look for the bcm43xx driver project for OpenBSD (bcw driver) : http://lwn.net/Articles/229742/ and forum entries related to this discussion ... they get quite heated.

1
0
Jobs Halo

Best browser engine by far?

Based solely on the Sunspider benchmarks I am sure. Who makes those benchmarks again? Hmmm I think it might be Apple. And the scores are never better "by far", usually ms differences. You seem to forget that webkit was based on KHTML and there were long disputes between Apple and the KHTML people before webkit actually satisified both sides. Not to mention that they implement quick and dirty fixes so that they can pass ACID tests.

2
0
Silver badge

@PXG (was: RING RING)

I think that b0rked my parser ... Can anyone translate playground to English?

0
0
Silver badge
Boffin

GPLv3

Linus will regret no having the kernel under GPLv3... He'll soon see why.

I was somewhat expecting this.

4
1
Silver badge

Open source?

If google were any more open source, they'd be microsoft.

8
1

Google's Code is still GPL

They still have to produce the code if they're distributing it (and they are.)

It might not be an easy import into the mainline, but it doesn't mean a clever developer can't look at it and try to merge it back in, or look at a device driver and try to port it back to the mainline.

4
0
FAIL

Re: Forking hell

Dang, that's exactly what I was going to say!

Way to go, Google! Sounds just like Microsofties! fsck the collective wisdom! We're better and smarter than you are!

Just understand that the diameter of limbs gets smaller and smaller the farther out one goes . . .

3
1
Headmaster

Does this reflect the "Open Google"?

Interesting to review Reg's December 23rd article - "Google 'open' memo betrays deep corporate delusion" - and the various comments following it. Seems to me, as an observer outside of the Linux community, that company deeds and staffers' words don't quite tie together ...

3
0

Can we hear from a grown-up, please?

"Others might see that as an opportunity, but whatever."

Whatever? Oh noes! Like, dude, you're totally harshing on us.

Is this chap still in high school?

7
4
Coat

It may be 3am but ....

Im usually pretty tech savvy but this one went way over my head . Makes no forking sense to me at all . Thank you and goodnight !

1
0
Silver badge
Pirate

Uncle Sam* playing Poker ... with Global Operating Devices who Certainly Do Play with Loded Dice

Google is a Trojan Horse........ with Rabid Thirst and your Every Personal and Private, Public and Business Weakness and Desire for Exploitation and Heavy MetaDataBase Analysis/Deep Packet Inspection/Digital Rights Manipulation and Proxy Intellectual Property Theft and Plagiarisation? Nice ..... when One Knows All Evil, or even just Thinks that One Knows IT All ..... which is a Most Reasonable and Perpetually Wise Nagging Virtual Doubt best Safe Harboured in Order to be Eternally Protected against the Arrogance of Total Information Awareness, on Guard against Envy and Catastrophe which always Accompanies and Dogs the Lack of Humility in Perverse and Subversive Self Centred Intelligence.

* Wall Street/Capitalism/Google/Sergey and Larry/Alien$-) ........ Uncle Sam, an Enigmatic Scarlet Pimpernel and Certifiable Manic Depressive/Yin Yang Bi-Polar Refugee/Asylum Seeker? ...... or Zero Day Hero?

6
4
Bronze badge
Linux

forking good move

If they (Google) are not willing to work to make their stuff useful for the Linux kernel overall, then fork them.

1
0

Looks like the Penguin mob are trying to flex some muscle

Smells to me of "This will create headlines, let's do it".

Basically, kernel.org is telling Google that it's big enough not to need all their money and donated employee time. Fine, go ahead. What happens when someone builds a laptop with a touchscreen and you want to provide touchscreen drivers? You can't have them because you gave them back to Google and told them where to stick it.

Of course it cuts both ways - if anyone finds a bug in the Linux kernel (unlikely but possible) and releases a patch, I don't get it on my phone until Google release their own patch - even though the code will be identical.

1
11
FAIL

silly billy

there were linux touchscreen drivers before Google came along and will be after

4
0
FAIL

Not Identical

The code isn't identical, that's kind of the whole point.

0
0
Grenade

Google's Attempt at Taking Over Linux - Linux Wars Begin 2010

Well, Linus and his followers managed to kick out Google... the question will be --- what will be more popular: Linus's Operating System or Google, who runs a huge portion of the internet's, soon to be phone dominator, soon to be tablet dominator, Operating System?

Sounds like the beginning of the Linux Wars - in 2010

4
0
IT Angle

No war, no battle

Linus of course. Google's chrome OS or Android mobile OS won't touch the hundreds and thousands of servers running Redhat, SuSE, Ubuntu, Novell distributions of Linux, not to mention the lesser-known ones like Mandriva and Slack. Tablets and mobiles don't run the Internet, they only use it.

Novell and Redhat have both built highly profitable businesses from Linux (the kernel on it's own is not an OS.)

Google do not run "a huge portion of the internet's operating system." If you're talking about the Google web server, only 2% of requests to the million busiest websites in January was to GWS. 67% went to Apache, and 17% to Microsoft.

It'll be a long, long time before we have to worry about the Google IOS.*

*Internet Operating System

1
0
Bronze badge

Highly Unfortunate

If Google's additions to the Linux kernel were so designed as to be only relevant to Android systems, then they would indeed cause bloat to the kernel, which should be avoided.

However, this should have been addressed in a diplomatic manner, giving Google an opportunity to resolve the issue. Perhaps there would have been a way of making the Android-related code an optional extension to the Linux kernel, for example.

If people find stuff from Google's Android useful, it may indeed happen that Linux will become history, and Android will replaice it. Is this spat with Google worth risking that possibility?

1
0

Not really a problem...

If people find stuff from android useful, they'll just borrow it. Open Source, you know :)

1
0
Silver badge

Problem with Linux

This kind of thing gives me the heebie jeebies. In my line of work I have to have something stable, reliable and supported over very long periods of time. Linux is frightening because whilst the development community has done a fairly effective job at bring stability, there's still the opportunity for anarchy. For all I know Google's fork might become trendy. It probably won't, but if it did then all the dev effort may go that way. And then where would that leave those who'd bet their future on the withering, dying branch?

Generally I have a choice between something like VxWorks (now backed by Intel) and the other commercial RTOSes, and some sort of hacked Linux (slung together by people who seem to do a good job, but it's in effect another Google style fork off the main tree). If there's a sudden change in the direction of mainstream linux then that potentially gives me a problem if my fork's supplier choses not to follow suit. If I go with VxWorks then at least there's some corporately imposed stability. Actually, when Intel bought Windriver last year that did cause some concern - what it it becomes and Intel only platform? Eeek!

Microsoft's big advantage is the comparatively low probability of anarchy. Yes, they might be big and very commercially minded, but to some people that's an advantage. Apple seem to have very little interest in reliability and security, and rely soley in selling trendy fruit themed toys. And some people will welcome Google's fork as a means of bringing a degree of assurance of corporate stability to Linux. And there may be more people who prefer that to those who don't. So where would that leave the Ubuntus, Fedoras and Suses?

2
3
Stop

@Il Midga....

"if anyone finds a bug in the Linux kernel (unlikely but possible)"

Really?

Linux code is 100% perfect?

You could try visiting

http://bugzilla.kernel.org/

or this for general stuff

https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/+bugs?field.searchtext=linux&search=Search+Bug+Reports&field.scope=all&field.scope.target=

You see, this is what we battle against, deluded people who bang on about something, with little knowledge about what they are talking about.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

And so...

...the final nail is driven into the coffin of that penguin curiosity.

Seems that even "open" Google agrees that proprietary code is the the best code.

1
3
Silver badge

Uhh..

What part of "fork" don't you understand?

It's still GPL licensed, and it's still Linux. Just a different version of. Like all the other different versions.

Final bolt in the chassis of the Penguin's rocket sled more like.

1
0
Grenade

The only thing

that surprises me about this story is the amount of people who have apparently only just worked out that Google are a "for profit" organisation the same as any other business structured the way Google are structured and "Don't be evil" is a marketing tagline just as much as "Think Different" or "Where do you want to go today".

1
0
FAIL

Lots more effort for Google

I expect the Google will force them to do a lot of back/cross ports (security) from the Linux kernel. Wow that will take a lot more effort. Makes you wonder how insecure the Google phone will become. I expect Nokia (Symbian) and Istuff have the same problems with closed software.

0
0
Bronze badge

@Midga di Macaroni

If you don't understand the technical reasons for a move, don't invent some political reasons.

0
0
Jobs Halo

Google: Talk social...

...act brutal. But really, this should come as no surprise to anyone. Google needs to make money just like any other large software company. At some point you sacrifice the "be good" and have to "act a little evil" to keep up with the other big boys.

Nice to see Google coming over to the dark side.

0
0
Thumb Down

ANYONE shocked by this?

As soon as they started Android you knew it wouldn't last, and the amount of locks ins android has to google means you can't go back. You need a Gmail to sign up and use the thing in the first place and everything is 'google apps or not ' pretty much. They are doing what Apple do and it will just generate another bunch of fan bois nobody likes.

It won't be "Is there an app for that?" It will be "Is there a google app for that."

I just got the N900 and it suits me, I just hope Nokia don't take mamo, meamo (whatever its called) the same way later on.

We need an icon for the "blindingly obvious" or "well I didn't see that coming..."

1
0
Silver badge
Badgers

Well given a choice..

...between the Jesusphone and the Penguinphone, let's see..

Apple: Requires you own a Mac with a more recent version of OS X to develop on it. Good if you have a bottomless wallet. Tough shit if you only have Tiger.

Google: SDK available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Apple: Works on the Ipod Touch, Iphone and Ipod Maxi (sorry, Ipad).

Google: Works on a fuckzillion Android handsets out there and increasing.

Apple: Uses "Objective C", and an Apple-specific version at that.

Google: Uses Java. You know, that tiny thing that nobody has ever heard of?

..I'm sure that there are other ways in which Android provides a hell of a lot more choice than anything Apple will ever do, but for now I think the above is probably most important to app developers. I'm no fanboi, I don't even have a "smart" phone (nor see the need for one). What I have been doing though, coincidentally, is perusing through the app developer sites for both because someone at the college I'm studying wants to develop Iphone apps.

He doesn't have a Mac.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums