Baidu has forked Android, launching a mobile OS at its annual shindig which also saw the Chinese search outfit slotting web apps into its home page to go with its Chrome-alike browser. Baidu has taken a leaf out of Google's book before, and "Baidu Yi" (as the new mobile OS is called) is at least based on Android code, unlike …
Google Works in china
I have to take issue with the authors comments, Google search works 95+% of the time in all the places i have tried it; only having problems when the GFWoC is set to suppress bad news, such as the train crash last month; which caused Google search to stutter for a couple of days.
All the other Google services I use regularly, such as translation, Google Earth, and Gmail have worked as well as they do in the UK.
And yes, after the last article I did try entering searches on "sensitive" topics, and didnt experience ANY of the problems reported; maybe it is only the Hotel/Foreign Correspondents internet streams being monitored so closely??
And no, I am not using a vpn, just a bog standard connection to a local isp and using the isp default dns server.
"Google Earth, and Gmail have worked as well as they do in the UK."
Where are you based in China that your Gmail works as well as UK? It takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour for a 10MB email to download where I am in central China, and that's with a 20Mb connection. I'm talking Google-based email particularly, other domestic and international downloads are fast.
Image search also cuts out almost instantly - and Baidu's image search is extremely poor with English words so they don't work as a substitute.
I have a medium-sized consulting company in China - and if they tighten control even further our company will simply not be able to function. Of course we have the usual work-arounds, but they are always in danger of being cut off also.
To get back on topic - there are good programmers in China, and some do have good imagination. I would say that technical people seem to have more imagination than the general population average - and this is the area we are liekly to see real innovation appearing rather than the usual emulation in the future. But as to whether Baidu's applications can be globally successful - I'm really not sure because their English language applications such as image search are so poor in English - and finding English-speaking technical staff in China is incredibly hard (I know firsthand - I've been recruiting them from around China for many years). So the only way Baidu is going global with its software is with the help of a partner.
So will Oracle now sue Baidu for patent and copyright infringement?
It has to, really.
good to see them try
I can imagine the Baidu response to a patent/copyright infringement lawsuit from Oracle would be along the lines of "so what?"
they maybe able to sue for copyright, but seen as it's a fork of an open source project it would be unwise.
Oracle on the other hand could sue them if they thought it was in their interest.
How would they sue for patent infringement? I thought this was only applicable if you were selling into the American market, and from what the article suggests, Baidu aren't doing that yet.
Forking == duplicated effort
Google would be able to save themselves some cash if they did the development of Android in public, as is done for the kernel, and shared the cost with other interested parties. Instead they periodically get it to a stable internally tested state and then throw each successive release over the wall to comply with copyleft license requirements to enable Android to be distributed.
Baidu are likely to get processed for copyright license violations if they distribute binary copies on phones without source code being made available.
I have to say; having visited multiple areas of China, I can say with some authority that copying is taught from a young age. Innovation is alien to the majority of Chinese people who are brought up through the never endless school and after-school activities.
It is worrying for those who enjoy freedom of thought, and wish these values spread to all humans. However, it also must be said: this is clearly the pattern the Chinese government knows as a 'safe' option', for now. If people are too middle-class, too intelligent, too self-aware, they will either leave PRChina or demand reform.
It has been expressed recently by very senior Chinese officials that the Great Firewall is too lax; I can see home VPN connections being unusable within the next year as a result of this ideology. Having your own set of mainland websites, closed to the majority of similar content, of foreign origin, spurs on the new IPV6 add-on ability to finalise DNS for Chinese and Russian use, meaning they don't even need to bother with the pinyin romanised equivalent.
Copying is supported by the regime and that's not going to change in the next five years.
I do worry about China in the future, but I also worry about the ridiculous state of our own set of countries, with populist parties, keen to make their name known, safe in the knowledge they only have four or five years to 'get things right' before they will, likely, be voted out.
Our countries are now short-termist as a result. The one thing that can be said of China, is that the current growth and ability to pull people out of food poverity would not be possible if they adopted a democratic solution.
Check out the 'East Asian Model' for economics; there is a reason why China has chosen the path it has chosen.
Google could either think of this as bad, or could find the competition good and put more effort into improving their version. Who knows, the copy might produce innovations that features that could be fed back into google's version.
Rather than denigrating Baidu
for creating an Android fork - which they are entitled, indeed, encouraged to do by the terms of the license - wouldn't it be more interesting to and informative for readers if the Reg were to *test* the OS ? Mayhap, as Nick Ryan points out above, it might have innovative features from which Google or other Android creators - and end users - might benefit....