If you needed further proof that Android is not an "open platform", Google just supplied it. On Thursday, the company said that as its select partners release the first tablets based on Android "Honeycomb" – the latest version of its mobile operating system – it will not open source the Honeycomb code. As first reported by …
that be "the foreseeable future"?
You're probably right...
I think you probably have it exactly right. But that doesn't actually negate the truth of El Reg's article.
not much to see in this article - run along now
What a waste of 5 minutes of my life. Android is not open because....Google decided to wait a little longer than usual to open source the Honeycomb release? Android is not open because...some apps, like Google Maps (which, by definition, are not part of the operating system) aren't open source? Android is not open because....Google holds a trademark on the word 'Android'?
Does anyone else think the author's been smoking too much of whatever Steve Jobs is dealing in?
Expect it to get more and more shrill..
iFanboy panic stations.. Man the RDF..
The iPhone was "dominating" the smartphone industry at first too.. Although I seem to remember, it never got above about second place.. Now it's been demoted to third, or is it fourth in sales. And all the iSuperior points are getting knocked over one by one. Soon all they will have is the claims of "user experience" and "polish". Both entirely subjective unquantifiable aspects.
iPads have been in the news for big sales over the last year. But are up to now uncontested in their category. So the smear must come in to boost the RDF. To at least prolong Apple "dominating" something other than their customers.
And the self congratulating "Nobody can make a tablet as good or as cheap as Apple" screeching point will be transitory at best.
So expect more references to Android being sued, Android breaking GPL, despite claims to the contrary from people who wrote the license, Android not being open, Android having cooties..
The whole article was basically one big fanboy PR exercise. Quite sad really.. Deep down they can see themselves back at 5% of the market like they are with PCs.
And who is Steve "h264 is open" Jobs to accuse anybody of stretching the definition of open source?... I'll take the word of techs over jumped up salesmen any day.
I seem to recall...
When the iPhone first came out Apple was saying it would be happy to get even 1% of the phone market. Apple has't said that they are in the phone biz to be #1 in handsets sold, but last I checked they have over 50% of smartphone revenue.
"Soon all they will have is the claims of "user experience" and "polish". Both entirely subjective unquantifiable aspects."
The Apple user experience isn't always quantifiable. Thats why they have Apple stores. Unless you've used an Apple product first hand is seems like fluff and BS. Even then they don't exactly show you (unasked) the cool things you can do in OS X (X11, Xcode, Terminal,...).
As for 'who is Steve "h264 is open" Jobs'? He is the person who has captivated and pushed 'tech' geniuses to push art (pixar) and technology to new heights. Apple has plenty or real open source projects http://www.apple.com/opensource/ . Any salesman knows that most consumers couldn't give a crap what makes the computer tick as long as it gets them on Facebook.
"And the self congratulating "Nobody can make a tablet as good or as cheap as Apple" screeching point will be transitory at best."
You're right! That point is already gone. Samsung has the same economies of scale and what do you know? they're releasing tablets at the 499 price point!!! Good luck seeing any other company keeping healthy margins at that price point. Lets be realistic how many massive tech (hardware) companies are there? I wouldn't be surprised if in a few years it will be Apple Samsung (with windows or android) and HP left with significant market share in the tablet market.
Android has cooties
Who remembers DF's now, eh? Fond memories
Paris probably likes a prescription pill or two as well...
Well, looks like google want to make some money out of this. So do your contributions for free then Google can make extra money. If it makes it faster, cause it's lacking in speed compared to iphone and windows phone 7 go ahead. But can they actually make it closed source assuming the had some contributions already?
yes but no but yes
smacks of the apple grip of death videos to show other phones have problems with antenna's too
I guess they're evil after all. Dagnabbit.
That's what I'm supposed to say, right? Did I miss my cue?
Great fun seeing the Android crowd coming up with silly excuses. Google really has them wrapped around their finger.
To all practical intents and purposes this story would only.......
.........be relevant instead of nitpicking if the author has evidence that Google intends to *permanently* hold back Honeycomb. I would be most interested in seeing such evidence.
welcome tn the future
Google is the new Microsoft
It's not open source - yet
One of the tenets of open source software is that if you have a device running the software, you can make your own changes to the software.
The FSF define four distinct freedoms that can help you determine whether something is 'free software' ('free' as in 'speech', not 'free' as in 'beer'):
The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
Any user buying a Honeycomb based tablet will have freedom 0, but they are excluded from freedoms 1, 2 and 3 by Google's reticence at releasing shipping code. It is demonstrably un-free.
BTW, I read Google's reasons differently to most others. I think they made a tablet OS, designed for beefy devices, without too much care for memory/cpu usage. If this were to be open sourced now, before they have made performance improvements, it would run like a dog on less well specified devices, like earlier android phones. This would make android look bad, and so they don't want that to happen.
Open not Free
But Google never claimed it was Free (or Libre), just Open, which is just numbers 0 and 1 on your list.
Which it is, or will be once they've cleaned it up a bit.
If they don't disclose the source in, say, a couple of months maybe? Then you can start wondering about the intentions. Until then, since they have opened all the rest of the Android code, I think they deserve the benefit of any doubt.
Troll, obviously, because of the massive iTroll in this nonsense of an article.
Well shut the f##ks up...
Who knew? This is outrageous. Obviously Steve is the right man for the job because you can trust him, right?
You absolute wally. Nothing unknown in this story. Google always makes sure it works before open-sourcing Android unlike the releases by Microsoft in the past releasing crap that never worked. We also know that Google's various apps are closed.
So what was the news & do you really understand how stupid you are for writing it? It clearly shows your noad towards Apple & of course your hero, Steve Jobs. You are a right twat, & hardly deserve the title of journo. It should be twaddler...
A whole bunch of bull about nothing
The iPhans chant Android is fractured because there are so many variants.
Yet when Google decides to lock the software down during what is effectively a beta stage, everyone complains.
It's like a new house owner trying to move the furniture in before the builders finished building the thing - not very practical.
It makes eminent sense to restrict access until everything is cleaned up and ready for market before addressing software access.
ERROR: Poor excuse detected, try again
Beta stage?!? This is in products being sold for real money right now.
@BiatcH: It's still in beta
So, you Phantards are now admitting Honeycomb is beta...
Look, we're poking fun at Google because they've been banging on about the 'but it's open' thing for so long (like it actually makes a difference to 90% of users). And now they've been called on it.
I don't really give a shit, but it's fun winding up little Android boys who've got their panties all bunched up...
What colour's your kettle? :)
Chrome, like my browser! ;-)
The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits
All your Open Source Efforts are belong to us
Don't be Google
The post is required, and must contain letters.
I see what you did there. Clever.
This article is rubbish
>>If you needed further proof that Android is not an "open platform",
Open platform != Open source.
>>it will not open source the Honeycomb code.
They said they aren't going to open the code "yet". Do you know how to read or are you ignoring words on purpose?
>> will delay the distribution of Honeycomb
You just contradicted yourself.
>>Google and its partners don't want smaller name manufacturers eating
>> into their tablet sales.
And so what? Is it against some unwritten rules for Goggle to try to make money?
>>names nabbing pieces of code for their own tablet OSes.
What exactly would they nab? The kernel can be downloaded from kernel.org.. all the UI stuff is going to be written for Android, so unless you basically copy the whole user environment you wouldn't gain anything..
>>Google has always billed Android as an open source operating system,
And it is.. because they are delaying one release doesn't mean that all the code has suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth.
>>but the latest version has always been developed behind closed doors.
>> some pieces of the platform – including the Google Android Marketplace
>>and app like Google Maps –
The market isn't part of the platform. If you had ever developed an Android application you would know that the Google API's like Maps aren't part of the Android platform.
>>Google also maintains control over the Android trademark.
>>can't build true Android devices unless they play by Google's rules.
They can't use the market if they don't play by googles rules (which include the ability to use ADB etc.. which is good for users). There is nothing stopping you from releasing an Android device without the market or extra google API's.
>>Google did not make a public announcement that it is not open sourcing the code.
Why would they announce something they aren't going to do? They will release the code when it's ready. Why would they announce "we aren't going to release the code" when they intend to release it?
>>In October, when Steve Jobs publicly
Steve Jobs.. like yourself.. doesn't know what the hell he is talking about.
>> download the Android source code, and build your own OS.
And you still can.. you can't download the source for honeycomb because they aren't happy with it yet.
>>By that definition, Honeycomb is not open.
Don't mix meanings of "open". You can go and get all the API docs for honeycomb. You can develop applications for it with out having to reverse engineer it. It is an "open platform" and you can run those applications without magic keys from google. Not being able to download the source *yet* doesn't change that fact.
"Don't mix meanings of "open". You can go and get all the API docs for honeycomb. You can develop applications for it with out having to reverse engineer it. It is an "open platform" and you can run those applications without magic keys from google. "
So, by *your* definition, Windows, AIX and HP-UX are all from then on declared to be open operating systems! Well done, it's all settled then and we can get back to our lives.
>>So, by *your* definition, Windows, AIX and HP-UX are all
>>from then on declared to be open operating systems!
Can you go and get all the API docs for free? Are you allowed to develop applications on those platforms without the vendors blessing? There are no secret API's which would stop you from being able to develop applications? You don't need your applications to be signed to have them run?
Do you know why POSIX etc exist? You can have open standards without open source.
As long as you define your interfaces and make them accessible you have something that is "open". Not "open source" but "open". Does it matter how AIX's and HP-UX libc differ as long as they implement the same interfaces with minimal amounts of differences? Nope.
>>Well done, it's all settled then and we can get back to our lives.
There's nothing to stop you developing on honeycomb, you don't have to sign an NDA to get API docs. You can download the SDK now. You can run your applications on devices now.
Lot of fandroids getting...
their knickers in a twist! :D
Android never has been really open.
All Android development is behind closed doors. The road map is secret and under Google control.
The Google practice of publishing each Android version after development makes a mockery of the normal Open Source practices.
Could someone fork and have really open development of Android? In theory yes, in practice unlikely in the extreme.
Open source fans have been conned by Google all along.
Open Source != Open Development
The linux kernel is developed largely in the open (anyone can subscribe to lkml); but there are any number of open source projects where you can only download tarballs of releases.
Just because Android isn't developed in the open doesn't mean that it isn't open source. And just because Google are delaying the release of the source code for what seem, ostensibly, perfectly good project management issues, doesn't mean it's not open either.
It strikes me that Google have made a sensible, pragmatic decision: if you release Honeycomb in its present state you'll get all kinds of half-baked fudged versions on phones. I suspect that if they had had longer to sort things out (market pressure to release a tablet and all that) that we would have seen Honeycomb being whatever Honeycomb's successor probably will be: something that runs on both phones and tablets.
Sheesh. Some people are just so determined to find anything successful as having a green streak of pure evil running right through it.
Just google for it
"Could someone fork and have really open development of Android? In theory yes, in practice unlikely in the extreme."
Left your cave much recently? Visit xda-developers. Or just google MIUI (for a very extreme fork) or Cyanogen.
Just google it. Bing does.
It works so why change?
I'll still buy Android.
Look at the competition to see why.
More expensive, worse to update, and both far more closed than Android.
Flame away anyone who disagrees, won't make it untrue though
That's why we still need someone to build MeeGo devices even if Nokia will not.
I can't help but wonder...
...how many GPL violations distributing Honeycomb without source will mean...
It seems someone is getting ready to test GPL in court. Until then, anyone who takes others' source code and uses it in ways not permitted by them, is called simply "a thief".
AC, obviously, because we do not forgive.
Perhaps I'm a cynic...
... but I read "It would have required a lot of additional resources and extended our schedule beyond what we thought was reasonable. So we took a shortcut" as "As usual, we've lifted chunks of code from all over the place, and we need time to cover our tracks".
Can get the API docs? Check.
Can develop applications without reverse engineering? Check.
Huzzah, Windows 7 is open source! Someone tell Steve Ballmer, quick
That may change over time, but that is the situation currently. Arguing that Honeycomb is open source is like arguing that Windows 7 is open source.
People pointing this out obviously displeases you to rant and rave so much.
Another person that can't read
Where did I say honeycomb is open source?
Open != Open Source. You can make your APIs open and not open your source.
HTML is an "Open Standard".. where is the source for it?
Before I start thinking "Yay, it's clever reply writing time!!!" please actually read what has been written. If you don't understand it don't start bashing the keys and feeling smug.
No, to be fair
He was talking about Honeycomb being an "open platform" along the lines of POSIX - I really don't think that the man said Honeycomb or W7 was open source, because it clearly isn't. This whole flamewar is a bit silly, a lot of the voices here don't sound like they're speaking from professional experience as developers of any kind. Florian Whatshisface has fueled this fire, among others.
Anyway, whatever you think of Apple,Google etc. isn't the software & technology scene a whole lot more exciting & innovative than it was during the dreary MS monoculture era - it's been a long time coming...
I can't say I care about the source but
My best guess would be Google don't want 3rd rate chinese manufacturers chucking this on smart phones so they can say "look at us we have android 3.0, buy many handsets please" which will in turn antagonise the big partners and maybe even result in someone like htc cobbling something together to ship an 'android 3' part.
As google knows android 3 just isn't ready for smartphones, having been designed around tablets only, they know this will damage the android brand.
The only way to ensure it only gets put on tablets for the time being is to keep the source back and only release it to partners who have signed up and agreed to not put it on a phone.
They should wait until they've ironed out all the bugs with operating two vastly different form factors but the market is slipping away from them. Businesses sometimes have to make compromises to hit market.
A delayed source code release doesn't make something "not open source"
1. Honeycomb is impressive but isn't finished - the SD card slot on the Xoom isn't yet supported, for example.
2. Google have been caught with their pants down with respect to where some of their source code came from. I expect they are conducting a very thorough exercise on the Honeycomb code base to expunge any potential issues. They can't afford for fresh accusations to come to light.
3. I don't see Google delaying the source code release to slow down the manufacturers - after all the more devices that run Android, the better it is for Google.
4. Google have delayed previous source code releases (notably Froyo) so this is not really news.
In summary, a delay to the source code release is not a new development, it's been done before, and it doesn't change what is a very open OS into a closed OS. It just isn't ready for RTM yet.
Umm, yes it does.
If it's not yet open, then it's not open.
'Open at some point in the future, maybe' does not make it open today.
You Phantards are hilarious!
... it does. A bit.
@Gulfie: "It just isnt ready for RTM yet"
Not ready for Release To Manufacturers? Lawks, not only has it been released to manufacturers, the manufacturers have put it on devices and are selling it to people, without making the source code available.
So that's a GPL licensed kernel and userland, almost certainly with modifications, on devices being sold to end users, in willful violation of the license. But its alright, google is king of open source, and not evil at all. The golden rule of the GPL is that if you distribute binaries of GPL licensed components, you must make the source code of those binaries available.
As in everything google do, they push the boundaries of legality, and wait for someone to call them on it. I'm shocked that so many people are just happy to let them do whatever the fuck they want, and genuflect at their name.
>>So that's a GPL licensed kernel
Yes, and I have a felling you can get the source for that....
>> and userland,
No.. the userland is a mix of different things. Most of Google's code, Bionic etc, is Apache or BSD licensed and considering it's their code they have the right not to give it to people. The GPL parts of the userland (I forget what actually is GPL.. bluez maybe?) need to have the source released in line with the GPL.. But even if all of the Google written code was GPL they still own the copyright on it and have the right not to release it. It's their code after all.
>>distribute binaries of GPL licensed components,
If those components are GPL licensed (Bionic is BSD licensed) and if you don't own the copyright on those components. Guess who owns the copyright on big chunks of Android that weren't imported from existing projects....
>>you must make the source code of those binaries available.
If you write some software and release it under GPL you don't have to release the source for any versions you don't want to release under the GPL. You own the copyright. People that create binaries from your GPL licensed source have to supply the source. There is no reason why the original author has to sign away their rights on the copyright attached to their work.
You obviously have no idea about any of this. I suggest you walk away from the keyboard and stop making an idiot of yourself.
It's Monday. I haven't had my coffee yet.
"I'm shocked that so many people are just happy to let them do whatever the fuck they want, and genuflect at their name."
And no other drivelling, idiotic, slack-jawed fashion victims do that for any other consumer electronics manufacturer parading themselves as Messianic, do they?
ok, so honneycombe is not (yet) open.
My phone still runs an open os... Honestly, does it really matter if Android is open or closed, i have yet to meet anyone who wants/can change the code. The important thing to me is that my data is in an open format so i can get it no matter what happens. I do hope they open the Honycombe code so that people can make cool things with it, but if they dont it isn't a masive bother, prehaps someone will branch the android 2.x code to develop an open os for tablets (we can do that you see)
- Product Round-up Smartwatch face off: Pebble, MetaWatch and new hi-tech timepieces
- Geek's Guide to Britain The bunker at the end of the world - in Essex
- FLABBER-JASTED: It's 'jif', NOT '.gif', says man who should know
- If you've bought DRM'd film files from Acetrax, here's the bad news
- VIDEO Herschel Space Observatory spots galaxies merging