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Google's Honeycomb Source Code Release Is On Ice 136

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-quite-yet dept.
itwbennett writes "'Ice Cream Sandwich', that is. Apparently it's source code delay week, as Google joins Apple in delaying the release of source code for open source licensed software. Except, unlike Apple, which promptly released the LGPL WebKit code in question Monday afternoon, Google stated yesterday that it will not release the source code for Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) until after the release of the next version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich). This is not necessarily news, since Google said last month that source code would be held for an indeterminate time and released when it was ready. It's just that now 'indeterminate' has an actual date: post-launch of Ice Cream Sandwich. The question, says blogger Brian Proffitt, is: 'How the heck can they do this, given that Honeycomb is licensed under the Apache Software License v2?'"
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Google's Honeycomb Source Code Release Is On Ice

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  • 'How the heck can they do this, given that Honeycomb is licensed under the Apache Software License v2?

    Err, because no one is going to step up and stop them, that's how

    • Re:Simple answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GweeDo (127172) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:01PM (#36099776) Homepage

      Or because the Apache license is a BSD style license that allows for this.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Or because they own the copyright?
        • by JAlexoi (1085785)
          Er... Actually both points allow them to not release anything they like.
        • by drb226 (1938360)
          I believe they've accepted contributions to the pre-honeycomb code, meaning they do not own the entire copyright and therefore must obey the restrictions of the license if they use those outside contributions.
          • by Luthair (847766)
            Not necessarily, unless Google lawyers are incompetent they'd require non-Google employees to sign CLAs for code contributions.
      • Re:Simple answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drb226 (1938360) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @08:00PM (#36100990)
        This.

        The Apache License is a free software license authored by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). The Apache License requires preservation of the copyright notice and disclaimer, but it is not a copyleft license — it allows use of the source code for the development of proprietary software as well as free and open source software.

        Apache License [wikipedia.org] (emphasis mine)

    • by msauve (701917) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:37PM (#36100132)
      Since he apparently can't find or read Apache's FAQ [apache.org], which plainly states, with regard to their license:

      It does not require you to: include the source of the Apache software itself, or of any modifications you may have made to it, in any redistribution you may assemble that includes it...

    • End of Thread (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @07:03PM (#36100404) Journal

      Thanks, now we have nothing on-topic left to discuss. I suggest we devote the rest of this thread to discussions of ponies. I like them stewed, how about you?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I like them BBQ'ed...

        OMG WTF BBQ'ed Ponies FTW!

      • I like them little! I recently watched the "My Little Pony - Friendship is magic!" series (apart from the last 4 episodes)... its AMAZINGLY good for a girls cartoon series, but then it comes from the same stable as the power puff girls!

        And no, I'm not handing in my geek card!

    • Its for the good... They know honeycomb is not acceptable to run on phones and the second they release it to the public people will start to port drivers needed for their phones to it and run it anyways.. After that people will start to download these custom roms and put them on phones and have a poor user experience and possibly get turned off android..

      Its probably a good idea overall... The only thing they could have done diffrently is hold off on honeycomb period untill ice cream sandwich was completed a

      • by Nikker (749551)
        That's a load of garbage. As I understand it you think someone will buy a new device, go through a bunch of steps to find someone else's software before they even turn it on, load that software then realize it doesn't work right so declare google's software sucks?

        Let me rephrase this into a bad car analogy for you. I buy a Ford car, get it shipped to my house with out sitting in it or turning the key. Now I drop the motor using instructions from someone I have never met, modify the motor using said instr
      • by Omestes (471991)

        After that people will start to download these custom roms and put them on phones and have a poor user experience and possibly get turned off android..

        I think your almost on the mark, but not quite. This isn't about individuals, its about manufacturers of cheap knock-offs further diluting the market, and tarnishing Android's image. Motorola, and other first tier distributors won't release Honeycomb on phones because their partners and know better (and might be under contractual obligations). Second tier distributors probably won't release it because they have some brand image to preserve, and might have management with a brain. Third tier manufacturer

        • by shmlco (594907)

          "This isn't about individuals, its about manufacturers of cheap knock-offs further diluting the market, and tarnishing Android's image."

          And where is "open" source in all of this?

          Sounds to me like Google is having its cake, and eating it too.

          Android is "open source" which means that any manufacturer who uses it can do whatever they want with it... except, according to Google's license regarding Google mobile apps and the Android Store... they can't. Any user is free to download the source and modify it... wh

          • by Omestes (471991)

            And where is "open" source in all of this?

            I'm not arguing in favor of Google not releasing the source, I'm just correcting the previous poster who claimed its about "individuals installing bad Honeycomb mods".

            Personally I'm not a fan of keeping Honeycomb closed, even if it will be released (in part) late under whatever release that combines it back with the phone-oriented trunk. It sets a bad precedent, even if I understand their motivations. There probably is a way of keeping the Android image and branding untarnished while still playing nicely

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      Exactly because it is licensed under the Apache Software License v2 which allows this sort of thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This story has been covered here before... earlier today.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    'How the heck can they do this, given that Honeycomb is licensed under the Apache Software License v2?"

    Can't they do this specifically because they chose the Apache License v2?

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      'How the heck can they do this, given that Honeycomb is licensed under the Apache Software License v2?"

      Can't they do this specifically because they chose the Apache License v2?

      Yes that's exactly right. Their kernel code must be released - and has been - obviously because it uses the linux kernel which is licensed under the GPL. But the rest of the code is under ASL which - as you say - allows them to determine whether or not they release the code.

  • Obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LordPhantom (763327) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:47PM (#36099644)
    'How the heck can they do this, given that Honeycomb is licensed under the Apache Software License v2?" Well, see, anyone who would fight them uses google mail....
  • ASL for this reason. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ustolemyname (1301665) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:47PM (#36099650)

    'How the heck can they do this, given that Honeycomb is licensed under the Apache Software License v2?

    Actually, this is precisely why they use the ASL instead of the GPL.

    google cach of old ars article with good explanation. [googleusercontent.com]



    And seriously, the name Brian "Proffitt" sounds like someone trying to generate clicks.

  • Binspam (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:49PM (#36099672) Journal

    Didn't we cover this yesterday? [slashdot.org]

  • New record (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tool462 (677306) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:53PM (#36099708)

    Maybe I'm missing something but this looks like a dup in less than 24 hours. That's impressive, even by slashdot standards...

    http://linux.slashdot.org/story/11/05/11/0041250/Android-Honeycomb-Will-Not-Be-Open-Sourced [slashdot.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:54PM (#36099720)

    How the heck can they do this, given that Honeycomb is licensed under the Apache Software License v2?

    Because it's licensed under the Apache Software License, which does not require that the source code be offered?

  • Sure they can do it (Score:5, Informative)

    by dido (9125) <dido@@@imperium...ph> on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:57PM (#36099732)

    Two things. Number one: Google is the copyright holder for most of the software in question. Any community contributors presumably have copyright assignments to Google. Even if the code was released under GPLv3 (and it isn't) they would be under no obligation to release the code because they own it and can do whatever they like. The copyright holder cannot by definition, violate a license they grant. For the stuff that they aren't the copyright holder (e.g. the kernel), they have complied with the license and released the source code where required. Number two: the Apache Software License Version 2 is a non-copyleft license. Read it carefully [apache.org] and please tell me where it says that redistribution requires source code release.

    • by msauve (701917)
      If it were a derivative of a GPL'd work (it isn't), they would have to release the source code including their additions/changes, at the time the binary was publicly distributed, regardless of their holding copyright to the additions/changes.
      • by ustolemyname (1301665) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @07:06PM (#36100444)
        Not if they are the copyright holder, having had all contributions assigned to them. Then the GPL is simply terms they can choose to use in distributing the source to others, but they can distribute their own binaries of their own code however they want to under any license they want. Many things are multiply licensed like this (ie, what ID Software does with their old game engines).
        • by msauve (701917)
          They don't own all copyrights for all code within Android. Examples include the http-apache and sqlite stuff, which Google uses under the Apache license. There's also the alsa stuff, under the LGPL. Presumably, they don't have any separate licenses for this stuff, since they include the Apache/LGPL ones in the source tree. There are many more examples. If any of those were GPL, then Google would have to release source code. The whole premise of the summarized post was that Google derived Android from code w
          • by gig (78408)

            Isn't the same WebKit code that Apple just released also used in Android?

      • It's not the way the copyright law work. The principle that lays behind GPL, other license, and the whole rest of software publishing works in a different way.

        Basically, the copyright law, in almost every jurisdiction says : you can't make copies of something, unless you own it, or you obtain explicit permission of the one who owns it : i.e. you need a license.
        The purpose of the law is to stop copies which weren't allow by the owner (which theoretically could be the author, but most of the time is a separat

    • by devent (1627873)

      "Even if the code was released under GPLv3 (and it isn't) they would be under no obligation to release the code because they own it and can do whatever they like"

      Now Google owns the code so they are free to choose the license under with they release the binary and/or the code. But if they would have chosen the GPL then they would have to release the code as well. The GPL requires you to do it if you redistribute the binary to include the code and every change you have made to the code.

      • Actually, I think you will find that the copyright holder is *not* beholden to any license they choose for you - I can require you to distribute under the GPL, but never give you the source code and thus bar you from distributing at all, I'm not required to give you the source code at all.

  • by dominious (1077089) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:57PM (#36099736)
    You know what would be cool? If Google actually produced real sandwich ice cream with the Android shape: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/05/10/icecreamsandwich.jpg [guim.co.uk]

    Hey, you've heard it first time from me! Google I just want 10% on this.
  • by sydneyfong (410107) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:00PM (#36099770) Homepage Journal

    It is rare to find an article that attempts to analyze legal issues on OSS licenses that is even more horrifying than the worst comments from people pretending to be lawyers on Slashdot.

    I don't tend to complain about article quality on slashdot, but this one is pretty extreme. The whole article is basically some random dude making himself look like an idiot by being clueless about OSS licenses and then pretends to be a lawyer. At least on Slashdot, people do know OSI approved licenses do not require source to be provided with the binary.

    AND, as others have already noticed, it's a dupe!

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:48PM (#36100272) Homepage Journal

      is rare to find an article that attempts to analyze legal issues on OSS licenses that is even more horrifying than the worst comments from people pretending to be lawyers on Slashdot.

      I don't tend to complain about article quality on slashdot, but this one is pretty extreme. The whole article is basically some random dude making himself look like an idiot by being clueless about OSS licenses and then pretends to be a lawyer. At least on Slashdot, people do know OSI approved licenses do not require source to be provided with the binary.

      But you're missing the point of this story, which is that Apple is wonderful because they released the code for something but Google is horrible because they're delaying the release of the code for something.

      Here's a line from the summary that gives away the game:

      Except, unlike Apple, which promptly released the LGPL WebKit code in question Monday afternoon, Google stated yesterday that it will not release the source code for Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) until after the release of the next version of Android

      This story is Apple P.R. Any mention of OSS or source code or Ice Cream Sandwiches is strictly coincidental.

      Another way this story could have been written is: "Apple is double-plus good and Google is the sux". At least that simple statement would have avoided the danger of the author demonstrating his ignorance of OSS licenses, which has now served to obscure the desired pro-Apple message. So the story becomes about the cluelessness of an author rather than the transcendental wonderfulness of Apple compared to the awful horribleness of Google.

      Whichever "New Media Strategies" outfit Apple hired to put this stuff out is about to fire one of its "social media associates" I think.

      • by gig (78408)

        The idea that Apple would have to hire astroturfers is ridiculous. Completely absurd.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          This is why I think the story is astroturf. A dedicated Apple fan would never be this sloppy.

      • by Xyde (415798)

        Wow, another anti-apple post from PopeRatzo complaining about bias? What a joke.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Wow, another anti-apple post from PopeRatzo complaining about bias? What a joke.

          Son, I love Apple. Apple stock paid for my daughter's university education. I've bought a new Mac Pro every other year since that model was introduced for the specific purpose of audio and video production. My laptop is a Macbook Pro and my media player is an iPod Touch.

          I don't have a problem with Apple doing well, and my only problem with their products is that they increasingly make me stay in their walled garden. If they

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:10PM (#36099858) Homepage

    itwbennett misrepresents what Proffitt said. Proffitt noted accurately that the Apache Software License doesn't require the release of the source code. Not just not immediately, it doesn't require it to ever be released.

  • by DrJimbo (594231) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:30PM (#36100070)

    This seems like more of the same anti-Google FUD that we've been bombarded with recently. It is a classic political tactic called "attack your opponent's strength". One of the reasons Android has taken off like gangbusters is because it really truly is open source while iOS and WP-7 are certainly not. So the game being played is to stir up a ruckus about Android not being open. The same tactic was used recently when people's hair caught on fire because Google had the ability to nuke malware apps. The story was not "hey, Android is open and safe", the story was that Google was being evil.

    I'm currently working on a GPLv2 (for historical reasons) project intended to be part of a Linux distro. Guess what? I don't release the source code until it is ready for alpha and beta testing. Releasing it before basic functionality is in place simply wastes everybody's time and energy. I see absolutely nothing wrong with Google dealing the release of their software until they think it is the best time to release it. If Google released early instead then many of the people bitching and moaning now would have been bitching and moaning about Google releasing code before it was ready.

    These unscrupulous tactics have been around for a long time. I'm not surprised that they are being used in this context but I am a little saddened that people seem to keep falling for the same old malarkey.

    • Android 3 has been released in multiple commercial tablets, including the Motorola Xoom. Binaries have been released, source has not.
    • by Spit (23158)

      Code is certainly the reason I bought my Froyo phone, I think it's nice that google released the code. I won't get mad at them unless they reneg on the ice-cream sandwich release. Then I won't buy any more.

      Until then, I don't own any honeycomb device nor will I buy.

    • by shmlco (594907)

      Firefox is open source, and daily builds are available. Linux is open source, and daily builds are available. MySQL is open source, and daily builds are available. Apache is open source, and daily builds are available.

      All are large, complex programs and platforms, with reputations to maintain and uphold.

      Android is "open source" and... Google will release code when they're good and ready.

      Further, 3.0 has shipped. 3.1 has shipped. And yet, Google will not release the source code for the current, shipping vers

      • by DrJimbo (594231)

        IMO the problem is entirely with the manufacturers. I think it is a minor miracle that Google got them to go the open source route at all even though it is in the current limited fashion. You've got to walk before you start flying to other planets.

        I was not privy to their discussions but it seems pretty clear the manufacturers were not ready to accept a GPL style license that required them to divulge the changes they had made. The ASL is clearly a compromise. This is a reflection of the age-old de

        • by gig (78408)

          Android is not the most popular mobile open source project that is Apple WebKit, and the source is available for that. How did WebKit get onto so many more phones than Android and still release the source if the lack of source is the fault of phone makers?

        • by shmlco (594907)

          "I think it is a minor miracle that Google got them to go the open source route at all even though it is in the current limited fashion. "

          Hardly. Google offered them a free OS back when the iPhone was starting to eat everyone's breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

          In effect, they said: "With this, you can either compete... or not. Your choice."

          Or to paraphrase another line, "A choice that is no choice, is not a choice."

    • by gig (78408)

      Motorola XOOM has no binaries on it? The Samsung tablet they gave away at Google I/O has no binaries?

      There is a lot of open source Apple code in Android itself. You're just pushing more of Google's anti-Apple FUD.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      The only thing is, it's really done for competitive purposes. OHA members don't really like AOSP because it means they release a product and some chinese OEM down the road gets to compete with them in a month's time.

      The "With Google" advantage has narrowed because the "With Google" apps (which include the Market) are so widely pirated that every Android platform has it (without the Market, Android's pretty sparse as 99% of the apps on it aren't available outside the Market).

      So I'd guess the code really isn'

  • by hackus (159037)

    I don't believe anything good can come from a single entity holding most of the code everyone uses to communicate with on a personal level.

    Honestly though, has anything ever good come from a small bunch of people with complete and ultimate control over a population of source code, cars, state pensions, food or banking?

    No, it always ends up collapsing because power attracts psyhcopaths...such as Hitler and idiots like Bill Gates.

    It is one of the reasons why open source rules dictate lots and lots of distros

    • No, it always ends up collapsing because power attracts psyhcopaths...such as Hitler and idiots like Bill Gates.

      +1 for going Godwin.
      -1 for calling Bill Gates an idiot. I'm no fan, and Gates is many things, but an idiot he's not.

      • by hackus (159037)

        He never completed college. ;-)

        Also, idiot might be too kind of a word for Mr. Gates. I think I would call him a megalomaniac who has been recently been displaying an alarming maniacal trend towards eugenics with his billionaire pal club.

        He is not even a genius, he is just a common thief in the right place at the right time.

        You don't get that sort of money by playing above the table or even remotely fair. You get it through fraud, deception, and stealing and killing people.

        -Hack

        • Like I say, he's a lot of things. I'd agree with megalomaniac, narcissist, monopolist, and *maybe* even thief. But those are on completely different vectors than "idiot". I'd even agree that he may have more luck than genius, but he was able to turn that luck into profits, and you can't be an idiot and have things work out quite so well. You've got to have at least some brains.

          I'd suggest that it'd be safe to say he was a profiteer savant who was in the right place at the right time, with the right r
        • by tftp (111690)

          He is not even a genius, he is just a common thief in the right place at the right time.

          There were many companies at that time who were more or less at the same place. Sure, BG got a deal with IBM, that helped, but MS DOS was selling for just a few dollars.

          What really helped BG is his (at that time) ability to look beyond MS DOS, start Windows development and not join the OS/2 club. In fact, his OS/2 actions were very profitable, and OS/2 never recovered (if it could otherwise.) Many other companies of

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @07:13PM (#36100512) Homepage
    ...it's funny how much they sound like a Mervyn's holiday sale commercial ("open-open-open-open") when they're comparing themselves to Apple, but it appears that it's not the general philosophy that's different; it's only the specific parameters that appear to be at play here.

    Based on my understanding of the ASL, they have every right to do this. But with this and other recent decisions, they need to STFU about being the most open platform around. Who cares how open it is if modifying your installation breaks your contract with your wireless vendor? Who cares how open software is when one vendor controls what's in the "official" distro? And who cares how open something is when, as soon as critical mass is reached, they suddenly decide to withhold some releases?

    Personally, I care more about ongoing supportability. I'd like for the "fragmentation" question to be cleared up enough in the developer community that they are more likely to create Android apps simultaneously with their iOS apps. I'd like for hardware vendors to be forced to support at least a few major updates. If they have to stop yelling, "Open!", that's fine with me.

    Of course, that being said, "Open" is a welcome addition, but if there's always an asterisk by it, then it's not a reasonable marketing bullet point.
  • Some of the other well known blogs have their utterly stupid people. I know. Usually the stupid people on Slashdot are of a little higher quality. Not on legal matters though. They are just as stupid as utterly dumb Engadget commenters.

    I don't know how you'll manage it, but do try to get this through your thick thick skull:

    Google does not have to release the Honeycomb source. Not because they have expensive lawyers or some shit like that. It is because they are not required to.

    1. They fucking own the source code they are not releasing. AND even if they did not
    2. Apache license does not require it.

    Gawd, extreme stupidity is infuriating.

    • by shmlco (594907)

      They own the code. They chose the license. They can release it, or not. Correct?

      I really don't care. Except when every third phrase coming out of Google's PR machine is "open source"...

      Which apparently means one thing when Mozilla, Apache, and Linus uses it, and something else when Google uses it.

  • It will be licensed under a license, when it hasn't been released, it hasn't been released under a license.

    No, I'm not channeling Donald Rumsfeld, its just the license isn't relevant when the software hasn't been released.

    • by gig (78408)

      The Android 3 software is currently on at least 2 shipping devices. One was released about 2 months ago, and the other was released a day or 2 ago. So the software has shipped.

  • What is with all these stories lately? Apple didn't do this when WE wanted it so they are bad but Google is good.. Today its just the opposite and Google is bad.

    its not like any of these companies are withholding anything they are working on it.. they all have a history of ponying up, so give them a damned chance.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      Apple didn't do this when WE wanted it so they are bad but Google is good..

      Apple was breaking the license terms of the software it was using by not releasing the code, Google is acting within the license with their code.

      Today its just the opposite and Google is bad.

      Because the additions google have made to the existing free code aren't open source and many people don't like that. However Google can make additions to the existing free code and not release their additions until they deem it appropriate and that is entirely within the scope of the license.

      So the general idea is that google may not be 'in the spirit of open sour

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