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Android 4.0 Source Code Coming "Soon" 203

Posted by samzenpus
from the on-second-thought dept.
itwbennett writes "Good news today for those of you who have been waiting for news about whether Google would be opening up the ICS source and for those of you who thought it was gone for good. Android engineer Dan Morrill revealed new information in the Android Building Google group yesterday evening, saying that Google plans 'to release the source for the recently-announced Ice Cream Sandwich soon, once it's available on devices.'"
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Android 4.0 Source Code Coming "Soon"

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  • Ok, basically this makes Android Open Source again. But still it keeps the companies quite dependent: If the source code is published months after the devices are already on the market, any company that wants to use it under the Open Source terms rather than abiding to Googles conditions to get the source for integration timely will be one year behind.

    Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that the source code is being made available, and its in this regard better than most competitors. But still it means that Go

    • by EdZ (755139)
      Only if the companies do not wish to develop said features on their own.
    • Android has really never been an open development model: the applications that make android "android"(from the consumer perspective) are closed, and the development of each successive release has been between Google and their Best Buddy of the moment until release.

      The big question has been, since 'Ice Cream Sandwich', whether it would continue to be closed development/open source, or whether it would go closed entirely, except for a few GPL-obligated kernel bits...
      • by amRadioHed (463061) on Friday October 21, 2011 @05:57AM (#37788944)

        The big question has been, since 'Ice Cream Sandwich', whether it would continue to be closed development/open source, or whether it would go closed entirely, except for a few GPL-obligated kernel bits...

        No, that's never been a question for anyone other then the conspiracy minded. Google has been extremely clear and consistent about their reason for not releasing Honeycomb's source and about continuing with the open sourcing of Android as soon as the code base is fixed in ICS.

        • Mod parent under-rated.. they've said this from the start, but the trolls have been having a field day with how Android is now closed source, Google are so Evil, blah blah..

      • Android has really never been an open development model: the applications that make android "android"(from the consumer perspective) are closed

        Um ... the phone, messaging, browser, music apps -- in fact, pretty much everything in a consumer's "Android" except Gmail, the Market, and some mostly unknown odds-and-ends -- are open sourced. And groups like Cyanogenmod are developing these constantly. Sounds pretty damn open to me ...

    • If it was worthwhile forking it then we would have seen manufacturers attempt that already. Clearly Google is by far leading development and dealing with them is not too painful yet.
      • by q.kontinuum (676242) on Friday October 21, 2011 @06:38AM (#37789096)

        Depends. Nokia was considering Android and dumped it, because it was too painful. (Nokia provides a lot of services, especially in the area of location bases services they are competing with Google, and due to their offline navigation software they might pull people away from Google Maps.) Samsung is putting more effort in their Windows Phone devices.

        The problem is, branching would be pointless: Android without Android App-store is not competitive. In case of Nokia, a great system was available already and they canceled it because of the lacking ecosystem. For others it will be the same problem.

        DISCLAIMER: I work for Nokia, but here I state my personal opinion only. Statements are only made based on public available information.

        • by tepples (727027)

          Android without Android App-store is not competitive.

          By "Android App-store" did you mean Android Market? If so, then Amazon seems to be doing just fine with its own store. The only thing I haven't been able to get on it is, unfortunately, my bank's check deposit application.

          • by mcvos (645701)

            Android without Android App-store is not competitive.

            By "Android App-store" did you mean Android Market? If so, then Amazon seems to be doing just fine with its own store.

            Are they? My impression is that the Amazon app store is really awful in comparison to the Android Market.

        • by shellbeach (610559) on Friday October 21, 2011 @07:57AM (#37789484)

          Nokia was considering Android and dumped it, because it was too painful.

          Surely the $1 billion MS paid them to take on WP7 had something to do with it? I think Nokia was a bit silly in eschewing Android, personally ... but then, their previous decisions on phone OSes haven't really inspired confidence in their ability to pick the market.

          • by q.kontinuum (676242) on Friday October 21, 2011 @08:05AM (#37789534)

            Nokia owns Navteq (they sell map data). With focus on Android this asset would be wasted. They provide an offline navigation software. Incidentally I'm working on the location where this software is implemented. This would have been wasted as well. Nokia has a business unit around location based services. This is direct competition to Google and would have been wasted. OTOH, Bing maps is already using Navteq data for some time, MS and Nokia are both cooperating with Yahoo for quite some time, etc. All this is public available information, and I think it is enough reason to turn down Android. So I think it was rather a decision of building the own ecosystem for MeeGo faster or going for WP.

            Of course the 1Billion did not hurt either, and I can imagine that Elop did have some good contacts to MS which helped building up the trust for negotiations. But I don't think this was the decisive issue.

        • by scdeimos (632778)

          Nokia was considering Android and dumped it, because it was too painful.

          I think you're missing something about Microsoft and their bank balance - this [thestreet.com] article says it best:

          Wall Street had favored the popular Android system as the quick and more crowd-pleasing option. Instead, Nokia's alignment with Microsoft ties it to a partner that has deep pockets but very limited success with its Windows phones.

          And also over here [reuters.com]:

          [Nokia CEO Stephen] Elop said one of the key topics in the talks on doing a deal with Microsoft was convincing Nokia that it could reach "a very low price point."

          • Nokia was considering Android and dumped it, because it was too painful.

            I think you're missing something about Microsoft and their bank balance - this [thestreet.com] article says it best:

            Wall Street had favored the popular Android system as the quick and more crowd-pleasing option. Instead, Nokia's alignment with Microsoft ties it to a partner that has deep pockets but very limited success with its Windows phones.

            yes, that was their view; wall street analysts can't have deep insight in every company they write about, and here they are also missing some obvious points. As replied to the other post:

            Nokia owns Navteq (they sell map data). With focus on Android this asset would be wasted. They provide an offline navigation software. Incidentally I'm working on the location where this software is implemented. This would have been wasted as well. Nokia has a business unit around location based services. This is direct competition to Google and would have been wasted. OTOH, Bing maps is already using Navteq data for some time, MS and Nokia are both cooperating with Yahoo for quite some time, etc. All this is public available information, and I think it is enough reason to turn down Android.

            And also over here [reuters.com]:

            [Nokia CEO Stephen] Elop said one of the key topics in the talks on doing a deal with Microsoft was convincing Nokia that it could reach "a very low price point."

            Surely this is an important factor. Only it's not about the 1 billion, but about the hardware requirements / the costs to produce a device. The average prices for smartphones are declining, and when MS sticks to strong hardware requirements it is not possible to compete in these price segment. With WP "Tango" it will be pos

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          Samsung is putting more effort into WP devices? Maybe more than in the past but I doubt more than Android. I could be wrong because of the patient issues but since they just came out with the Galaxy Nexus after working with Google that seems a bit iffy.
          Nokia should have bought Palm or stuck with Meego. Had the Meego phone come to the US on my carrier I would have gotten it next month when my contract is up. Really that looked so cool.WebOS was a great OS that was strangled at Palm by a lack of resources.
          Fra

          • Maybe more than in the past but I doubt more than Android

            Agreed. Also I think there might be further changes, since WP7 to WP7.5 was a major step in functionality.

            Had the Meego phone come to the US on my carrier

            Unfortunately Nokia doesn't have enough market share in US to convince carriers of a new system easily...

            I would have gotten it next month when my contract is up

            It is a very cool device from a geek point of view, and is has some extremely cool features in the UI for normal end users. But when I had access to a proto last year, it was simply not ready, the ecosystem is still not available. And even now I think there is room for improvement/maturation in the s

            • by LWATCDR (28044)

              Maybe but WP7 and WP7.5 are playing catch up still. They are not better than IOS or Android so they are a fail. It is such a shame that Nokia just sort of gave up on US market. I think part of it was that they where Eurocentric. They thought the US market which isn't as large as the EU market wasn't worth the effort. I would have loved to get an E71 back a few years ago but I use a CDMA carrier. The Nokia phones where always very hackable and flexible devices. I am sure that the new WP7 phone will be great

      • The thing is if a phone manufacturer breaks away from google they lose the andriod market. Theese days a good app market is one of the most important features for a sucessful smartphone platform. The loss of andriod branding would probablly be pretty painful too.

        The likes of cyanogenmod can get away with suggesting the users install the google apps themselves but i'm not sure if those app packages are strictly legal and even if they were manufacturers can't really ask users to do that.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Did you know that Google allows competition on Android with their own services?

      Example, did you know that Google allows hardware manufacturer or carrier to remove all Google services and apps from Android?

      Example, did you know that Google does not pay anyone using Android or choosing Google services and apps in Android? Google does pay for device manufacturer and carrier part of the feed what it gains when user clicks an Ad when doing a search trough Google search widget when it is located to Android launch

      • Did you know that Google allows competition on Android with their own services?

        I read this story: http://thisismynext.com/2011/05/12/google-android-skyhook-lawsuit-motorola-samsung/ [thisismynext.com]
        which is a clear example that Google does not (at least not always) allow this.

        Example, did you know that Google allows hardware manufacturer or carrier to remove all Google services and apps from Android?

        Example, did you know that Google does not pay anyone using Android or choosing Google services and apps in Android? Google does pay for device manufacturer and carrier part of the feed what it gains when user clicks an Ad when doing a search trough Google search widget when it is located to Android launch screen. But so does Google pay to Mozilla and every other who set Google search to search panel. It is same payment to every one.

        You always write "Example", yet you don't provide any. I provided the example how Google hinders manufacturers to install competing services already in my thread start. (Not as a link, but I put Motorola, Google and Skyhook in context. Searching on Google, the link I posted here is the third in the list.) This contradicts quite

        • So reading through your link it seems that the problem here was that Skyhook was set as default and would prevent them gathering any location information. This does not contradict the statement that "Google allows competition on Android with their own services." They only required that the Google service was the default.

          Not only that, but it doesn't prevent you from launching an android phone if you don't follow their tests. Nothing stops an OEM from loading stock android without Google's apps and releasing

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      You know, that even GPL 3 doesn't require that you release the source until you distribute the software, right? There might be some legitimate complaints about how Honeycomb was handled, but hanging on to the source until the binaries are released is entirely within both the spirit and letter of open source.
  • Honeycomb (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NoobixCube (1133473) on Friday October 21, 2011 @05:14AM (#37788734) Journal

    The only reason they didn't release the Honeycomb source wasn't because of some shift to evilly exploiting the open source community (*cough* DARWIN), it was because it really really wasn't intended for phones. Google likely didn't want manufacturers hacking it into running on phones and giving a largely unsatisfactory experience. They always said this, and people still suspected Google of shifty evil motives. The ICS source being the unification of phone and tablet branches should keep people happy for a while...

    • by julesh (229690)

      The only reason they didn't release the Honeycomb source wasn't because of some shift to evilly exploiting the open source community (*cough* DARWIN), it was because it really really wasn't intended for phones.

      Fine. However, as the owner of a v2.2 tablet whose manufacturer never released a software update, I'd have appreciated the opportunity to update it myself...

      • by A12m0v (1315511)

        Most 2.x tablets can't be upgraded to 3.x, Google saved you wasted time.

      • Fine. However, as the owner of a v2.2 tablet whose manufacturer never released a software update, I'd have appreciated the opportunity to update it myself...

        The version of Android which includes 3.0+ features but is designed to run on most devices that met the requirements for Android 2.x is 4.0.

        Which Google has announced that they will release as open source.

        So it sounds like you'll have that opportunity.

    • Re:Honeycomb (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PhunkySchtuff (208108) <kai&automatica,com,au> on Friday October 21, 2011 @05:47AM (#37788882) Homepage

      Open Source doesn't mean "I'll release the source for this because I think it's useful to you" or "I'll not release the source to this, because we don't want you to hurt yourself, even though we're claiming that it's as easy as "mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git. kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make""

      Open Source means you release the source. Plain and simple.

      • Re:Honeycomb (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Imbrondir (2367812) on Friday October 21, 2011 @06:15AM (#37789006)

        I think the confusion is between Open Source, and Open Development.

        The id Tech engines are usually released as open source after several years in use as closed source. But when it's released it's still 100% "Open Source".

      • by drb226 (1938360)
        There's more to "Open" than just "Open source". For example, suppose I want to make an iPhone app. I need to buy a mac, and use xcode. Android is clearly more "open" in regard to developer tools.
      • Open Source means you release the source. Plain and simple.

        Well, actually, it means that the source is released under an open source license. Which Google has done with all versions of Android prior to Honeycomb, and has announced plans to do with Ice Cream Sandwich.

        So, all pre-Honeycomb versions of Android are open source, and Ice Cream Sandwich will be open source, and Honeycomb is not and will not be open source.

    • If your only issue is preventing people from tying the android name to bad user experiences, why not simply defend the trademark and release the free stack under a different name? worked for apple, and worked for java, who didn't even bother changing name.

    • They were not exploiting the open source community, they just wanted to control how people use their software!
    • by laffer1 (701823)

      And google decided that all vendors weren't willing to put in the time to make it ready for a phone. If it were really open source, they could have trusted the community to do it right. If not, well they should make their own hardware like apple does then.

      • And google decided that all vendors weren't willing to put in the time to make it ready for a phone. If it were really open source, they could have trusted the community to do it right. If not, well they should make their own hardware like apple does then.

        There's quite a lot of excluded middle between the open development model (which you confuse here with "open source") and the OS manufacturer making their own exclusive hardware (both Microsoft's Windows CE/Mobile/Phone internal-development, closed-source,

    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      That is a fake excuse. No phone maker will release a phone without Google's blessing since doing so prevents them from adding the Android Market, marketing it as Android, or including any other Google branded service.

      I think it was more of one of these two reasons:
      A) Honeycomb was a hacked mess they were embarassed about
      B) They fared some one **cough Amazon* would grab the raw OS, fork it and manage to establish a successfull Tablet line before they managed to gain ground.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        I think your to reasons are likely correct. Google pretty much openly admitted that they were embarassed about the hacked mess that was hiding under Honeycomb's UI. They wrote Honeycomb to function. Not to be maintainable or clean.

        On the other not, there are phones without Android Market, as well as tablets. If you look through here, you will see that the phones are available. The issue is that no US carrier would sell a phone that doesn't have Android market.
  • by Errol backfiring (1280012) on Friday October 21, 2011 @05:29AM (#37788816) Journal
    Why wait till the software is stable? Even if you do believe in the myth that software ever is finished enough, isn't the one of the purposes of open source to have a few extra eyeballs to check if it is mature? There are zillions of real open source projects with both stable versions for everyday use and current state for development. Why does Google think Andoid is any different?
    • by somersault (912633) on Friday October 21, 2011 @05:55AM (#37788930) Homepage Journal

      Did you even read the summary? They haven't said anything about making sure it's stable (which doesn't mean they haven't done so, before any trolls leap on that), but they have said they're waiting until the devices are released. Probably because they don't want people's first impression of Ice Cream Sandwich to be a barely functional custom ROM with half the drivers missing.

    • There is no rule that Google has to follow any particular model of open sourcing. Many open source projects have open development with stable and unstable branches. I think that's the best way to go, but that's not the way Google does things. Google knew that the Honeycomb source was entirely broken for most devices, so they didn't exactly need any outside sources pointing that out.

    • Google wants to make money with their services. Therefore they need to make sure that manufacturers do not integrate competing services. To achieve this they need to make it a condition for using Android. But this is only possible as long as Android is not open source. So in return for not integrating competing services, Google offers the source code (half) a year earlier to complying manufacturers, making sure that unfriendly devices will always be at least a year behind.

      DISCLAIMER: I work for Nokia, so I'

    • by Superken7 (893292)

      It is clearly not about that, I think you misunderstood the reasons behind this move.

      This is about preventing the "Android ecosystem" to go berzerk with incompatibilities if systems based on Honeycomb's source code start appearing. I think they have done the right thing. A binary release and a source code release are different things, you can't just release the source just because it "runs". Especially not when it is a platform that should remain compatible and backwards-compatible.

      • The last thing you need is the platform to fragment and then start catering for different versions of the software........oops too late!

        • by Superken7 (893292)

          "framented" is very ambiguous. You are twisting the meaning. Android remains compatible between versions. You can totally take a binary that was compiled for Android 1.0 and have it run under an Android 4.0 just fine.

          About *new* features, you can't really do anything if someone is running something old. Same thing happens with new APIs for hardware that does not exist on older phones. You can't do much about it.
          Yes, Android is fragmented in that many phones are running old versions. And it is not fragmented

    • by andydread (758754)
      Google admitted they didn't need the few extra eyeballs to tell them that he code sucked so no need to open it at that point since they already admitted the code sucked and the code was a stop-gap until it was fixed and released as ICS. Your trolling attempt is pathetic.
    • Why wait till the software is stable? Even if you do believe in the myth that software ever is finished enough, isn't the one of the purposes of open source to have a few extra eyeballs to check if it is mature?

      That's one thing some people release things as open source to gain, but its not the only reason people use open source, and its possible to use open source without that even being part of the motivation.

  • Open source, going to do this, going to do that. I get the very real feeling google are fundamentallyy failing at what they are trying to project.

    They are a company seeking profits, for the sake of their shareholders. I sincerely doubt they are doing anything for the users, it's all lip service and marketing PR spin.

  • I can't believe Slashdots readers are really as stupid as the last few posts about the Android source are making them appear to be.

    Google was clear that Honeycomb's code was not going to be released because they did not want people attempting to shoehorn what was effectively a tablet OS on to mobile phones. End of story.

    Google has also been clear that the ICS code will be released after the devices that are shipping with it roll out, which none have yet. Also end of story.

    Really, has the intelligence of the

    • Google was clear that Honeycomb's code was not going to be released because they did not want people attempting to shoehorn what was effectively a tablet OS on to mobile phones. End of story.

      ...so much for open source. Since when do "open source" software vendors try to prevent people from using their software in whatever manner they want?

      • by Namarrgon (105036)

        Way to prove the GP's point.

        The source to Gingerbread is still Apache-licenced, and is still open. Nobody, not even Google, is preventing anyone from using it in any way. Ask Amazon.

        Honeycomb is not open, and never was. Deal with it. We now have a firm commitment that ICS will be opened. It's another free gift to the community - why are you so upset that you weren't given more free gifts? Do you realise how much like a spoiled brat that makes you sound?

        • by laffer1 (701823)

          Well most open source projects release every version as open source. Imagine if we only got every other linux kernel opened up. Google is technically open source, but it's not "real" open source. The FSF wouldn't do this and BSD projects don't even do this.

          Google's actions are fine for a commercial company, but they shouldn't get the "open source" bump for doing it half assed.

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday October 21, 2011 @08:25AM (#37789684) Homepage Journal

      Is your intelligence so low that you don't understand that if you can't get the source, it's not Open Source? Google created an entirely not-Open-Source version of Android, and here you are to pat them on the back for it. It's almost like you're some kind of shill, but I suspect you're actually just stupid. You have so much invested in the idea that Google is the Good Witch that you refuse to accept that they have lied, engaged in fraud, et cetera. This isn't Oz and this isn't some naked titty wannabe wicca party, this is the real world, and there is no Good Witch. Just another corporation.

      • by Namarrgon (105036)

        [citation needed]. Links to lies, fraudulent claims etc please.

        Or are you just assuming that using the term "Open Source" is some sort of binding contract for the developer to turn over any and all future source code, regardless of the state of completion? Are you confusing the Apache licence with the GPL, maybe?

        The insults you're freely tossing around aren't helping you get your point across, I might add; kinda the opposite.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          [citation needed]. Links to lies, fraudulent claims etc please.

          Lie: Android is Open Source. Links: everywhere. Counterproof: ICS has been out for ages but the source hasn't. How can you even try to continue this conversation?

          Or are you just assuming that using the term "Open Source" is some sort of binding contract for the developer to turn over any and all future source code, regardless of the state of completion?

          No, "Open Source" means that whoever can get the binary can get the source. This is the sense in which SCO was open, and Sun before them; anyone who really needed the SunOS source and who had a sizable service contract could get it. But Google is currently not even that Open. They were in the past, and perhaps they will be soon, but they are not cu

        • by laffer1 (701823)

          The license used is irrelevant. I can download development releases of Apache HTTPD right now. It has to do with the definition of open source and what people think it means. Technically, Google is not doing anything wrong. However, most of us are used to development models like Linux, BSD, Firefox, etc. We can checkout code at any point in the development process and use it.

          The form of open source google is using is what RMS is always upset about. Let's not forget components of Android releases are un

      • You're not talking about Open Source. You're talking about Public Domain.
  • Forget about this + nonsense.

  • The real irony is that the one and ONLY thing I like about iOS 5 is the new notification manager.

    Then I found out that that idea was completely swiped from Android!

  • I see what they are doing here with the "soon, Soon, SOON" business. The android project is obviously suffering from endless feature-creep. The project manager is trying to get the devs to implement every cool feature he sees in other systems. This is causing delays.

    The android devs are clearly spending all the profits on booze, blow, hookers and Ferraris. Google will go bankrupt soon and be purchased by another mobile OS company. Said future owner will hurry-up-and-finish ICS to get the source code out the

  • I had a street corner growing up that said "Gas station coming soon" for 10 years before they finally built it.
    Can we get something slightly more specific?
  • Colonel Sandurz: Try here. Stop.
    Dark Helmet: What the hell am I looking at? When does this happen in the movie?
    Colonel Sandurz: Now. You're looking at now, sir. Everything that happens now, is happening now.
    Dark Helmet: What happened to then?
    Colonel Sandurz: We passed then.
    Dark Helmet: When?
    Colonel Sandurz: Just now. We're at now now.
    Dark Helmet: Go back to then.
    Colonel Sandurz: When?
    Dark Helmet: Now.
    Colonel Sandurz: Now?
    Dark Helmet: Now.
    Colonel Sandurz: I can't.
    Dark Helmet: Why?
    Colonel Sandur

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