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Android Ice Cream Sandwich Source Released 285

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the who-doesn't-like-source-code dept.
grcumb writes "Looks like the folks at Google have made good on their promise to release the Android 4.0 source code. Android software engineer Jean-Baptiste Queru writes: 'Hi! We just released a bit of code we thought this group might be interested in. Over at our Android Open-Source Project git servers, the source code for Android version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is now available. ... This is actually the source code for version 4.0.1 of Android, which is the specific version that will ship on the Galaxy Nexus, the first Android 4.0 device. In the source tree, you will find a device build target named "full_maguro" that you can use to build a system image for Galaxy Nexus. Build configurations for other devices will come later.' " Once nice side-effect of this is that the revision history for the non-free Honeycomb series is also available, albeit without any release tags.
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Android Ice Cream Sandwich Source Released

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  • first post released (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    google: a little bit less evil.
    • by poetmatt (793785) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @10:10AM (#38059786) Journal

      They were never evil. They're not MS/Apple. Do you have a short term memory loss? Honeycomb was withheld, and they told people why [gizmodo.com].

      They said basically honeycomb was a bad implementation, they didn't want people to move forward with it, they do want people to move forward on ICS. It's not like a "honeycomb is a goddamn secret!" This has been announced like 500x. It's like a design for a car that they say "this design causes engines to explode" so they don't release the design. Is this a surprise that they then release ICS source? Did you hear them say "ICS is a bad implementation"? No.

      That's not a lack of transparency either, they announced [guardian.co.uk] this [zdnet.com] repeatedly [phandroid.com].

      [Andy] Rubin says that if Google were to open-source the Honeycomb code now, as it has with other versions of Android at similar periods in their development, it couldn't prevent developers from putting the software on phones "and creating a really bad user experience. We have no idea if it will even work on phones." "Android is an open-source project," he adds. "We have not changed our strategy."

  • Good to see... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Algae_94 (2017070) on Monday November 14, 2011 @07:31PM (#38054562) Journal
    that Google has followed through on releasing the source code. This is awesome news after Honeycomb went MIA as far as source release.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Chris Rock had a routine. He said some—too many of our men, they're proud, they brag about doing things they're supposed to do. They say 'Well, I- I'm not in jail.' Well you're not supposed to be in jail!

      • Re:Good to see... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Baloroth (2370816) on Monday November 14, 2011 @07:48PM (#38054726)

        Huh? Google was supposed to release source code for Android? Pretty sure that counts as extra.

        Of course, by /. standards everyone is supposed to release their source code, so by that standard, yeah Google did what they were supposed to do. On the other hand, anyone who is truly a proponent of freedom should acknowledge that, being Google's project, they are free to do with it as they like. Including not releasing source, if they see fit.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Huh? Google was supposed to release source code for Android? Pretty sure that counts as extra.

          When you build off of GPL software you're legally obligated to release the modifications, so yeah, Google releasing a significant portion of Android is not "extra" it is the minimum required by law. That's not to say they did not also release some code they did not strictly have to, but since they had promised to do so, changing their mind at this stage would have been willfully misleading consumers and partners.

          • Re:Good to see... (Score:5, Informative)

            by icebraining (1313345) on Monday November 14, 2011 @08:19PM (#38054882) Homepage

            When you build off of GPL software you're legally obligated to release the modifications, so yeah, Google releasing a significant portion of Android is not "extra" it is the minimum required by law.

            Only if you distribute binaries, which Google never did. Of course, the manufacturers did release binaries, so they did distribute the GPL'ed code from their websites. For example, you could always find Honeycomb's kernel code on the ASUS website [asus.com].

            That's not to say they did not also release some code they did not strictly have to, but since they had promised to do so, changing their mind at this stage would have been willfully misleading consumers and partners.

            But they weren't obligated to promise it in the first place.

            • Re:Good to see... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by iluvcapra (782887) on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:54PM (#38055422)

              But they weren't obligated to promise it in the first place.

              If there's some sort of hierarchy it works like:

              1) Release nothing, offer service (Google search, Salesforce.com)

              2) Distribute dongle-encrypted binaries (Pro Tools, AutoCad)

              3) Distribute binaries (Mango, Google Android apps, iOS)

              4) Distribute binaries, distribute open source to the open components (Mac OS X)

              5) Distribute binaries, distribute source on binary delivery (Android)

              6) Maintain public source tree, no one gets the bleeding-edge source before anyone else (Linux kernel)

              7) Distribute source with a permissive license (Apache)

              And thene there's the various support levels:

              1) Fuck you (a lot of software)

              2) Check out the forum (Apple level 1)

              3) Give us a call and we'll charge you by the hour (Microsoft, enterprise Linux)

              4) Submit a ticket but we won't tell you anything after that (Android)

              5) Bring the software into the shop and we'll see what we can do with it in 10 minutes, if you live in a city (Apple Genius Bar)

              6) Submit a ticket, recruit people to vote on it, post bounties for it, and follow it to resolution (Firefox)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            That would be why none of Ice Cream Sandwich other than the kernel is under the GPL. They didn't 'build off GPL software', in fact they went to the extreme of writing their own libc in order to avoid that. The 'some code they did not strictly have to' is basically all of Android's userland.

          • by pavon (30274) on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:22PM (#38055274)

            Google did release all of Android Honycomb that was GPL'd. In particular the Kernel, and a few other userland tools. However, everything that makes Andrioid Android, and not just another linux distro is licensed under the Apache license which allows for proprietary modifications. This includes the Dalvik VM, the Harmony Java libraries, and the Android APIs. Google was perfectly with the law to not release this code, not to mention the fact that they wrote half of it themselves.

            This has already been discussed ad'nausem on Slashdot, so there is no excuse for this misinformation to be moderated up. I swear only idiots that hardly read the site get moderation points anymore.

          • by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:14AM (#38056218)
            Android isn't GPL. Its an Apache2 license. Only the Linux kernel is GPL and they have been releasing the source for the kernel mods on time.
          • Re:Good to see... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:15AM (#38056222) Homepage Journal

            When you build off of GPL software you're legally obligated to release the modifications, so yeah, Google releasing a significant portion of Android is not "extra" it is the minimum required by law. That's not to say they did not also release some code they did not strictly have to, but since they had promised to do so, changing their mind at this stage would have been willfully misleading consumers and partners.

            As a parent, I have learned that while you should not always reward simply "doing what you should", it's very important not to bitch about it when someone does what they should, or what they said they would do.

            So, for future reference, the correct response to this announcement of Google releasing the source code to Android 4 is "Good". Saying "Those fuckers, they didn't do it last time" is really not productive in terms of behavior programming.

          • by DrXym (126579)

            When you build off of GPL software you're legally obligated to release the modifications, so yeah, Google releasing a significant portion of Android is not "extra" it is the minimum required by law. That's not to say they did not also release some code they did not strictly have to, but since they had promised to do so, changing their mind at this stage would have been willfully misleading consumers and partners.

            Only the kernel is GPL and they've been releasing their changes for that all along. The rest of it, all the user land stuff is BSD licenced. So Google can release it as and when they see fit. Or not at all.

            My own thoughts are that they withheld 3.0 simply to piss on Amazon's parade and to give their tier 1 partners a honeymoon free from cheaper competing products. It may well be that a lot of the phone functionality was bitrotten / discarded in 3.x in their race to make it work on tablets so there is that

          • by scumdamn (82357)
            So on Slashdot of 2011, being a company that builds you software based on open source software and open sourcing every part of your software (even the parts you aren't obligated to) gets you no credit. Slashdot really was all about open source back in my day. What the fuck happened during the last few years to make Slashdot such a shit hole of trolls?
        • by exomondo (1725132)

          Of course, by /. standards everyone is supposed to release their source code

          How do you come to that conclusion?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Of course they can do anything they like with their code.Free software advocates do not propose to make it illegal to withhold your own source code. The issue is related to what is best for the customer. Free software advocates feel that free software is better for the customer than software that isn't free. Especially when you are talking about an OS, it is also better for 3rd party software developers to have access to the source code (this much should be obvious to anyone).

          The issue of whether or not

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by bonch (38532)

          Huh? Google was supposed to release source code for Android? Pretty sure that counts as extra.

          Uh, since Google claims Android is open source, yes.

        • Not legally.

          However Andy Rubin kind of opened his mouth... [twitter.com]

        • Yeah, after Google starts bragging about how much more open they are than Apple here's the tweet [twitter.com] they BETTER back it up. For the last year, the latest Android code hasn't been any more open than iOS.
        • Huh? Google was supposed to release source code for Android? Pretty sure that counts as extra.

          Nope, sorry, it's pretty much an obligation considering where Google got most of that code, never mind most of the code that currently earns them billions of dollars. To put it in perspective, think about the large amount of self inflicted damage Google would sustain if it declared today that Android would henceforth be entirely closed like meOS.

          Anything: here's my thankyou. Not a really, really big thankyou because some of the posturing that went on in the leadup was just plain annoying. But thankyou all t

    • Re:Good to see... (Score:5, Informative)

      by errandum (2014454) on Monday November 14, 2011 @08:52PM (#38055104)

      Actually, it isn't missing in action. The ICS source tree includes the honeycomb code, even though it isn't tagged... So, technically, it's there.

    • Re:Good to see... (Score:5, Informative)

      by bemymonkey (1244086) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @02:30AM (#38056784)

      Were you really worried that Google wouldn't release Ice Cream Sandwich's source code because they didn't release Honeycomb's? The reasons for holding back HC were openly stated and quite equitable... Could you have imagined the chaos resulting from people trying to hack a tablet-only OS into their smartphone with half the phone functionality, and everything that makes the form factor work, missing completely?

      Also: Ice Cream Sandwich practically *is* Honeycomb, but ready for public release due to being suitable for phone AND tablet form factors...

  • by exomondo (1725132) on Monday November 14, 2011 @07:34PM (#38054594)
    Hopefully that means we will see ICS ported to other devices in the near future, it should be interesting to see how it performs on older devices.
    Good to see that ICS is an open source version of Android after the closed-source Honeycomb created that possibility (however unlikely) of other Android versions following suit.
    • however unlikely

      You must be new here. Google, the epitome of evil and all that is bad and hypocritical, will never release the ICS source, mark my words! *two weeks later* Those bastards released the source two weeks late! Light the torches!

  • by mjwx (966435) on Monday November 14, 2011 @07:36PM (#38054604)
    Well here it is,

    Just like Google promised, they were quite open about why they didnt release the Honeycomb source (not that it stopped ROM cookers) and that the changes in 3.x would be released in 4.0.

    It's nice that a large company actually adheres to its word.

    Now how long before CyanogenMod 9 is released.
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday November 14, 2011 @07:39PM (#38054634) Homepage

      Screw that. When does the AndroidX86 version get released? I need to upgrade my home made Car stereo that runs Android.

      I can finally get rid of the crud hack of adding on screen buttons for volume, back and home.

    • by Elgonn (921934) on Monday November 14, 2011 @07:40PM (#38054652)

      Now how long before CyanogenMod 9 is released.

      This is really what most of us care about at this point. Maybe 1% of us will actively use the code personally.

      • by mjwx (966435) on Monday November 14, 2011 @07:57PM (#38054810)

        Now how long before CyanogenMod 9 is released.

        This is really what most of us care about at this point. Maybe 1% of us will actively use the code personally.

        But that 1% matters as they are the device manufacturers.

        Cheap Elocity or Archos tablets running ICS on display at your local Tesco's or Best Buy. Hell, I might buy one just for my car, the fact that the $200 tablets were all running 2.2 was the only thing stopping me (lets be honest, on a 7" screen 2.x was crap).

        • by evilviper (135110)

          the fact that the $200 tablets were all running 2.2 was the only thing stopping me (lets be honest, on a 7" screen 2.x was crap).

          Really? I was willing to stick with 2.3 but bailed out when I found that even the $300 Android tablets had awfully low res screens (lower than my tiny damn phone, in fact), and incredibly unresponsive and massively frustrating touch-screens.

          By all means, if you find a $200 Android tablet that's buttery smooth and super-snappy, let us all know. There tends to be a big gulf betwe

          • by mjwx (966435)

            Really? I was willing to stick with 2.3 but bailed out when I found that even the $300 Android tablets had awfully low res screens (lower than my tiny damn phone, in fact), and incredibly unresponsive and massively frustrating touch-screens.

            I guess you didn't see the Archos range.

            Or the other tablets that came out, even the Samsung Galaxy Tab (original 7" version) was around $200 at one stage.

            All of these have capacitive touchscreens and 1 GHz processors. More then capable, but 2.x really wasn't bui

            • by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:13AM (#38056206) Journal

              I guess you didn't see the Archos range.

              Yes I did. In fact my rant about low-res screens and crappy unresponsive touchscreens is directed SQUARELY AT ARCHOS.

              "Capacitive" isn't a magic keyword that makes it not-suck. The cheap ones are still a nightmare to use, and since that's the sole form of input, the whole device becomes worthless.

              That wasn't the only issue, btw. Other big issues were the lack of a compas, lack of GPS, inability to charge, AT ALL from USB, a power socket DIRECTLY next to the headphone jack, a power plug exactly the same size as a headphone jack (see where we're going, here?) super-slick case and absolutely no ergonomics making it impossible to hold, being much heavier than comparable devices.

              I consider Archos tablets the canonical example of crap that I wouldn't use if they were giving it away, and here you're trumpeting them as first-class devices.

    • Just like Google promised, they were quite open about why they didnt release the Honeycomb source ...and no it isn't for Honeycomb - The history is there, but the tags aren't. Add tags to match the released devices globally, and all would be well.

      It's nice that a large company actually adheres to its word.
      It's easy to do it when you're opaque.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Just like Google promised, they were quite open about why they didnt release the Honeycomb source ...and no it isn't for Honeycomb - The history is there, but the tags aren't. Add tags to match the released devices globally, and all would be well.

        I wondered how the slashbots would spin this to make Google evil when they released the source. But I really thought they'd come up with something better than "oh noes, sum tagz is missing!"

        Do you even know what tags are? Dude, you've got complete revision history, complete with developers' comments of every change... read 'em and figure out what version you want to grab out of there. It's not like there's any One True Honeycomb version either. There were multiple releases, which in turn were almost c

    • What was that reason, that they didn't release Honeycomb?

      Srsly I never heard the rationale...

      It matters to me because I support Android very much *because* it is open.
      • by icebraining (1313345) on Monday November 14, 2011 @08:37PM (#38055012) Homepage

        "To make our schedule to ship the tablet, we made some design tradeoffs," says Andy Rubin, vice-president for engineering at Google and head of its Android group. "We didn't want to think about what it would take for the same software to run on phones. It would have required a lot of additional resources and extended our schedule beyond what we thought was reasonable. So we took a shortcut."

        Rubin says that if Google were to open-source the Honeycomb code now, as it has with other versions of Android at similar periods in their development, it couldn't prevent developers from putting the software on phones "and creating a really bad user experience. We have no idea if it will even work on phones."

        • Matias Duarte said [theverge.com] basically the same thing: "On Honeycomb we cheated, we cut the corner of all that smaller device support. That’s the sole reason we haven’t open sourced it."

        • by Miamicanes (730264) on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:08PM (#38055194)

          > What was that reason, that they didn't release Honeycomb?

          That, and to temporarily give higher-end tablets with better hardware a fighting chance against the onslaught of underpowered K-mart-bound tablets from China with 10" 480x800 displays and 200MHz CPUs. Google wasn't terribly picky about whom they allowed to have access to Honeycomb, as long as your hardware met their minimum spec. It wasn't ideal, but it was the only way to give tablets like the Xoom, Transformer, and Galaxy Tab a fighting chance to break out of the 480x800 ghetto and give us hardware that wouldn't have iPad owners laughing at us.

  • GitHub (Score:5, Informative)

    by ttong (2459466) on Monday November 14, 2011 @07:39PM (#38054640)

    GitHub provides a friendly interface to view the source without having to use the repo tool and downloading the whole thing, so I'm eagerly waiting for this to get pushed there as well. Shouldn't take long.

    https://github.com/android/ [github.com]

  • by orphiuchus (1146483) on Monday November 14, 2011 @07:46PM (#38054708)

    Come on, we all already know goes into an ice Cream Sandwich. You get two graham crackers, put ice cream between them, and serve with a side of randomly lock up my phone for no reason. Easy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by grcumb (781340)
      Original submitter here. Amusingly, my slashdot nick is a mis-spelling of Graham Crumb, my non de plume. Flaky indeed.
      • by vlueboy (1799360)

        Ouch. Tough crowd of moderators tonight.

        Who could downmod the parent poster in light of a sig like "Crumb's Corollary: Never bring a knife to a bun fight." This food motif, revelation and submitter's temp prestige should have some more value, seeing how we all wanted to discuss Ice Cream Sandwiches anyway.

        • This food motif

          Yes but he missed "nom" de plume through mispelling. What a waste of another perfectly good food reference.

    • by kesuki (321456)

      "lock up my phone for no reason."

      there is a reason why they lock up.

  • So Ice Cream Sandwich is designed to be compatible with both phones and tablets. Do you have set a specific flag when you build the code depending on what kind of device you want to put it on? Or is it relatively device agnostic? Can it determine the screen size by querying the hardware and figure out what to do automagically on its own?
    • I believe it's dependent on a calculation of the declared screen dpi (ppi) and the screen resolution.
      • That would make retina displays on phones count as tablets.

        It's configured in the build.prop

        • The configuration in build.prop is exactly what waffle.zero was talking about: "declared screen dpi" is exactly the line "ro.sf.lcd_density=xxx" from build.prop ;)

          High resolution & low density in build.prop => tablet
          High resolution & high density in build.prop => big-ass phone

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:33PM (#38055332) Homepage Journal

    OK, here's a thread to post the links to all the haters' comments where they guaranteed that Google had gone Evil and would never release ICS source.

    Granted, I full well expect six people will rebuff, stating that since 4.0.1 was released but not 4.0.0 that they were precisely correct and that this is proof of Google's evil intentions.

    • Re:Haters Thread (Score:4, Insightful)

      by msevior (145103) on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:50PM (#38055408)

      Yeah I commented on an earlier article about how much better off we are with Google and Android. I got weirdest set of hate comments. People hate getting their prejudices refuted. It causes massive cognitive dissonance and is physically painful. I have my own and have observed the effect on me.

  • by dell623 (2021586) on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:55PM (#38055426)

    Google are:
    - releasing source code to their operating system for free, under no obligation. The Nook Tablet and Color and Kindle Fire are great examples of how this can work against Google - Android devices that make no payment to Google and do not come with access to Google's Android Marketplace, or Google's proprietary apps.

    - virtually the only major silicon valley company left (compared to Apple, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon etc) who haven't patent trolled anyone (except in retaliation of course), although they could have, Google still has thousands of patents even though companies like Microsoft have far more, some of them are a lot more important than Apple GUI animation patents. e.g. http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/01/googles-mapreduce-patent-what-does-it-mean-for-hadoop.ars [arstechnica.com]

    - been far better at sticking to privacy promises and openness compared to the likes of Facebook

    - have entire divisions of their company and features that make no revenue for them (and are not R&D projects in hope of future earnings) but are retained. e.g. Free offline and IMAP/SMTP/POP access to gmail from day one, google docs for personal use (I can open and edit files with no ads anywhere), AOSP, Google chrome/ chromium, google.org

    - principled stand on net neutrality

    - taking a principled stand and pulling out of China

    Somehow Google are still constantly attacked, way more than companies like Apple and Microsoft these days, they deserve some credit. Sure, they are far from the do no evil motto, but these days, doing a lot less evil than other megacorps is still remarkable.

  • Two great OS's that breath new life into my now ancient but still awesome HTC HD2 or as WP sees it, HD7 :) If this thing had a front facing camera I would never want to get rid of it. Gingerbread is getting kinda old now but I find it more "fun" to use than WP7.5 but I find WP7.5 more fun to hack around with and use on a day to day basis. Now if I could just stop it from DESTROYING my battery.

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