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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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  • 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.
  • 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 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.

  • Re:Good to see... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Monday November 14, 2011 @07:42PM (#38054658) Journal

    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!

  • by sethstorm (512897) on Monday November 14, 2011 @07:47PM (#38054716) Homepage

    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: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.

  • 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 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.

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:12PM (#38055228)

    IMHO, not good enough to not release the entire platform

    How about this for rationale: Its their code and they dont owe you a darn thing.

    Seriously, someone comes out with a new semi-revolutionary embedded device OS (revolutionary in that it took the market by storm and is reasonably open / easy to root), and then they release the source for the first several releases. But when they miss one, people act like theyre OWED something. You know what? Go use one of the OTHER open-source phone OSes if you feel so strongly about it.

    Seriously, this sense of entitlement bugs the heck out of me. The world doesnt owe you a thing.

  • by ninetyninebottles (2174630) on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:16PM (#38055246)

    Funny, when Apple released source code in this manner (big chunks all at once) the open source community was up in arms, claiming they weren't being good open-source citizens.

    I actually don't remember anyone significant in the OSS community being up in arms. There were a lot of people on Slashdot, but I'm not really convinced that's the same thing.

    Remember when KHTML folks were ranting about Apple's handling of WebKit?

    No. I remember when one of the KHTML developers made a comment saying they wished Apple would make things easier to backport into KHTML. I further remember them politely e-mailing the Apple devs about it and then the KHTML team making numerous comments about how nice it was that Apple went out of their way to help even though a lot of the changes were in a direction the KHTML team was not really interested in emulating. I further remember people who weren't KHTML developers ranting loudly and at length in numerous forums and here on Slashdot about how "evil" Apple was and repeatedly making uninformed comments that bordered on libel. Apparently the impression that left still lingers.

    Unless Android development opens up, this is more of a "shared source" model than a real "open source" one.

    Not really. Until Google distributes the software they are not obligated to share any code and if they feel that the time to market advantage of keeping the code secret until they ship is important, well that's a perfectly reasonable strategy that has been quite common in OSS for a long time. It is a trade off because it discourages some players from contributing to the same project and can limit adoption by some vendors.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:33PM (#38055334)

    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 certainly modified in various ways by the device vendors.

    Considering that Google is under no legal obligation to release Android source at all, complaining when Google only gives you the complete source repository, omitting some tags is like whining that someone gave you free beer and pretzels but some of the salt had fallen off. Cry me a river.

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:54PM (#38055424)

    Unless Android development opens up, this is more of a "shared source" model than a real "open source" one.

    This comes up every single time. The core Android source code (ie. not including third-party drivers, etc.) is most definitely open source, released under OSI-approved open source licenses. Android *development* is not all that open, as it's all done in-house at Google. This is a different thing than the source being open or not.

    Other open source software may use a more open development model, but even then it's still up to the actual core developers what they include or not. If I want to hack up the Firefox source code to do something cool, Mozilla isn't just going to include that in the next release either. Same with Apache software. They might be more willing to look at external contributions than Google is, but it all comes down to how much the owners/managers of the project want to include from other sources. They're free to include as much or as little of your contributions or my contributions as they want.

    And, of course, you're free to create your own fork of Android (you could call it "Samdroid" given your name) and allow whatever kind of development you think would be "real" open source. Let us know when you do; it sounds like an intriguing project.

  • 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.

  • Re:Good to see... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) on Monday November 14, 2011 @10:38PM (#38055614)

    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.

  • Re:Good to see... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by whoop (194) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:04PM (#38055782) Homepage

    No. There is no forgiveness for past deemed transgressions against the Open Source here! KDE is still kursed for using the unfree Qt! Loki porting games to Linux was shit because we don't need that binary-only crap! Wine is stupid because then developers won't need to make Linux-only ports.

    Welcome to Slashdot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:19PM (#38055870)

    Errr - Android belongs to Google. Of course they get to decide what gets released etc. What alternative do you suggest? That the government take over Android development?

  • Re:Good to see... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:51PM (#38056084)
    No, it doesn't. They're supposed to release it. They had an excuse for Honeycomb, but that's all it was: An excuse.

    Yes, but it was a sufficient excuse. They didn't want to, and were under no obligation to do so.

    Having an excuse isn't a bad thing. It's a lot better than not having one.
  • 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 serviscope_minor (664417) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:25AM (#38057356) Journal

    If you're trying to claim that Apple is as good an open-source citizen as Redhat, then you are drinking some particularly strong kool aid. It sounds good, and I'd be interested in trying some for myself. Wherecan I get it?

    Just in case you're merely mistaken, RedHat send an awful lot of stuff upstream, and they always have done. In fact, they don't just send stuff upstream, they employ quite a number of the kernel developers/maintainers full time who do nothing but hack publicly on the entirely open-source kernel.

  • 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."

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