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Android Google Open Source

Google's Definition of 'Open' 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-may-ride-the-bus-but-we-are-driving-the-bus dept.
An anonymous reader writes "One of Android's biggest draws is its roots in open source. It enables a broad range of device manufacturers to work from the same code base, and provides app developers with more insight into the platform they're building on. But openness isn't a binary condition — there are many shades of gray. While Android is technically very open, from a practical standpoint it's much more difficult for device makers to distance themselves from Google, if that's their preference. 'Phone manufacturers and carriers that want to use Google's services must conform to Google's device standards, a stricter requirement than what basic AOSP requires. For some, this is a catch. For others, it's merely the cost of doing business. ... [Dianne Hackborn, one of Android's tech leads,] defends Google's right to include proprietary services, and to keep them proprietary, saying that its no different than any other proprietary app on Android. That's not entirely true, since Google does keep some API development to itself, but to its credit the company does open-source most of the new APIs introduced to Android.'"
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Google's Definition of 'Open'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15, 2014 @11:35AM (#46254557)

    Google’s iron grip on Android [arstechnica.com]

    Great story how Google gets it grip on Android.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Great story how Google gets it grip on Android.

      However, as a counterpoint, here is a far less histrionic story which shows that AOSP is growing FASTER than Goog'es own Android, and has already easiy eclipsed iOS market share. Not to mention Nokia's Normandy phone, to be released later this month running a forked version of AOSP matched with Nokia serices rather than Google ones.

      ABI Research reports that Android once again dominated the Q4 2013 shipment numbers for smartphone advanced operating systems with 77% market share of over 280 million smartphones shipped in Q4 2013.Nearly one billion smartphones were shipped in 2013, Android accounting for 78% across the year.

      Android’s dominance is not quite as rosy as it seems though, with most of the growth coming from forked Android operating systems (137% year-on-year), mainly in China, India, and adjacent markets. Forked Android or AOSP accounted for 25% market share with 71 million unit shipments, as opposed to certified Android’s share of 52%, of a total of 77% market share.

      https://www.abiresearch.com/pr... [abiresearch.com]

      For some reason, there's a concerted campaign happening to try to convince people that Google has locked up Android. It's an odd thing to

      • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @12:38PM (#46254855)

        However, as a counterpoint, here is a far less histrionic story which shows that AOSP is growing FASTER than Goog'es own Android

        Except you left out the part that says AOSP is growing faster than Google Android only in China and India.

        As for the Ars Technica article, it's not histrionics to state facts:

        Google apps—mainly Gmail, Maps, Google Now, Hangouts, YouTube, and the Play Store -- are Android's killer apps, and manufacturers want these apps on their phones.

        While it might not be an official requirement, being granted a Google apps license will go a whole lot easier if you join the Open Handset Alliance. The OHA is a group of companies committed to Android—Google's Android—and members are contractually prohibited from building non-Google approved devices. Joining the OHA requires a company to promise to not build a device that runs a competing Android fork.

        Acer was bit by this requirement when it tried to build devices that ran Alibaba's Aliyun OS in China. Aliyun is an Android fork, and when Google got wind of it, Acer was told to shut the project down or lose its access to Google apps.

        This makes life extremely difficult for the only company brazen enough to sell an Android fork in the west: Amazon.

        Since the Kindle OS counts as an incompatible version of Android, no major OEM is allowed to produce the Kindle Fire for Amazon. So when Amazon goes shopping for a manufacturer for its next tablet, it has to immediately cross Acer, Asus, Dell, Foxconn, Fujitsu, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, NEC, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and ZTE off the list. Currently, Amazon contracts Kindle manufacturing out to Quanta Computer, a company primarily known for making laptops. Amazon doesn't have many other choices.

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        For some reason, there's a concerted campaign happening to try to convince people that Google has locked up Android. It's an odd thing to pretend, and I'm wondering what their motive is?

        No it is that people are realising that 'Open Source' and 'Free Software' are not the same thing. If Google wants to put a proprietary layer atop Android that's fine, Android itself is still 'Open Source' even if you have proprietary applications requiring proprietary APIs running on it. In addition the development process is closed, you don't see the development branch for the next version even though it is being actively worked on unless you are part of the OHA, which isn't necessarily a problem but it's

    • by ganjadude (952775)
      Interesting yes. But is it any worse than the iron grip apple has on IOS? The grip is only there if you want to include google services. One is more than free to fork android if they choose (kindle for example) however there are no options with IOS except for those put forth by apple.
      • by exomondo (1725132)

        But is it any worse than the iron grip apple has on IOS?

        Yes, because while Apple holds a dictatorship over iOS that does mean that you don't end up with a bunch of incompatible versions. Your "Android apps" won't run on Amazon's Android or Aliyun's Android if they require proprietary (or even open but unimplemented) APIs only present in Google's Android and vice versa.

    • We just need an OS that is truly open. Like FirefoxOS.

    • People will bitch no matter what. Given the commercially backed alternatives, Android is by far the best option. Your only other options are completely closed source walled gardens.

      I think android using their propriety services to monetize the distribution of an open core for the entire world is genius. It resolves the corporate incentive problem the FOSS ideology has been lacking for decades.
  • by Virtucon (127420) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @11:39AM (#46254569)

    You can use other apps and app markets on your android device. You don't have to use Google Search, Maps or Mail because there are free or very low cost alternatives to them and they don't have the clingy, Google scam you out of your data smell. Getting rid of them is a snap in most cases and there's literally dozens of websites that can help you do it. Sure when you get an "update" from your phone maker you'll probably get them all back again but it's easy enough to remove them or you can go with something like Cyanogenmod and never worry about it again. There are alternative AOSP based distros out there that don't have that Google smell so look around, It's really not that hard. If you've never rooted your phone or sideloaded an app or changed the OS it can be somewhat intimidating but you can also find help out there online and via local phone store kiosks (forget the pimple crowd at the Sprint, Verizon or AT&T stores) who can set you up in no time.

    I do have to say that the nicest thing about Android based phones is that there are alternatives. For example, I don't have Google Apps and use Skobbler for the navigation. It uses OpenStreetMap and I recently downloaded a couple of countries and really like the fact that I could navigate, offline.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15, 2014 @11:46AM (#46254611)

      Bullshit article once again. It's almost as insane as the Ars article that I read on the subject (how could I avoid reading it when Ars' staff has been spamming its links all over the place)

      distance themselves from Google, ... that want to use Google's services

      Editors - are you so fucking blind as to not see the blatant contradiction here?

      • by elwinc (663074) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @01:31PM (#46255059)
        Agreed. For me, the big draw of standard Android is maps/navigation/traffic. Decent speech recognition is the cherry on top. Being able to whip out my phone and say "navigate to airport" is worth a lot to me. The premise of the original article, "One of Android's biggest draws is its roots in open source" just doesn't ring true for me. In fact, I doubt it's true for the vast majority of Android users. I would suggest that Android's biggest draw is the price vs feature tradeoff. I'm aware that we aren't getting the main google apps for "free" but for many people they are getting them at an acceptable price.
        • by jader3rd (2222716) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @02:16PM (#46255247)

          The premise of the original article, "One of Android's biggest draws is its roots in open source" just doesn't ring true for me. In fact, I doubt it's true for the vast majority of Android users.

          That's true, but it kind of hurts the original Android fans. That's exactly the thing that got a lot of the early Android fans (especially the ones on Slashdot) to excited about Android. They went around telling everyone they could have a chance to talk to, to switch to Android. Their motivation was that Android was an Open Source device operating system, but knowing that no one cares, they just said 'It's better'. Now that Google has made a lot of the Android experience not fit the classic Open Source model, these early fans are feeling a bit betrayed.

          • by msobkow (48369)

            How does Google's implementation not fit the "classic" open source model?

            The source code is free. You can modify it. You can build your own installer pre-configured to use alternative services. You can roll your own services if you like. You can download and install apps from any app store you choose to point your phone at.

            The default is Google's implementation of those services and apps. But you're free to change it.

            I don't see the conflict with open source "traditions" at all -- the deployment

            • by exomondo (1725132)

              How does Google's implementation not fit the "classic" open source model?

              At a guess I would say the development process. Where's the development branch being worked on for the next version of AOSP?

            • by the_B0fh (208483)

              GPL never objected to charging for software. For the longest time, you could have bought everything the GNU foundation put out, on tape, for $495.

              GNU/Stallman had also publicly stated that you can charge for software. You just have to provide the source code to the recipient as well. And not stop them from providing the source code to others.

              • by msobkow (48369)

                Ah, but GNU was charging you for the media distribution, not the software itself. It's a subtle distinction, but an important one. You were paying for them to prepare a tape for you.

        • by evilviper (135110)

          For me, the big draw of standard Android is maps/navigation/traffic.

          You don't need Google services for that, Android, or even a smart phone for that matter. MapQuest is free for Android and iOS. And some stand-alone GPS devices are providing free "lifetime traffic" support with fairly inexpensive devices, no doubt to compete with phones:

          Garmin: "Lifetime Traffic is included with select Advanced series nüvis."

          • But how do you download MapQuest onto an Android device without Google Play Store? The only download links I could see on mobile.mapquest.com were for Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Windows Store.
            • by evilviper (135110)

              But how do you download MapQuest onto an Android device without Google Play Store?

              I was speaking to device manufacturers rather than consumers... They would get an APK along with license terms directly from MapQuest.

              For users, though, it's available on the Amazon app store.

              http://www.amazon.com/mobile-a... [amazon.com]

    • Not every phone that's out there has an AOSP or CM ROM available for it. So for some people, they really are stuck with whatever the OEM and carrier chose to cram on there. If you don't already have a phone and are willing to look for your ROM before buying, this is great. Those with existing handsets though have good odds of being stuck unless they're lucky enough to have a flagship device.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        That's not the point of this article. This is about OEMs being able to sell devices with Android on them, but not include Google's standard apps.

        It's weird FUD. I wonder what Microsoft expects to gain from it?

        • by Virtucon (127420)

          Confusion and to try to stay relevant by saying "Hey we make a Smartphone OS too."

        • MS still lacks market share, and one of their main problems is that windows phone 7 is the last platform supported by apps builders. It is that bad that they consider running android on windows [androidcentral.com].

          At the same time they have to push all phone makers to pay them patent licenses for patents for fat and what they madeup when windows mobile (5.x 6.x) was the big thing.

          MS Never said to be open. They controll the gates to their app store, just like Apple takes full control of everything htat is allowed to run on the

          • by segin (883667)

            A Chinese developer did manage to port most of the Android userland atop Windows [socketeq.com]. It ran a large number of the Android software packages I threw at it, so long as no dependence on NDK/JNI libraries were in place. (Presumably, if the application developer they had the not-made-publicly-available NDK said Chinese developer had to make their port, they could port their native NDK bits to x86/win32.)

            I did do a basic teardown of the software, and it's either a very, very, very convincing fake, or a legitimate po

            • by leuk_he (194174)

              WIN32 Has little to do with the API that is available to windows phone 7/8. But still a interresting link if you compare that to the emulation effort of bluestacks.

  • Android is a breath of fresh air after using Apple, I prefer Android in every way, so having Google "set a standard" is fine with me.
    Otherwise what will we get.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There is more than google and apple. I use neither.

    • Is it the way Android spies on you that you like, or is it the way it advertises at you?

  • Works for me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @11:44AM (#46254601)
    Until Apple burst on the scene Carriers locked their platforms down, charged insane amounts of money for dev kits ($20k+) and were generally jerks to their customers. They had little or no desire to improve since they were making lots of money selling slightly better handsets and super high prices. Google does a good job reigning that in. The carriers aren't powerless in this equation either you know. I like that they're all at each other's throats :P.
    • The bigger issue for me is that from a user perspective - my android phone is still locked down. I need to root the phone if I want to uninstall the bloatware Verizon insists be on my phone.
      • That's not an Android issue, its a Verizon issue. It's the main reason that I ditched Verizon. GSM phones are the most open phones.
        • Re: Works for me (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Karlt1 (231423)

          That's not an Android issue, its a Verizon issue. It's the main reason that I ditched Verizon. GSM phones are the most open phones.

          No it is an Android issue. I've had an iPhone on three of the four major carriers - AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile and none of them have ever had carrier installed crapware and I didn't have to wait for the carrier to decide to allow me to update to the latest OS.

  • hey guys... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by advocate_one (662832)
    try making an iOS device and taking on the Apple Empire...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I prefer OsmAnd for offline navigation because it is GPL Free Software that uses Open Street Maps data. Can you trust *any* proprietary maps application to not spy on you?

    Also use ReplicantOS, an Android distro based on Cyanogenmod that replaces all non-Free software with Free GPL licensed alternatives. It uses F-Droid app store.

    Neo900 is an open hardware phone currently under development based on the next-gen GTA04 boards. It's designed to use Nokia N900 case design (slide out keyboard) and will be able

    • With just Replicant and F-Droid, how will you find games to play? I imagine it's harder to finance development of video games for F-Droid because even if the game engine is free software, promotion of the non-free mission packs whose sale funds development triggers the "NonFreeAdd" antifeature that hides the app from the majority of users.
  • Didn't stop Amazon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmericanBlarney (1098141) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @11:53AM (#46254643)
    With the Kindle, I think the Amazon has been one of, if not the most, successful at embracing what Android provides as a core, but extending/customizing it to support their preferred business model. Sure, they did a lot of work on their fork of Android, but if other companies aren't willing to put the work in, don't complain about something you're getting for free.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, Amazon expended a lot of effort to trap you into a different walled garden than Google does. Amazon built what is essentially the world's largest squid server to track your online habits. They also had to provide solid DRM or companies would not license digital content to them. An impressive amount of work to customize Android, motivated by the Apple and Google walled gardens.

    • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @02:39PM (#46255349)

      Amazon is a success story here, but it's also a cautionary one. When most people envision an "open" Android, they envision a world where up-and-comers are capable of disrupting the old guard, yet the reality is anything but that. Instead, what we see from Amazon's example is that the cost of entry for launching your own fork is owning an established media delivery system, having an already-established app store with tens of thousands of apps available from day one, and having a world-class backend on which to build alternatives to Google's services.

      Who else has the resources to do something like that right now? By my count, no one. Microsoft would be the closest, since they have Azure and an established media content ecosystem, though they'd lack for Android apps. Sony? They lack for apps as well, though they're a possibility, since they have a media ecosystem and backend built up around their Playstation brand, which has tens of millions of users. Samsung? Probably not. They don't have the sort of ecosystem or services that could pull people away from Google.

      The point is, while Android itself may be open, it's not truly open to anyone but the biggest players in the game, so long as the most valuable parts are kept locked away by Google. The problem isn't that Amazon had to do "a lot of work on their fork of Android", the problem is that they had to do a lot of work establishing themselves in those other areas for years in advance before that fork of Android could even possibly be considered viable.

      • by Baloroth (2370816)

        There are dozens (at least, probably more like hundreds), of small-player Android devices out there which are based on Android's open source. Sure, you lose out on the largest Android store, but there are quite a few other stores out there (Amazon's being probably the biggest, but by no means the only one). You don't often hear about them (because they're made by small players), but they do exist. Heck, I own one (an MP3 player/mini-tablet). Anyone who has the resources to make a tablet can make their own A

      • Amazon launched their app store long before they launched the Kindle Fire. It's not tightly integrated with the Kindle line, and you can download it as an apk. There's nothing stopping other manufacturers from building their own custom Android version and shipping the Amazon store by default. There's also F-Droid, which maintains a large repository of open source Android apps, and also makes available the infrastructure that they use to build it, so creating a vendor-specific app store with a moderate se
        • Amazon launched their app store long before they launched the Kindle Fire.

          This was a key factor in what I said and was why I said it had tens of thousands of apps on day one.

          It's not tightly integrated with the Kindle line [...] There's nothing stopping other manufacturers from building their own custom Android version and shipping the Amazon store by default.

          That's a fair point, and something I completely overlooked. And for similar reasons, I suppose they could rely on Amazon's content ecosystem as well, in lieu of building their own, leaving only the need for a strong backend on which to provide their services.

          That definitely diminishes what I said quite a bit. It doesn't eliminate it, but it does mitigate it to a significant degree.

  • "When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before." (Mae West)

    Well, this can be generalized to choosing between several evils. That would mean choosing WP for a lot of folks, I suppose... But what's scary is, choosing WP doesn't scare me any more.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before." (Mae West)

      Her advice for choosing politicians?

      Well, this can be generalized to choosing between several evils. That would mean choosing WP for a lot of folks, I suppose... But what's scary is, choosing WP doesn't scare me any more.

      A lot of us here did try Word Perfect and preferred it over word. It was extremely popular with lawyers for a while which makes you wonder why its interaction with Windows kept getting broken.

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        we are talking about phones. If you cant figure out WP = windows phone I dont know what to tell ya
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      if you are going to choose a minority player phone, may as well pick blackberry 10, it can run android apps
      • by Urkki (668283)

        But is it evil? I'm not sure. Anyway, BB is not even on sale in my country I think, or at least I've never seen one. Then there's Jolla [jolla.com] of course, but I think it's definitely not evil, so not in the running for evil things to choose from.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @12:09PM (#46254723)

    its no different than any other proprietary app on Android

    Except I don't like all the proprietary crud that my tablet came with, regardless of whether it's from Google or the manufacturer. It's doing god-knows-what in the background and its removal is well beyond the ability of the average user (which is the entire point, isn't it?).

    So ol' "Don't Be Evil" is now "Don't Be More Evil Than Our Business Partners?"

    • by Namarrgon (105036)

      Don't like proprietary apps on your tablet? Then flash your own choice of completely FOSS rom. CyanogenMod makes a few, and so do many others.

      Granted this is (a little) beyond the average user - but the average user *wants* most of those proprietary apps and services; it's just you that doesn't want them (and if it's beyond you as well, you could always pay someone to do it for you).

  • by Jim Sadler (3430529) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @12:18PM (#46254759)
    Business is like a wretched plague that insists on infecting every area of life. Computing and communications are more vulnerable to the infestation than most other aspects of life. The net started as a wonderful idea that was to be a super breakthrough and uplifting idea never before possible for humanity. And I don't mind porn one bit but almost overnight half of the traffic on the net was porn. Worse than porn every half witted scheme to defraud people attached itself to the net and became fixated as a permanent part of the net. Next the net became a battleground as soon as organizations and governments found out that people really would communicate on the net. I do realize that some economic incentives are needed to cause better hardware and communications abilities using computers. But somehow that gets disgustingly translated into some supposed right to sell phony Viagra tablets, made in some fools kitchen to the masses. We really need to crack down on fraud and beat some of these "businesses" back to the stone ages.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      Without that 'plague' as you call it, you wouldn't be sitting here on slashdot complaining about it, as there would be no slashdot, no internet, no computers, no electricity...

      • Without that 'plague' as you call it [business], you wouldn't be sitting here on slashdot complaining about it, as there would be no slashdot, no internet, no computers, no electricity...

        Lets see. Slashdot was created as a personal blog, business only came later. The Internet was created by various public sector agencies. Computers were invented by government code breakers. And electricity is a natural phenomenon.

        So no, that statement is false. For sure business took part later, as that's what businesses do in a capitalistic world - leech onto good ideas and make money out of them.

    • Fraud isn't business.

      Business in general has a tremendous upside and somewhat of a downside. You're just bitching about the negatives without deigning to mention any of the huge number of positives. Who made the computer you're writing this on, or the network that transmits your data? It wasn't ARPANET, that's for fucking sure.

  • Google Play Services (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cseg (253752) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @12:19PM (#46254763)

    Honestly, in my opinion the most offending point of Android is Google Play Services. Google making all its services depending on one another is something we've all been seeing for years now, one could argue that we're expecting and used to it. Now, a service at the center of it all, which can do anything it wants, whenever it wants, that's honestly going too far in my opinion.

    That's point #1, actually.

    #2 is the fact that for many people (myself included), the days of tinkering with devices is over. It can be a hobby sometimes/for some people, but I for one like to separate what I rely on from what I play with. So at best an Android device would be a toy, not something I rely on daily.

    Now, if anyone can point me to a simple/reliable way to use Google's Android without Google Play Services owning the device, and without being forced to nurse custom/specific distros/ROMs for it, I'd greatly appreciate it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      On the contrary: this generation of phones are some of the most tinkerable devices that have existed. Just because you have lost interest and/or ability to tinker with your device doesn't discredit the millions who still do.

      That being said, the ROM you want is Cyanogenmod. Sure, you could replace all the google stuff yourself and put in your own features, but 99% of the time you will have a carbon copy of Cyanogenmod, it just took you weeks/months to make it instead of an hour to install it.

      • by cseg (253752)

        I did not discredit anyone or anything. I said that for many people, tinkering with devices is not an option (or ceased to be, like in my case).

        Thanks for the suggestion, but like I said, I'm looking for a solution that does not involve nursing custom ROMs.

        • but like I said, I'm looking for a solution that does not involve nursing custom ROMs.

          Could you explain a little further exactly what it is you're hoping for, then?

          Right now it seems like you're asking for Google's Android, which inherently means Google's Services and thus Google Play, etc. - but without exactly those things. At that point, it's not Google's Android anymore.

          So let's say you meant regular ol' Android. Okay, that's fine too, go grab AOSP. But then that's really no different from a custom

          • by cseg (253752)

            but like I said, I'm looking for a solution that does not involve nursing custom ROMs.

            Could you explain a little further exactly what it is you're hoping for, then?

            Right now it seems like you're asking for Google's Android, which inherently means Google's Services and thus Google Play, etc. - but without exactly those things. At that point, it's not Google's Android anymore.

            So let's say you meant regular ol' Android. Okay, that's fine too, go grab AOSP. But then that's really no different from a custom ROM when seen from the viewpoint of 'Google's Android'. It's just that it's a rather barren one.

            So if you have to go with a ROM in the first place, Cyanogen is, once installed, fairly hands-off. Nobody's forcing you to delve into the nightly builds, say.

            But maybe you just don't want to deal with having to look up, download, install, custom roms at all. Well, you could get any number of phones that have it or, just as an example, MIUI pre-installed - with OTA updates so you don't have to 'nurse' it. But then you'd have to get a different phone.

            Seems to me that with your desires, you're going to either just have to live with the Google Play integration bits, or ignore the part where you wanted Android to begin with, and jump ship to iOS, Windows Phone, FireFox OS, Sailfish, etc.

            I don't mind that Google requires you to have all-or-nothing. I do mind that through Google Play Services it is able to change a device at will. This is the old argument about the device being mine and not rented/borrowed from someone. What goes in and out of it should, at very least, have me warned about. Mind you, I'm not even the overly paranoid type regarding privacy, my main concern is the device becoming useless or simply malfunctioning due to a bad update that got to it without my authorization or ev

  • Google are to be admired for their energy and inventiveness. However, all big companies (and those who aspire to be big) all want the same thing: dominate the markets they are in, or take over everything they can. Google hides behind the fig leaf of "open source" when it suits their ends. If we compare Google to Apple, however, it's like comparing the US to North Korea.

  • Suck. No matter who provides them.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @12:31PM (#46254827) Journal

    While Android phones are almost always tied-in to Google, cheap tablets most commonly are NOT, and they do just fine. The success of the Kindle Fire should be a sign that you can sever those Google ties without too much trauma.

    You're not getting all that much from the fees paid to Google.

    You can find other free maps and navigation easily enough (MapQuest, OsmAnd~, etc.).
    You can find 3rd party YouTube apps, or you can just leave users to view YouTube in a web browser like desktop users do.
    You can set-up Gmail access without the official Gmail app.
    etc.

    The biggest stumbling block is the app store. Google has market effects on their side. There are several competitor app stores, but none as complete as Google's. Still, as long as you have the most-popular apps, your customers won't complain. GetJar and Amazon are passable.

  • by Luthair (847766) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @12:35PM (#46254849)

    Its almost like there is a concerted campaign this month against Android openness - or are journalists seeing buzz around earlier stories and creating more link bait? I think this article and the others all demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the open source world.

    There is more than one model, while there are entirely open projects like the Linux kernel, there are also a great many projects with both open and proprietary components. See MySQL, JBoss, Glassfish, Solaris, ExtJS, Nexus, etc., all of these projects are completely functional products but the companies provide additional functionality for profit.

    Android code is available under an OSI license, the code comprises a complete functional product (assuming device drivers, but that isn't Google's responsibility). The Open Source world is driven by contributing back, not by getting everything on a silver platter for free.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @01:15PM (#46255003) Journal

    Only a little time ago, there was lots of "OMG Android is becoming fragmented" stories. Now the stories are essentially the opposite: that device makers are closely tied into what Google does.

    Is there someone behind this? Or am I seeing consipiracies where there are none?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It was more open, Google freaked out about fragmentation and tightened the noose. I

    • Only a little time ago, there was lots of "OMG Android is becoming fragmented" stories. Now the stories are essentially the opposite: that device makers are closely tied into what Google does.

      Is there someone behind this? Or am I seeing consipiracies where there are none?

      It really has changed, and the first thing caused the second.

      Android fragmentation was becoming a real problem, so Google decided they had to do something about it. Since AOSP is truly open source, Google can't use it to control what device manufacturers do. Google's solution was to tighten up the licensing requirements on the Google Apps, requiring licensees to agree not to do things that tend to fragment the ecosystem. Similarly, many new APIs have been added to the Google Play services, rather than the core OS, because that way Google can push the new APIs out, rather than having to wait for carriers and device makers to upgrade the core OS.

      (Disclaimer: I'm a Google engineer, but I don't work on Android and don't have any knowledge of Google Apps licensing beyond what I read in public articles. My information about the intent behind putting APIs into Google Play services came from a talk at Google I/O last year.)

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      No the only thing behind this is the calamity of the month that journalists create for link bait. Android not being open is even more ludicrous than the sky is falling fragmentation nonn-issue of yesteryear. Googlebashing is in vogue right now. Sad really since the alternatives are many times worse in the way they are now being critisised for.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Only a little time ago, there was lots of "OMG Android is becoming fragmented" stories. Now the stories are essentially the opposite: that device makers are closely tied into what Google does.

      Is there someone behind this? Or am I seeing consipiracies where there are none?

      ArsTechnica.

      They love posting anti-Android scare peices. Not sure if they're doing it because they want page views, are getting paid for it or of their own account because just love Apple a little bit too much.

      The problem is, the anti-Android crowd is so desperate for any ammunition they latch onto the tiniest hint of anything remotely possibly becoming wrong in the next 20 years and blow it completely out of proportion.

  • If you destroy the value of something the minute you fork it, it isn't open. Period.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Biggest enemy of Open Source Software there is.

  • Unlike making a copy of open source software, every access to Maps or YouTube servers costs money. Giving the cloud away without any revenue or strategic advantage is not a valuable business model.

    What other choices are expected besides licencing Google cloud services, rolling your own or doing without?

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