Google's Rubin defends Android's open source cred

Google's Rubin defends Android's open source cred

Summary: Google's Android chief Andy Rubin took on reports that Android is stepping away from an open source strategy, but doesn't address specifics.

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Google's Android chief Andy Rubin took on reports that Android is stepping away from an open source strategy.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported last week that Google was taking tighter control of Android to end fragmentation. The upshot: Partners needed permission from Google to tweak Android.

In a blog post, Rubin said the following:

  • "We don’t believe in a “one size fits all” solution. The Android platform has already spurred the development of hundreds of different types of devices – many of which were not originally contemplated when the platform was first created. What amazes me is that the even though the quantity and breadth of Android products being built has grown tremendously, it’s clear that quality and consistency continue to be top priorities.
  • As always, device makers are free to modify Android to customize any range of features for Android devices. This enables device makers to support the unique and differentiating functionality of their products. If someone wishes to market a device as Android-compatible or include Google applications on the device, we do require the device to conform with some basic compatibility requirements.
  • Our “anti-fragmentation” program has been in place since Android 1.0 and remains a priority for us to provide a great user experience for consumers and a consistent platform for developers.
  • We continue to be an open source platform and will continue releasing source code when it is ready. As I write this the Android team is still hard at work to bring all the new Honeycomb features to phones. As soon as this work is completed, we’ll publish the code. This temporary delay does not represent a change in strategy."

What's most interesting here is that Rubin doesn't address the specifics from BusinessWeek's article. Among them:

  • Did Google hold up Verizon phones over Bing integration?
  • Has Google started enforcing its anti-fragmentation program more?
  • And does Facebook need Google's approval for its code tweaks?

Topics: Android, Google, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility, Open Source, Smartphones

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8 comments
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  • RE: Google's Rubin defends Android's open source cred

    Those aren't covered because, it was more about dealing with the closed source rumors that many ill informed people spread the crap about.
    slickjim
    • RE: Google's Rubin defends Android's open source cred

      @Peter Perry
      [i]We continue to be an open source platform and will continue releasing source code when it is ready[/i]

      And what does "ready" mean? does it mean when they no longer feel the need to keep a portion closed, as they've reaped the benefits of money wise, too late for others to do the same?
      Will Farrell
      • WHAT the HECK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?????

        @Will Farrell and what does "does" mean. ..?
        radleym
      • Annoying to some, true

        @Will Farrell

        But not unheard of in the OSS realm to only release code when product releases are made. There is no requirement even in GPL to have "in progress" code accessible before releasing a finished product.
        Mr. Copro Encephalic to You
  • Spin, spin, spin.

    The inferences one can make from his post are interesting. As we know, <i>Honeycomb</i> is "out", released on a device that's in stores now, but it's not yet been open sourced. Rubin says that will come when it's "ready." Does this mean that <i>Honeycomb </i>is <b>not ready</b> now? Of particular interest is the sentence <i>"Android team is still hard at work to bring all the new Honeycomb features to phones. As soon as this work is completed, well publish the code."</i> Is that a signal that <i>Honeycomb</i> as a Tablet OS is not for open source, but when it reaches a stage for handsets (i.e. <i>Ice Cream</i>) it <i>will</i> be? He continues <i>"We remain firmly committed to providing Android as an open source platform across many device types."[/i] Which, considering the current situation, apparently doesn't include tablets. Interesting.</i>
    matthew_maurice
    • RE: Google's Rubin defends Android's open source cred

      @matthew_maurice Your heading is appropriate to YOUR content.
      Jeez. people-haad any UFO encounters lately?
      radleym
  • RE: Google's Rubin defends Android's open source cred

    It sounds like Google is going to requre the vendors to keep within certain bounds in changing the code if they want to be able to call it 'Android'. Mozilla does much the same with Firefox. It's more about Trademark than Copyright.

    The end sellers could still change the code, they would just have to change the name too.
    YetAnotherBob
  • It's about the lawsuits

    Reining in Android keeps the lawsuits away. Just ask HTC. When companies expand too much beyond the [google] code, they leave all that legal protection behind.
    zaine_ridling