Google insists it will remain open source player

Google insists that Android will remain an open source platform and takes great exception to reports to the contrary.That's good news.
Written by Paula Rooney, Contributor on

Google insists that Android will remain an open source platform and takes great exception to reports to the contrary.

That's good news.

"Recently, there’s been a lot of misinformation in the press about Android and Google’s role in supporting the ecosystem. I’m writing in the spirit of transparency and in an attempt to set the record straight," wrote Andy Rubin, vice president of engineering at Google, in a blog earlier this month.

"Our approach remains unchanged: there are no lock-downs or restrictions against customizing UIs. There are not, and never have been, any efforts to standardize the platform on any single chipset architecture.

Google will release its Android 3.0 code to the open source community when it's ready.

"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. We remain firmly committed to providing Android as an open source platform across many device types."

It's good news that Google reacted so negatively to questions about its open source commitment. If the company had been silent ... now that would have been concerning.

I was one of those who raised concerns about Google's decision -- who spread the "misinformation."

Rubin's reaction is understandable to some extent. Google has done a lot of good for the open source community. And it employs Andrew Morton and Jeremy Allison, after all.

Nevertheless, it is the job of the press and the public to raise questions when there are apparent deviations to clearly defined principles of open source. That's the beauty of transparency.

The beauty of open source is that it is open -- open for inspection, open for debate and open for criticism.  Was some of the criticism a kneejerk reaction? Maybe.  Maybe not. Whether or not such criticism is "misinformation" has yet to be proven.  But it is worthy of discussion.

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