back to article Google 'clamps down' on world of Android partners

Google has not only decided to keep the Android Honeycomb source code closed for the foreseeable future, preventing all but a few select partners from using the latest version of its mobile OS, it has also clamped down even harder on those select partners, telling them they can't make changes to the platform or form partnerships …


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  1. Blue Buddha

    Yay, Flamewar!

    This should be *fun*!

    1. Ilgaz

      Now Meego wasted too...

      Well, sadly it will get boring after couple of years. Thanks to Nokia puppets and Intel geniuses selected them as partner and _still_ trust them, there are only 2 "smart" platforms left. iOS and Android. Windows phone doesn't count as it is some weird silverlight shell.

      I mean, just couple of years ago the smartphone market was fun to watch like 80s computer market.

      OS flamewars? to prove which is less evil?

      I started to think about a good 3G S40 feature (dumb) phone and a netbook myself. I am not choosing between any of these fake operating systems. It is absurd that J2ME ended up the most open and compatible thing out there. At least it doesn't claim to be heroic savlor of masses. Everyone knew Sun and they know Oracle.

      1. pan2008


        Open Source only for marketing purposes...

    2. RichyS


      I'm looking forward to this. Think I'll grab myself a coffee and settle in for the morning; lobbing in the odd grenade from time to time!

  2. vlc

    Probably a good approach

    Android is still an infant and not ready to be completely weaned from Google's guidance. I don't want incompatible or confusing versions of Android. Until, it has matured some more, Google is on on balance probably correct to take this approach.

    1. Chris Haynes
      Jobs Halo


      Don't you already have incompatible and confusing versions? Each manufacturer adds their own UI and various tweaks.

      1. Paul M 1


        Isn't that the point of why Google are doing this?

        1. Anonymous Coward

          @ Paul M1 in a word... No

          Google is listening to their lawyers.

          They have a couple of lawsuits that are ongoing and being open works against them.

          1. Paul M 1


            Not at all - that makes no sense. As I read it (and really most of Cade's stuff should be labelled "op-ed" - if "the facts paint a very different picture" then please tell us which major vendors are more open than Google) Google want to avoid fragmentation by insisting that, if you want to use their proprietary stuff you must stick to an acceptable interface etc which is reasonable - let's be honest, no Android users want to see a fragmented landscape. And the comparison to Windows desktop software is just so far off the mark - fragmentation doesn't exist in the desktop world where you don't need to run everything in full screen and memory, disk and graphics updates are but a credit card away.

            So you can still use Android to your heart's content and modify it as you see fit - you just can't then take Google's proprietary stuff that, despite the article, is not part of Android.

            Having said that, it does give Google an opportunity to start doing an Apple and arbitrarily ban devices etc that impinge upon its territory and I would prefer to see a definitive set of guidelines that show what is and isn't permitted.

            But at the moment the jury is out and I will personally give them the benefit until I see otherwise...

    2. dave 93
      Jobs Halo

      Google needs a hardware partner...

      ...if it ever hopes to get close to the user experience and price points of Apple iOS devices. My money is on Motorola as an 'all-american' acquisition target. Motorola is worth about 20 billion as of now, which is affordable by Google.

      I guess that if my prediction comes true, there will be a lot of 3rd party Android device manufactures either left out in the cold, or forced to be one or more versions behind the 'official' Googarola devices.

      Oh, I almost forgot - hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha - Steve was right again!

      1. Gordon 10

        Assuming you are right

        Which A. You probably arent.

        And B. You are not a trolling fanboi.

        Then HTC are a much more sensible acquisition target. HTC will be a name brand for the Growing Asian markets well in excess of the shot bolt that are Moto

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      That is all...

    4. Anonymous Coward


      You don't want incompatible or confusion versions of Android? You should have voiced your concerns to the carriers modding things long ago. As an enterprise IT service provider supporting at 10-12 different Android-based devices, it's nightmarish, to say the least.

      The great thing about Android is that it's openly modifiable and endlessly customizable. The bad thing about Android is that it's openly get the point.

  3. Eduard Coli
    Gates Horns


    Like Google has anything to worry about, look how much the trust busting did to M$.

    1. ThomH

      You don't think WP7 is a result?

      While much of the onerous stuff resulting from the judgment vanished almost immediately upon the change of US president, I tend to think that making it much harder to deny that Microsoft had damaged the industry set the stage for their decade of failure to succeed in new markets (the Xbox being the only exception). It's not just because of products like the Zune, out of date almost immediately upon release (as a regular iPod clone just before the iPod Touch came out), but also Windows Mobile - which was around a long time before the iPhone-inspired smartphone boom but failed to gain any traction. I think a contributor to that was an industry consciously resisting a manufacturer with an antitrust track record and consumers being similarly wary of a tarnished brand.

  4. Jolyon Smith

    Avoiding 1984 doesn't necessarily mean a return to the 60's

    Google want to offer a *choice*. There is nothing to say that their alternative to Apple has to be more open than Apple's offer. There mere fact of a Google alternative existing creates choice, and it is the availability of choice that Google see's as A Good Thing™.

    For myself, I think that Apple's control over their platform is a huge factor in their success. You buy Apple, you know exactly what you are getting, consistent content and consistent quality - they are the McDonalds of technology.

    With Android currently you get a local cafeteria experience. Most cafeterias offer very similar menus, but the exact menu and the quality of the delivery varies dramatically from one establishment to the next.

    My take on it is that Google want to ensure that Android doesn't lose it's way but becomes the "Burger King" choice.... the same level of consistent content and quality offered by McDonalds, but a different menu and a different style.

    That intent has become conflated with the degree of "Openness", most often by those with an axe to grind against Google, looking to critique everything that they say..

    But how "Open" or not Google/Android is has little to do with their aim of offering choice.

    Any number of commodity products are created to serve markets with a huge variety of choice, and a vanishingly small number of those products are "open".

    When was the last time we heard anyone criticising Sony (or anyone else) for not being "open" when developing a new TV to compete with Samsung, Sharp, Phillips etc etc ...

    1. Paul M 1


      Quite right. Additionally some people seem to fetishise one particular type of openness without remembering that (IMHO) the most important aspect of openness that Android provides is the ability to run whatever I want on my device (if I had one) rather than only what is available in the one store on the street.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Freedom to run whatever you like??

        "the most important aspect of openness that Android provides is the ability to run whatever I want on my device"

        Sure... just so long as the stuff you want to run doesn't get remotely deleted from your device by Google.

        1. Paul M 1


          "just so long as the stuff you want to run doesn't get remotely deleted from your device by Google"


          That applies to Apple's iOS and most certainly WinPho7 and don't worry, it will be part of OS X, Windows whatever and probably Linux (if you want to connect to our Internet...) within a very few years if it's not already there.

          If that's your worst fear about Google then you must be a very happy chappy (sic).

    2. thecakeis(not)alie


      "When was the last time we heard anyone criticising Sony (or anyone else) for not being "open" when developing a new TV to compete with Samsung, Sharp, Phillips etc etc ..."

      When was the last time Sony tried to create a proprietary interface and ram it down everyone's throats? People rip Sony a new one ALL THE TIME for being proprietary douches. The difference between TVs and phones however is this little thing called STANDARDS. TVs accepts a STANDARD input and proceed to display it. Phone manufacturers/devs/carriers obey few such rules.

      1. Jolyon Smith


        People may well complain at Sony for being douches, but they don't complain that they aren't OPEN!

        As for the "standards" - tablets/phones etc are exactly the same as TV's in this respect.

        Be it GSM, MMS, PXT, GPRS, EDGE, etc etc - THESE are the standards that are comparable to TV broadcast standards.

        What we are comparing with Apple vs Android vs WebOS etc etc is not compatability with those standards, which is just as much a given as TV compatability with broadcast standards, but the user interfaces and firmware in the devices which provide the specific features of the devices that differentiate them from the competition.

        Sony has the XMB in their TV's - love it or hate it, that's their choice. But you can't say "the XMB sucks because it isn't 'Open'" or that Phillips TV firmware is better *because* it is 'open", because NOBODY makes TV's with open firmware!

        But there are dozens of TV manufacturers, all offering choice.

        Google merely want to participate in the offering of choice in the smartphone space - that choice doesn't have to be 'open' in order to be a valid choice.

      2. Martyn Welch


        "The difference between TVs and phones however is this little thing called STANDARDS. TVs accepts a STANDARD input and proceed to display it. Phone manufacturers/devs/carriers obey few such rules."

        Eh?! So if phones don't follow standards, how is it you can buy an unlocked mobile; separately get a SIM card from any of the network operators; whack it in and make a call?

        1. thecakeis(not)alie

          Y'all don't apparently live in North America

          Here, the "standards" phone companies follow are mostly geared towards ensuring lock-in. GSM does exist in a limited fashion, but there are still plenty of carriers using equipment that can't be moved from network to network. There are plenty of manufacturers using proprietary connectors to shuffle data on/off the mobiles…or even charge the bloody things!

          The mobile industry has a few absolutely required standards – such as those used to talk to the base stations. The rest are utterly voluntary and very unevenly implemented. To the detriment of the consumer!

    3. The Taft Hotel

      True Open Source Branch

      With all the recent events, I would like to see developers take the current open source code and create a "true" open source branch from that. One not controlled by Google.

      A lot of the custom android ROM floating around now are much better than the Google stock roms or any from any manufacturer. Google holding back source except for it's key partners really holds back android.

      If they didn't really want to do open source, they should have done it all themselves including the kernel and vm, instead of taking all the code that was developed in the spirit of true open source and then operating as closed source.

      come on! BRANCH!!!!

      1. Ru

        Re: True Open Source Branch

        " I would like to see developers take the current open source code and create a "true" open source branch from that. One not controlled by Google"


        There's no shortage of custom OS images for non-Honeycomb android devices, some more user-friendly than others. Have a peek at some of the work mentioned on modaco or xda-developers. I use streakdroid myself. In theory, one should be able to rebuild the OS images for any android phone of Gingerbread/2.3 vintage or earlier. In practice, as with normal desktop hardware, there are no shortage of closed source binary drivers out there that hamper this activity.

        1. Zolko Silver badge

          binary drivers

          "In practice, as with normal desktop hardware, there are no shortage of closed source binary drivers out there that hamper this activity"

          put that in light with the recent information about the Android kernel headers.

          I have a Dell Streak too (didn't try Streakdroid though, is it really good ?) and wanted to install MeeGo, but it's not possible because of these binary drivers.

          An a normal desktop, you can install any flavour of Linux even with binary drivers: they're only "blobs" with an open-source interface.... which is lacking in Android *because* of the modified kernel headers.

      2. Paul 135
        Thumb Up

        yep, this would be the best

        A nice fork would be good. all the handset manufacturers could get together (MPEG-style) and define a multi-company standard for a manufacturer-independent application platform.

        Even funnier would be if they got Microsoft on the standards consortium, and did a deal to include Bing Search and Maps. Google would then REALLY have egg on their big arrogant face!! :D

    4. Anonymous Coward

      LMAO !!!!

      i got as far as ....

      "you buy Apple, you know exactly what you are getting, consistent content and consistent quality - they are the McDonalds of technology."

      than you lost all credibility....

      McDonalds sell $H1T... all in a nice package and lots of advertising to tell you its better than it actually is... but its still $h1T!!

      And I would sooner have a Burger King any day of the week to a crapDonalds !!!

      flame, coz mine is a flame grilled whopper !!

      1. RJ


        All he said was that you get consistent quality which is what McDonalds offers.

        He never made a commend on how good that quality was...

        1. Anonymous Coward

          constant quality?

          constant quality is a vary rare commodity, particularly accross fast food chains and dare i say it... mobile phones...

          Not far from where I used to live several years ago was a KFC, but I would drive passed that one to go to another a few miles up the road because The closer one was bad, fries were soggy and cold, they would very rarely get the order correct.

          Same with crapDonalds, go to one and order a mcflurry, one outlet you will get a reasonably filled tub of frozen lard with a generous sprinkle of topping. another outlet (I refuse to use the term restaurant) you get a tiny dollop in the bottom and hardly any sprinkles.

          crapDonalds may claim that "constant quality" is all important, it may be the case that it is important to upper management, but to the staff on the counters on minimum wage as well as treated like shit. (check it out next time your in crapDonalds, they are not allowed to have pockets in their uniforms, unless you are a supervisor), they don't give a shit if your burger is hot or cold. or if your fries are crisp or soggy... they don't pay them enough to care...

          and to get back to the alleged constant quality of crapple products, they dropped the ball a bit on the iphone4 that does not work if you hold it in the wrong hand, unless you add a fugly "bumper" to it. just for starters....

          the crapple fanbois will not accept that crapple products have flaws just the same as the junk food fans wont accept that crapDonalds sell shit...

          mines the one with the htc desire in the pocket, at least I can fix any software flaws i may find !

      2. Anonymous Coward

        I fail to see ...

        where the analogy broke down. Both Apple and McDonald's provide an entirely consistent experience. Every iPhone is exactly the same (ridiculous one button, crap multitasking and memory management, random sad faces) and every McDonald's burger is the same (mysterious gray meat, hot, greasy bun).

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Quote: "There is nothing to say that their alternative to Apple has to be more open than Apple's offer."

      However, that is precisely what Google did say, that they were "open" unlike that nasty, closed Apple lot: it wasn't that they were an "alternative" to Apple, it wasn't that they were a "choice" in addition to Apple, it was that they were "open" and not closed like Apple. Only complete fucking idiots believed them of course but, as the comments on anything iOS or Android will attest to, there is a fucking enormous number of them.

    6. RichyS


      But the problem is that Google banged on about how 'open' Android was, and how this was such a good thing.

      For the record, I think the approach Google are now taking is probably the correct one. However, it does rather make a mockery of their past assertions on the openness of the platform.

      I don't particularly think Google are malicious, or tried to mislead anyone at the outset. I suspect that they did intend for Android to remain open (well, fairly open). But the fact remains, they've gone back on what they said. They've been called on it, and they look a little stupid.

      Google is in the business of making profits. Therefore they only left Android open for as long as it suited Google, not the wider 'open source' community.

      And it turns out that Steve Jobs was right. That must stick in the craw of Droidtards and Penguinistas everywhere!

    7. ThomH

      Ummm, not quite right

      The main groups that have continuously shouted about Android being open and that being one of the reasons why it is better are (i) Google; and (ii) a particular, vocal segment of Android users. It's those that support Android that have conflated openness and a bunch of other issues, not those that seek to detract from it.

      I agree that the conflation is unhelpful and often misguided. I strongly disagree that it is mainly the product of "those with an axe to grind".

    8. Paul 135
      Big Brother

      Wrong. It's the classic "bait and switch" con.

      You're completely missing the point that Google constantly touted its OS as "open" to the handset manufacturers. The handset manufacturers jumped upon the bandwagon assuming that they'd be able to customise this "open" OS as they saw fit. Now it appeats that Google seem to want complete control.

      This is good for neither handset manufacturers or consumers, as Google don't always make the best decisions e.g IMO some of Sony Ericsson's latest Android tweaks are better than stock Android.

      A better approach that Google could take would be to require all handset manufacturers selling "Google Experience" Android to provide unlocked bootloaders (as SE say they are going to do), drivers for their hardware, and an easy way for the end-user to install stock Android if they wish.

  5. Graham Marsden

    "According to the report...

    "...Google has also tried to prevent partners from bundling rival services such as Microsoft's Bing search."

    Err, guys, remember how people got the option to install Chrome on their PCs instead of having IE as the default...???

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This is going to be a real boost for Amazon's Appstore. Once device manufacturers can outfit Android as they see fit, and not be bound by Google's marketplace, let's see how many are going to remain in the fold.

  7. Carol Orlowski

    How long can Google legally delay

    releasing the Honeycomb Gingerbread source before they fall foul of it's opensource licence?

    1. Paul Shirley

      that's not how copyright or OS works

      Until they release it as Open Source it's not under an OS licence. An OS licence cannot 'infect' the copyright holders private copy, despite Microsoft/SCO/Oracle's best efforts to FUD the issue. And that includes their *original copy* of what was released as OS.

      So, they can delay forever should they choose.

      1. Martin Owens

        Not quite

        Their personal copyright or anything weakly licensed can be kept closed. Anything GPL though will have to be released in source format as per section 2(b), unless they own the entire copyright on the GPL piece... and last I checked, google don't own the linux kernel; so that at least should be available.

        Everything else though, will probably have to be rewritten from scratch with a proper license.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Enjoy your Kernel. Best of luck building a competitive OS from that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      >How long can Google legally delay

      As long as they like, since everything under GPL in 3.0 has already been released.....

      Holding back the source makes sense commercially especially since Circles and GMS are under NDA - no chance of seeing the source until that's lifted unless you're in OHA.

      I won't expect to see it until the Nexus Tablet launch in Autumn, but then I don't need to, the SDK has been out for ages and despite the FUD that's what developers actually need.

  8. DrXym


    I reckon it's Amazon that Google are worried about and the tablet they are almost certainly working on which will be built around Amazon's services, not Googles.

  9. Trib

    History really does repeat itself

    I trying to remember. Wasn't there a browser at one time called Netscape and another company that made an operating system also made a competing browser. This operating system company used their influence to prevent manufactures from including the Netscape browser with their system?

    Didn't everyone get really upset back then and say it was wrong?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What you are missing

      Is this is cuddly google, you know "Do no evil", durrrh.

      No true fandroid is going to slate google for doing this, despite it having the same potential to be come as much Kool Aid as the Apple numbnuts.

      Take your locked down choice of Apple Soda or Chrome Soda

      1. Shannon Jacobs
        Big Brother

        EVIL is the keyword for Google these days

        Where is the parent post to which this seems to be a reply? Something weird going on here...

        Anyway, my basic take is that Google is just being forced to play by legislative rules that oblige American companies to become evil. The rules were basically written by paid tools (AKA bribed professional politicians) per the orders of the most immoral and money-focused businessmen. The primary objectives of these laws were primarily (1) to legally protect themselves from the consequences of all the times when they skated too close to the legal limits and (2) to create new slack for new money-making opportunities at the edge of the new limits. In other words, the referee is corrupt, and Google is just learning to play the game, though I haven't heard that Google is evil enough to be bribing the politicians. YET.

        At this point, Google probably deserves it's own icon, but I'll use Big Brother, since I think that's the natural outcome of Google's increasing evil.

      2. Ilgaz

        The real shame is

        Just like Adobe, Google manages to prove Steve Jobs right. Android isn't really some java on top of linux.

        Linux is/was that Neo thing (stupid managers) and Meego. That is open, Android isn't. I also think soon or later they will get into trouble like MS in 90s and those old judges really don't buy cool company mottos. I bet people at ms sees Android desktop, Chrome browser amd wonders what would happen to them if they dared to tie everything to MS services.

        As Symbian owner, I hate the Nokia's decision but a Nokia smartphone wouldn't function without being activated by Google doesn't make sense too.

    2. Brangdon

      History isn't repeating itself

      People said Microsoft were wrong because they were using one monopoly to create another. Specifically, they used a monopoly on desktop operating systems to create a monopoly on Internet browsers. The current situation is different because Google do not have a monopoly on phone operating systems.

      (Google arguably have a monopoly on the Internet search market, but that's not what they are leveraging here.)

      1. Ilgaz

        Lack of critism will kill them

        Google is an advertising giant and most of news outlets depend on them to make money, pay wages.

        Google is not getting or will never get the massive critism MS gets when they do wrong and that lack of critism and "fans" will eventually lead them to really bad places.

        Ordinary people, not just 24/7 firewall watching paranoids have become sick and tired of their information vampire, as long as it is open source, no matter how your app behaves attitude.

        Seek Google "news" for Google update checker. Now seek blogs, download sites (perfect feedback treasure) to see how mad the ordinary people has become by its "check every 2 hours, keep checking" attitude.

        Just imagine MS decided to check for updates every 2 hours and installed all of them without even bothering to ask user. Can you imagine the media outburst?

        Ps: If you are UNIX type, update checker is also a SUID type app.

  10. Paul Shirley

    spinning like a dizzy top

    Gotta love the flip flopping, no sooner is the Reg finished whining about fragmentation in Android that it starts complaining about efforts to reduce fragmentation! Getting dizzy yet?

    Honeycomb isn't currently Open Source - can't be without the source. But you need to realise that copyright holders don't abandon all rights by open sourcing, they've simply given you additional rights. Your extra rights extend only as far as the *copy* you were licensed, the copyright holder can do what he likes with *his* copy and any derivatives. Calling Honeycomb OS right now is premature (but I wonder if they have in fact done that) but that's as far as it goes, you either believe it will *become* OS or not.

    Meanwhile my G1 phone is running Gingerbread because that version has been released to OS. Running 2.3.3 before most of those Google partners got official builds out the door, on a phone where official upgrades ended at Android 1.6! No need to suggest forking Android, AOSP already is that 'fork'.

    1. The Taft Hotel

      Wrtiing is on the wall

      "No need to suggest forking Android, AOSP already is that 'fork'"

      No it's not. While Google were trying to play the open source game they were keeping this pretty fresh and up to date. This was good and devs and hacker were always working on current code.

      Now Google are saying they are "not releasing source for the foreseeable future". This it then a different game altogether. AOSP will still be Google, it will be updated to Honeycomb at some point but by then devices will have been out for a long time and people will be left working building on old code base. While AOSP is always way behind production devices and versions given to preferred partners, AOSP becomes very much a send class product. always kept behind google partners and 2nd class. This is NOT how it has been to date.

      That is why a true branch would be better, as it could grow independent of Google and produce an open source version that could compete with the google offering and judging my some of the work on XDA, even better!

      You can kiss good buy to great roms being better than those on production manufactures devices it google are going to start keeping the base source back.

      1. gort

        Google actually said

        "We're committed to providing Android as an open platform across many device types and will publish the source as soon as it's ready."

  11. bazza Silver badge

    Oh dear

    Sounds like Google are trying to push the genie back in to the bottle. Too late. They're beginning to pay the price of some very poor decisions of 4 years ago. Either they leave things as they are (i.e. anarchy) or upset the manufacturers a lot. And if they do get the mythical being back in to its glassy home, just what would the difference be between Android and Windows Mobile from the point of view of the manufacturers?

    Well, for starters MS impose a hardware spec which makes it practical to have different manufacturers with one OS. Works for PCs, should work for mobiles. Handset manufacturers can build to that spec, and in theory MS look after everything else. Google doesn't, though they probably will (but you can smell it coming a mile off). If they do, then any handset built now will likely become unsupportable. What's the betting that Honeycomb makes it on to very few existing handsets?

    1. stewski

      Are you stating fiction or facts?

      Does the Open Handset Alliance not give minimum hardware requirements for Android also?

      By the way, did those standards help samsung and MS in their recent updater update efforts?

  12. KrisMac

    Not Open? Since When did 'Open' mean 'Anarchic'?

    Maybe my 20+ years in the IT industry had given me poor eyesight from VDU burnout, but can someone point me to a 'successful' Open Source project that is not under the 'control' of someone?

    * Linux == Linus Torvalds (if you don't believe me, just try publishing crap to the kernel).

    * Apache == Apache Foundation, (via registered Comitter List)

    * GNU == Free Software Foundation, (Richard Stallman et al.)

    * OpenOffice == Oracle, (nee SUN)

    * LibreOffice == The Document Foundation, (via the Steetring Committee)

    I cannot for the life of me see what the difference between Google's approach to project management and the apporaches taken by these other projects is. Nor can I see why a project should be alloed to decend into anarchy, simply because it was originally punted by Google.

    This is just Microsoft and their pet media hacks trying to sling mud/FUD...

    Nothing new here - move on

    1. The Taft Hotel

      Open Source

      * Linux == Linus Torvalds (if you don't believe me, just try publishing crap to the kernel).

      * Apache == Apache Foundation, (via registered Comitter List)

      * GNU == Free Software Foundation, (Richard Stallman et al.)

      * OpenOffice == Oracle, (nee SUN)

      * LibreOffice == The Document Foundation, (via the Steetring Committee)

      I don't think any of those are holding the source closed until they have given it to other commercial partners are they? The source is available for all of them, no? They are all pretty good examples of real "open" source to me.

      1. Ilgaz

        So Steve Jobs is a legal/technical genius?

        Funny thing is, they managed to prove SJobs right. Guy said "It is NOT open".

        I hate both Google and Adobe for proving everything he says. Also, IBM too (with G5).

    2. Kieran

      So hang on, Open Source is all bollocks?

      Linus personally approves every release of Redhat, Suse, Ubuntu et al?

      Wow. You've opened my eyes.

      1. blcollier


        Redhat, Suse, Ubuntu et al are not "Linux" - they are Linux *distributions*. *Linux* refers to the core kernel, which was originally created by Linus Torvalds. A Linux distribution is built on top of the Linux kernel, but with other software packages bundled in to make everything work properly and make it all look pretty. The kernel on it's own is pretty useless for most people.

        This is a distinction that very few people actually make in reality - and even those of us that are aware of it often refer to distros as "Linux" - but there is a fundamental difference.

        1. stewski

          Thanks mr OED

          Thanks for that blcollier, I didnt realise that YOU alone are the authorative source on this matter.

          General use of the word linux refers to any operating system based on linus' kernel and it is that general use that will likely come to define the word not your chosen take on it.

          Yes there are many distributions of open source software that bundle the kernel and various OS components, these can all be (and generally are) termed linux by the majority of users and distributors!

          1. blcollier

            This is a title

            Yes, Linux distributions are usually called 'Linux'. In fact I even said so myself: "This is a distinction that very few people actually make in reality - and even those of us that are aware of it often refer to distros as "Linux"". Please read the actual thread, and don't just jump on the first long-haired hippy freetard comment you happen to spot.

            My post was in response to:

            'Linus personally approves every release of Redhat, Suse, Ubuntu, et al?'

            Which itself was a response to a much earlier comment stating that anything to do with 'Linux' is under the 'control' of Linus Torvalds. Which it pretty much is, because it's *his* kernel in the first place and he's still very active in kernel development. So, yes, Linus Torvalds does approve releases of 'Linux', because the term 'Linux' does not mean 'Linux distribution'.

  13. Mikel

    Tempest in a teacup

    The whole thing will be open in due course. In the interim this is a good thing because there are really well funded, connected and motivated people who will stop at nothing to ruin Android tablets. They want desperately to ship a Honeycomb spin that breaks security, ruins the customer experience and, if possible, implicates Google in some perceived wrongdoing. This very article illustrates how desperate and shrill they are becoming.

    I doubt Google likes this necessary defensive posture either and is working diligently to correct it. In the interim you are free to select from any of the other available free and open source tablet operating systems, and install that on your Android tablets. Google is under no compulsion to open source any more of this code before they are ready to do so.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Google/Android = Welcome to the new Steve Jobs and Apple/iOS

    Bloody Freetards!

    makes me sick!

  15. AlvordSky

    Open Source is compatible with >>some<< control

    There is significant value in having an approver or coordinator to prevent fragmentation in interfaces, APIs, app compatibility, etc. The real question is how the approver exerts their control. There are good and bad examples - Linus does a darned good job coordinating the Linux contributors, in a collaborative way. I hope that Google follows that example; if they do, this can be of help. We'll see.........

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    This is why I buy into the Apple zoo

    Better closed and honest about it than closed and dishonest about it. Not to mention interested in your money rather than your data.

  17. gort


    Skyhook turned out to be bs-ing; the judge booted their preliminary injunction against Google, saying that emails revealed in the pretrial showed that Google was trying to work with them to achieve a situation where Skyhook's software could coexist properly with the rest of Android, but Skyhook didn't want to play nice and Motorola eventually canned their contract. Surprisingly I didn't see this covered in the Reg, not anti-Google enough for you?

    The rest of this is nothing new; Google has always had an Android compatibility program, and has always had a two-tier ecosystem of Open Handset Alliance members and the rest of the world when it comes to receiving open source dumps. I would take with a huge grain of salt the vague FUD about new "fragmentation" requirements from anonymous sources.

  18. Rob Moir

    Apple and Microsoft

    ... they may well be bastards but at least they're honest about it.

  19. Matt_V

    Will this be true tomorrow...

    Or after mid day? that is all.

  20. RichyS


    I can't believe how many Android Apologists there are reading El Reg.

    Imagine the spleen being vented if this sort of thing was being done by Apple/MS/Sony. You lot are pathetic.

    1. Paul M 1


      You know what I can't believe? How anyone can be an advocate for *any* corporation unless they were being paid to do it. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Sony whoever....

      At least FOSS has an ideology behind it but sticking up for entities whose legal responsibility is to take as much money as possible from you....?!?

    2. stewski

      Free Open Source Apologists?

      Most people are unlikely to understand how you become an apologist for software that has been released source and all to the comunity.

      Yes many would prefer earlier releases of source

      others want tighter control

      some are saying better closed and honest.

      Myself I do see any failure to release regular Android code or suggest no further releases of a branch as a huge step backwards.

      But no an honestly closed controled draconian future is not the path I want for my computing, information technology future. If you like being told which cartoonists to read, how programs should be written and what they should be allowed to do.

      Personally Im too busy tethering my £90 Android 2.2 (cyanogen) phone to pay £430 for a locked down iPhone 3GS...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Android Stalinists

    The androidnauts are acting just like old-school stalinists who've just received the latest line from the central committee.

    1. Sam Liddicott


      spoken like someone who doesn't know stalin or the stalinists.

      The androidists aren't a single organised bunch, you are probably seeing different android fans each time and mistaking them for the same group - a common mistake in earlier years in such matters as race, or gender, and was legally recognised as not being a basis for discrimination.

      You could learn the general principle that not all of <group> are the same.

  22. Rob Davis

    modding communities are a reason

    Why the source is closed. Androis vendors want people to continually buy devices and they want to minimise spend on testing new android versions. The android versions available via modding communities delay consumers upgrading. Not releasing the source for honeycomb is a lesson learnt by google from the mobile market. This helps vendors invest in developing newer products from the sales of consumers buying them.

    I think the modding communities are a good thing for consumers but i also see it from the vendors point of view wanting to encourage buying new stuff so that consumers can benefit from newer stuff..

  23. Alan 43

    this is temporary

    This is temporary as Google have indicated they took a number of shortcuts to produce the current 3.0 code for tablets only - which would result in fragmentation - when in the slightly longer term they are still working to their original goal of 3.0 for phones and tablets

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You really believe this don't you...



  24. Adam T


    Whether or not Google are doing the right thing (and I think they are in some aspects, are not in others), one thing is hilarious:

    All the manufacturers thinking they were going to get a free ride into Tablet-Land are paying the price of admission into the greatest Cargo Cult of the early 21st Century. There really is no free lunch, is there.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Kiss android goodbye

    Honeycomb has only got 50 apps, And what, one very expensive tablet. Now I find that google is playing random favorites with the source code and may find that I have unsupported hardware in the near future.

    I can see why WM7 is projected to go from 5 to 20% market share. I think I can deal with MS's bullshit as at least I know there is an upgrade path.

  26. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Might get an N8 after all

    We've got the original dumbed-down locked-down phone OS, Microsoft's copy, and Google pretending to be everybody's friend but just playing power games and slurping more data then the other two put together.

    Something's up when Symbian 3's a dead end and there's only going to be one more MeeGo phone but even so both look infinitely more appealing as a next phone than anything based on those three.

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge


      ...Nokia just released the sourcecode for Symbian last week.

  27. Anthony Prime

    A salutory lesson...

    This, once again confirms that corporations care not a jot about FOSS beyond turning a profit from it.

    Without a doubt the android model from here will be the same as OSX.

    Take a solid open source project, apply a few saps back to "the community" and then build the UI and other services on top in a nice closed manner.

    Mark my words, Google Android (as opposed to any forks that may or may not happen) will have a nice tight closed App Store within 12 months, because that's another income source for them as a for profit corporation to think any different is madness..

    Open source Android will be to Google Android what BSD is to OSX - a marginalized irrelevance. Pains me to say it, but thats what I see.

  28. Anonymous Coward



    But guess what... your application still work.. replacing the launcher application or changing some graphics in the framework doesn't break all existing applications. Seriously, this really gets on my tits. You have idiots (including Steve the great) saying "Look at these companies like tweetdeck.. they have to make millions of versions of their app to cover all the Android devices".. no, they don't, you can choose not to support older platform versions or some screen sizes.. but no, HTC's changes to the stock apps and changes to framework graphics DO NOT RENDER THEIR PHONES INCOMPATIBLE WITH A "STANDARD" ANDROID DEVICE.

    And FFS, how many times does it need to be pointed out that Maps ARE NOT PART OF THE ANDROID PLATFORM. Google's market IS NOT PART OF THE ANDROID PLATFORM. If you want to use Google's extra APIs you have to define that in your application's manifest.. Lets repeat that MAPS IS NOT PART OF THE ANDROID PLATFORM. If you want to use maps and the market you have to keep google happy. You could build an Android device with your own market and value add applications... but I doubt many vendors want to do that when A: consumers want the google apps B: the google apps are fairly good C: the rules google have aren't all that insane.

    1. Paul 135

      well said

      Very well said. This "fragmentation" argument is bullshit. The most important part of Android is that it has a cross-manufacturer standardised application platform.

      Phones are also NOT PCs. They come in many different shapes and sizes, and trying to force the device manufacturers to use a one-size-fits-all approach will only fail.

      If Google are trying to enforce exactly the same UI across manufacturers then this is nothing but Google being absolute cvnts. IMO the stock Android UI is just not as good as with the tweaks from the likes of Sony Ericsson (2011 devices). ... and don't get me started on those stupid 4 Android buttons at the bottom - SE's latest devices with 3 buttons have much more logical layout IMO.

  29. Paul 135
    Jobs Horns

    Too many AppleTards within Google if you ask me. The signs were all there.

    I became alarmed at the signs that Google were turning towards thinking in an evil and controlling "Jobsian" way last year when Google announced that all of its employees must use Apple computers. That was the start of the end...

  30. Aaron Guilmette

    Google is just ...

    Learning now what Microsoft learned 20 years ago.... That giving your stuff away with no restrictions is no way to make money. Once you give away the fruit of your engineering, there's no reason for people to come back to you. Companies can't be supported by banner ads alone.

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