back to article Google won't open source fondleslab Android before 'year end'

Google has said that the next version of Android, dubbed "Ice Cream Sandwich", will be open sourced "by the end of the year," and that it will not open source the current Android incarnation, the tablet-centric Honeycomb, before that time. Earlier this year, Honeycomb debuted on the Motorola Xoom tablet. It was soon revealed, …


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  1. Rob Dobs
    Dead Vulture

    Please stop using stupid new words.

    I know I'm pissing in the wind here, but thought I would have a go for laughs.

    The Reg has a very bad habit of reusing stupid words it thinks are cute in its articles.

    freetard was a previous gem, and now its fondleslab.

    First of this sounds like something pedophiles would use,

    Second its a little confusing especially when you insist on using it in Article HEADLINES 3 times a day.

    Great you invented a new word... go call Webster and stop pushing it on the rest of us. Its a touch pad, its been a touch pad or touch screen (or Tablet PC even) for oh about 20-30 years or so, since the old palms, newtons etc.. THERE IS NO NEED FOR A NEW WORD HERE.

    Instead I see "duh blah blah FONDLESLAB!!!" and have to think oh another tablet pc article....sigh.

    Regspeak can be cute when its smart... here it is not, and it sounds more and more stupid the more you use it.

    P.S. loved the word freetard actually, the Reg authors just used it entirely wrong.

    A freetard is obviously a person things that things that are not supposed to be free, should be because they think so. Freetards have a myopic or retarded view on ownership and value, and so its apropos. However, the Reg blithely used this term to describe almost anyone who was in support of Open source software, or proponents of public and fair use. This just made the Reg look stupid.

    Please no more stupid, no more "fondleslab" its not cute, its just annoying.

    1. Adam T


      It is a bit Vic Reeves isn't it.

      Oh well, Honeycomb will be out just in time for Fondleslab 3 anyway.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Ice Cream Sandwich you mean? Honeycomb was 'out' last year. Just not that many folks using it just yet, the Xoom is the only one of note at the moment.

    2. Turtle_Fan

      But why?

      I actually find reg's wordsmiths to be a quirky yet inventive lot. Web2.0rreah anyone?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Yeah, I never understood that one. Or Badger's paws. Was there something I missed?

        1. Mad Hacker

          You never understood web2.0rreah???

          Let me guess... you Twitter like mad and think that's helping society.

    3. Krudler

      You are right, plus...

      You say "This just made the Reg look stupid."

      Well, that, plus all the articles ever written from Orlowski and Page of course.

    4. thecakeis(not)alie

      @Rob Dobs

      Welcome to The Register. "Cute names" are part of the site. If you don't like it, there are a large quantity of mundane American outlets to get your news from.

      Us, we like The Register exactly how it is, thanks.

    5. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Fondle, Fondle, Drool, Drool

      I think you'll find "fondleslab" is an apt and suitably derogatory term when one looks at the owners of said slabs pawing at their shiny new toys.

      My first App is going to be a gem; virtual rain drops running down the screen which can be steered using the tongue. That should help sort the "tablet" users from "fondleslab" owners.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    War against Android on the iPad?

    Is Google keeping Android source code to itself to stop enterprising people from porting it to the iPad?

    The iPad 1 and 2 are, arguably, the best hardware for the price, irrespective of iOS. Why buy a Xoom or Playbook for $100 more if the jailbroken iPad runs android just as well? Of course, that would suck all the money from the Android hardware partners, so it must not be allowed, if you are Google. And how can you stop the volunteers from doing it short of keeping the code closed?

    But I dunno.

    1. RichyS

      But why?

      I can't imagine why people would want to make their iPads worse. On purpose.

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      No, I think it's to protect at the other end...

      i.e. Motorola and Samsung versus the no-name, very low specification, resistive tablets that are threatening to give Android an unfair bad name. I also think that maybe why in 'Honeycomb' they've picked a codename that sounds good and is being pushed as part of the branding, and seem to be retaining it to the next minor version.

      Either that, or it really is just that the code doesn't look very nice. Not everything is a conspiracy and companies do sometimes tell the truth.

    3. DrXym Silver badge


      It's keeping the source code to itself to stop Amazon branching the platform. That's the only reason this is happening as far as I can see.

      Amazon are obviously developing an Android tablet and could easily break away from Google's control since they have most of the services they need to do so. By withholding version 3.0 Google is forcing Amazon to delay or come out with an inferior product or come back to the negotiating table.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        >It's keeping the source code to itself to stop Amazon branching the platform.

        Nice theory, except they are one of the many companies which already have access to the source code - the 'company' building their Tabs is an OHA member.

        The simpler and rather dull explanation is simply that its a fair way off ready, because much of the device consolidation side, planned for sandwich, is now brought forward. Though there's actually been a snapshot release in AOSP for a couple of weeks to appease the 'it ain't open' brigade and various xGPL obligations. Ruben might say

        repo init -u

        git:// -m 3.0-base.xml ;

        repo sync

        repo forall -p -c git

        checkout android-3.0_r1.3


        Another route to pre-release but complete stacks is via OHA members already shipping Honeycomb devices....


        Choose download, then Android 3.0 Source Code....

        Still I don't suppose anyone wants to hear this......

        1. DrXym Silver badge

          @AC & @SuccessCase

          AC, it's not about mere access but actual rights. Yes Amazon could steal 3.0 code in some manner, e.g. supposing Samsung built their tablet then Samsung probably has a copy of 3.0 knocking about. But then Amazon (and Samsung) would be in a heap of legal hot water. As for ASUS providing source code, no they don't. They provide source to the modified kernel and that's it.

          I don't doubt the source will appear eventually. I just think it's a rather convenient excuse to delay releasing source code when it's obvious to the world and his uncle that Amazon is poised launch a tablet that could seriously fragment the platform.

          As to SuccessCase's inane dribble. I suggest Android is already making them a small fortune through ad words, marketplace, search, even hardware sales. It is estimated to be running at $1 billion a year which is easily enough to fund development many times over.

          And soon they can add books, music, video etc. there too. YouTube just started rentals, they just launched music yesterday and books are there too. It's clear they are making boatloads of money.

          1. SuccessCase

            @DrXym: Wrong.

            You don't have experience reading finical statements do you. If you did you would know:

            1) you only have to show the books balance, you don't have to give a granular breakdown of how your business units are earning their revenues. There is no doubt Google are reclassifying advertising revenues under as many heading as possible including android.

            From their Q1 2011 report:

            "Advertising revenues made up 96% and 97% of our revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2010 and 2011. We derive most of our additional revenues from offering display advertising management services to advertisers, ad agencies, and publishers, as well as licensing our enterprise products, search solutions, and web search technology."

            So read that again 96-97% advertising with the rest coming from advertising management services. If they had anything at all significant to say about Android licensing don't you think they would have mentioned it? You can be sure if there were significant alternative revenues they would let the world know (they were criticised for it on their last earning call). No the android line in their annual report gives no detailed breakdown because it is still advertising, just advertising they are attributing to android. And you can be sure their accountants will have been instructed to attribute as much to Android as can conceivably, legally, be attributed.

            2) Apple have earned 7.4 billion on iPad sales over the last two quarters, and that's also with the constraint of a huge order backlog and reduction in sales due to customers waiting for the iPad 2.

            I say again with full justification, Google are number two in the tablet market, a market exploding with consumer spend, and yet are earning no (appreciable) money from all their efforts. That's the reason for their change of policy to source code release, pure and simple. The realization they are sitting on a goldmine but aren't earning from it because they have already made themselves a hostage to fortune with their public statements about supporting OSS.

    4. SuccessCase

      How about the much more simple explanation

      Google is making no money outside of advertising. In revenue terms it's a one trick pony. They are delaying open sourcing Honeycomb because they have worked out, they are now number two in the massively exploding tablet market, where the PC industry is being turned on its head, and for all their investment and for all the massive consumer spend, they are making NO MONEY (except for by see below). Meanwhile Apple are raking it in. It's all too apparent the opportunity cost of keeping Android Open Source as opposed to closed and proprietary is so staggeringly huge, to investors they are begining to look a bit, well, like a bunch of impractical idealists who don't have what it takes to create they diversified revenue streams the market is crying out for. So they are getting cold feet about Open Source and, rather than do a full "we admit it, we're as evil as the rest" about-face, they are attempting to leverage value by keeping it closed and making money through charging for key add ons like the app store and preferred partner agreements and hope no-one notices they have how they have displaced the more usual in-your-face closed propreitary revenue stream into a form they think sounds less capitalist driven and more cuddly. In other words they are trying to play it both ways. Trying to have their cake and eat it.

      Meanwhile all the Fandroids, like brides left at the altar, are wandering around lost, coming up with every excuse as to why their beloved Google has abandoned their ideals, except for the reason that's bleedin' obvious to everyone else who isn't pierced by Cupid's arrow.

  3. ratfox

    Ice cream sandwich?

    Seriously, they could not find something that would be less of a mouthful? What about "Antidisestablishmentarianism"?

    About Android on the iPad, I don't see how Google could possibly mind that. I don't think they really care that hardware partners are losing money, as long as Android is used...

  4. Paul M 1


    "Of course, Google had no problem open sourcing phone-centric versions of Android and watching people squeeze them onto tablets"

    Not so since Google said from day 1 that Android Version 2 was not suitable for tablets - strange how you could forget about that one Cade...

  5. Asgard

    Google's reasoning, right idea, wrong solution.

    I can see Google's reasoning, but I think Google have handled this wrong. Ok they don't want Android 3.0 on phones, we get it, we understand ...

    Google's wants us to hence forth remember, "Google will never support Android 3.0 on a phone."

    ... fine, ok, there I've said it, if its loaded on a phone, then it won't be supported, ok we understand. Now where's the source code Google!, as developers trying to support tablets want to look at the code!

    We know if its put on a phone, its not supported, we really do understand that, so don't sell phones with it on. So if anyone does try to sell a phone with it on everyone will say online don't buy that phone, its incompatible and so any manufacturer trying to rush ahead with 3.0 on a phone, will totally backfire and kill public perception and trust in them and their product.

    It does mean that by Google withholding the OS, they are effectively saying they don't trust phone manufacturers not to put it on phones. Perhaps a few smaller companies (trying to get attention for their niche product) will try to hack around the hacks in Android 3.0, that allowed it to be hacked onto Tablets, but larger mass market companies are not going to do that. They can't afford to mess up their market with a dodge incompatible version of the OS *that won't be supported by Google*. People don't want to buy something thats not supported and incompatible.

    But developers need to see the source code ... now Google ... they have software to release and bugs to find and fix and having the OS source code really would help.

    1. Vic

      That's not Google's reasoning.

      > Google will never support Android 3.0 on a phone."

      Google have not said that.

      They have said that they don't want 3.0 on a phone *yet*.

      It remains to be seen whether or not they ever will do. Who knows? They might actually be telling the truth.

      > as developers trying to support tablets want to look at the code!

      Then you need to campaign for a different licence.

      The proponents of "permissive" licences (BSD, Apache, et al.) claim that such licences are more free than the GPL and similar because they do not restrict what a distributor can do with the code. This is an example of Google exercising that freedom - a freedom that they would simply not have under the GPL.

      Somehow, I can't see Google changing the licence - and that means they will always be able to do this sort of thing.


  6. Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear

    The commentard is annoyed, the Reg looks stupid? The Reg IS stupid. An information that's on here I've read hours ago on others blogs, with much better coverage and actual analysis.

    I just come here for the stupidity. It's like Monty Python of IT but without the quality. Would be sad to see it go.

  7. mraak

    Who cares

    Really, who cares, I don't intend to use the source code and I believe vast majority of users as well. The ones that are using and modifying the source are the likes of Verizon who use it to put a big VERIZON button on the home screen, or lock down some free functionality such as tethering. I mean I like the open source concept but this just never equated to people freely downloading and using OS of choice on the hardware of choice.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Whats the deal with open source?

    Can't GPL or whoever sue Google for this? And how does Mac use OSX which is based on Linux without opening the code?

    I profess ignorance, would someone enlighten me how certain projects seem to thwart open source rules and not get sued?

    1. Pet Peeve


      OSX isn't even a LITTLE "based on linux". Where did you get that crazy idea?

    2. Scott Aubrey

      Re: Whats the deal with open source?


      I suggest you read up on the subject a bit more, not that I'm an expert, but your questions are easily answer with a bit of research.

      GPL is a licence agreement, not a company or entity capable of suing anyone.

      When software is licensed under the GPL, any changes made, and crucially are then distributed in binary form, must make the changes available under the GPL again, but not necessarily via source code drops. In this instance, the linux kernel is used, and Google (or motorola) could respond to requests the changes made the linux kernel. As for code that Google has written, it's their copyright. They can do what they like with that.

      Finally, OS X isn't based on any part of linux. However it does redistribute quite a lot of open source components, many licence under GPL, and many patched to work on OS X. In compliance with the license, you can find those packages at - heck even some there don't require your changes to be published, but they do anyway. Shocker!

    3. Nick Wallis


    4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      re: What's the deal with Open Source?


      And how does Mac use OSX which is based on Linux without opening the code?

      Eh? WTF?

      Since when is OSX Based on Linux? Please give accurate references preferably with an in the link.

      You may well find that the kernel of OSX is available upon request as per its license. The userland? forget it.

      Fail for obvious reasons.

    5. ScottAS2

      *nix != Linux

      Mac OS X is descended from FreeBSD and NetBSD, not Linux. Neither is licensed in a manner which requires source code to be released, although Apple do release some of it anyway (i.e. Darwin).

    6. Dr. Mouse

      "how does Mac use OSX which is based on Linux without opening the code?"

      AFAIK OSX is loosely based on FreeBSD (correct me if I am wrong). The FreeBSD license is open to the point where you can just wholescale copy it into a comercial system and sell it, without telling anyone or openning the code.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      GPL is a license not a person or organisation, so it can't sue. Only a copyright holder can sue, assuming they can afford it. Most of the time they are more interested in getting compliance than going to court though. Most of the problems come in the embedded space - see and the busybox hall of shame.

      Apple's OSX kernel is derived from BSD not linux. The BSD licence doesn't require release of source code; MS used to have BSD code in Windows legitimately. Apple released Darwin under the Apple Public Source License though, so you can download and compile it yourself. Other bits of OSX are available under various licenses, and where the license requires it Apple release source. Sometimes it isn't in the form most useful to upstream, and sometimes it-s a little late arriving, like the recent WebKit release, but Apple do contribute a lot to free software. It's a shame they seem to be offering so little of that freedom to their customers.

      Like OSX, Android is made up of various components under various licenses. Not all of them require source to be released, and Google were careful to pick them that way, probably so that manufacturers wouldn't have to share customisations with competitors. Picking Apache Harmony over OpenJDK for this reason may come back to haunt them against Oracle, but that's another story. Source is available for the bits that require it, and Google are within their rights to keep the bits that don't closed.

      When corporates mention 'Open' remember to take it with a pinch of salt. Even Oracle contribute a lot to free software, but you can bet they aren't doing it out of a sense of community or altruism.

    8. Vic

      The deal with FOSS...

      > Can't GPL or whoever sue Google for this?

      The GPL is a licence, not a group of people.

      But Google are not violating any licence; the GPL code in the kernel is released as required. The other Android stuff is generally under the Apache licence, which does not require that you pass on rights to source.

      See for what the Apache licence requires.

      > And how does Mac use OSX which is based on Linux without opening the code?

      OSX is not based on Linux. It is based on Darwin, which has roots in NeXTSTEP. Darwin is licenced under the APSL, which is a copyleft licence. Apple don't actually need to stick to the terms of that licence - as copyright owners, they don't need a licence to redistribute - but they seem to be doing so.

      Other parts of the OSX stack are released under different licences (Apple seem to like the Apache licence at the moment), so may well have no copyleft requirements.

      > would someone enlighten me how certain projects seem to thwart

      > open source rules and not get sued?

      The trick is to work out the difference betwwen "Open Source" and "Free Software". Neither Google nor Apple are breaching any licence conditions - they're just using licences that don't grant the recipients of their binaries many rights.


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder why

    I always think of "Shit sandwich" when I read a mention to Google's upcoming OS

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Shit Sandwich...

      ... always makes me think of Spinal Tap.

      Now, how about naming product iterations after former members of Spinal Tap?

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: I wonder why

      You may be on to something. It doesn't say what flavour the ice cream is...........

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder why

      Because you're supposed to eat it and then say thanks for the privilege?

  10. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  11. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Dear Google...

    Your motto is "Do no evil". To fulfill that motto I would suggest that keeping code (that you have consistently called "Open" in the past) behind closed doors is inappropriate. Code is not open until it is released into the public domain where it can be reviewed by the masses. By keeping the Honeycomb source locked up, you cast a huge shadow over that code, what it does and how it does it.

    Honeycomb is a thing of beauty. Wonderful, inspirational and adaptive. If you let it out into the world IT WILL ONLY GET BETTER and your next iteration will have the weight of millions of developers behind it.

    If you have nothing to hide, why are you hiding it?

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