back to article Devs still frozen out of Android ice cream source

Google's Ice Cream Sandwich has been served, and it looks destined to give live-free-or-die open sourcers continued indigestion for now at least. Android 4.0, as it's officially known, was announced this week boasting updates and features intended to make life easier for developers and more social for phone users. For …


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  1. Ascompltd

    You cannot be serious

    Whilst I would love to be able to access Android 4.0 source code and know that a cyanogen rom was on its way for my Motorola XOOM Tab I am not surprised that google want to allow its partners sometime to a get ahead of the Rom cookers in getting official upgrades out there.

    Unless the register are looking for another badge like the one that Apple won't talk to them or maybe just hoping to exchange it for a google one.;-)

    Albeit a shame, it was public knowledge that Honeycomb source was not going to be opened and its only been 3 days since public launch of Android 4. I for one am prepared to gve them a bit of time for Google and the partners we all rely on to get hardware out there before bleatijng about it not being opened yet.

    Shall we agree on years end perhaps!

  2. gort

    Here, let me do your research for you

    The binary (on the Galaxy Nexus) hasn't even been released yet. Google's Andy Rubin already confirmed at the AsiaD conference on Wednesday that the source would be released "in a couple of weeks", after the release of the Galaxy Nexus. This has been standard procedure for Android all the way, they release the flagship device with the new version, then they release the source code a short time later.

  3. bazza Silver badge

    Desparate measures?

    Google still desparately trying to fix their mobile strategy?

    Android has got to count as the most naive piece of thinking ever. Did they really think that every handset manufacturer out there would pick up the Android source code and build it as is? Were they really convinced that all those send-the-user-to-Google things would remain in every Android handset? That's self believe bordering on being delusional.

    Android was becoming a way for handset manufacturers to do a minumum of software engineering to get users to go to their own services, not Google's. Having realised this way too late Google are trying to put the genie back in the bottle but pissing off a large number of people on whom they rely in the process.

    And they've still not solved the update problem either. Apple, MS and RIM are all in the position where end users are getting relevant updates pretty easily. Not so with Android. Most Android users are missing out on some pretty critical security updates as a result. That's going to drive it to the cheap end of the market where handsets are more 'disposable'.

    And there's at least one stupid gimmick in Android 4. That face recogniser / smile to unlock thing sounds rubbish. Consider this: you've had a terrible day, the markets have crashed, your best friend died, you got soaked in the rain, the trains are cancelled, and all you want to do is phone the wife/husband and get the fire lit so that when you eventually get home you can at least drown the your sorrows in a warm comfy chair in front of some crackling logs with a bottle of whisky to help. And to make that call you have to look at your phone. In good lighting conditions. And smile. And it'll probably be as buggy as hell anyway.

    1. Eponymous Bastard

      Desparate (sic) measures?

      You must be the spawn of Jobs.

    2. HMB

      Market Share

      You do know that Android is the most popular smartphone OS right? Just checking.

      When people vote with their feet and their buying power, Android wins.

      I own a Nexus One and I have been seriously looking at iOS, ICS & Mango as an upgrade. Android isn't perfect, but at least my alarm clock has always worked.

      Now's probably one of the most exciting times in the mobile industry because of the competition not in spite of it.

  4. raving angry loony

    Odd, but "open source" didn't include "when we feel like it" until Google got involved. "Do no evil" my hairy arse.

    1. gort

      Read "The Cathedral and The Bazaar". Development models where the source is only available to a select group between releases are not new. Past examples were Emacs and GCC, though they have since changed to more open development.

    2. alun phillips

      Give them a chance

      The GPL requires the source code to be made available, which google have pledged to do. I can see that they are currently in breech of the GPL but it's the way they have always handled releases of Android, but at least they admitted that the HC source was never going to be officially released.

      1. Dave Fox

        Breaching the GPL?

        So how exactly are Google in breach of the GPL, given that Android itself is not GPL'd code?

        Only the Linux kernel at the heart of Android is GPL'd code, and Google have always made the kernel source available for "there" devices (e.g. the Nexus range) pretty much as soon as the devices ship.

        1. Chris007

          Pedants corner

          that would be "their" devices

  5. Br3ttu

    This is not news

    Android source code is NEVER published until the first phone has been out for a while. It's far too early to be reading things into this.

  6. Paul E

    scaremongering by the reg again.

    Every other version of android that has made it into AOSP has arrived about a month after the first devices appear. If that does not happen then its time, at the moment all the signs are that it will arrive in that time frame so why the create FUD?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This story is just Android FUD.!msg/android-building/IwlEJtE1LsI/WtHcsPkUPMcJ

    Due to the outage, and the fact that demand for Android source caused severe sever load problems, Google now host the Android source GIT.

    Most of the old stuff is there now (all the relevant stuff anyway), and ICS is coming "very soon", as soon as ICS products are available... And lets not forget, there are no ICS products available just yet, so lets stop being fucking morons about the way it's reported...

  8. Xin Eoph

    Oh really?

    A few hours ago, Ars just posted that Google WILL release the Android ICS source code, once it's available on devices


    Spoke too soon, Reg.

  9. jpswer

    Google answered the devices question here:

    "Oh, I see. Yes, that could have been confusing. The plan is very much to wait at least until 2 different people buy a Galaxy Nexus. If only a single one gets sold ever, we probably have bigger problems on our hands.


    I think the article is being unfair to Google here, they have always said they would release ICS at some point at the end of the year and gave good reasons for not releasing Honeycomb. They obviously are not releasing the code now to prevent some idiot compiling the source and then bringing out the first ICS device before Google/Samsung

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Like Google doesn't lie all the time.

      They also did long song and dance act over the Honeycomb source, first it was coming out for sure, then just delayed, then completely dropped. All while Andy Rubin was having a "Gene Amdahl moment"

      I know children who are more responsible than Google.

  10. dshan

    Wrong Question, Wrong Problem

    "Is Android open?" isn't the issue. The correct question is "is Android a good mobile OS?" The short answer is "no", the slightly longer answer is "no, and it's not improving nearly fast enough for the vast majority of users".

    Nobody outside the CompSci and IT world knows or cares what open source is, they only care about what devices do and how reliably and easily they do it. Twenty years of failed attempts to mainstream Linux have failed on this rock and still the advocates of failure insist on continuing that failure. The FSFs strategy on software is like the Morman church's strategy on drugs, no matter how often it fails they refuse to try a new approach.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. fandom

      The other day I was having dinner with a few friends and at some time we wanted to check something in the net. We did it with the phone of a piano teacher.

      It was an android phone.

      Somehow she doesn't have a problem using it despite having no IT background.

      (I am not even going to mention that the one in the dinner who does have a CS degree couldn't use his iPhone as it was in the repair shop. After all, Apple products never break down, so mentioning it would clearly mark me as a lying troll)

      And by the way, Linux has nothing to do with the FSF but anyway, who cares about facts?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      There there, you just keep crying about the fact that it's far and away the most popular, and still the fastest growing mobile OS on the planet.

  11. Chris Thomas Alpha

    GPL? why not just create your own UI?

    Hmmm.......The linux guys are always (re)creating the user interface, what stops them from taking part of the android tree and building their own UI and services on top, compatible with the existing API's but a GPL version?

    That way a competing platform, API compatible, could arise and in 20 years time it could be at version 1.0 (lulz)

    I mean, if they are so unhappy, do something about, but stop complaining 3 days after the annoucement......

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here we go again

    I can never quite believe how gulible the Android die hard can be. It's the oldest trick in the book, yet still they line up to be taken for a ride. Dangle a carrot on a stick, especially an 'open' or 'free' carrot and they clamber over one another to snatch at it. Meanwhile, distracted by the object of their desire, Google have been through their pockets and taken them for everything they have.

    One born every minute...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @ "Here we go again"

      I can never quite believe how gulible the iTard can be. It's the oldest trick in the book, yet still they line up outside the stores to be taken for a ride. Dangle a bit of 'shiny' on a stick, especially a deliberately-crippled bit of shiny with a comedy price tag, and they'll sell a fucking kidney to snatch at it. Meanwhile, distracted by the object of their desire, Apple have been through their pockets and taken them for everything they have. And the best thing is, Apple know they can get away with it because those same iTards will be lining up do it all over again next year.

      One born every minute... etc etc

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