back to article Google serves up Ice Cream Sandwich code

The Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich source code is out. Google announced the release last night, noting that the code actually on offer is version 4.0.1 of the combined tablet and smartphone OS. That's the release that will be pre-loaded onto the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which is due to go on sale tomorrow. Google coder Jean- …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Something missing...

    ah yes, the Google hate spin...

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Something missing...

      Go on, Barry, you know you really want to turn this thread into a pro-Sony rant.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bloody fandroid. Change the fucking record. Seriously, you make the fanboys look rational.

      1. Craigness


        Seems rational to me. Check out the link dotdavid provided below it you want to see how El Reg reported on "google releases all the code but held back on honeycomb because it was a rush job/they didn't want it ported to phones".

        Nothing can make an apple fanboy look rational.

  2. jaduncan
    Thumb Up


    All releases of Android are now FOSS. It's pretty cool.

  3. dotdavid

    But... can this be? Surely Google were going to be all evil and not release the source? The proof was in the fact that they didn't release Honeycomb! Are you telling me now that Google were telling the truth when they said the only reason they didn't release the code was because it was a rush job?! I thought you guys said it was because they wanted to exert more control over Android-using manufacturers! I'm so confused.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Well there should probably multiple phrases instead of Open Source. Android is Open Source but not Open Development.

      Google also controls who gets to work on it, test it and release products with it before the code is released. Those who participate get an advantage over the others who will be a good few months behind.

      You can call it free as in beer, but not free as in freedom.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        All this "free as in beer"

        Beer isn't free. Hasn't anybody noticed?

    2. Ammaross Danan

      Android trunk


      Android is Open Source. Yes, not Open Development because Google codes it. However, we are free, at any time, to FORK the code if we so choose. Look at CyanogenMod. If someone started hacking around with iOS and decompiling the code and rebuilding parts of it to making some frankenPhone (ignore the complexity of such due to iOS being closed source), they'd get shot with lawsuits. Not so for CyanogenMod and anyone else who wants to give it a go.

      Android itself is Open Source. Releasing the code for ICS the day before the Nexus release (they original slated it for a few weeks after from what I understand) is a good step forward for them. At least they're "don't be evil" mantra seems to hold more true than in the iFandom.

  4. DrXym

    Great stuff

    It's good to see them making good on this after such a long wait. The primary beneficiary is likely to be CyanogenMod since I imagine they're itching to get themselves deployed and working well on a bunch of different tablets.

  5. Term

    Humble Pie

    I'm now waiting for the Reg to eat it's humble pie.

    Come on, man-up and start eating!

  6. Toxteth O'Gravy


    Because Google is such a caring, sharing company, right?

    You guys, you'll slurp that Kool Aid right down just so long as you don't have to pay for your software...

    Google is not some kind of anti-Microsoft just because it gives its software away. That's called buying market share at loss. But your FOSS blinkers just keep you from noticing...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hi Toxteth.

      I see that you've moved on from the 'stickiest bogey' record and are now working on the 'stinkiest bullshit' one.

      1. Toxteth O'Gravy


        Don't worry, AC. Larry loves you. So does Sergei. They'll tuck you in to keep you safe and warm with one hand...

        ...while learning all they can from your online activity with the other.

        But, hey, don't worry about that - you can look at the source code. Google couldn't possibly be... nasty... could it? Larry? Sergei? You are not Jobs Juniors, are you? Are you?

        Google. Apple. M$. They are all as bad.

        1. Bassey

          Re: Ooooh

          Google promised to release the source code.

          Lots of people predicted it wouldn't happen and that they were just stalling

          Google have now released the source code so that those of us with older devices can get the latest OS on them.

          Do you mind explaining why any/all of that is soooo terrible that you felt it necessary to vent your spleen publicly?

          1. Toxteth O'Gravy

            Don't have any problem at all with source code being released and - yes - this is good news for the CyanogenMod boys.

            What annoys me - and leads to public spleen venting - is the assumption, sometimes questioned by El Reg, never by its readers, that because Google releases source code it must, by that very fact, be a lovely company that will never to harm to a soul and that its motives are pure.

            Source code is good. Freely accessible source code is better. Assuming that, just because you've been granted that free access, the company behind the largesse is an ethical one is downright dim. But that's what a lot of folk here seem to believe, if their "Google hate spin" comments are anything to judge.

            1. gerryg

              OK, I'll bite

              I'm not quite sure I understand your rant. Google, like all profit maximising companies, try to make as much money as possible, shock. Competitors try to tarnish their reputation, shock.

              Google donate large quantities of code and fund a lot more.

              If you were not aware check out: Google Summer of Code (about $5m /year) and the high school equivalent.

              That doesn't make them evil or not evil. What _might_ make them evil is their corporation tax arrangements, but it's not illegal.

              However, they profit maximise by giving all this away without being able to take it back, and without trying to lock me in to their main business model. (And they do charitable stuff too)

              That would seem to make them less evil than some of the alternatives but doesn't demonstrate they are perfect..

              What would you have them do?

            2. Craigness

              "never to harm to a soul and that its motives are pure"

              Can you give some evidence to show that there is a reason to believe such an assumption exists?

              The "google hate spin" comment is not about google's morals, it's about El Reg's bias.

            3. heyrick Silver badge

     must, by that very fact, be a lovely company...


              <--- icon - WTF!?


              Seriously. People were slating Google for their failure to release Android 3.xx code. Paranoid people were starting to suspect something evil was afoot. Google said "don't panic, it's just 'cos the source is crap".

              Now the source has been released. This is Good.

              Their WiFi slurp, their (B)SSID locations, their advertising, their profiling... perhaps evil, but also utterly IRRELEVANT to this particular discussion.

  7. IR


    Funny how this happens the same day that HTC update my phone with Gingerbread. Not that I'm that bothered, I bet there are mods for ICS out there already for my phone.

  8. M Gale

    Google. Apple. M$ [sic]

    You're right, they are all the same in some ways. I've often maintained to the Google haters that Apple and Microsoft both want to profile the shit out of you but Google are the ones who get the bad press about it. Not that I want to give Google a free ride on that issue either.

    However, at least an enterprising company can take the Android source and run with it. At least you're not forced into paying a Google tax on every single copy of the OS that you have or try to deploy. Try that with Windows or iOS and you'll be sued into the Stone Age faster than you can say "Intellectual Property" (or, perhaps, "Vendor Lock-In"). In that, at least, Google have something of an ethical differentiator that raises them way above the competition. They don't care if you copy their code because more people using Android means more people on the web means more people using Google. A simple equation that's quite beneficial to them and isn't bad for the rest of us either.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Android without a decent marketplace application is severely limited though.

      If you want the Google apps the maker of you device has to give Google the money for a licence. This is clearly a little unfair, someone buying a cheapo tablet/phone should be able to pay £5 or so to gain access to Android Marketplace, not rely on the OEM paying the licence.

      1. M Gale

        Ish. Sort of.

        If you want to participate in the Android ecosystem - which is very much Google's baby - then you have to toe the line and follow the device compliance specifications. And, yes, pay Google for that. The reason for the compatibility testing, asides getting Google a little extra pocket change to swill around, is so that the Marketplace app knows what apps your device can support. It also helps somewhat with this fragmentation thing that everyone keeps talking about but I've seen precious little of amongst officially supported devices. I'm not sure how well, therefore, throwing the Marketplace open to every two-bit manufacturer and their dog like that would work. Would it have to run a benchmark on your machine when you download it? What happens if a background process slurps up resources, making the Market app think your 1.4ghz Cortex A-something has all the poke of an 800mhz ARM11? Not to mention some of the funkier hardware configs that could play havoc with apps that use the NDK

        Most importantly, would it be usable by the mythical Joe Sixpack without having to learn about "megawhatsits" and "gigathingies", "ARM whatevers" and "Snapdragons" (aren't they a type of flowering plant, do they bite and can they breathe fire, etc, etc)? It'd certainly be amusing to get the "full Android experience" on a homebrew Beagleboard with an old laptop screen duct-taped on and a 12v sealed lead acid battery/housebrick in a caddy round back, but perhaps wishful thinking given the target market of.. well.. everyone including people who aren't geeks.

        However if you're a company that wants to roll your own, build your own ecosystem and get a shiny product to market in a reasonable timeframe, Android is a rather good base upon which to build. Just ask Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

  9. ThomH

    Great news, but perhaps the timing isn't brilliant?

    Some stories have previously linked Google's hoarding of the tablet versions of Android to a spat with Amazon, Amazon having decided to ship a tablet that takes advantage of Google's software engineering without connecting to any of Google's services, substituting Amazon services and branding, and also being the first high profile company to try to obtain a serious foothold in Android app provision (ie, so as to displace Google).

    Google have released this code exactly on the Kindle Fire's launch day. It's a fantastic gift for anybody that wants to believe in an Amazon/Google spat.

    Of course, it's also a fantastic gift for anyone that likes open software. So kudos to Google.

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