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The Android SDK Is No Longer Free Software 535

Posted by Soulskill
from the fighting-fragmentation-at-all-costs dept.
New submitter tian2992 writes "The new terms for the Android SDK now include phrases such as 'you may not: (a) copy (except for backup purposes), modify, adapt, redistribute, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or create derivative works of the SDK or any part of the SDK' among other non-Free-software-friendly terms, as noted by FSF Europe's Torsten Grote. Replicant, a free fork of Android, announced the release of Replicant SDK 4.0 based on the latest sources of the Android SDK without the new terms."
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The Android SDK Is No Longer Free Software

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  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Friday January 04, 2013 @09:58AM (#42474487)

    I don't know why the summary concentrated on the copy provisions. Here is the complete clause #3.2. Emphasis is mine:

    3.3 You may not use the SDK for any purpose not expressly permitted by this License Agreement. Except to the extent required by applicable third party licenses, you may not: (a) copy (except for backup purposes), modify, adapt, redistribute, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or create derivative works of the SDK or any part of the SDK; or (b) load any part of the SDK onto a mobile handset or any other hardware device except a personal computer, combine any part of the SDK with other software, or distribute any software or device incorporating a part of the SDK.

  • by GrumpySteen (1250194) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:11AM (#42474639)

    The Android platform has some fragmentation problems and there's been endless bitching about them on Slashdot. This change is part of a number of changes made to limit the problem. The section following the summary's quote spells it out:

    "3.4 You agree that you will not take any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android, including but not limited to distributing, participating in the creation of, or promoting in any way a software development kit derived from the SDK."

    tl;dr - you got what you asked for.

  • Re:take that Apple (Score:4, Informative)

    by alen (225700) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:17AM (#42474697)

    samsung probably copied a few of apple's design patents, but you can't patent the concept of a touch screen device. apple never made touch screens and samsung had real touch screen phones in testing before the iphone was released. along with others.

    the iphone's strength was that it had a real almost desktop class OS. LG Prada had the crappy Qualcomm Brew. If LG shipped an android phone in late 2006 then it would have been a totally different story. Android as an OS was close to ready in 2006 it just that the GUI was made for blackberry type phones

  • Re:Alternatives. (Score:3, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:23AM (#42474771)

    Android is FLOSS, the SDK is not.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:26AM (#42474787)

    The fragmentation is more the carriers fault than Googles.

    Updates don't make it out so that users have to buy new devices to get updates. Google should force the OHA members hands on this. If you want access to market and the android trademarks you must supply updates to devices for X years.

  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:26AM (#42474793) Homepage Journal

    CyanogenMod is not an SDK. It's an Android distribution. It is not in any way affected by the changes to the SDK licensing terms.

  • by steevithak (1180195) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:49AM (#42475067) Homepage

    I just checked the wayback machine and the SDK terms haven't changed much in years. Here's a link to the 2010 terms for the SDK:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20100724144708/http://developer.android.com/sdk/terms.html [archive.org]

    Pretty much the same as the current SDK agreement. The parts under proprietary license you can't mess with, the parts under open source licenses you can do what you want with. I can't see that anything has changed with the latest version of the agreement.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@gmaiBLUEl.com minus berry> on Friday January 04, 2013 @12:03PM (#42475895) Homepage Journal

    Since when do app developers typically need to "modify, adapt, redistribute, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or create derivative works of the SDK"?

    Say an application developer carries a tablet on which he uses AIDE [slashdot.org] to make and test small changes to an application while on the road. As Bill_the_Engineer pointed out [slashdot.org], that's prohibited to the extent that AIDE contains any SDK component: "You may not [...] load any part of the SDK onto a mobile handset or any other hardware device except a personal computer."

  • Re:come on! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lord Pillage (815466) on Friday January 04, 2013 @12:04PM (#42475905)
    *Cough* Crusades [wikipedia.org] *Cough*
  • by codewarren (927270) on Friday January 04, 2013 @12:33PM (#42476261)

    The summary is completely wrong.

    The new terms for the Android SDK now include phrases such as 'you may not: (a) copy (except for backup purposes), modify, adapt, redistribute, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or create derivative works of the SDK or any part of the SDK

    Here's what it said in April 10, 2009

    3.3 Except to the extent required by applicable third party licenses, you may not copy (except for backup purposes), modify, adapt, redistribute, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or create derivative works of the SDK or any part of the SDK. Except to the extent required by applicable third party licenses, you may not load any part of the SDK onto a mobile handset or any other hardware device except a personal computer, combine any part of the SDK with other software, or distribute any software or device incorporating a part of the SDK.

    Here's what it says now:

    3.3 You may not use the SDK for any purpose not expressly permitted by this License Agreement. Except to the extent required by applicable third party licenses, you may not: (a) copy (except for backup purposes), modify, adapt, redistribute, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or create derivative works of the SDK or any part of the SDK; or (b) load any part of the SDK onto a mobile handset or any other hardware device except a personal computer, combine any part of the SDK with other software, or distribute any software or device incorporating a part of the SDK.

  • by codewarren (927270) on Friday January 04, 2013 @12:38PM (#42476321)

    Indeed, here is the version from April 2009.

    3.3 Except to the extent required by applicable third party licenses, you may not copy (except for backup purposes), modify, adapt, redistribute, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or create derivative works of the SDK or any part of the SDK. Except to the extent required by applicable third party licenses, you may not load any part of the SDK onto a mobile handset or any other hardware device except a personal computer, combine any part of the SDK with other software, or distribute any software or device incorporating a part of the SDK.

    They added no such restrictions, they've always been there. The summary is wrong.

  • by tangent3 (449222) on Friday January 04, 2013 @01:05PM (#42476731)

    Android is still open.
    The Android SDK has never been open.

    Or did you not know the difference between an OS and an SDK?

  • by Skythe (921438) on Friday January 04, 2013 @01:13PM (#42476849)
    Andy Rubin (Co-founder of Android before Google bought it, and current VP of Mobile) posted this a few months ago in relation to Aluyin OS. https://plus.google.com/112599748506977857728/posts/hRcCi5xgayg [google.com] (which links to the official Android blog: http://officialandroid.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/the-benefits-importance-of-compatibility.html [blogspot.com.au]).

    It sounds like this modification of the SDK might be another move toward Google defending against this Aluyin OS-style modification of Android. While Android is commonly cited as being "fragmented" due to the %'s of handsets that have older versions of Android on them (see the Development Dashboard [android.com]); what these links talk about is a very serious, more dangerous style of fragmentation. Currently all Android apps are forward compatible with future versions and most are backward compatible (unless the develop chooses to use a new API and not include any graceful degradation in their app for older versions). But Google's flavor of Android is also sideways-compatible with the likes of Amazon such that if you write an app intended for the play store and later decide to distribute it to an Amazon-flavored device (via their app store or other various means), you can do this.

    The implications of allowing such activities to continue are that Android could turn into a true wild-west of operating systems. From a technical standpoint, a budding Chinese developer modifies some core Android source code which work with the apps being developed by his company, but suddenly break every other app developed for their flavor of the Android OS -- and then suddenly developers for that hypothetical OS can no longer pick up their app and take it to Google's (/Amazon's) flavor of Android without resorting to hacks and workarounds. Suddenly that Android Development dashboard needs to represent that data in more than 2 dimensions - and Google's got a world of new problems to deal with.

    See this [wikipedia.org] Architecture Diagram for some further context. Basically the various Android OEM's and custom ROM developers such as Cyanogenmod should only really be modifying the blue bits and maybe some of the green (I'm sure ROM developers would argue on the red bits, but in a perfect world..). Seems like Google is trying to stop the messing with of the yellow "Android runtime" section.
  • Re:come on! (Score:5, Informative)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Friday January 04, 2013 @01:35PM (#42477163)

    Citation needed. Heres the straight dope on it:
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1088/did-whites-ever-give-native-americans-blankets-infected-with-smallpox [straightdope.com]

    Basically, 2 military officers briefly discussed the idea in letters. Noone knows if they actually went through with it. I am not aware of their particular religious views, but certainly this was discussed in the context of a military conflict.

    The claim you are making is absolutely absurd: no source, no proof, and an acknowledgement that no historian can confirm it-- but YOU have the inside scoop!

    The church taught these good boys and girls in Sunday School how they should conduct themselves, and how they should view the world. Generations of Christians grew up believing that black, brown, and red men were "differetn",

    This is also ignorant. Many people taught that, and christians like all people are influenced by the times they live in. Fact is a lot of the early abolotionists were christians, and views like the ones you mentioned were not unusual.

    The beliefs that made it possible for good Christians to send small pox blankets to reservations.

    Which, again, we have no proof ever happened, and no reason to think if it did it was civilians doing it.

  • by demachina (71715) on Friday January 04, 2013 @05:42PM (#42480693)

    I think Paul Bucheit probably meant it when he coined the phrase, and I doubt it was marketing BS back then. But Paul is long gone from Google and its not the same company it was back then.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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