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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 Anonymous Coward on Friday January 04, 2013 @09:53AM (#42474435)

    Right?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by beelsebob (529313)

      So much for "don't be evil" ;)

      • by neokushan (932374) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:39AM (#42474941)

        I'm pretty sure that depends on your definition of "Evil".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        So much for "don't be evil" ;)

        Who ever REALLY believed that?

        Come on. Google is an ad agency. They sell things. Their business model is selling your privacy. But first they have to sell themselves. Sheesh. And "Don't be evil" is a huge marketing ploy to sell themselves.

        That doesn't make them evil, any more than any other huge multinational corporation is or isn't evil.

        Just don't buy their self-marketing hook, line, and sinker.

        Look at it this way: if they were called "Exxon", would you believe it? But because they're called "Googl

      • 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 Marc Madness (2205586) on Friday January 04, 2013 @12:45PM (#42476421)
        That statement is only valid for large values of "evil".
    • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:45AM (#42475015) Journal

      Do I have to pay to use it to build apps? Free as in beer. Most people aren't looking to extract the ethanol to put in their windshield wipers.

    • 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?

  • come on! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    it is still more open than the iOS SDK, Blackberry and WP

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

      by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:47AM (#42475037) Homepage
      Hitler was ok, he didn't kill as many people as Stalin.
  • Ubuntu Mobile ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pieroxy (222434) on Friday January 04, 2013 @09:56AM (#42474477) Homepage

    All of a sudden a new market opens for Ubuntu Mobile ;-)

    Seriously, does that impact anyone? The thing is available for free anyway...

    • by iakoad (2807721) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:16AM (#42474691)
      It impacts people who care about principle the software they use is based upon.
      It also might influence (in part because of the above) future developments in Andriod. Of course, I doubt it will make a large enough difference to matter to most people.
      • It impacts people who care about principle the software they use is based upon.

        Unfortunately for people who do care about principle, the vast majority of people buying electronics for individual use have shown that they do not care about principle, and only products targeted to the vast majority benefit from the sort of economies of scale seen in mass-market products.

      • Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:47AM (#42475027)

        It impacts people who care about principle the software they use is based upon.

        Freedom is not (just) a matter of principle. The reason that people take your freedom away from you is because they want, later at their option, to be able to take other things from you that would naturally be yours. Microsoft locks people into proprietary licenses because they know that, after a few years of using the OS they buy from them you will need a new computer and a new system, either because your old one broke or because an associate wants to do the same things as you do already. Normally, if you were allowed your natural right to copy things you own, you would just be able to copy the old one and that would work fine. By taking away that freedom, Microsoft is able to take away your money from you again later for nothing more than you could easily have done yourself if they didn't interfere with your copying.

        Google's aim here is to make life difficult for competitors such as Amazon and the Chinese Android clone makers (not that these will care). This allows them to interfere with the free market for their own benefit. For programmers reading Slashdot, that means that, instead of being four or more potential developers of mobile software you can work for, Amazon, Google, Apple and the Chinese, there may well only be two: Apple and Google. With the possible exception of Jolla and Ubuntu, there is almost nobody else in the market who could consider competing. For people buying mobile phones would mean that, instead of having widespread choice from different vendors, everything would go through Google or Apple.

        This is one of the key reasons why licenses such as the AGPLv3 as well as free software foundations which can provide a neutral holder for coyprights are so important. Look at how FreeBSD development has been absorbed by Apple even though it was supposedly "Open Source". Without strong copyleft licenses the only choice will be which set of chains you wear. Once you are wearing those chains the only choice will be to give the mobile vendors what they want to take.

        This work on Replicant is crucial and hopefully companies like Amazon which could gain from it will understand that and come out and support the project. Anyone who can contribute Android code should be working for the goals of Replicant wherever possible. Also you want to make sure that your code goes in to a neutral party under the AGPLv3 to make sure that you yourself will be able to get the benefit from it later.

        BTW, isn't it funny the way all the "don't be evil" trolls suddenly shut up when we have an actual example of Google doing something not nice?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dgatwood (11270)

          Microsoft locks people into proprietary licenses because they know that, after a few years of using the OS they buy from them you will need a new computer and a new system, either because your old one broke or because an associate wants to do the same things as you do already. Normally, if you were allowed your natural right to copy things you own, you would just be able to copy the old one and that would work fine.

          You are allowed to transfer your license as long as you wipe it from the old machine first.

          • by jeremyp (130771)

            If you purchased your computer with a copy of Windows already on it, almost certainly, the licence is tied to that machine (legally, if not technically).

            If you purchase a copy of Windows separately in the shops, you can transfer it, but also, it is much more expensive than the nominal cost of the OEM licence.

            • by mellon (7048)

              This is true in principle, but not in practice. The more times you install a particular windows license, the more of a pain in the ass Microsoft makes it for you, on the theory that you are probably pirating it, not just installing it serially on new machines and wiping it from the old ones.

        • by miltonw (892065)

          BTW, isn't it funny the way all the "don't be evil" trolls suddenly shut up when we have an actual example of Google doing something not nice?

          BTW, isn't it funny that "something not nice" to competitors equals "Oh, noes! Google is evil!"

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:23AM (#42474767)

      All of a sudden a new market opens for Ubuntu Mobile ;-)

      Seriously, does that impact anyone? The thing is available for free anyway...

      Just because it is free today does not mean it will be tomorrow. The fact that Google changed the SDK from being free as in beer to non-free is indicative that they could just as easily change it from also being not free as in paying a fee. Think of it like Walmart moving into a new market -- they heavily undersell the competition until there is little competition left. Then the selection goes down and the prices go up. What is to stop Google from doing the same thing and if they did, where would people go?

      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:27AM (#42474809)

        If they did that Android would be forked. People who cared would move to the fork or Ubuntu for Phones or many other currently fringe options. Hell, it might inspire Samsung to make Tizen based superphones.

        • by Dot.Com.CEO (624226) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:32AM (#42474857)
          No one would give a shit. People buy phones because they like the software / hardware or they trust the brand. They don't care if it's "open" or "free".
          • Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:40AM (#42474957)

            Some people do, some don't.

            I for instance only buy unlocked bootloader devices with FREE operating systems. This is why I currently have a Galaxy Nexus.

            • The vast majority of people do not give a shit whether their "bootloader" is "unlocked". They want something that works and they don't even know or care about even rooting the phone.
              • Until they are shown the advantages of the unlocked device. Ignorance can be cured, and unlike what you may think the vast majority of people do want to have more for less.
                • by Dot.Com.CEO (624226) on Friday January 04, 2013 @11:16AM (#42475377)
                  Man, people want to buy a god damn phone, and they'll buy one they like. They don't care or want to care about "open bootloaders" because for the vast majority of people it gives them ZERO advantage. They don't want to load up the latest CM10.1_KANG_super_duper_deodexed_perfect_nobuggs_OC1500 ROM, they want their phones to look pretty, ring when they're supposed to and that's it. You think you can "educate" people, best of luck to you, but you just want to interest people to something they do not want to care about, full stop. For what it's worth, I too own and love my GNexus. It's not a phone for everyone.
                  • by h4rr4r (612664)

                    Which matters not one bit, so long as you and me can still get a Nexus or an N900 or an Ubuntu Phone.

                    There is no need for us to use the same devices as the masses. I don't drink bud light, I don't run windows on my PC and I sure as hell do not need to worry about what the masses want in a smartphone.

                    • by h4rr4r (612664)

                      I am agreeing with you, but pointing out your argument is pointless. You do not have to do what the majority does.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Kludge (13653)

            No one would give a shit. People buy phones because they like the software / hardware or they trust the brand. They don't care if it's "open" or "free".

            Posts like this are really starting to annoy me.
            Actually some people do care. They're called people who read slashdot. And the people who read slashdot don't really give a shit that 99% of the population does not give a shit. Do you know why? Because we are smarter, more educated and have longer attention spans. Our last 30 years of software experience has taught us that over time open licenses do matter, they do make a difference in the power we have over our own computing devices. Would Android even

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Dot.Com.CEO (624226)
              You know what? Just because you, I and a hundred other nerds do care does not mean that the millions who buy fucking phones from their operator do, and no matter of sanctimonious whining on slashdot by you will change that.
      • Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:34AM (#42474873) Homepage Journal

        There's very little point in Google closing Android, but the biggest reason for them not to is that it would create significant motivation for a group to fork the last open version. That fork would at the very least cause confusion that would hurt Android in the near term, and might even overshadow Google's version and become the standard, resulting in a loss of Google control.

        On that note, the chances of Ubuntu Mobile suddenly becoming popular on the back of this, or on the back of some hypothetical closing of Android 4.3, is about zero. People upset about Android being hurt are likely people who want Android open. Their first thought would be "How can we regain our freedoms in Android", not "Oh well, let's just give up and switch to something else that's untested and unproven and doesn't work the way we're used to."

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:35AM (#42474895)

      Seriously, does that impact anyone?

      Certainly. Google is just getting around to reducing the fragmentation in the OS levels on the myriad of devices out there, and now there is going to be a proprietary (Google) SDK as well as a fully open (Replicant) SDK. This isn't exactly going to help thin the fragmentation herd.

      Besides, Google has always prided itself in the fact that Android is open source. The new wording doesn't quite seem to hold the same theme as Andy Rubin's snarky twitter entry: "the definition of open: "mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make"

      I like Android. I prefer it over the proprietary shut-up-take-my-money alternative but this is a stupid move by Google to try and keep Ubuntu/HTC/Samsung from gutting Android and creating a competing product.

      • by samkass (174571) on Friday January 04, 2013 @11:24AM (#42475461) Homepage Journal

        Seriously, does that impact anyone?

        Certainly. Google is just getting around to reducing the fragmentation in the OS levels on the myriad of devices out there, and now there is going to be a proprietary (Google) SDK as well as a fully open (Replicant) SDK. This isn't exactly going to help thin the fragmentation herd.

        Besides, Google has always prided itself in the fact that Android is open source. The new wording doesn't quite seem to hold the same theme as Andy Rubin's snarky twitter entry: "the definition of open: "mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make"

        I like Android. I prefer it over the proprietary shut-up-take-my-money alternative but this is a stupid move by Google to try and keep Ubuntu/HTC/Samsung from gutting Android and creating a competing product.

        It's funny, when Apple released WebKit under that identical definition of "open", there was screaming from all corners until they opened up the whole process as well. Until you can download nightlies of Android and see the current bug list, it's not "open" source, it's "source available". Development is all in secret and you need to sign away all your rights to get anything before it's shipped to users, meaning that while the license is technically open you can't actually use that freedom effectively. Yes, it's more "open" than iOS, but that's not saying much.

  • by under_score (65824) <.moc.gietreb. .ta. .todhsals-nikhsim.> on Friday January 04, 2013 @09:57AM (#42474483) Homepage

    Google has long been willing to compromise on their "do no evil" mantra and is probably under huge pressure from successful incumbent phone device manufacturers to create barriers to entry in the market. This is common with any market where goods or services start to become commoditized.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by quippe (767072)
      I cannot see how restricting the license terms of the SDK could impose barriers to competing manufacturers; it could probably create a barrier for derived works.
      However, it is an evil thing.
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:24AM (#42474777) Homepage Journal

      Uh, what?

      This is the SDK we're talking about. How does closing the SDK, but still distributing it for free to anyone who wants a copy, create a barrier to entry in any market phone manufacturers care about? Do you really think Samsung is saying "OMG! If someone forks the SDK and produces a slightly better development environment for Android phones, WE'LL BE RUINED! RUINED I tell you!"?

      • by gutnor (872759) on Friday January 04, 2013 @11:04AM (#42475241)
        Well that means that if you make an Android derivative, you cannot simply adapt the SDK for it. Indeed in practice, it should not be a problem, however it is still a worrying development. If you intent your platform to be really open, what is the point of tightening control on the SDK ?
        • It hasn't been tightened, the summary is wrong. The following, which the summary says is new:

          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

          Is an exact quote from APRIL 2009. The new terms didn't change this.

    • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:28AM (#42474817)

      Ok, I'm not entirely the biggest Google fan but:

      Google has long been willing to compromise on their "do no evil" mantra...

      Evil?? Are you claiming this change to their terms of use is evil??

      Wow. That word has literally lost all meaning, hasn't it...

    • Also it's "don't be evil". You're thinking of the three monkeys [wikipedia.org].
      This is the weirdest persistent mistake.
  • 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.

    • Which may break a lot of licenses already in existence for them. Fortunately, the term "personal computer" is just what Canonical purports that your smartphone will become with Ubuntu for Phones.

      So don't be a bad person and use their SDK with other software, or distribute software incorporating a part of the SDK. Gotcha.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:37AM (#42474927)

      [...] Except to the extent required by applicable third party licenses, you may not: [...] (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.

      Hmm, seems like they are targeting on-device development with apps like AIDE [google.com].

    • by KiloByte (825081) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:55AM (#42475133)

      onto a mobile handset or any other hardware device except a personal computer

      My N900 is for all purposes a personal computer.

    • 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.

  • So what are the practical implications of this? Can someone explain it to me? Is this going to affect, say, CyanogenMod?
    • Combining the above term with others - such as '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.'

      Could for example be used to say that no, CyanogenMod, or any other 'distribution' - that is not an exact vanilla build is 'fragmentation' - and hence is not a permitted use.

      • 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.

        • "You may not use the SDK for any purpose not expressly permitted by this License Agreement", "You agree that you will not take any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android".

          If they say any specific use of the SDK is fragmentation, then you have real problems arguing it's not.
          The argument that CM is fragmentation is not clearly ridiculous.

          This being the case, you are in real trouble arguing otherwise, especially as they have considerably larger lawyers than you.

          • CM is not fragmentation, there are no changes to the API, but again: THIS IS NOT ABOUT ANDROID.

            Android is still open.

            The _SDK_ is what's changed. The _SDK_ is what you use to write _APPS_ for Android.

            CyanogenMod contains absolutely nothing from the SDK. It is not in any way affected by these licensing conditions, any more than Ubuntu suddenly becomes closed source if Intel releases a C compiler for Linux systems. If Cyanogen and his team wants to fork Android and produce a version with an entirely in

    • Very little.

      From what I can tell, the nearest thing there'll be to real world consequences is that when Google releases a new version of the OS, people will have to wait until the corresponding AOSP release comes out before trying it out on their hardware. Previously, as soon as the SDK had a new version of Android available, you'd get a lot of (usually bad) ports of it to various phones and tablets. A significant example was Honeycomb, which wasn't put in the AOSP repository until the release of ICS (an

    • by synapse7 (1075571)
      Well, the TaC is dated Nov 13th and there is a crazy amount of custom rom dev work going on, so I'm going say not much.
  • take that Apple (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by alen (225700)

    love my iCrap but for the last few years it seemed like Apple was taking some code out of Android for iOS

  • 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.

    • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:20AM (#42474743)

      The Android platform has some fragmentation problems and there's been endless bitching about them on Slashdot.

      Bullocks. Google could just use their trademark to enforce compliance, you know like OpenJDK does. They could simply only grant the right to use "Android" on distributions certified to be compliant.

      Besides the fragmentation that people were complaining about were cause by Google themselves.

      • 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.

    • "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."

      That could mean anything. By commenting on how this is an evil bait-and-switch by Google I could be encouraging people to fork Android and cause fragmentation. Does this mean Google can take away my ability to develop software for Android and pull any apps I have created from the store? Is this some sort of back-door clause so they can do the Apple thing and pull any app for any made-up reason with this?

  • 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 damaki (997243)
      The entire story feels like free fsf FUD. Or maybe the Replicant people trying to get more people on their project.
  • by The1stImmortal (1990110) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:50AM (#42475079)
    First: IANAL

    What scares me about this license change is that Google is attempting to prevent, apparently in perpetuity, those agreeing to the license terms from doing anything involving fragmentation of Android (web links? Mentioning on Slashdot comments?), or from promoting a software development kit "derived from the SDK" - that presumably includes older, legitimate forks.

    I didn't even realise that it was legal (or at least, enforceable) to prevent someone from doing something completely unrelated to the licensed material at issue in a one-sided license agreement. Like preventing people from doing things that "may cause or result in the fragmentation of android". That would be like the license requirement requiring users not to hop on one leg for the rest of their lives as a result of agreeing.

    Hopefully the definition of "SDK" in the first section of the license [1.1: "The Android Software Development Kit (referred to in this License Agreement as the "SDK" and specifically including the Android system files, packaged APIs, and Google APIs add-ons)..."] is specific enough to not apply to derived works of the Apache-licensed source of the SDK in AOSP's repo's.
  • 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.
  • by Tough Love (215404) on Friday January 04, 2013 @04:43PM (#42479773)

    Larry Page better remember what happened to Sun. Sun used to rule the world. Now look at them. Err, you can't they're dead. It's getting hard to tell the difference between control freak Google over Android versus Control freak Sun over Java.

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