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Google Opens Up Android Codebase

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the now-even-more-open-sourced dept.

Cellphones 204

rsk writes "It's official: Google has Open Sourced Android. The source code can be downloaded from Android's Git repository. Bugs are handled at the Google Code Android project page with documentation being handled by a collection of Google Site pages. One of the more interesting aspects of Android seems to be the seemingly Eclipse Foundation-like organization of the project, welcoming both Individual and Commercial developers into the Android development pot. One of the benefits of this arrangement is securing the existence of the project by involving commercial interests and their money in the process ... this is also one of the downsides; having commercial entities charter and lead features of a platform that their own commercial offerings provide 'enhanced' versions of, sometimes leaving the free offering always lacking in one obvious way or another. It's hard to say at this point how involved Google will be in this process, or the Open Handset Alliance in general, with managing the health of sub-projects under the Android umbrella as time goes on."

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204 comments

Let the porting begin! (5, Interesting)

Zach978 (98911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25455823)

We need to port this thing to all kinds of devices, and would also be nice to port the framework to run natively so you could develop Android apps that would run natively on Linux.

Re:Let the porting begin! (5, Funny)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456343)

port it to the iPhone

Re:Let the porting begin! (2, Funny)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457169)

You might be able to port the framework to the iPhone, but you could never release it via the App Store.

Re:Let the porting begin! (4, Insightful)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457535)

You might be able to port the framework to the iPhone, but you could never release it via the App Store.

Erm, the whole point of porting it is to NOT deal with App Store. We are taking replacing the whole iPhone OS with something else (BSD based OS/X with Linux)

Getting the OS onto iPhone is easy - thats how Jail-breaking process works, the real hard part will be writing the drivers.

Can't wait though - I was very disappointed since I found out G1 does not support AT&T's G3 frequency and that I am stuck with iPhone for a while. Android on iPhone would be a decent cancellation prize - at least until better hardware that works with AT&T and runs Android comes out. ....wonder if someone will port it to Treo too? There are number of linux drivers for some of those already.

-EM

Re:Let the porting begin! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25457617)

...cancellation prize...

Word Nazi says you should try using words you know you know instead of ones you think you know. Your consolation prize is a reprimand from an A/C.

Re:Let the porting begin! (0, Offtopic)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457771)

...cancellation prize...

Word Nazi says you should try using words you know you know instead of ones you think you know. Your consolation prize is a reprimand from an A/C.

...or what happens when you typo on an iPhone and not pay enough attention...

my bad ;-)

-Em

Re:Let the porting begin! (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457643)

AT&T has swatches of 1700MHz spectrum themselves, I expect they'll be putting UMTS on it in the medium term. Unlike T-Mobile they're not in a hurry to do so as they already had plenty of spectrum and so were able to roll out UMTS on their existing frequencies.

Re:Let the porting begin! (2, Insightful)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456385)

We need to port this thing to all kinds of devices

An open source platform for mobile phones isn't any good at all if there isn't a open hardware platform to run it on. Good luck modifying android and running it on your shiny new phone, tmobile wouldn't let you.

Re:Let the porting begin! (3, Insightful)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456769)

Just like nobody ever got Linux running on the Xbox, right?

Re:Let the porting begin! (2, Informative)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457699)

Let me know when they have graphics drivers written for Linux on the Xbox.
I ran Linux on my xbox for several years but never did anything graphical...it was pointless. I just ran a game server (bf1942).
The most useful thing you can do with the Xbox is run XBMC which is built using illegally acquired XDKs. The hardware can't handle high def sources, but the hardware on the 360 could, and now XBMC is ported to Linux....so where is the Linux on the 360?
And before you talk about Linux on the PS3 let me just say that it is broken too and the only reason you can run it on there is because Sony let you.

Re:Let the porting begin! (4, Informative)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456915)

We need to port this thing to all kinds of devices

An open source platform for mobile phones isn't any good at all if there isn't a open hardware platform to run it on.

I seem to recall some chatter on the OpenMoko [openmoko.com] Community [openmoko.org] mailing lists [openmoko.org]. They'd love to have already ported Android to their open hardware [openmoko.org] but there was no ARM4 binaries available to play with. I'm sure that with this source release I'll be able to boot Android on my Freerunner [openmoko.org] sometime this year.

Buy an Openmoko Freerunner (2, Informative)

nikolajsheller (553835) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456959)

Open hardware is available out there.
I recently bought one, and so far I find the hardware quire acceptable.

Re:Let the porting begin! (2, Informative)

oravecz (543740) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457053)

Why all the talk about T-Mobile not letting you do something. They don't have any claims over the software platform. Android will be soon be shipping on a variety of wireless carriers' phones.

Allowing "Banned" Features (2, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25455835)

When G1 was first introduced, it became painfully clear that it was severely hamstrung by the carrier-dictated limitations on software features.

The Bluetooth stack was totally castrated, leaving out not only tethering and PAN, but also voice features, as well as file transfer.

There are a lot of these glaring omissions in G1s software, that were clearly dictated by T-mobile. My question is this... now that Android has been open-sourced, will Google and T-mobile team up to block 3rd parties from filling in these features? Because as it stands, the G1 actually has less features than the competition, in clear contrast to the wealth of features and freedom of alteration that was touted as the hallmark of the Android platform.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25455947)

I'm so glad to live in Europe. The utterly retarded US mobile phone market never ceases to amaze me. But, since I don't know anything about programming, let me ask a stupid question: can you in principle port Android to any modern phone out there, or are there hardware requirements?

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (2, Informative)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456119)

well... Android is a linux based operating system with a custom java virtual machine that accepts java files, and spits out .dex machine code which i think (but not sure) is specific to the G1 at the moment.

So in short, i don't think it's readily portable to other machines (i'm not positive though, it'll depend on the differences in chip architecture and the like, dunno how similar the G1 is to other phones).

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25456789)

You're wrong, people have already been running it on other devices (such as the HTC vogue, I think) for quite some time now.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (0, Flamebait)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456285)

I'm so glad to live in Europe. The utterly retarded US mobile phone customers never cease to amaze me.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (2, Interesting)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456633)

I'm so glad to live in Europe. The utterly retarded US mobile phone market never ceases to amaze me. But, since I don't know anything about programming, let me ask a stupid question: can you in principle port Android to any modern phone out there, or are there hardware requirements?

There are a lot of negatives in the U.S. cell market (mainly with the handsets sucking and all the handset crippling). However, there is one clear winner, the cost of cell phone plans is FAR cheaper than in Europe. Yes, incoming calls might be "free" in Europe, but YIKES the caller pays a lot per minute and the receiver still has a more expensive plan.

I used to think the European cell systems were better, until I saw how much these folks charge versus what the user gets for this charge. The Europeans can't even implement continental wide calling without calling it "roaming" (uh, Orange is in every country) and charging roaming fees which the USA got rid of 10 years ago. I believe the EU is getting involved to finally end this...

In any case, there is no clear winner. Both systems have their pluses and minuses.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (1)

arelas (1336019) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457563)

Some, but I'm already running it on my HTC Titan. Just a matter of time before it runs on many devices.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (4, Informative)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#25455959)

Weird.... Google said the bluetooth decision was theirs due to stability.

There is a Skype voice App in the G1 Marketplace.

File transfer? You have Mass Storage, You can attach files to emails. There is no limitation I am aware of in android which would forbid a p2p application which uses the memory card.

But I'm sure you're right. It's a conspiracy by TMobile to not offer... what is it you want again that you aren't getting? It's not like exchange missing is a conspiracy. The G1 is missing quite a bit of stuff but I would wager it's a result of development resources being insufficient not intentional desires to offer less.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (3, Informative)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456019)

But I'm sure you're right. It's a conspiracy by TMobile to not offer... what is it you want again that you aren't getting?

(1) A2DP and AVRCP
(2) Bluetooth tethering (can be implemented as a DUN)

These are two things that work fairly well on my WinMo 6.1 (HTC6800) and should be a piece of cake. I would switch to the G1 for those things (and if TMobile had a 3G network comparable to the EVDO revA that I'm on now -- they don't).

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (4, Insightful)

Zach978 (98911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456027)

They just ran out of time with Bluetooth. They also had to cut stereo bluetooth audio, why would t-mobile want to cut that?

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (4, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456105)

They also had to cut stereo bluetooth audio, why would t-mobile want to cut that?

So you would have to buy one phone for each ear.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (1)

repvik (96666) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456379)

iPhone doesn't support stereo bluetooth audio (A2DP) either. Apparently, there is some reason to drop this, even from a multimedia-oriented phone.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (3, Interesting)

CdBee (742846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456553)

Apple has a real reason to not implement a full modern Bluetooth stack - if they do it on the iPhone it will be expected/demanded/hacked onto the ipod Touch, and people would then use an iPod Touch with a cheapo bluetooth phone rather than paying the premium for an iPhone

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (1)

repvik (96666) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456951)

That's gotta be the worst excuse EVAR. You can't use a cheapo BT phone as a *headset* and use that as a replacement for an iPhone. If it was the other way around, yes.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457677)

Apple has a real reason to not implement a full modern Bluetooth stack - if they do it on the iPhone it will be expected/demanded/hacked onto the ipod Touch, and people would then use an iPod Touch with a cheapo bluetooth phone rather than paying the premium for an iPhone

That's gotta be the worst excuse EVAR. You can't use a cheapo BT phone as a *headset* and use that as a replacement for an iPhone. If it was the other way around, yes.

I think you missed his point - he was saying the other way around. Get a cheap phone that supports bluetooth. Use Touch as the "headset" . Though without a microphone or bluetooth hardware in iPod Touch I am not sure how he suggests this will be done.

Now if someone builds a relatively cheap G3-to-wifi bridge - this can make things interesting.... but it has nothing to do with anything here.

-Em

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (1)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457447)

There isn't any support hardware for bluetooth on any ipod, never has been. I doubt sincerely that Apple left out BT profiles because they thought people would hack a BT radio and antenna on the touch. While some people may be capable and motivated to do such a hack I doubt that enough people would be capable or motivated enough to follow their lead; certainly not enough to make any considerable dent in Apple's bottom line. It is far more likely that the data features were left out to prevent people from hacking together tethering applications for the iphone and also to attempt to limit methods by which "unblessed" files/data can get onto the phone. as far as their lack of A2DP stereo support and total lack of music over BT headset I think it boils down to Apple not wanting to have low quality audio over the headset profile besmirch their relatively good name in portable audio AND the A2DP stereo protocol is actually quite a proc heavy operation and I'd suspect that it was left out because it impacted the user experience negatively. Anyone who has toyed with A2DP on a Nokia N810 web tablet can tell you that without using the onboard ADAC hardware that A2DP is basically garbage, causing ridiculous slowdown for the entire device and providing a generally bad audio stream as well.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (1)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456681)

Apparently, there is some reason to drop this, even from a multimedia-oriented phone.

The reason is lack of features, just it.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (1)

rsk (119464) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456955)

Zach, you are correct, heard they ran out of time from one of the team members but it's suppose to come in 1.1 and at that time T-Mobile has the change to re-vet the OS and offer an upgrade to G1 users.

Not optimal, but when you think of how ambitious launching an OS is... I can't say I'm surprised.

Let's hope the upgrade process is smooth.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (4, Interesting)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456107)

Here's my take on the situation. Google realizes that carriers want strict control over their devices. This doesn't bother me one bit, nor does it bother 99% of consumers. The 1% is does bother are people who want a profit-seeking corporation to bow to the wants and needs of a small minority.

It bothers me when people complain about this, because the software is open. Branded versions will always be based on the open version, much the way you see MyEclipse staying in tune with the vanilla eclipse releases. Combine this with the fact that there is existing open hardware available (and opportunities to create more) and this supposed "community" that can put it all together, it leaves me wondering, what is there to complain about?

No (2, Insightful)

wurp (51446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456565)

Google realizes that carriers want strict control over their devices.

No, carriers want strict control over *your* and *my* devices. You know, the ones we either paid up front for, or the ones we paid out subsidized by our contract.

This bothers me quite a bit.

Re:No (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457515)

No, carriers want strict control over *your* and *my* devices.

Well, in particular, the devices you buy through them. Which, as you mentioned, are typically subsidized through contract. Of course, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from purchasing an unlocked phone from a third party and paying them for service only. It is a conscious (albeit ignorant and uninformed in the sense that many people see this as a requirement) decision to purchase the hardware from the carrier.

I want a computer (2, Interesting)

kwerle (39371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456987)

I want my General Purpose computer to be able to fit in my pocket, run whatever programs I want, and be able to make phone calls. Why is that hard or unreasonable?

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (2, Insightful)

lupis42 (1048492) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457251)

Here's my take on the situation. Google realizes that carriers want strict control over their devices.

Of course they do. So what? Why should they get it? I want strict control over people being allowed to park in front of my house. That doesn't mean I have any right to it. AT&T wanted strict control over what could be plugged into their telephone jacks. That doesn't mean they got to have it, and I for one am grateful that it was decided that the network should be open to innovative new devices, because I like the fax machine, and I thought the MODEM was pretty handy for a while there. So what if network operators *want* more control? Are they using a public resource to provide the network? (Hint the spectrum is currently considered a public resource). Then we the public have every right to attach conditions on their use of it. If we attach reasonable conditions, they'll try to meet them while making a profit, and innovation will be served. If we attach excessive conditions that they cannot meet, the market will work, they'll go bankrupt, and we'll have to decide if we need to subsidize them, ease the conditions, or just do without the product. This is how markets are supposed to behave, and this is how regulation should interact with markets.
I don't believe that a profit seeking corporation should bow to the needs and wants of a minority intrinsically, I believe that it is the responsibility of government to step in and *make* them bow to the needs of the *whole* public, when they use public resources. When AT&T got right-of-ways to install phone wiring, they were forced to install it everywhere, profitable or not. They were still able to make a profit, and things kept going. I don't see why the cell network operators shouldn't have to face some of the same quid-pro-quo.
In slashdot terms,
Step 1: Obtain access to public resources.
Step 2: Use them to make a valuable product.
Step 3: Attempt to use the control of the resource/network to leverage monopolistic power.
Step 4: Get smacked down with regulation.
Step 5: Learn how to make money off it anyway.
Step 6: Profit.
We're between steps 3 and 4 with the cellphone industry. Frankly, considering how much we've all come to depend on their product, I think they'll be able to manage step 5.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457467)

Of course they do. So what? Why should they get it?

They are going to get it regardless. If the stipulations of Android didn't allow this, they would use something completely closed. Do you consider this a better alternative? Google realizes that to attain market share, they have to give carriers some control. This doesn't stop anyone from putting Android on an open platform, such as OpenMoko, so I'm still trying to figure out what all the fuss is about.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (2, Insightful)

cl0s (1322587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456143)

You can install apps from the market, internet or the memory card. I've been able to install an iTunes remote through the memory card thats not yet available in the market. Too bad it didn't work with Rythmbox, but still I was able to install other apps with out going through T-mobile.

I'm very optimistic about how far hackers can take this. I mean look what they do with closed source propriety stuff. They might have a few road blocks purposely put there but have already given us a huge jump just by releasing the OS source.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (2, Informative)

mc900ftjesus (671151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456213)

Google didn't have a production-ready BT stack, they have already said this was their fault, not T-Mo.

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (4, Informative)

outZider (165286) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456277)

Uh, if you read Google's releases, it wasn't T-Mobile castrating those features, it was limitations of releasing a bug free 1.0, and they've promised more bluetooth functionality in later API and OS releases. T-Mobile has not neutered the bluetooth functionality on their other smartphones, why would they do it on the one device they're touting so well as 'open'?

Not sure you are right there (2, Informative)

CdBee (742846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456505)

Google announced quite clearly [slashdot.org] before the launch that due to coding deadlines the phone would be issued with a limited Bluetooth stack and full features would be added later, and user developers were welcome to make their own solutions in the meantime...

Re:Allowing "Banned" Features (4, Informative)

jbailey999 (146222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456913)

One of the reasons we chose git was to make sure that we can't do that sort of blocking. While obviously the Core Technical Team can control what winds up in the master repositories, part of the reason we chose a distributed revision control system was to make sure that ultimately we can't block new ideas and new features.

If you'd like to chat more, come by #android on FreeNode.

(obDisclosure: I work in the Open Source Programs Office at Google)

Finally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25455849)

... hopefully all the anti-google critics will shut up now.
There have been many comments of people, critizing the hell out of android. Now they can change what they don't like.

p.s.: let the apple vs google flamewar begin!

Re:Finally... (0, Flamebait)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456157)

No they can't. The platform is still locked down. Google still has device killswitches. They can fork if they don't like what Google's done but that's different from changing what they don't like about how Google's using Android :P

Re:Finally... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25456839)

They only have a kill switch for apps installed through the App Market. It's trivial to install an unkillable app otherwise.

Re:Finally... (2, Informative)

lorenzino (1130749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457573)

Damn it!
You seem like my colleague ..

The Kill Switch (TM) you are talking about is *part* of the
Wait for it ..

Android Market Terms of Service.

This is for application *distributed* over the android market.
And we already know that you can install applications by other means (memory card is one of them, maybe web/email/other market too) as well as the Official Market.

Big deal, I agree with them and I think this can only be positive.
I guess it could allow google to stop a competitor via the main official channel, while still allowing them to install them.
Like a normal mac/windows/linux box.
But I guess it could help make the main market, where Joe Sixpack buys, a safer place in terms of malware and viruses.
After all, you can still install anything you want.
I like the way Maemo does it .. apt like but easy as a click or a tap with the pen.

Hackability (2, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25455853)

Looking at the misfeatures implemented by Motorola into their phones to inhibit hacking (signing the bootloader, kernel, filesystems) and the frequently missing drivers, it makes me wonder how far one could take the environment released here.

Could you, once built, take the resulting setup and shove it on a G1 and run it? Or are there similar vendor lockouts like those Motorola has implemented?

I'd like to see a tivo-dodge here, but I'm not optimistic.

Re:Hackability (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456123)

The real question -- How hard to port to OpenMoko? Or, another open hardware initiative to take advantage of everything Android has to offer.

Re:Hackability (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456351)

OpenMoko is about the software, not the hardware. It can't be because the Freerunner is light years behind the G1 and every other smartphone out there. There have been efforts to port it to other hardware, but generally doing so is difficult because of the mobile arena being a very end-user hostile environment.

OpenMoko and Android are mutually exclusive, unless you really have a thing for getting your phone to dual-boot operating systems.

Re:Hackability (4, Informative)

Wumpus (9548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456459)

I wouldn't say the Freerunner is "light years" behind the G1. The CPU is an earlier revision of the ARM architecture, there's plenty of memory, the phone has WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, accelerometers, a nice VGA resolution screen, it supports uSD cards for storage... And the hardware is as open and documented as any GSM phone is ever likely to be - more than the G1, most likely.

The reason earlier attempts to port the Android stack to the Freerunner failed was that the source wasn't available, and the binaries Google provided were compiled for ARMv5, not ARMv4. With the source now being available, there's a good chance Android will run on the Freerunner.

Re:Hackability (4, Informative)

stupkid (16083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457687)

there's a good chance Android will run on the Freerunner.

So much of a good chance in fact that Koolu [koolu.com] is committing to shipping their FreeRunners with Android installed starting in November.

Re:Hackability (1)

SWPadnos (191329) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456625)

In what ways do you suppose the FreeRunner is light years behind?

I know one deficiency, that it's only tri-band (you have to select 850 or 950, and you get 1800/1900 in addition). It's also a bit bigger than some other phones. I guess the choice of GPRS instead of EDGE may also count against it. Hmmm.

So I guess I know three deficiencies :) Any others you can think of?

What other devices will we see? (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25455865)

When will we see a port to the Palm Treo?
And how about a lightweight netbook version?
Or just a light weight GP disto based on Android.
The hard part will probably be the JVM/JIT compiler.

Re:What other devices will we see? (2, Informative)

CdBee (742846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456645)

if you search a site called 'Internet Tablet Talk' you'll see some enterprising types have already got the Android preview version running on a Nokia N810 web-pad

Android on a Netbook would be superb

Re:What other devices will we see? (1)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457569)

Don't bother to install this unless you are are a dev. The early release that they have working on the n810 is excruciatingly slow since it runs on top of the existing maemo/hildon UI on an already resource limited platform; furthermore the android install is so feature bare that it transforms a reasonably versatile little tablet into a pretty useless little screen which does almost nothing and and what is does do is doesn't do well.

Earth to Slashdot (2, Insightful)

Whitemice (139408) | more than 5 years ago | (#25455907)

>having commercial entities charter and lead
>features of a platform that their own commercial
>offerings provide 'enhanced' versions of

Earth to Slashdot... this is how almost every major OSS project runs; people who pay for developers [such as me] will get the features they want.

Re:Earth to Slashdot (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456199)

Earth to Slashdot... this is how almost every major OSS project runs; people who pay for developers [such as me] will get the features they want.

Indeed. This is not new. Apache, Samba, the Linux kernel, OpenOffice.org, Mozilla's product line, Eclipse, etc., all have features that were bought and paid for by someone, whether by directly employing the individuals involved, or through donations to a supporting foundation, or a little of both.

I'm not saying that's good or bad -- it's just a part of the open source landscape today and will remain so for quite some time to come. It's good in that encourages development that benefits everyone. It's bad in that development effort may tend to get concentrated along pet projects that may or may not be useful to the greatest number of users.

But, like everything else in life, you take the good, the bad and the ugly and roll with it.

Re:Earth to Slashdot (3, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456247)

Earth to Slashdot... this is how almost every major OSS project runs; people who pay for developers [such as me] will get the features they want.

No. There is a big difference.

Typically when a commercial entity leads development of OSS where they have a propriety solution that enhances it, they PREVENT those key proprietary feature from EVER being added to the free version. Thus the ONLY way to get it to use their paid version.

Even if the community WANTS the feature in the free version, and volunteer developers are willing to build it, the commercial entity prevents it from happening. Refusing those patches, playing politics, and so on.

Of course the OSS community can always fork the project... but then they lose out on all the good things the commercial entity IS feeding into the development, and you get all the other community fragmentation issues that go along with forking too... there is no win-win.

How open is Android? (5, Informative)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 5 years ago | (#25455977)

One important aspect of being 'open' is whether you favor your customers or the carriers.

I see evidence of this distinction in support for bluetooth API's: the stronger and more customer oriented phone manufacturers support bluetooth API's (which makes many interesting applications possible). On the other hand, when carriers have a stronger role in designing a phone - this comes up particularly for CDMA phones - then the bluetooth API's are dropped or postponed.

So I was quite shocked to see that Android v1.0 does not support bluetooth API's!

I know that Google has claimed that they didn't have time to get the bluetooth API's into v1.0, but that is just the sort of thing that companies will tell us when they change plans due to carrier pressure. The BREW environment (for CDMA phones) has been playing this game for years: continually telling developers that bluetooth support was just around the corner.

I sure hope that Google doesn't play the same game with us. I really want this to be an open and powerful platform.

Re:How open is Android? (1)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456075)

I should add...

Just because Google adds support for bluetooth API's to Android won't prevent manufacturers from removing that support, but then we can blame the manufacturer/carrier.

Re:How open is Android? (1)

mc900ftjesus (671151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456251)

They've done such a great job keeping out custom Windows Mobile ROMs, how could they fail at securing an open source OS? /sarcasm

Re:How open is Android? (2, Informative)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456137)

On the other hand, when carriers have a stronger role in designing a phone - this comes up particularly for CDMA phones - then the bluetooth API's are dropped or postponed.

My HTC PPC6800 (Titan, Mogul) was designed for Sprint and VZ (CDMA/EVDO) and it has a perfectly functional BT implementation. External applications (e.g. pdanet) can even provide bluetooth services (DUN).

Re:How open is Android? (1)

mc900ftjesus (671151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456265)

I believe they're referring to the Verizon monster. That big, ugly, overpriced, phone-locking craphole.

Re:How open is Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25457315)

it has a perfectly functional BT implementation

If you're honestly saying that you think the Windows Mobile bluetooth stack is "perfectly functional", then I can only presume you've never used a good implementation. Windows Mobile's stack is slow, crash-prone, and has lots of interoperability problems with non-Windows-based devices.

I got my G1 yesterday (3, Interesting)

cl0s (1322587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25455981)

Got my G1 yesterday. What I've played with so far is pretty nice, the camera is very light sensitive though, so far the only complain I have.

You can install apps from the market, internet or memory card, and the possibilities are endless just with the original OS. Can't wait for some hacked versions of Android so I can really have some fun though.

2.1 GB?? (4, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456003)

I'm no developer.

Can someone explain why the source code for a mobile phone's OS would be 2.1 GB?

Re:2.1 GB?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25456215)

Because of 'Hype' :)

Re:2.1 GB?? (4, Informative)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456255)

This isn't just the OS. This is the OS and the SDK. The tools are the major component of the download. There's a whole android emulator included. :P The OS itself is a couple hundred megs of linux.

Re:2.1 GB?? (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456325)

It's actually not all that unusual for the source code for an OS (or any project, for that matter) to be much, much larger than the resulting installable code.

Take a look, for example, at the Linux source. The kernel source is like -- what? -- 300MB?

The resultant compiled and compressed kernel on a 32-bit system is like 1.7MB.

So the source is like 300X the size of the resultant kernel.

And that's just the kernel.

Re:2.1 GB?? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456667)

Okay, okay. I decided that perhaps I was being a tad-bit disingenuous and was feeling guilty so -- to be fair, you have to count the kernel and all the modules. 1.7 MB for the compressed kernel and about 100 MB for the all the modules, uncompressed (compressed would be ~45-50MB)

Still, the source is much larger than the resulting executables ... so my point stands :)

Re:2.1 GB?? - think platform dependencies (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456689)

also the SDK and source probably includes lots of files which are specific to one particular hardware/CPU platform. Android probably runs on ARM, SH, MIPS, x86, etc and needs different bits of specific code on each

Re:2.1 GB?? - think platform dependencies (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456803)

The different bits of specific code are just like the Linux kernel, upon which Android is at least partially based, which is why I used it as an example. And yeah, the SDK is pretty big, and it's Java, and there are probably lots of examples included, and the a few base apps that come with the OS, etc.

Any way you look at it, it's not unusual for the source to be bigger. Look at the source for OpenOffice.org -- hundreds of megs, the resultant application is like, 20-30 MB, tops.

I have a ton of examples.

Re:2.1 GB?? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25456591)

It's extremely well documented:

/*

ADD FUNCTION
Created by KSP on the morning of the sixth day of the eleventh month of the year one thousand nine hunderd and ninety eight (Gregorian calendar)

*/

/*

This function takes 2 integers, by value, and adds them up, returning the result as one number!

*/

int add(int a, int b) {
/*Here we start our function*/
/*The line below will be executed when this function is called*/
/*Declare a temporary variable to store the result*/

      int c;
/*Initialize it with the value zero (0)*/

      c = 0;
/*Doublecheck that c is really zero*/

      if (c == 0) {
/*All good so far... */
/*Let's add them up! */
//c = b + a;
/*20080109 - JDS: above line commented out. The calling function CLEARLY wanted to sum up a plus b. NOT the other way around... I'm surrounded by aholes! Sheesh!*/

            c = a + b;

      } else {
/*DANGER! HERE BE DRAGONS!*/
/*For some reason our temporary variable lost its initial value. Oh my Lord! We need some error handling here. Perhaps we could raise an error, telling whoever called this function that something went berserk. Or maybe we can silently just return zero. I like that! This will certainly be better for the other programmer, after all, he won't have to deal with error catching, etc... Let's make life easier for everybody!!! Actually, I like the number 3 better. Ever since I was a kid, it's been my lucky number. I'll return that! I'm so good, I'm BATMAN!.*/

            c = 3;

      }
/*Here's where we return the final value...*/

      return c;

}

Re:2.1 GB?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25457261)

Arrrggg why be you pirating code? Arrrrg

Re:2.1 GB?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25457509)

Admit that you just had to make sure that function compiled before you posted it!

Re:2.1 GB?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25456917)

Probably at least partially due to the use of git for version control. A tarball of the Linux kernel is about 30mb and compiles to about 2mb or so of code. A git checkout of Linux is about 1GB.

Eh, big deal (1, Funny)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456085)

Been to a P2P site or a 7-11 in Hong Kong recently? The source code for everything is 'open'...

Re:Eh, big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25456555)

Been to a P2P site or a 7-11 in Hong Kong recently? The source code for everything is 'open'...

i have no clue what that even means..

Eclipse has succeeded, so will Android (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456087)

just look at what Eclipse today is: a standard IDE for most development languages. Everybody uses it. It helps corporations; it helps workers find jobs.

And now all the support turns to you know what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25456125)

And now all the support turns to you know what

Doesn't mean much... (3, Informative)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456243)

For the end users around here, this doesn't mean much for you.

This does not mean that you'll be able to run whatever version of Android you want on your phone. I would imagine there's very likely situations with code signing involved that ensures that if you're using XYZ's phone, that you'll only be allowed to run the XYZ versions of Android.

This open sourcing does not mean that you simply get to buy an Android phone and then download a version that you want and run that. Not only due to "artificial" reasons such as code signing, but due to hardware features (or lackthereof).

All this really means is that the companies get to have someone else do heavy legwork for them. Beyond that, it means more familiarity with the Android platform which means there's potentially more market for the platform on the bottom line.

More developers means more applications, more applications means more market for Android. Google and the phone carriers are happy. As an end user, you still get a locked down piece of junk--but hey, at least you'll have 50 variants of a card game to buy instead of 40.

That's what hackers are for... (2, Insightful)

PRMan (959735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456299)

I'd be surprised if some of the code-signing stuff wasn't gone soon.

Re:That's what hackers are for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25456511)

Okay, sure. The hackers can do the same thing they're doing on the iphone and the other phone platforms. But that doesn't mean it's difficult.

And that doesn't mean it changes anything from the current situation. (My post is trying to tell people this point)

And with regards to the code signing and running non-carrier approved android distributions, you won't see it disappear on carriers. This is part of their market. This is how they differentiate themselves.

Yay Google! (2, Insightful)

NSParadox (135116) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456307)

It's so ironic that the same day Google releases one of the largest and most impactful open source projects, Microsoft declares the day "Global Anti-Piracy Day". Horray for Google -- thanks for making our cell phones more powerful at as low a cost to the user as possible. Now if only there were more free and open carriers around....

OH SNAP (5, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456317)

"To build the Android files in a Mac OS environment, you need an Intel/x86 machine. The Android build system and tools do not support the obsolete PowerPC architecture."

quite the burn there

Re:OH SNAP (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25456381)

Same for the iPhone SDK... why is it a burn? PPC is antiquated at this point.

I need more features (4, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456345)

Come on, I don't think this phone does enough yet. If they can't make a phone that can run SETI@Home while I play Duke Nukem Forever, then I'm not interested!

And there's no word on its ability to make my dinner, either. What good is a cell phone if it can't deep fry?

Re:I need more features (1)

Nahor (41537) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457503)

What good is a cell phone if it can't deep fry?

This is not a software problem, they are just not using the correct battery.

Re:I need more features (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457723)

This is not a software problem, they are just not using the correct battery.

I wonder if that would explain my A/C and four-wheel-drive problems as well.

Source code not really accessible (-1, Troll)

cowwoc2001 (976892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25456589)

1) Who the heck uses Git? I know a lot of important companies do, but most people do not.

2) Who the heck is going to download 2.1GB just to look at 1-2 files in the source-code? That's just insane.

They should make the source browseable directly off their website to spare us all this headache.

Re:Source code not really accessible (1)

wgibson (1345509) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457517)

1) Who the heck uses Git? I know a lot of important companies do, but most people do not.

Quite a lot of people have actually read the manuals of git, and are using it in all manner of projects.

2) Who the heck is going to download 2.1GB just to look at 1-2 files in the source-code? That's just insane.

So don't!

They should make the source browseable directly off their website to spare us all this headache.

Ehm. This thing about documentation. Oh, and the acronym RTFA... At least I did not, and I hope that few others do, have any difficulty locating the gitweb repository at http://android.kernel.org/ [kernel.org]

Re:Source code not really accessible (1)

cowwoc2001 (976892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457783)

Quite a lot of people have actually read the manuals of git, and are using it in all manner of projects.

As I was hinting at with my first post, there is a world of difference between "a lot of people" and "the majority of people". I'm sure a lot of people use git, but far *more* people use some other repository such as CVS or SVN. Making the code available *exclusively* over Git is annoying. They should at least have provided a zip download or something.

They should make the source browseable directly off their website to spare us all this headache.

At least I did not, and I hope that few others do, have any difficulty locating the gitweb repository at http://android.kernel.org/ [kernel.org]

That's a step in the right direction but not 100% there either. I just spent the last 10 minutes trying to find the speech-recognition related code and found nothing. The developer API seems to be buried below tons of stuff.

Re:Source code not really accessible (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457631)

1) Who the heck uses Git? I know a lot of important companies do, but most people do not.

Yeah, but all of the important infrastructural pieces on Linux are moving to Git, including Linux itself, Xorg and the surrounding lowlevel daemons (bluez, etc). If you're going to be pulling from a dozen git servers to build your stack, it's often easier just to manage your stack using git anyways.

2) Who the heck is going to download 2.1GB just to look at 1-2 files in the source-code? That's just insane.

Then you're clearly not the kind of person Google wants looking at the code anyways. Anybody who's really interested has no problem with downloading all of it, because they will eventually want all of it anyways, so they can build the environment and work on it.

Piracy is good (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 5 years ago | (#25457347)

See cracking down on piracy has already propelled open source. It was early this morning when microsoft announced anti piracy day. Now, all of a sudden, adroid is open source. HAHA! What's next were all going to switch to linux today? If only we didn't switch sooner, then we could truly savor the moment.

mo3 Up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25457779)

there are You loved that Creek, abysmal superior to slow, Bought the farm.... has run faster M3mbers all over bulk of the FreeBSD
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