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Google Serves a Cease-and-Desist On Android Modder

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the doubleplus-ungoogly dept.

Android 336

Several readers sent in word that Google has served a Cease and Desist order to Cyanogen, one of the most prolific Android modders: his CyanogenMod is enjoyed by 30,000 users. The move is puzzling. Gizmodo wonders what Google's game is, and Lauren Weinstein calls the move "not of the high 'Googley' caliber" that one would expect of the company.

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License missing (5, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540695)

Google Maps, Google Talk and Gmail and so on require a license to distribute them. Cyanogen doesn't have one. Google C&D's because of that. Case closed.

Re:License missing (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540917)

Google is clearly within their rights to C&D over those applications. The curious question, though, is "why would they do so?". Cyanogen is distributed for phones that shipped with those apps anyway(so it isn't as though there is any huge pile of licensing revenue on the table here), and copyrights, unlike trademarks, don't have to be defended unless you want to.

There must be some reason why Google would risk upsetting a group made up, more or less, of self-selected enthusiasts of Android and its continued development, in exchange for no obvious money. Is Google confident enough in the value of its apps that it sees those Google specific apps as a future distinguishing feature for Android phones, one that OEMs will pay good money for? Are potential telco partners pissed that Cyanogen is something eminently worth rooting your handset for?

The existence of their legal right is uncontroversial; but I find their potential motives a bit baffling.

Re:License missing (1, Interesting)

Elros (735454) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541109)

In some cases, failure to sufficiently defend one's rights to some IP (intellectual property) results in the inability to defend it in the future. I.e. If Google gets in the habit of knowingly allowing re-distribution of their applications with out a license, they loose any right to enforce the copyright in the future.

Re:License missing (4, Informative)

BlueBlade (123303) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541221)

Like the parent said, that only applies to trademarks and not to copyright.

Re:License missing (4, Insightful)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541417)

Like the parent said, that only applies to trademarks and not to copyright.

You mean trademarks like Gmail(tm) and the Google(tm) logo? Which are almost certainly being distributed as part of those apps?

Re:License missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541469)

It can apply to copyright if it becomes a pattern. It automatically applies to trademarks whether there's a pattern or not.

Re:License missing (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541305)

That's only for trademarks. Copyright and patents doesn't require defending hence why you see patent trolls wait until a product is well-entrentched before they sue them for "damages."

I can understand Google's viewpoint on this. Assuming Cyanogen wants to continue to distribute the programs, they can always just go through the proper channels first. Then they would have a stance if Google was being slow or rejected them. It's really an issue of google protecting themselves. They probably want to avoid legal hassles that involve 3rd party distributors (where the binaries could be modified without google's knowledge or infected with a virus unintentionally or other things).

Re:License missing (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541595)

Quit being such a fucking LOOSER (rhymes with GOOSER) and learn how to spell "lose" (rhymes with "news") correctly.

Re:License missing (4, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541277)

It's pretty clear that Google goes way out of its way to provide APIs and guidance on using its stuff as a third party, so I suspect that there's specifics in this C&D that aren't just "you used our service." Specifically, if they were re-packaging Google's logos or the like, then there's real copyright concerns there.

Re:License missing (3, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541351)

I'm guessing it's like having a pickup game of softball at your local municipal field, and you get busted. Why? You need a permit. It's free and easy to get, but you still need to get it.

Google's saying "We ask everybody else to play by these rules, which aren't even onerous, so you need to as well."

Re:License missing (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541353)

I suspect it may have to do with Google being perceived as permissive of unsanctioned modding--a thing of great concern for carriers. Up to this point Google has only had a very limited success penetrating the U.S. market with phones running Android. Google could be trying to bolster its image with carriers by stopping (limiting) rogue phones.

Re:License missing (0, Redundant)

royler (1270778) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541491)

cant allow a precedent to be set

Re:License missing (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541637)

> Google is clearly within their rights to C&D over those applications. The curious question, though, is "why would they do so?"

Because they don't want to lose the ability to continue to license IP required for Google maps etc from third parties.

Re:License missing (3, Interesting)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541429)

It's amazing how quickly Slashdotters will rush to defend Google over anything. I notice you've made many other comments in this story defending Google. If this was Microsoft, they'd be portrayed as the greedy corporation exploiting software licenses to shut down freedom. When it's Google, we're supposed to shut our eyes and cover our ears. "Case closed."

Re:License missing (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541643)

Why is this guy distributing the modded ROM and not a patch for the ROM? Surely if you're capable enough to change the ROM on your phone, you're capable of applying a patch first.

GPL Violation? (0, Troll)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540703)

I thought Android was supposed to be Free Software / Open Source Software?

Re:GPL Violation? (3, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540745)

Android itself is, but of course some software written for it can be closed or even, hold your breath, commercial.

Google Maps, Google Talk and Gmail apps are closed software.

And before someone jumps on the "but I want the whole thing to be open!!", its more open when developers have choices.

Re:GPL Violation? (1)

rehabdoll (221029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541063)

"its more open when developers have choices."

Not necessarily so for the user.

Re:GPL Violation? (2, Informative)

rjolley (1118681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541089)

"its more open when developers have choices."

Not necessarily so for the user.

That doesn't even make sense.

Re:GPL Violation? (2, Insightful)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541293)

I think you were meaning to reply the parent post.

its more open when developers have choices.

THAT doesn't make any sense.

Re:GPL Violation? (2, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541379)

All the user cares about is data. If I can switch from your mail app to my mail app without losing my data, the system is open. However, if the developer has the choice of whatever mail format it wants, it's unlikely that I can transfer my data without issue. Thus, choice for the developer does not equal choice for the user.

Re:GPL Violation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541097)

its more open when developers have choices.

No, it's not, you dick. The freedom that matters is the user's freedom.

Re:GPL Violation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541189)

No. Both sides' interests need to be balanced (you dick).

Ideally in this instance, the ruling, should there need to be one, would be that Google forfeits no rights over its software, and the mods are allowed to continue on a non-comercial, chilled out basis. As now.

Re:GPL Violation? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541243)

its more open when developers have choices.

No, it's not, you dick. The freedom that matters is the user's freedom.

Now now.. While I agree with your statement. You really should address it to the poster, not his sexual organ that may or may not exist.

Re:GPL Violation? (5, Insightful)

daskinil (991205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541251)

Umm, Linux is the same way, developers have the freedom to write a closed source app for it. Which is good. Otherwise I wouldn't have matlab on linux. Which is an industry standard for many engineering applications. So this is really not too news worthy, Google has closed source apps and open source apps. Just because a company has some OSS apps, doesn't mean they can't defend the rest of their apps.

Re:GPL Violation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541167)

As your plumber, I find your bathroom to be more open when I have a choice to install a pay toilet.

By the way, tell your daughter to quit climbing underneath the door. Those are MY fucking dimes she's stealing!

Re:GPL Violation? (1)

MathFox (686808) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541187)

How do you upgrade Android? Do you get a single firmware image from Google containing both the Linux kernel and the Google apps? If it is a single firmware image the GPL says that the full image should be distributable under the GPL. Denying someone the right to remix it would be a GPL violation!

Re:GPL Violation? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541463)

Umm.. no.

It's an image. If your interpretation were correct redhat couldn't distribute an ISO of RHEL with non-GPL apps on it, devices with embedded linux would be impossible, etc.

Re:GPL Violation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541535)

Do you get a single firmware image from Google containing both the Linux kernel and the Google apps? If it is a single firmware image the GPL says that the full image should be distributable under the GPL.

No, it doesn't support this at all. In fact, it explicitly says the opposite.

Denying someone the right to remix it would be a GPL violation!

The copyright holder can violate their own software license all they want. The GPL can't force the copyright holder to do anything.

Re:GPL Violation? (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541313)

"but I want the whole thing to be open!!", its more open when developers have choices.

"-1 false dichotomy. "

Re:GPL Violation? (3, Informative)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540787)

Did you read the article? It clearly says that its todo with shipping google's closed apps like gmail/gmaps/etc. The OS is free but much of the software is not. Personally it seams pretty dumb to stop people handing out your free apps, but it is definitely within their rights.

Re:GPL Violation? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541049)

Android is FLOSS. The apps like Gmail, Maps, Google Talk, and Calendar, are not; Period. Is this really so hard to fathom/comprehend?

Re:GPL Violation? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541387)

Once an android is modded, can't the user download gmail and whatever else from Google directly, for installation? I don't own an android, much less a modded one - I'm kinda ignorant here.....

Re:GPL Violation? (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541527)

For the most part, aye -- I know you can download Maps independently from the Market (have to do this every now and then for an upgrade).

I really don't see the big idea with this -- just unbunble the apps, and let's get back to work. You can use the damn web browser to access gmail on your phone if you need to, anyway.

Re:GPL Violation? (1)

smartr (1035324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541405)

It is. It's under the Apache License. Nothing in the Apache License says anything about not working with proprietary software.

Re:GPL Violation? (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541465)

First off, Slashdot is opposed to copyright law, so calling for a GPL violation won't work because the GPL is a copyright license, and we're opposed to copyright licenses, remember?

Second, Google is like any other closed company. It only uses free software when it benefits them. They're greedy, selfish, and only in it to make money--just like Microsoft. It just happens that Google's business model allows them to rely on free stuff as part of their campaign to get users using their closed search engine and other closed technologies--which together make up Google's advertising platform.

Capitalism means crisis (3, Funny)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540719)

Google is trying to postpone the inevitable crash of its hyperinflated fictitious capital.

Only a planned economy under workers Soviet control can provide for the needs of all and advance human culture.

Reforge the Fourth International, world party of socialist revolution!

Re:Capitalism means crisis (-1, Offtopic)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540911)

Planned economies do not work. End of story. Crack a history book sometime.

Capitalism means crisis (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29540943)

particularly in U.S.A. [calculatedriskblog.com] .

Marx was correct.

Yours In Samarkand,
Philboyd Studge

Re:Capitalism means crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541567)

DA! Mien Fuher -1 for stupidity

Re:Capitalism means crisis (5, Insightful)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540971)

Neither do fiat currencies. They all end up crumbling in exactly the same way.

Did your history book also mention that?

So, since ALL systems of humanity eventually fail, wouldnt it be more important to look at the quality of life that exists under these systems for the brief periods that they exist?

Re:Capitalism means crisis (1, Offtopic)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541047)

quality of life that exists under these systems for the brief periods that they exist?

Ah... but just how brief are those brief periods, and just how bloody are the times surrounding the brief periods? It seems that communism tends to be quite bloody surrounding the "brief" times of peace and "prosperity." Incidentally, I'm not sure how many communist countries have been prosperous. For people other than the leaders, I mean.

And by the way, you're still going to have terrorists and the like, even if USA was communist. The current wacko Islamic terrorists aren't anti-USA because of capitalism and because of how inhumane the USA is or something.

Re:Capitalism means crisis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541205)

Communism is an economic system. I don't see why it ought to imply the sort of violence you're talking about.

Look at Spain in the 30s, before Franco won the war. Accounts of that period would suggest that some of the factories, run by committees of communists and anarchists, were pretty prosperous.

And why shouldn't it work in that arena? Imagine a US-style corporation that is actually a worker's co-op. Management decisions are made by a committee of workers. Certainly it makes more sense to me than the system we have, where the CEO and the folks at the top get the lion's share off the backs of the worker bees, who work the hardest and get chump change in comparison.

Re:Capitalism means crisis (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541467)

It seems that communism tends to be quite bloody surrounding the "brief" times of peace and "prosperity." Incidentally, I'm not sure how many communist countries have been prosperous.

That's because none of them were truly socialist (using the "trying to do what benefits society as a whole" definition), but evil dictatorships that used the promises of Communism to seize control from the previously existing economic powers. For better examples, take a look at some European countries (and other European-style countries such as Canada).

Re:Capitalism means crisis (1, Offtopic)

gunnk (463227) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541107)

Actually, a fiat currency IS a type of planned economy. With a fiat currency the government can manipulate the value of its currency. In many, many cases said government finally gets too greedy and manipulates the currency to the point that no one trusts it and the value plummets towards zero. In any case, though, controlling the nominal value of the currency is a tool governments with fiat currencies use to manipulate (i.e.: plan) their economy.

I think fiat currencies are inherently risky due to the high probability of government overreach, but I disagree with your comment that all fiat currencies are doomed to fail. The only failed fiat currencies that can be mentioned in history books are those that have failed. Ones that haven't failed still exist, so their failure is not recorded. You therefore cannot invoke history to claim that all fiat currencies fail as long as there are fiat currencies still in existence that have been viable for long time periods. (This is not to say they won't fail, only the the "history shows" argument is fallacious).

Finally, saying that "all systems of humanity eventually fail" suffers from the same sort of problems. I can point to many human systems that have existed for millennia and continue to work for us (think agriculture, trade, language, writing... none have passed away and few seem destined to do so in the foreseeable future).

Re:Capitalism means crisis (1)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541589)

agriculture - slash-and-burn - while not faded away, contains the seeds of its own destruction and is not practiced on a large-scale as it has been replaced by other systems

Language - latin - its not called a dead language for nothing. Replaced by another, and more efficient system of language

Writing - Hieroglyphics - Not around anymore either. Also replaced by a more efficient system of writing.

ALL of those things failed, and were replaced by other systems. The structure of the current money supply will also fail, and be replaced by a more efficient system. Im not predicting when that will happen, just that it will happen. Just like it has happened to every system throughout history. Its the basic definition of progress. Sometimes it comes from whats best known as 'creative destruction', sometimes it comes about gradually.

I understand what you are trying to say, but think of it this way. Is it any different to say that ALL suns will die, and knowing the fundamental reasons why, to also say that our own sun will die? Sure history hasnt shown that our sun has died yet, so is the understanding of the underlying reasons for making that statement somehow negated ? The point I am making, and that you seem to also understand, is that there is a fundamental flaw in the way that a fiat currency works in a society. That flaw eventually leads to its demise.

*The Federal Reserve isnt any more 'federal' than Federal Express is. They are both corporations. Its not government that is inflating the values of fiat currencies.

Re:Capitalism means crisis (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541027)

Planned economies do not work. End of story. Crack a history book sometime.

All economies are planned to some extent, and none are completely.

Re:Capitalism means crisis (1)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541501)

Two possible responses to this:

1. WHOOSH

2. To be serious, there are two lessons we should have learned from the history of the past 150 years.
        a. Communism doesn't work.
        b. Capitalism doesn't work.
What does work is a system in which capitalism drives the economy, but a strong central government keeps the capitalists in check.

Re:Capitalism means crisis (4, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541563)

You mean like China?

Re:Capitalism means crisis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541285)

Obama Socialism? Or Michael Moore Democratic Economy-ism?

Do no evil? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540725)

Apparently they have C&D'd Slashdot as well since it's acting flakey today and yesterday.

This is another reason why we want/need an open design to many of our gadgets. We're relying too much on them but only one big corporation has full control over them. Same goes for Google Docs. If Google decides to pull the plug on any of their systems, you lose.

Re:Do no evil? (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540821)

Isn't that all part of it? You have to select the people that you want to do business with. Sure google could shut down gmail or docs tomorrow, but I don't think they will. Sure my ISP could close up shop, godaddy could blow up, my accountant might get hit by a bus...

You will never mitigate all the risks... but instead of me worrying about DNS, Hosting/Colo, the code, the server(s), the disk space, the db, the backups, and on and on and on... I have outsourced those worries to google in return for a small risk they may unexpectedly shut down some day. If you have taken the proper steps to mitigate that risk (simple offline backups of your docs/email) then you have no issues.

I certainly don't see this as a reason to start the evil mantra again.

Re:Do no evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541121)

AWWWW Mommy said I could chant the evil mantra today.

Re:Do no evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29540879)

ZOHO is your friend

Re:Do no evil? (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541033)

Wrong end. When you're talking about something that needs to use a network to be useful, you've got to start at the network. The device is the LEAST important part. As long as the phone company gets to say what does or does not run on their network the devices will do what they need to meet those requirements.

It's kind of funny actually - Apple releases a closed phone but doesn't sick the lawyers on any of the hackers. Google releases an "open" phone but does sick the lawyers on the hackers.

Re:Do no evil? (1)

SteveTauber (996603) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541309)

Fortunately for the consumer the FCC ruled that Wireless providers must begin to allow any device on their network. We are also now seeing legislation for official Network Neutrality.

Re:Do no evil? (1)

royler (1270778) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541569)

Apple has taken action against people jailbraking the phone, and doing so is clearly against the rules. that solidifies their legal hold on their product. if google does not sue someone who is distributing their software, that could be used against them if someone ever does distribute the software illegally.

Le Shocque! (5, Insightful)

Rydia (556444) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540729)

Google a giant company, not your BFF.

Film at 11.

Re:Le Shocque! (2, Insightful)

Glendale2x (210533) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540935)

I know you're joking, but that may come as a surprise to a lot of people.

Re:Le Shocque! (4, Interesting)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541441)

I think google needs to review its own corporate philosophy again. The "Ten things we know to be true" page apparently is just a sort-of loose guide line and not a hard list of rules:
http://www.google.com/intl/en/corporate/tenthings.html/ [google.com]
Rules 1, 4 & 6 especially appear to be mere lip-service for us puny consumers to follow, not really applicable to google. I also again reiterate my belief, as mistaken it may be, that in a lot of these cases its possible that the retained corporate lawyer stable is justifying its existence by exercising corporate rights that may actually not be in the best interest of the corp.

Re:Le Shocque! (3, Funny)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540985)

Google a giant company, not your BFF.

That's ok, I already have Facebook as my BFF.

Re:Le Shocque! (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541555)

Yet people somehow manage to deceive themselves into thinking they'll be better about these things than Apple. At least with an Apple device you get to look trendy while being fucked over.

In Soviet Amerika: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29540765)

Android modder cease and desist Google !

Yours In Astrakhan,
Kilgore Trout

Of course it is! (1, Troll)

Iowan41 (1139959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540791)

Think about Google FirewallofChina, GoogleObama, GoogleCensorship and other fine Google products.

It's all business (1)

rcolbert (1631881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540871)

It seems to me that business tends to behave like business, and wants to protect their customer experiences, revenue streams, market share, etc. It's very difficult when you have a bottom line that you're accountable for, to let go of control of your product and user experience, and potentially have modified versions of your own works interrupt your revenues.

I know this is an unpopular view, but IMO: Google !> Apple ! Microsoft

I'm fine with business being business and customers voting with dollars. In the meantime, it would be nice for all companies, and Google in this particular instance, to realize who their friends in the opensource community are. Google certainly seems like they're guilty of friendly fire here.

What is confusing? (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540909)

If Cyanogen is "passing around Google's closed-source apps like Google Maps, Google Talk and Gmail", then google has every right, even a responsibility, to stop it. It does not matter that it only runs on google authorized hardware, Cyanogen has not been given the right to distribute the software. What happens if Cyanogen, or some other person, decided to modify the Talk so that all numbers dialed were reported to third party advertisers? Not only would google lose their share of the advertising dollars, but I am sure most would hold google liable. Same thing if maps intentionally lead people to drive off a cliff. Right holders have a obligation to control distribution, and I don't trust those who don't control distribution.

Leaving this issue aside, it does seem that Android is not the open savior that every thought it might be. Given that for a cell phone to work it must have towers, and that the towers are controlled by private enterprise in search of profit, and that large firms tend to sue each other as part of the competitive process, any completely open phone is unlikely to thrive in the marketplace. If google were no a commodity vendor, then I would say that an open phone might work. But given they want tens of millions of customers, there is going to be a compromise of open software and control.

Are they actually modified? (4, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541143)

Seems to me that the most reasonable compromise, for all involved, is for Google to allow redistribution without modification of their closed source software. Yes, Google has the legal right to make cyanogen stop distributing, but how does that benefit Google? Lots of 'proprietary' software are distributed as .zip or .exe files which the license allows you to make verbatim copies of. This is slightly different, because the software is incorporated as part of a ROM image, but as long as the software inside the ROM image isn't modified, Google should just let him distribute. He's not hurting them in any real way.

Re:Are they actually modified? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541585)

The problem is that these apps are partly used as leverage to encourage mobile manufacturers to work with Google rather than entirely go off and do their own thing, like breaking compatibility. The Market apps is the same (also closed source). It's one of those fine balancing acts that is required when trying to make a huge, open source operating system that actually gets useful amounts of deployment whilst staying compatible and having a meaningful brand.

Re:Are they actually modified? (1)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541633)

The problem is, google's closed softwares won't always be distributed with the phones.
A phone provider can choose to distribute an android phone with only their own apps, without the ones from google.
If the same phone is distributed in another country with the apps, and someone make a new rom with the apps, it allows someone to install the app on a phone where it wasn't meant to be installed.

And this is bad for google business with phone profiders.

Re:What is confusing? (1)

ruin20 (1242396) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541579)

If google maps lead people to drive off a cliff I would applaud them for helping eliminate people too stupid to realize that even if the map tells you to drive off a cliff that its still not a good idea. And I don't pity people who run apps from an untrusted source and get burned. I understand where you're coming from but the reason this software is being distributed is because people want the functionality. Don't send a C&D, come up with your own solution which should be that much better being it's authorized and verified with all the cozy protections from coming with the google brand attached.

that's the real problem, cyanogen is becoming a better brand than google, and that's what they're trying to stop.

Re:What is confusing? (1)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541639)

Exactly.

this C&D is about protecting their end users.

Developers should know better than this.

Simplish solution (5, Insightful)

IMarvinTPA (104941) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540933)

Stop distributing those apps in the ROM!
Add an app to retrieve them from the original (backup) version of the phone.

SafeTex [imarvintpa.com] : Copying copyrighted textures from original Quake to custom commercial levels without incident. IE Don't distribute what's already there.

IMarv

say what? (4, Interesting)

macbeth66 (204889) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540963)

"not of the high Googley' caliber"

Does anyone really believe that Google is the "do no evil" company that it used to be, pre-IPO? It has become just as suspect as any big company. The bigger problem is that people don't even see Google for what it is. It is like MS all over again.

OK. Just my $.02 worth, I guess

Re:say what? (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541021)

They try, they don't always succeed, sometimes they fail miserably, but they do try. Which is better than 99% of the companies out there.

Re:say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541605)

what a miserable excuse from a fanboi. sueing someone isn't an accident or an unforeseen repercussion of another action.

when are we going to stop winking at people who pull crap like this? we have it in politics, we have it in business and we have it in our daily lives but so many of us excuse it as a mistake.

it's not a mistake. it was an aggressive act.

Re:say what? (1)

plastick (1607981) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541231)

Does anyone really believe that Google is the "do no evil" company that it used to be, pre-IPO? It has become just as suspect as any big company. The bigger problem is that people don't even see Google for what it is. It is like MS all over again.

Damn right, Macbeth. Well said.

Re:say what? (3, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541283)

"Does anyone really believe that Google is the "do no evil" company that it used to be, pre-IPO?"

No, I don't believe that, because they never said that

Their motto is "Don't be evil." There's a subtle, but I believe important, difference.

Re:say what? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541409)

How about instead of running around screaming they are bad just they are incorporated we judge them on their actions?

Re:say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541547)

"not of the high Googley' caliber"

Does anyone really believe that Google is the "do no evil" company that it used to be, pre-IPO? It has become just as suspect as any big company. The bigger problem is that people don't even see Google for what it is. It is like MS all over again.

OK. Just my $.02 worth, I guess

Don't forget Google's purchase of Postini. It was a great product, until they killed support, fucked over the resellers (google it, heh), and have left the archiving service to become a clusterfuck of epic proportions.

Do no evil my ass.

Proves the point (4, Insightful)

Qubit (100461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540987)

Google is sending a C&D because someone is distributing closed-source Google apps (like GMail, Google Maps, etc...) without a license.

This is why I want a phone that runs only Free Software in the base install. If I know that the base functionality is open and free, that means I can take that base set of software and modify it and distribute it to other people without worry of getting a C&D letter like this one.

Free Software licenses are a great way to CYA. Sure, they do a number of other things for you as well, and they aren't always the best at dealing with software patents, but they CYA a lot more than most proprietary licenses I've seen.

Re:Proves the point (1)

Rydia (556444) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541199)

This is why I'm so excited for the N900. I'm sure the base install has some proprietary stuff, but given the fact that it's linux, and the amount of control you apparently have on the device through nokia's flavor (maemo), it seems to me that you really wouldn't have to worry about this kind of difficulty.

Re:Proves the point (1)

Sonic McTails (700139) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541345)

If you have an Android Development Phone (ADP) or a rooted G1, you can wipe the stock Android install and go down to a base installation which is mostly free (the only closed bits are some drivers required for the camera, phone baseboard, and one or two other things.

If looking at the N810 and the large amount of closed bits it has, then the resulting Android installation will be tons cleaner than the N900.

What Android really needs (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#29540991)

...is an app that disables the Android kill switch.

FREEDOM!

Heres my 2 cents (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541003)

Cyanogen has been modding for awhile without any trouble from Google. Recently he released a rom that was basically android 1.6 in full, including the new improved version of android market, way before the rest of android users will get it. I think thats what Google is mostly bent out of shape about, hopefully they can reach some sort of peaceful agreement that allows cyanogen to keep modding. His roms are great and make the g1 a powerful device.

Lawyers against dev community == bad idea (4, Interesting)

dwight_hubbard (239128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541113)

Bottom line most developers are going to care less about why google is sending lawyers after their community than the fact that they may have to deal with that crap if they develop for Android. Since there are groups producing similar mods to Windows Mobile firmwre, this Cease and Desist has the potential to make the open source mod community around android less vibrant than the community around the Microsoft's closed source OS. Which is a real shame.

If Google doesn't do some rapid damage control they're liable to find their development community moving over to other Open Source phone OSes that don't send lawyers after their development community.

Re:Lawyers against dev community == bad idea (3, Insightful)

rliden (1473185) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541281)

Developers should care about why Google is doing this. How would you feel if people were distributing your apps or project without a license possibly in violation of that license? It's irresponsible of those developers not to abide by the licensing agreements. If these developers were distributing GPL apps without a license I'm pretty sure the FSF would be breathing down their necks too. It's a matter of respect and professionalism. Those developers are out of line.

Re:Lawyers against dev community == bad idea (2, Informative)

Mascot (120795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541333)

This has nothing to do with developing for Android. It has to do with illegally distributing somebody else's software for the Android.

Any developer too dim to realize the difference between those two, I don't think I'd want any software from anyways.

Re:Lawyers against dev community == bad idea (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541369)

It's strange. It really is starting to look like every major mobile phone platform based on Linux (OpenMoko is small-fry and still doesn't really have anything but developer toys, and Nokia's Maemo-based devices are almost entirely non-phone.) is at the closed end of the spectrum for modders/developers due to rampant Tivoization. It's a pretty big contrast compared to the Windows Mobile community, where to my knowledge, Microsoft and HTC have never C&Ded xda-developers, and I've heard rumors that there is some unofficial support from inside those companies at this point.

It's really sad when the most open and flexible platform in a particular market segment (mobile phones) is a Microsoft product.

Re:Lawyers against dev community == bad idea (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541413)

OK, a bit more clarification:

http://duttythroy.net/component/content/article/35-romnews/172-microsoft-and-htc-say-ok-to-xda-developers.html [duttythroy.net]

No support, but an statement of no plans to C&D the developers.

(translation: What the developers are doing is good for business and the manufacturers are being smart about it.)

Re:Lawyers against dev community == bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541531)

>If Google doesn't do some rapid damage control they're liable to find their development community moving over to other Open Source phone OSes that don't send lawyers after their development community.

Such as?

Google forgot its tagline/motto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541197)

Don't be evil.

not smart (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541269)

there are tons of modder communities within the G1. To do this is not only a: a bad call, and b: bad for publicity neglects the fact that cyanogen can easily leak the info to others (and people can easily continue with cyanogen's work thanks to the apache license).

Workaround : bring patch+script instead of ROM (1)

testman123 (1111753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541271)

I suggest to Cyanogen that he releases a "patch" and a script instead of a ROM. Doing so, it would people people resposability to get their own rom and "patch" them using the given script to produce a patched ROM :)

My question on Android is : how can google not release it under GPL as they are using a linux kernel ?

Another point I see, is where are the specifications of Android ? Open ... but without public spec is a bit strange. As google says, no Android is not a Java compatible platform at this time. If you don't have any standard to stick with. How are you sure your current application will work in a comming new version ?

Google realy needs to clarify its position about Android licence, strategy and relation with Java or it will damage the product aura.

Maemo opportunity?? (1)

dwight_hubbard (239128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541355)

This begs the question, could a functional Maemo rom be made for the G1 as an alternative to Cyanogen??

They were doing it the wrong way (3, Insightful)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541381)

It is illegal to distribute closed source apps without the license. It doesn't matter if you think what you are doing is not for profit or doing any 'harm'. Google is even required by law to enforce its copyright. The answer is not to complain about google doing evil or about how it is 'harmless' to use this software illegally but to make free software clones of the apps and avoid the legal non-sense altogether. And in most cases, you don't even need to make them... they are already done.

This is something that must be understood. Some "alternative" GNU/Linux distros out there love to include things like Skype and flash without any license. It is illegal doing so, and the reason most of the major distros don't do it. (Some of them don't do it because they don't like proprietary software, but most of them really do it just to avoid the copyright infrigement).

Similar thing happens with Windows Mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29541457)

Lots of people mod Windows Mobile, posting ROMs full of copyrighted material. Microsoft would be well within their rights to start suing them. As far as I know, they haven't.

The law is on the side of Google and Microsoft in this case... But... To be completely honest, as long as these modders are not doing so for commercial gain, I have a hard time sympathizing with the corporations.

Smart phones today are held hostage by their carriers and manufacturers. I've paid the manufacturer and the OS vendor for this thing, but my device is not living up to its full potential out of the box. Who do I rely on to fix this? HTC? AT&T or T-Mobile? Fat chance. Yet these companies are the ones authorized to release new firmware, and they have little economic incentive to make the changes I want. Chances are I have to use a hacked ROM to suit my needs.

In many cases the OS vendor isn't necessarily to blame. If Google or Microsoft or whoever could license me, an individual, an OS update for some fee, I'd pay them. If the market for smart phone software were set up more like a PC, I think either of those companies might do that. Unfortunately, based on what I've heard from people who work in this business, the carrier is the one with ultimate authority, and letting consumers do what they want is against their interests.

A few details (4, Informative)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541461)

From TMONews [tmonews.com] :

"20:03] google just cease and desisted me
[20:15] cyanogenmod is probably going to be dead
[20:16] i'm opening a dialogue with them
[20:20] no they are talking specifically about the closed-source google apps
[20:20] and how i am not licensed to distribute them
[20:20] my argument is that i only develop for google-experience devices which are already licensed for these apps
[20:20] so we'll see what they say
[20:20] maybe we can work something out
[20:24] maps, market, talk, gmail, youtube"20:03] google just cease and desisted me
[20:15] cyanogenmod is probably going to be dead
[20:16] i'm opening a dialogue with them
[20:20] no they are talking specifically about the closed-source google apps
[20:20] and how i am not licensed to distribute them
[20:20] my argument is that i only develop for google-experience devices which are already licensed for these apps
[20:20] so we'll see what they say
[20:20] maybe we can work something out
[20:24] maps, market, talk, gmail, youtube"

Probably he will have to drop those apps. This will make loading Cyanogen a little more difficult. Next, will Google prevent him from using those apps to test his distro, or will they make it impossible to run them under his ROMs?

Somehow, this is beginning to look like the end of Google the Nice. The beginning of the open Google the Evil.

Kinda sad, but now that Android is important, the game changes.

Re:A few details (1)

rawdirt (464725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541537)

you forgot androidandme.com is slashdotte ;)

C&D begets opensource (1)

anonymousNR (1254032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541549)

if Google pisses-off a good developer group, then its possible that they will turn to developing an open source alternative. More good for open source.

Solution (4, Insightful)

geirt (55254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29541577)

Google, please hire Cyanogen. He is clever!
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