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Android Modder Tries To Outmaneuver Google

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the only-a-link-to-a-url dept.

Programming 152

itwbennett writes "Google recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to Steve Kondik, the creator of Cyanogen, a popular souped-up version of Android, asking him to stop distributing applications such as Gmail with his modified software. 'We make some of these apps available to users of any Android-powered device via Android Market, and others are pre-installed on some phones through business deals,' wrote Dan Morrill on the Android developer blog. 'Either way, these apps aren't open source, and that's why they aren't included in the Android source code repository.' Now, Kondik thinks he's found a workaround. He plans to release a 'bare bones' version of Cyanogen without the applications, leaving it to modders to make a backup copy of the Google applications that shipped with their phone for later reinstallation before hacking away at the Android software. 'The idea is that you'll be able to Google-ify your CyanogenMod installation with the applications and files that shipped on your device already,' Kondik wrote."

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Interesting (5, Insightful)

56 (527333) | about 5 years ago | (#29581201)

This actually seems like a more-or-less legitimate point by Google. I'll probably get flamed for this, but it seems like people may have overreacted a little bit.

Re:Interesting (1, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#29581235)

It could just as easily be said that the IP issues surrounding Open Source are not well understood and prone to violation when mixed with proprietary IP. The assumption that Android was going to be an open system was clearly false, and Google's reliance on Linux has opened them up to unwanted competition.

Re:Interesting (5, Insightful)

56 (527333) | about 5 years ago | (#29581313)

I'm with you right up until the end... I agree that there are IP issues with open source, particularly when you have to both open and proprietary IP involved. However, I don't see how this is a case of google being opened to 'unwanted competition.' Here is how I see it: - Android is open-source. - Not all of the apps on Android are necessarily open-source. - Therefore, Cyanogen, Drizzy, and whoever else are free to mod it to their hearts delight - just so long as they don't also redistribute things that aren't open-source. If this is really Google's qualm, and they will leave Cyanogen alone after he removes the proprietary IP, then I really don't see the problem.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581417)

+5 Insightful

Re:Interesting (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | about 5 years ago | (#29582595)

1. "IP" (assume you mean "Intellectual Property") is a weasel word. It has no meaning.
2. "Open Source" isn't what has issues. Google has an issue with this guy distributing their copyright software without a license, which is entirely their perogative
3. It is also entirely an individual user/owner of an Android phone perogative to save a backup copy of these copyright apps so as to facilitate reinstalling them after switching from Android to this Cyanogen.

Re:Interesting (5, Informative)

lenehey (920580) | about 5 years ago | (#29582699)

Intellectual Property:

Function: noun
: property that derives from the work of the mind or intellect (as an idea, invention, trade secret, process, program, data, formula, patent, copyright, or trademark) ; also : an application, right, or registration relating to this "

--Merriam Webster.

To help you out even further, the word "property" means, "2 a : something that is or may be owned or possessed : WEALTH, GOODS; specifically : a piece of real estate b : the exclusive right to possess, enjoy, and dispose of a thing : a valuable right or interest primarily a source or element of wealth : OWNERSHIP c : something to which a person has a legal title : an estate in tangible assets (as lands, goods, money) or intangible rights (as copyrights, patents) in which or to which a person has a right protected by law"

--Merriam Webster

Are you still confused?

Re:Interesting (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about 5 years ago | (#29583511)

Why is this modded flamebait? The assertion that "intellectual property has no meaning" is clearly false in every sense of the word. Suggesting that IP has no meaning is just another way of saying "I don't know what I'm talking about but I'm going to make this odd and big assertion to look like I have a clearly detailed opinion".

Re:Interesting (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29583523)

why is this flamebait? stupid mods.

Re:Interesting (1)

Zencyde (850968) | about 5 years ago | (#29583733)

Completely. How does one maintain exclusive possession of an idea?

Re:Interesting (1)

56 (527333) | about 5 years ago | (#29582773)

1. Intellectual Property means legal ownership of patents, copyrights, etc. Clearly, you know this. You may not like it, but "IP" is the standard term in this discourse and, more importantly, in the law. So you're going to have to get used to it.
2. I was not saying that Open Source has issues. I was saying that issues arise when you have an intermingling of open and proprietary software, such as in Android devices. This very debate is proof-positive that there are indeed issues in these instances.
2a/3. So after all of that you agree with me? That was so unnecessary!

Re:Interesting (0, Troll)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | about 5 years ago | (#29583295)

1. Intellectual Property means legal ownership of patents, copyrights, etc. Clearly, you know this. You may not like it, but "IP" is the standard term in this discourse and, more importantly, in the law. So you're going to have to get used to it.

All of which are nonsense. True, they might be part of the "legal system" (presently itself a big steaming pile of nonsense, squared) but the fact that some "lawmaker" scribbled something down on paper and called it a "law" is not by itself a sufficient pre-condition to that scribble becoming a logically coherent concept. Which mistake (or more accurately, a religious dogma) is wilfully and universally practised by lawyers, and law worshippers, around the world. "It must be so because it is the law!!" is a cry of every petty, brainless, vindictive autocrat out there.

This has got to the point that I am convinced that many a lawyer would not blink at the idea that if the force of gravity were to be made "unlawful", we would all start floating 3 feet off the ground.

Which is pretty nearly the case with the so-called "Intellectual Property". Not only information itself lacks the required attributes to be "private property", but even the indirect methods of controlling it all lack the barest modicum of scientific backing, like for example a reliable, objective and scientific method of determining which combinations of bits were "derived" from what other combinations of bits, which is the basic pre-requisite to distinguishing uniqueness of information, as in for example in differentiating "patents" and works of art. And that is just exposing the very tip of the veritable mountains of illogic and out-right specious "reasoning" that is employed by various charlatans with vested interest in making "laws" to pad their pockets, logic or fairness be damned.

Re:Interesting (2, Informative)

DMiax (915735) | about 5 years ago | (#29581379)

If BioWare sells a linux live cd with Neverwinter included you do not have the right to redistribute a mod for free, even if it includes free software. I think it is called "mere aggregation" and it is well understood to be specifically exempted from the viral effects of the various licenses.

So Android is free but the Google Apps that usually come "for free" with Android are not.

Re:Interesting (5, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | about 5 years ago | (#29581427)

Try researching before commenting. Android is not Google's operating system. Android is run by the Open Handset Alliance. Google is a member of the OHA. Yes, Google created Android -- you or I or anyone can download Android, compile it for our hardware, and run it without paying Google or anyone a single dime.

Google Maps, Google Mail, Google Market? They're GOOGLE'S software, not OHA's. Google wants money for them. You want it on your phone, you pay.

Why is it so hard to see that Google and Android are not affiliated anymore. Separate companies.

Re:Interesting (2, Insightful)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | about 5 years ago | (#29582469)

But the one thing they love more than a hero is to see a hero fail, fall, die trying. In spite of everything you've done for them, eventually they will hate you.

Re:Interesting (1)

chrisinspace (1646549) | about 5 years ago | (#29582473)

I did pay. I bought a phone that is branded with the "Google Experience". Cyanogen's mod is written specifically for this type of device, so he is not re-distributing anything that consumers didn't already pay for. And how is the "Android" Marketplace a closed-source Google app? I'm shocked the OHA allowed that to happen.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29582631)

ye

Re:Interesting (1)

56 (527333) | about 5 years ago | (#29582815)

It's not an issue of you paying. It's an issue of Cyanogen distributing copyrighted software without paying.
As I see it, you are entitled to install the Google apps that you have already paid for (by buying your phone) on a modded device. Cyanogen, however, is not allowed to distribute that software pre-installed on his mods.

Re:Interesting (1)

warcow105 (1173105) | about 5 years ago | (#29582841)

Yes, but it is not his to distribute...do ya understand.

Re:Interesting (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 5 years ago | (#29581681)

Why is the modded interesting?

Android is 100% open source.

It is possible to use non-OSS apps with Android.

If someone was taking Linux and illegally distributing proprietary, commercial Linux apps with it, they'd get a cease and desist. That doesn't mean that Linux isn't open source because you're prohibited from illegally distributing certain closed source apps with it.

Re:Interesting (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | about 5 years ago | (#29581775)

It could just as easily be said that the IP issues surrounding Open Source are not well understood and prone to violation when mixed with proprietary IP.

The issues surrounding Open Source are the same that surround proprietary licensed "IP". The same copyright is involved. The same requirement to follow licensing is involved. The trick is to pay attention to that mix of licenses. When I go and buy a Dell laptop and it comes with a package of software pre-installed, I still have to pay attention to the licenses involved for each piece of software that came bundled with that system. We've been able to survive this mix of proprietary licenses for decades yet when an OSS license (or two) is thrown in to the mix, it's suddenly all a mystery?

The assumption that Android was going to be an open system was clearly false, and Google's reliance on Linux has opened them up to unwanted competition.

Because stopping the unauthorized distribution of a proprietary application is a complete lock-down of the system. Right?

Shouldn't you be working out a car analogy for this?

Re:Interesting (1)

Brewmeister_Z (1246424) | about 5 years ago | (#29583625)

Car analogy... Replacing the factory radio with an aftermarket model that makes use of the GPS and Onstar-type hardware without paying the monthly service fee. Does that work for you? I am sure someone will punch holes in that analogy but it does raise an issue of hardware ownership and the right to re-purpose it (think video game consoles and phones; new or obsolete models).

Re:Interesting (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | about 5 years ago | (#29583767)

Yup - that's a great bad analogy. But it's just not the same if it doesn't come from Badanalogyguy himself.

Re:Interesting (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 5 years ago | (#29583461)

Geeze. Next time, could you at least demonstrate your complete lack of understanding of simple issues with an inappropriate analogy? That would at least be in-character and potentially amusing.

Re:Interesting (1, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29581283)

I'll probably get flamed for this

You'll probably het modded "Interesting".

Re:Interesting (1)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#29581361)

This actually seems like a more-or-less legitimate point by Google. I'll probably get flamed for this, but it seems like people may have overreacted a little bit.

No you shouldn't. It is completely valid, and it's not only because it's not open source, it's also illegal to make use of anothers trademark, such as the case with Firefox/Debian. In FOSS however you can fork the project, which you can't here. Still I see no reason why this is even noteworhty. Google is careful about its channels. I wouldn't want my brands to be associated with just anything either.

Re:Interesting (3, Informative)

evalhalla (581819) | about 5 years ago | (#29581855)

> In FOSS however you can fork the project, which you can't here.

Yes, you're free to fork the Android project and do whatever you want with it, it's under a FOSS license.

What you can't do with the fork is distribute Google's proprietary apps that happen to run on Android: if you need their capabilities you have to write an alternative.
While such applications feature strongly in the "google phone" as usually sold, they have no technical advantage, and there is nothing in the system that prevents alternative applications from taking their place.

Whar would be handy is... (1)

rs79 (71822) | about 5 years ago | (#29583331)

A little helper program so you could easily push buttons to back up and restore the google apps. Make it easy.

I have a new (to me) G1 and I gotta say some things are easy and a joy (sadly, twitter, althouhg good news, ssh) while other things are so difficult and painful (logging into starbucks wifi through the web) I can see myself going postal and throwing the phone across the room. Especially if I hear the words "meditation", organic" or "yoga" one more time.

Cool (1)

Osinoche (769786) | about 5 years ago | (#29581205)

So you Google your Google Phone with none Google Software created by someone who wishes for you to know intimately , Google?

Slashdotted... (4, Informative)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | about 5 years ago | (#29581251)

Google Cache [74.125.47.132]

The current state..

The last few days have been difficult. What has become clear now is that the Android Open Source Project is a framework. It's licensed in such a way so that anyone can take it, modify it to their needs, and redistribute it as they please. Android belongs to everyone. This also means that big companies likes Google, HTC, Motorola, and whomever else can add their own pieces to it and share these pieces under whatever license they choose.

I've made lots of changes myself to the AOSP code, and added in code from lots of others. Building a better Droid, right?

The issue that's raised is the redistribution of Google's proprietary applications like Maps, GTalk, Market, and YouTube. These are not part of the open source project and are only part of "Google Experience" devices. They are Google's intellectual property and I intend to respect that. I will no longer be distributing these applications as part of CyanogenMod. But it's OK. None of the go-fast stuff that I do involves any of this stuff anyway. We need these applications though, because we all rely so heavily on their functionality. I'd love for Google to hand over the keys to the kingdom and let us all have it for free, but that's not going to happen. And who can blame them?

There are lots of things we can do as end-users and modders, though, without violating anyones rights. Most importantly, we are entitled to back up our software. Since I don't work with any of these closed source applications directly, what I intend to do is simply ship the next version of CyanogenMod as a "bare bones" ROM. You'll be able to make calls, MMS, take photos, etc. In order to get our beloved Google sync and applications back, you'll need to make a backup first. I'm working on an application that will do this for you.

The idea is that you'll be able to Google-ify your CyanogenMod installation, with the applications and files that shipped on YOUR device already. Or, you can just use the basic ROM if you want. It will be perfectly functional if you don't use the Google parts. I will include an alternative app store (SlideMe, or AndAppStore, not decided yet) with the basic ROM so that you can get your applications in case you don't have a Google Experience device.

I'll have more updates soon as I get all the code hammered out.

Thanks for all the support thru all of this.

This entry was posted on September 27, 2009, 9:41 am and is filed under Home.

THING IS, USERS ARE IDIOTS !! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581261)

They will fubar this if it has any sort of step beyond download + install.

Re:THING IS, USERS ARE IDIOTS !! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29582155)

Umm... The first shttp://mobile.slashdot.org/story/09/09/29/1510232/Android-Modder-Tries-To-Outmaneuver-Google?from=rss#tep in installing Cyanogen's stuff is to root your phone. This is not intended for the technically challenged.

In other words (4, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 5 years ago | (#29581263)

This is not a work around. He will comply with Google's wishes and most everyone will be more or less happy. Google keeps their proprietary apps available for license and he gets to have his distro without having to pay for a distribution license.

A compromise that is win-win all around.

In the Slashdot world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581309)

In the Slashdot world, following the law is a "hack".

And yet they can't figure out why companies view FOSS as a vehicle for piracy and lawlessness.

Re:In the Slashdot world... (1)

Dotren (1449427) | about 5 years ago | (#29581827)

In the Slashdot world, following the laws lobbied by the corporations that are ultimately extremely unpopular and seem to be attacking the rights of citizens is a "hack".

And yet they can't figure out why companies view FOSS as a vehicle for technological advancement that circumvents their control and threatens their outdated business models.

There, fixed that for ya, at least from my point of view. I consider myself a law abiding citizen but I'm also realizing that many laws these days are not benefiting or protecting the citizens at all and are very unpopular. When you have such laws being passed that seem contrary to public desires, you start to wonder what is going on and who your government is really working for.

Furthermore, I've seen plenty of startups and even some actors and such that have embraced newer business models that don't necessarily depend on charging for content. I think the companies are terrified of this concept because this generally requires the content to actually be good to get the public to consume it. If the public isn't consuming it, you don't get advertisers and such. Most (not all) products and services out there have required the public to pay first. This was fine back in the day when good customer relations was key to keeping up sales. However, we've moved into an era where people are generally apathetic when they receive lackluster products and services and just shrug their shoulders.. the company doesn't care though because it still has their money. Even worse, we have situations where people are actually turning away from the product/services and the companies just find another way of getting the money, either through government intervention or litigation against their one time customers.

Just my two cents.

Re:In the Slashdot world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29583357)

Furthermore, I've seen plenty of startups and even some actors and such that have embraced newer business models that don't necessarily depend on charging for content. I think the companies are terrified of this concept because this generally requires the content to actually be good to get the public to consume it. If the public isn't consuming it, you don't get advertisers and such.

This is not the public I'm aware of.

However, we've moved into an era where people are generally apathetic when they receive lackluster products and services and just shrug their shoulders.. the company doesn't care though because it still has their money.

This is the public I'm aware of.

Even worse, we have situations where people are actually turning away from the product/services and the companies just find another way of getting the money, either through government intervention or litigation against their one time customers.

Agreed. Everyone sucks.

Re:In other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581355)

How is this not a win-win? Kondik can continue distributing his software and google doesn't get its copyright infringed. Kondik's intention is probably not to piss google off but to provide good a better version of android

Re:In other words (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 5 years ago | (#29582561)

I'm sure pre-compiled images with all the apps will appear in the usual places within hours of each release anyway, much like they did with XBOX Media Centre.

Re:In other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29582671)

A compromise that is win-win all around.

Not quite, Google can count a loss of a few less phones sold: I do understand that Google reacted within their legal rights, but I am upset with the way they handled the situation and have removed all Google phones from my current evaluation list.

Re:In other words (1)

patrickthbold (1351131) | about 5 years ago | (#29583381)

Yes, but google should make this as easy to do as possible. Ok they obviously don't *have* to, but it would be nice if they did.

Re:In other words (2, Interesting)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | about 5 years ago | (#29583551)

I happen to want a so-called "smart phone" that I can program, and wouldn't mind having a touch screen. However, the iPhone is only available on AT&T and I hate Google. So a Google phone with all of the Google stuff taken out is very interesting to me. Maybe this guy's found a new fan...

cyanogenmod (2, Insightful)

proudfoot (1096177) | about 5 years ago | (#29581269)

I have a rooted G1 and use Cyanogenmod: it provides several enhancements, such as root, which allows for Wifi/bluetooth based tethering. It is also somewhat more responsive and quicker than the official firmware. It does have less battery life, and can be less stable then the official version however. While it is true that Android is open source, Android without many of the base apps such as Gmail/Google maps is not particularly useful. Still though, this won't prevent me, and other users from using this mod. And since I paid for the phone, and by extension, the applications that came with the phone, I should be able to transfer them to a new operating system on the same phone.

Re:cyanogenmod (1)

56 (527333) | about 5 years ago | (#29581363)

Can't you just re-download them from the Market?

Re:cyanogenmod (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581443)

Considering that he can't ship the (Google) Market app, you can't re-download them from Alternative Markets like SlideMe.

Captcha was 'informed'. Hah.

Re:cyanogenmod (2, Interesting)

56 (527333) | about 5 years ago | (#29581497)

Hmm, that's a really good point. The Market app is one of ones they have a problem with? If that's the case, then this really does put a damper on the Android modders. Anyone know if the Market App is one of the ones involved?

Re:cyanogenmod (3, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | about 5 years ago | (#29581687)

Market is included in the proprietary category from what I have read.

however, I wonder if there's a market .apk that can be downloaded (you don't need market to run a .apk)

If there is, this would resolve all problems.

Re:cyanogenmod (1)

56 (527333) | about 5 years ago | (#29582105)

Hmm, well wouldn't that have the same problem? Whether they ship the Market app with the mod, or if you download and install it independently, it's still an infringement on google's (or whoever's) IP. I guess Cyanogen/whoever could go the traditional approach of saying 'it's up to you to find your own market app, we're not responsible for any piracy' or whatever, but that would again cripple their mods by drastically reducing the number of potential users. How many people are going to be able to handle manually installing an .apk file, let alone finding it in the first place?

THen again, maybe I misunderstood what you were saying. Did you mean that they could design a new browser for the google market, one that isn't proprietary? If that's possible (I have no idea), then it seems like that would pretty much solve the problem from a legal standpoint. Google probably wouldn't be happy about it, though.

Re:cyanogenmod (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 5 years ago | (#29582593)

As someone with a rooted G1, the larger barrier is finding good rooting instructions, and doing such. Almost certainly not finding an apk file, and definitely not installing one.

Re:cyanogenmod (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 5 years ago | (#29583529)

what do you mean? one click is too hard?

basically, it's 3 steps.

1: downloading the backup program (recovery flasher) thingy for the firmware.
2: download root firmware of your choice in a .zip to your phone
3: reboot and apply. you're done.

then you're done.

Re:cyanogenmod (1)

Skythe (921438) | about 5 years ago | (#29581813)

You can get Maps and maybe Youtube from the market, but not much else. The market itself isn't Open Source and part of the license violation, anyway.

Re:cyanogenmod (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581375)

I hear Cyanogenmod uses the BFS scheduler to great effect.

Re:cyanogenmod (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 5 years ago | (#29582649)

Isn't that like using the ATM machine?

Not outmaneuvering (5, Informative)

ddrueding80 (1091191) | about 5 years ago | (#29581303)

It isn't outmaneuvering, I'm sure this is what Google had in mind. No licenses being broken, and a strong modder community.

Re:Not outmaneuvering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29582275)

I agree - this is a sensationalist headline that isn't good for Google or the community in general. Cyanogen is working with Google to create a legal distribution, no "maneuvering" is being done by anyone.

Andoid Touch (0, Offtopic)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | about 5 years ago | (#29581337)

When is a non-phone version of Android going to come around?

Wouldn't mind playing with it, but I don't need it as a phone.

And I think there's lots of potential for it as an open source portable media device.

Re:Andoid Touch (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581535)

Why not get the nokia n810 [wikipedia.org] then? It's much less restrictive, it's been on the market for quite some time now and you can get one quite cheap.

Re:Andoid Touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581913)

forgot to mention that yes, you can install android on it (don't know why you would want to do so though, the maemo os it runs is much nicer)

Re:Andoid Touch (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 5 years ago | (#29582171)

He just said he didn't need a phone.

Re:Andoid Touch (2, Informative)

crwl (802043) | about 5 years ago | (#29582683)

He just said he didn't need a phone.

The N810 isn't a phone. The upcoming N900 is, however.

Re:Andoid Touch (2, Insightful)

56 (527333) | about 5 years ago | (#29582605)

IWell there's the android netbook, the Acer Aspire One D250m, so I can't imagine an android-does-ipod-touch will be far behind.

Re:Andoid Touch (2, Informative)

rivetgeek (977479) | about 5 years ago | (#29581719)

If you download the sdk they have an emulator.

Re:Andoid Touch (2, Interesting)

tangent3 (449222) | about 5 years ago | (#29582111)

There's the Zii Egg [zii.com] ...

Re:Andoid Touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29582925)

http://www.archos.com/products/imt/archos_5it/index.html?country=us&lang=en

Archos 5 Internet Tablet. Android, media player, gps, no phone!

Outmaneuver? (2, Insightful)

bernywork (57298) | about 5 years ago | (#29581341)

I don't think that's actually true.

I think this solves their complaint, this means that the code is being left with the end user, and is not being distributed by them.

Wait, Google != Android (5, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | about 5 years ago | (#29581345)

I love my Android G1 (with Cyanogen's Mod). But Google is not Android, nor vice versa. Google created Android, and then spun it off to the Open Handset Alliance (OHA).

This means that Google is now an application developer for Android, just like any other application developer. Android supports competitive markets (and there are at least 3 Android markets out there). Gmail isn't the only email interface, Google Maps is not the only maps interface.

I love my Android phone, but I don't love the Google apps -- they're too intrusive. I'd love a Google-less G1, and I'm down for trying the new mod without the Google apps if it will work fine.

Again, Google is not Android. Android is Android, maintained by the Open Handset Alliance. Cyanogen might be wiser to join the OHA, actually, and license the apps if he wants them.

Re:Wait, Google != Android (0)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | about 5 years ago | (#29581403)

Except no one outside of the FOSS/modder community wants an Android phone. They want a Google phone.

Re:Wait, Google != Android (1)

dada21 (163177) | about 5 years ago | (#29581463)

I don't use FOSS usually (Audacity, Filezilla, etc) -- and I'd prefer a Googleless phone. I have Gmail for email, but I use Opera to read my email over the Gmail app on the phone. I use Waze instead of Google Maps. I do use Google Voice, but I'm thinking of going to a SIP app instead. I use Meebo instead of Google Chat.

Android is good software, but it's not really ready for primetime (mostly due to the underperforming phones that need 4x the RAM to get anything running consistently).

Re:Wait, Google != Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29583421)

Cyanogen might be wiser to join the OHA, actually, and license the apps if he wants them.

A great idea. Too bad he's not a company.

How is this a workaround? (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 5 years ago | (#29581373)

Works for me. He also said he's working on an app that'll do the backup for people who can apparently handle rooting and uploading custom ROMs to their phone but can't handle a few adb commands.

Honestly, I don't LIKE all the googlifying of the phone. The default ROM on a Mytouch 3G (how pervy is that name, btw?) doesn't even let you skip the google signup.

I'll definitely put SOME Google apps back on my phone (Google Maps, Listen, etc) but I'm pretty happy to not be REQUIRED to.

So this is Google's dirty little secret (1, Interesting)

dingen (958134) | about 5 years ago | (#29581399)

Basically Google's operating system is open source like Apple's operating system is open source. You can fiddle with the geeky low level core stuff, but the things that are actually useful and make it valuable are proprietary and can't be messed with without being sued.

Re:So this is Google's dirty little secret (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581499)

Android is an open source operating system. But not all apps that run on it are open source. How is that a "dirty little secret"? Google never claimed anything different.

Re:So this is Google's dirty little secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581519)

They have a value because they're not open. When are people going to understand that?

The question is does it have use even though it doesn't have value.

Re:So this is Google's dirty little secret (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 5 years ago | (#29582167)

They have value if they're useful, whether they're open or closed source, free, or priced outrageously.

Re:So this is Google's dirty little secret (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581553)

comparing it with OS X is a bit extreme. with the expected barebones android mod, it will still be a fully functional phone. i don't know of any OS X mods that give you a fully functional working PC just without iLife and iTunes, etc...

Re:So this is Google's dirty little secret (1)

WeirdKid (260577) | about 5 years ago | (#29581563)

Good analogy, but it's no secret. Google is more than happy to take your open source, contributed works and use them for profit. It's free engineering work on components that just aren't very useful without all the proprietary other parts, and as long as there are corporate fanboys out there willing to do it, Google and Apple would be stupid to not take advantage of it.

Re:So this is Google's dirty little secret (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 5 years ago | (#29583481)

ut the things that are actually useful and make it valuable are proprietary and can't be messed with without being sued.

Because there's nothing valuable in the underlying operating system... oh, right, except for the fact that those "useful" things can't be run without it.

This is what he should have done in the 1st place (4, Insightful)

vrmlguy (120854) | about 5 years ago | (#29581431)

The WINE and ReactOS projects don't provide MS Office, IE or Media Player. FPGB (http://games.slashdot.org/story/09/09/29/0516251/Gameboy-Color-Boot-ROM-Dumped-After-10-Years [slashdot.org] ) doesn't provide GameBoy cartridges. MAME makes you responsible for finding your own ROMs. Et cetera, etc.

Re:This is what he should have done in the 1st pla (1)

Compholio (770966) | about 5 years ago | (#29581579)

The WINE and ReactOS projects don't provide MS Office, IE or Media Player. FPGB ... doesn't provide GameBoy cartridges. MAME makes you responsible for finding your own ROMs. Et cetera, etc.

Actually, Wine does provide "IE" (in the form of a minimally functioning clone) - but your point is well taken.

Re:This is what he should have done in the 1st pla (1)

TheCycoONE (913189) | about 5 years ago | (#29583081)

That uses the gecko layout engine... I don't think that counts.

Re:This is what he should have done in the 1st pla (2, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | about 5 years ago | (#29581821)

Heck - Windows doesn't provide MS Office.

Re:This is what he should have done in the 1st pla (2, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | about 5 years ago | (#29582025)

WINE and ReactOS aren't redistributions of Windows.

This is more like if MS told people making Windows XP slimming programs to not distribute Calculator with their mods because MS owns Calculator.

Of course, you can't redistribute Windows like that, where you can Android.

You know what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581605)

I have now seen enough stories in the press about this cyanogenmod thing to bring me to the point where I simply no longer care one way or the other about it.

Nothing new here, really (4, Insightful)

diamondsw (685967) | about 5 years ago | (#29581637)

This is essentially how it works on any platform you're hacking. You can release all the open-source bits, modifications, and instructions you want (modified roms, killhdinitrd, dsmos), but the minute you combine that with proprietary software (Google Apps, Tivo software, Mac OS X DVD's), you're in hot water. So the usual result is anyone who wants to remain legitimate distributes only the modifications, and allows users to bring in the proprietary bits themselves. It's worked well, and keeps everything legally clean. Perhaps a little more work for the end user, but hacking has never been point-and-click.

Tivo hacking, Mac OS X hacking, now GooglePhone hacking. No different.

Re:Nothing new here, really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29583263)

Tivo hacking, Mac OS X hacking, now GooglePhone hacking. No different.

Except that for Android, as long as licenses are respected, it's called modding, and it's the intended design.

Haha, can't believe these losers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581811)

They spend their time writing software for these closed platforms and then complain when this happens... Stay out of the kitchen if you can't take the heat, you know.

If you want to develop for an open platform, there's openmoko [wikipedia.org] .

Really something new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581865)

This really is something new. The difference is that if you look at all of the other XDA dev forums people are modding and distributing IP that belongs to HTC and Micorsoft, but these companies simply turn a blind eye. They dothis because they recognize that having a strong mod/dev community is good for the platform. It just seems stupid and very un-Google like for them to be coming down so hard on the mod community. It seems like they are shooting themselves in the foot here.

Why not look the other way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29581883)

While I generally don't have a problem with Google protecting its IP, it is interesting that they chose to send a C&D notice instead of looking the other way. There are plenty of Win Mo ROMs which include closed source microsoft apps and microsoft has continuously looked the other way.

I am confused (3, Interesting)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about 5 years ago | (#29581911)

My HTC Touch Pro2 ships with Windows Mobile, Office Mobile, IE Mobile, and Windows Media Player. I went to the XDA Developers forum and downloaded a cooked ROM containing Windows Mobile, Office Mobile, IE Mobile, and Windows Media Player. An Android ROM customizer gets a cease-and-decist from Google. To my knowledge, no Windows Mobile ROM customizer has gotten a C&D from Microsoft. I'm no Microsoft fanboi, but I *am* confused as to why Google would raise a stink over their product being distributed in such a way that it will ONLY be useful on devices that already came with the software. It's not like he lifted it from an Android handset and is selling it in the App Store or even ported it to the iPhone and is giving it away for free on Cydia or something like that. I guess I just don't understand how being distributed on cooked ROMs that only work on handsets that originally came with the code and will only be used by a subset of Android owners is going to harm Google.

Re:I am confused (1)

Zach978 (98911) | about 5 years ago | (#29582113)

Not all devices will be "blessed" by google, in fact many G1's in Asia do not have Google apps due to licensing issues. Also - the carrier gets a cut of the Market revenue, so there may be device/carrier specific modifications to the Market app to enable this tracking.

Re:I am confused (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29582653)

I *am* confused as to why Google would raise a stink over their product being distributed in such a way that it will ONLY be useful on devices that already came with the software

Because that's not the case. Android can run on a wide variety of platforms, including a lot that are not supported by Google. Google only wants to support their apps on a certain set of platforms. You are confusing the issue somewhat because everyone running Windows Mobile on a handset is doing so because the manufacturer has bought a license from Microsoft, while not everyone running Android has any business relationship with Google.

Re:I am confused (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about 5 years ago | (#29583539)

Considering that MS is likely unaware of the mod in question- rest assured, if MS knew about that sort of thing being pervasive as Cyanogen's mod was for Google Experience devices such as the G1 and Mytouch, you could bet your bottom dollar they'd do the same thing as Google did.

Just because you're seeing it going on and Microsoft not doing things about it doesn't make it any better on the part the Windows Mobile modders or Google any worse for it all for their actions here.

Doing the right thing (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | about 5 years ago | (#29581963)

This isn't an "outmaneuver", it's precisely the right thing to do. It's no different from other open source projects with closed source components, like emulators that require a ROM image to function, or the Second Life client that requires proprietary Vivox components for voice.

You get what you pay for (2, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | about 5 years ago | (#29582115)

In the case of any "open source" based device what is going to happen is the manufacturers learn quickly that some portion of the user community will do completely unexpected things with the device and the software on it. Often, this will violate various agreements, including potentially trade agreements governing the use of the device in places. This is especially true with cell phones - wouldn't you like to have a cell phone that **ALWAYS** gets a channel rather than competing with other phones in your area? Nevermind that the tower owner might not like this hack, there is little that can be done to stop it, especially with a more "open" phone.

The other thing that is expected - and is clearly happening - is people get confused about licensing and what is and what is not free to redistribute. The end result is again, there is no control over content. In this case the developer/distributor decided to comply with Google's request. They could have just as easily said bugger off, and if they were in a non-compliant country there would be little Google could do about it. And that is assuming they could find the person at all.

Sure, it looks obvious to manufacturers that an "open" device might be cheaper to start with. But there are other costs that are just beginning to become apparent. Most of these are mitigated by locking down the device so it might have "open" roots but is unmodifyable. As in the case of things like Tivo, Archos, Kindle, etc. the manufacturers have done quite a bit to ensure this sort of problem doesn't come up. Unfortunately, what we are going to see with "popular" devices is they will get pried open, exposed, hacked, and proprietary content redistributed and modified.

I'm just waiting for the first person that figures out a way to use the cell service with a Kindle for some other purpose. Something that costs Sprint enough that they want to cancel their agreement with Amazon. Something that doesn't involve destroying the Kindle to rip the cell modem out.

This is what they wanted him to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29582239)

Boy, he sure "outmaneuvered" Google by doing exactly what Google requested for him to do.

Story Still Developing (3, Informative)

watanabe (27967) | about 5 years ago | (#29582387)

There are a few technical pieces missing from the comments here, and this story is still definitely developing. From Cyanogen's twitter feed today: "This is about proprietary device drivers and not Google at this point. These drivers are not redistributable."

This is a nice reminder that there's likely no building a usable phone room without infringing on some agreements. I do not expect this to change in the near future; what this means is that a sort of 'merge' or 'overwrite' or patch system will need to be put in place for people modding their phones.

This will take a little time to build would be my guess, but isn't insurmountable; I think the complexity of building such a thing should fit inside of the typical hacker attention span that's been piqued right now.

Timothy, (2, Insightful)

mewsenews (251487) | about 5 years ago | (#29582845)

"Complying with demands" is not "outmaneuvering".

What google did wrong... (1)

pjr.cc (760528) | about 5 years ago | (#29582875)

It took me some time to formulate an opinion on this, and so what I say is not a knee-jerk reaction. I personally kept hoping that google were pushed into this because of either the alliance they are in or because of something less obvious (like pushing around some proprietary rubbish from htc) - but so far it appears not to be the case. My position will flip utterly though if that does occur.

First of all, let me compare google android to windows mobile - go to xda-developers.com and have a look at all the roms floating around (all require licensing and of course none of them do). Yet MS dont touch them... Why not? cause its good for MS. Not only does it not impact their business model it helps them. People get to play with the new roms and they already had a license for Windows mobile anyways. No harm done. Ultimately it gives windows mobile a thriving hacker community which is only helping MS.

Apple have done virtually nothing to stop hackintosh's (generic pc's running macos) or jailbreaking iphones. More or less for the same reason. Yet Apple did go after someone trying to sell hardware with MacOS - and thats the fine line that google should not of crossed. Its a line apple and MS (surprisingly) realise is ultimately in their best interests.

When google just let fly with a bunch of urine over a thriving hacking community. Are google within their rights? absolutely. But they achieve nothing. The people who were getting the firmware already had the market place (thanks to the fact their phones ran LICENSED android in the first place). Take me for an example of where it could be contrived to "hurt" them.. I have a tytn2 (which i've stuck with simply because of the xda-dev's site and the interesting things done with it), but I hate windows mobile (For the most part). So I got the android (and later hero) ports that actually work on my phone. Ultimately I got hold of a copy of marketplace on my mobile and google didn't get their licensing margins... OH NOES!!!! I CAN SPEND MONEY NOW IN THE GOOGLE MARKET PLACE AND THEY GET A CUT - IM A CRIMINAL!!!

Or course, the ports to the tytn2 aren't entirely all that useable, but they did give me a really good idea that I wanted a Hero.

But now I dont. Why? simply because of the fact google did this and the way they did it. They did not have to go in with a c&d, they could have easily gotten a hold of their hacking community (such as that which is cyanogen) with an open letter/blog post saying "please stop doing this - and these are the reasons why".

Google has everything to gain from something like cyanogen cause it makes their software more useable - but instead they took a view no other maker has. Much to their detriment. I was so keen to get my hands on an android phone and now the interest has completely left me. Sure, im only one person, but to see someone like google take an axe to their own hacking community for no good or useful reason is very disappointing. At first I thought they were pushed into this via the open handset alliance, but I've been told by reliable sources this is not the case and it was solely instigate by google. Ultimately, the only real mobiles worth running android on are actually android phones with the licensed software anyway.

But there are exceptions... There are places where google didnt send the android close apps, but you can bet it was for reasons they weren't happy with. After all, marketplace is something google gets a cut on and they'd want that on every mobile they can get it into. I cant say I really care much if he does find a way around it, truth is that he shouldn't have to.

And thats the 2 main points
1) Google had nothing to lose and everything to gain by following MS's example of turning a blind eye
2) They didnt have to do it this way.

Lately, an appropriate quote from the "Yes, Minister" series on the bbc:
Sir Humphrey: May I say just one more thing?
Jim: Only if it's in plain English.
Sir Humphrey: Very well Minister. If you are going to do this damn silly thing, don't do it in this damn silly way.

Ah, witness Google as it becomes Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29583191)

For you young people who didn't get to watch the brash young upstart Microsoft topple the Evil Corporate Empire of IBM, this will be new and exciting. It has begun. Before your eyes, day by day, you will see Google become decidedly less "open" as they become corporatized and greedy. In ten years or less they will be as disgusting as Microsoft.

less sensationalistic piece from wired (2, Informative)

august sun (799030) | about 5 years ago | (#29583709)

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/09/google-cracks-down-on-android-developer/ [wired.com]

"The Android engineers at Google are now making available previously unreleased components â" makefiles and configuration files â" that will give independent developers the ability to create Android releases in the same manner that Google does, but without using Googleâ(TM)s proprietary apps. These engineers are working with volunteers from the community and have already begun working on alternatives to the proprietary Google applications."


It doesn't sound as contentious as the OP but it definitely seems like Google is taking the right tact on this to me.
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