Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Android and the Linux Kernel Community

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the cathedral-in-the-bazaar dept.

Google 354

An anonymous reader links to Greg Kroah-Hartman's explanation of a rift (hopefully mendable) in the development culture of Google's Linux-based Android OS and the Linux kernel itself. "As the Android kernel code is now gone from the Linux kernel, as of the 2.6.33 kernel release, I'm starting to get a lot of questions about what happened, and what to do next with regards to Android. So here's my opinion on the whole matter ..."

cancel ×

354 comments

Google (4, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014340)

Because Google doesn't have their code merged into the mainline, these companies creating drivers and platform code are locked out from ever contributing it back to the kernel community.

Google shows no sign of working to get their code upstream anymore.

Oh come on, was it really a surprise to anyone that Google does only care about OSS when it suits them and drops out instantly when it doesn't. All of their own sites, business and back-end technology is just as closed as Microsoft's.

I see someone coming along and saying "but they contribute to open source!". Sure, they do, they release little snippets of code and open source those products they base on OSS code because they have to by GPL. One could seriously argue if their open sourcing efforts are making better open source community in general, or not. Like TFA states, their ignorance has caused more turmoil than ever before in Linux land. Companies are obviously going to create support and drivers for Android-branch of Linux kernel, but cant contribute the same code back to real Linux kernel. And possibly never will because it costs them too much work, money and time. Even those companies that previously did develop linux drivers. That's not harming Linux and OSS community?

Get off your lazy ass and see what's really happening.

Re:Google (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014400)

That's not harming Linux and OSS community?

No, it isn't, because there is open competition from other vendors. The only group it's harming is Google and those companies dumb enough to buy into Android for their future.

 

Re:Google (2, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014440)

The only group it's harming is Google and those companies dumb enough to buy into Android for their future.

Google has a major advantage here as one of the largest companies in the world, and those companies "dumb enough" are going to jump on Google's side because they have the market share.

Re:Google (5, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014594)

Google has a major advantage here as one of the largest companies in the world

Nokia has the major advantage that they are *the* largest phone producer on the face of the planet and have *the* largest world market share by a large percentage. Google and particularly, Android are small fry in comparison, despite their size in other markets. Those companies jumping on Android are dumb because their horizon is limited to the US market and a single platform.

For irony, Google "Maemo" and "Nokia N900".

As I said, the only groups being hurt by this are Google and those dumb enough to rely on Android for their future, anyone else with a brain will take a look at the competition and more open platforms.
 

Re:Google (0, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014658)

As I said, the only groups being hurt by this are Google and those dumb enough to rely on Android for their future, anyone else with a brain will take a look at the competition and more open platforms.

Is that why we already succeeded at Year Of Linux On Desktop back in 2003?

Re:Google (5, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014726)

Is that why we already succeeded at Year Of Linux On Desktop back in 2003?

Haven't you noticed? The desktop is irrelevant. It's been abstracted to an Internet access platform. It's the phone in the pocket which is the current battleground, and Linux has won that already.

 

Re:Google (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014926)

It's the phone in the pocket which is the current battleground, and Linux has won that already.

That's funny cause Symbian owns 50% of the smart phone market.

Re:Google (2, Interesting)

Sinning (1433953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015022)

Down from over 63% in 2007. Symbian is losing ground quickly.

Re:Google (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31015030)

Sorry, I haven't noticed.

Please elucidate. Please give me a list of the top three Linux devices and their sales volumes compared to, say, symbian, rim and iPhone.

Or perhaps you can explain some of these http://w3counter.com/globalstats.php [w3counter.com] stats and how Linux, Android and WAP come in at less than 2% with regard to your "irrelevant" statement.

Dammit, you're trolling, aren't you? Well... Fool me once, strike one, fool me twice, strike, uh three.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31015172)

"and Linux has won that already."

You mean Android (Linux+dVM).

From a business standpoint, it makes sense for Google to fork Android since the kernel is more focused on the desktop--which is yesterday's news, and of course LKF/Linus would want to strip out the Android stuff from the Kernel since it has no F/OSS maintenance purpose.

Look at the business world, it appears it's gonna be a Linux(IBM), OpenSolaris(Oracle), and Microsoft world, and we know IBM will muck things up with too much complexity that linux will not be 'linux' when you get it. Unless Mameo takes off, Linux is becoming irrevelant, since yes, the desktop is going away, well, maybe except for games.

Re:Google (-1, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015206)

Uh, both Symbian, iPhone and Windows mobile dominate that field. Sure Android (not linux! expect for some Nokia phones) is getting there some, but it's still far away.

Just fyi, Android != Linux, especially after these recent changes.

Re:Google (1)

t0p (1154575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015342)

You naive fool. The desktop isn't dead. "Cloud computing" isn't anywhere near ready. And the mobile phone isn't as important as you seem believe... yet. Google is a major force in computing, and either you're pretending you don't get it, or you're an idiot.

Re:Google (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31015372)

I dunno, I see more people installing Linux on their Desktop nowadays than doing it on a phone. And don't worry, most folks are not liking the Ubuntu on their netbooks (hence why it's shifting back to Windows 7).

And the Android fork is to Linux as J2ME is to JavaSE.... they're different inside.

Re:Google (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015102)

Google has a major advantage here as one of the largest companies in the world

Nokia has the major advantage that they are *the* largest phone producer on the face of the planet and have *the* largest world market share by a large percentage.

Yeah but that is mainly because of their hold on the market for cheap, dumb phones. The smartphone market is really a different beast now.

Re:Google (0, Flamebait)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015236)

Eh, trolling much? If you look outside US, Nokia is dominating. iPhone is nowhere as successful as it is in US. In top of that, Nokia holds patents (that they really deserve) over many technologies used with GSM, 3G and so on.

And Nokia offers a real Linux phone, not just Android or locked-down iPhone shit.

Re:Google (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31015482)

Yeah but that is mainly because of their hold on the market for cheap, dumb phones.

What, you mean by far the most popular phone choice across the world? Not everyone wants a smart-phone or to be held ransom with exorbitant data plans to use the expensive device. The vast majority of the world uses phones to talk, how strange.

Re:Google (4, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015420)

What people seem to overlook is that Google wrote Android on their dime, opened it up, and then handed it over to the Open Handset Alliance, which has companies like Nokia on the board. Google does not own and control Android. The Alliance does.

And how is Android not open? The entire thing is FOSS.

Re:Google (3, Insightful)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014690)

This is some seriously poor logic. Consider for a moment GM. In 2008 they were the 4th largest company in the United States. By your logic it would be ideal to attach your company's future well being to GM. Now consider how well that worked out for over 1000 GM dealers, hundreds of parts suppliers, etc. See how that turned out. For the record, Google was #117 in 2008.

Re:Google (-1, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015478)

That would be the case if it was completely different business model. But Google's business model allows them to generate cash almost endlessly as long as they keep gaining users and keep advertisers happy. In top of that, they are kind-of an technology company so developing OS that also improves their business model is like finding a gold pot at end of the rainbow. It means Google works hard to get themselves everywhere where they can and to every person on the planet. Compare that to Linux which is mostly used in server environments or on some geeks desktop. Of course companies are going to jump the Google bandwagon because it sounds so lucrative.

Re:Google (5, Funny)

killmenow (184444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014462)

Apparently Google employees have mod points today.

Re:Google (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31014532)

Don't worry about that.Until I joined Google I had never seen so much arrogance and groupthink. Place feels like a sect and don't you dare say anything bad about any Google product, no matter if it's a POS like Orkut.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31014870)

Well, so do I, so I give your post and the parent's a bump up.

Fuck 'em, that's what I say.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31015096)

I also had mod points, but I bumped you down to encourage the Google conspiracy theorists. It's nice to have some of the attention off of me for a change.

-Steve B.

Re:Google (1, Offtopic)

oztiks (921504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015486)

I started a comment with the sentence "The good thing about the iPhone ..." in a prior Google / Android article and what did i get for my troubles? an instant ... Troll

Make no mistake, Googles hidden geek mafia run this here town.

Re:Google (3, Insightful)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014498)

It is called Embrace, Extend and Extinguish. I thought it only applies to MS. Well I think, Do no Evil is gone through the window :)

Re:Google (5, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014708)

It is called Embrace, Extend and Extinguish. I thought it only applies to MS. Well I think, Do no Evil is gone through the window :)

Well, we know what Steve Jobs said [wired.com] about Google's "Don't Be Evil" mantra--"It's bullshit." Or, "a load of crap," depending on your source.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31014930)

While I dont generally agree with Apple's saying it is great people are starting to see this.

Re:Google (2, Insightful)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015024)

Well, we know what Steve Jobs said [wired.com] about Google's "Don't Be Evil" mantra--"It's bullshit." Or, "a load of crap," depending on your source.

Is that actually based on anything though? You have to remember that 'evil' is a point of view and when a company gets that large and that diversified obviously they are eventually going to step on the toes of someone who has a different interpretation of what is 'evil'.

Re:Google (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015112)

Is that actually based on anything though? You have to remember that 'evil' is a point of view and when a company gets that large and that diversified obviously they are eventually going to step on the toes of someone who has a different interpretation of what is 'evil'.

Just so we understand each other, I'm not necessarily advocating Jobs's position, just quoting him. But I think that what you're saying is pretty much in line with what Jobs said, which is not that Google is evil, only that "Don't Be Evil" isn't really applicable.

Re:Google (4, Interesting)

DangerFace (1315417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015242)

Well, we know what Steve Jobs said [wired.com] about Google's "Don't Be Evil" mantra--"It's bullshit." Or, "a load of crap," depending on your source.

Is that actually based on anything though?

Yes - it's based on one rich guy being annoyed that another rich guy threatened to take some of his richness. From the linked article:

On Google: We did not enter the search business, Jobs said. They entered the phone business. Make no mistake they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them, he says. Someone else asks something on a different topic, but there’s no getting Jobs off this rant. I want to go back to that other question first and say one more thing, he says. This don’t be evil mantra: “It’s bullshit.” Audience roars.

Steve Jobs wasn't making some deep point about Google's manipulation of FOSS, he was just ranting about unfair competition (for 'unfair competition to Apple in the eyes of Steve Jobs' read 'Giant, friendly, happy-go-lucky Silicon Valley company treating design and user experience as important'). He may as well have just complained that Google won't share their toys.

Re:Google (-1, Troll)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014546)

Linux was under the BSD license, they wouldn't have had to give anything back, but it would have made it easier for contributors to give to both branches. (Or just copy the code between the two).

The GPL has actually caused me to drop Linux. I want ZFS for my home server, zfs is not the answer (maxing out 2 cores to copy files?!). Because of the whole "GPL or the highway" approach, even though ZFS IS opensource, it's not 'compatible'.

FreeBSD has no qualms, so I'm in the process of migrating my servers to FreebSD.

Re:Google (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014568)

"If". "If linux was under"

No more happy hour for me.

Re:Google (4, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014794)

If linux was under the BSD license it would be in the same shape FreeBSD is in, nearly no one using it in the server room.

So sure we have to wait for btrfs instead of using ZFS, but only because SUN decided to make sure they chose an incompatible license.

Re:Google (5, Funny)

GenP (686381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014812)

I want ZFS for my home server, zfs is not the answer

Very Zen.

Re:Google (1, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014912)

zfs-fuse. Bah. I quit.

Re:Google (0, Flamebait)

nietsch (112711) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014844)

Well good on ya! Drop it if you like, or make it into a balmerbot and let it throw chairs at your Linus idol, I don;t really care (but I do want to see the vids though:). Linux is available in a LOT of different flavours. The free BSD's however have much less mind and market-share. Yes you may argue OSX is a BSD variant, but there you have a company that is more evil then google IMHO.
Nobody forced them to built on a linux kernel, they choose that one partially because it was Open and Free. On top of that they built an operating system that they could have kept very closed. (The GPL kernel does not imply anything about the licence of the software that runs on top of it), but they chose not to.

Re:Google (1)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014970)

Hey, Google doesn't need to contribute back their code to the Linux main tree. It's perfectly fine not try to merge it. But because it makes sense for everyone (end users, Google, Android developers, hardware manufacturers), people is trying to fix the situation. Maybe you don't care about working together, but Linux people do.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31014736)

Maemo FTW!

Re:Google (2, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014834)

The problem is the idea of a single code base that will satisfy all needs is a pipe dream and always will be. Developers may have to do some extra work to write appropriate drivers for both trees. Welcome to the real world.

Re:Google (-1, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015276)

That's also why the companies supporting Linux are so far between. Every different combination of things in different distros is making it hell to develop for, especially now that Google is taking the base kernel apart. It requires so much extra work that companies don't like to do it for what they get out of it.

No, I don't think so (5, Interesting)

Concern (819622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014840)

Google has frankly set a new standard as far as how companies can become very successful by embracing the open and free software communities. I honestly don't think you can point to many other companies that are doing better, nor could you realistically expect to. In the mobile space, pretty much the next nearest competitor in terms of openness is Apple (Darwin, et al) - in other words, a joke. Meanwhile Google not only has a wonderfully organized system for playing with all the Android code, but a broad commitment across products. Look at Wave, for instance - wide, wide open, and very deliberately (because they know it cannot succeed any other way). Google has probably done more for Linux and its credibility than most other companies in the world.

I think this is something totally different - a disagreement about direction between the mainline maintainers and Google's Android team. Corporate developers, even well-intentioned ones, have a conceptual hurdle to get over when someone Not Their Manager is telling them "you must spend x man-months refactoring your code thusly."

Many, many companies have run into this issue with Linux (and other projects) before, and many will again. It usually goes something like this:

Step 1: Whatever. We're Google. Am I going to rearrange my whole development roadmap to follow the directions of some whiny nerd in his mom's basement? LOL.
Step 2: Oh. Crap. Wow it is kind of a lot work maintaining my own entire fork of the Linux kernel/KHTML/etc. all by myself.
Step 3: Either A) capitulation - the last guy is fired or smacked with the clue stick, and the cooperation restarts, or B) a true fork. These usually stagnate and die, and are also riddled with bugs and security holes btw... unless, the fork is really more interesting than what it forked from, in which case, the community switches to the fork and justice is served.

Often between Step 1 and 2, the maintainer will attempt to play a little corporate politics by embarrassing said middle manager in the media. By the way, this is pretty smart and it often works - especially with companies as large but otherwise savvy as Google, a slashdot story can jumpstart efforts to mend the rift by bringing more senior eyes on the problem. Cooperating is in everyone's interest, and they will realize it.

Wait, I take it back (2, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014896)

Somehow I managed to forget Nokia for being more open than Apple - and arguably - Google. I guess because so few people use, or will likely ever use, their smartphones. :)

Re:Wait, I take it back (1)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015008)

Yes, only 21 million of them [bbc.co.uk] were sold in the last quarter. (hint: USA != world)

Re:Wait, I take it back (3, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015282)

I can't find anything yet that actually gives N900 or Maemo sales figures. Your link does not - I am all ears if you have something. Something tells me that Nokia isn't anywhere remotely near selling 21 million devices truly comparable to iphone or android in Q4. "Converged mobile device volumes" is very carefully worded and my guess, careful weasel wording is the only way the can come up with a number so impressive-sounding.

Apple has only shipped 75 million [gizmodo.com] iphone and ipod touch devices combined worldwide, and something like 8.7 million iphones in Q4. [fiercewireless.com] So if Nokia "true" smartphones were outselling Apple smartphones by such a margin, in any way shape or form, I think that would be bigger news, no?

I think this confusion comes from Nokia labelling any $50 gadet of theirs with a dime-store web browser and a music player as a "converged mobile device." But even in this case I should have qualified my remarks as referring to smartphones, rather than just "mobile."

Re:Wait, I take it back (-1, Flamebait)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015498)

This is the same Nokia who fought open standards for HTML5, has been guilty of patent-trolling, and tried to kick OSS projects around in the past. However, when they released that they were having trouble attracting developers to their mobile platforms, they decide to purchase Qt, and suddenly try to embrace OSS developers.

Option B (2, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015214)

Has there ever really been a serious option B effort to just pick a time and do a major kernel fork and maintain it forever by any company as large as google, with their level of developers and resources/cash behind them? Any precedent there?

Re:Option B (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015518)

They would only really be responsible for maintaining a set of patches, not a full-on fork.

Plenty of projects exist outside the mainline kernel that will likely never be merged upstream.

Re:Google (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014940)

Sure, they do, they release little snippets of code and open source those products they base on OSS code because they have to by GPL.

Erm, no. While I don't consider Google to be a particularly charitable organization, they do regularly open source their products (though mostly minor ones, as you rightly pointed out) when there is no legal obligation on them to do so.

The reason for that is perfectly clear, too: it strengthens the image of Google as both "geeky" and "open" tech company, which are both important parts of Google's public image.

Re:Google (5, Informative)

Temporal (96070) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015460)

Erm, no. While I don't consider Google to be a particularly charitable organization, they do regularly open source their products (though mostly minor ones, as you rightly pointed out) when there is no legal obligation on them to do so.

The reason for that is perfectly clear, too: it strengthens the image of Google as both "geeky" and "open" tech company, which are both important parts of Google's public image.

It's not just public image. There's also the fact that Google is a company full of geeks, many of whom are open source fans in their own right.

I was primarily responsible for Google releasing Protocol Buffers [googlecode.com] . I did it not for the sake of improving my employer's public image, but because I thought it was a useful tool that should be shared, and those around me agreed. Because of the bottom-up nature of decision making at Google -- and given that I was willing to do the work -- I had no trouble pushing this through.

So yeah, it's pretty upsetting to me to see people say things like "Google does only care about OSS when it suits them and drops out instantly when it doesn't.". This kind of statement completely misunderstands how Google even works. This just isn't the kind of company where orders comes down from executives on high with the only motive being profit -- anyone who thinks otherwise obviously doesn't work here.

Honestly, I think the main reason we haven't released more stuff is because it's kind of a lot of work (as I have learned). Dumping code over a wall does not please the open source community -- you have to maintain it; document it; test it on a zillion platforms; answer e-mail from people who think they are not just entitled to your code, but are doing *you* a favor by using it; review patches from college kids who don't really know what they're doing; etc.

(Oblig. disclaimer: These are my own personal opinions; I am not authorized to speak for my employer.)

Re:Google (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015542)

Please spend two minutes looking at Google.org.

Re:Google (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015266)

So sponsoring the "Summer of Code" doesn't count as contributing? Seeing as how they have paid for development time on hundreds (if not thousands) of good projects? What have you done for Open Source lately?

Yes, their behavior with regard to the code going into their products does not really embrace the open source model, but given the constraints they are under to protect their core business IP, can you blame them?

It seems like the best thing that can happen is for Google to maintain the Android changes on their own. It sacrifices the portability of drivers written for the android flavor, but are you really planning on hacking the mainstream kernel to run on your smartphone? As long as the software stays public, lets avoid reinventing the wheel and let Google do what they need to do to make a competitive product.

Re:Google (4, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015370)

They don't support OSS when it doesn't suit them?

They pay the salaries of guys like Andrew Morton and then cut him free to work on Linux as he sees fit, basically just answering to Linus.

They pay for projects like the Summer of Code, paying for the development of projects they don't use internally.

They released patches for projects like Wine well before they were using Wine in any releases of their projects.

You claim they only release code when they have to. They were never required to create an OS. Are you aware the Chromium browser code is BSD released, right? It wasn't like they just wanted to build upon some GPL project and then were required to stick with GPL. They build a whole new browser, and opened it up BSD so anyone can use the code however they want. How is that closed?

Look what they're doing with Wave. They developed an entire protocol from the ground up. The protocol and all the server code is open. They could have tried to patent the protocol and charge for licensing. They're just releasing the whole thing and telling people to do whatever they want with it completely for free.

What about protocols like SPDY they wrote from scratch and released for free? What about their various hardware designs for power supplies they've released for free? These are things that give them a competetive edge. If anything, most people would argue it hurts them to give them away for free, but still they do it. They rarely get credit for how many things they open up. And yet the very communities Google helps finance and take care of turn around and slam Google. Do you realize who your allies are in the FOSS world?

You claim they're just as closed as Microsoft?

Pure lies and trolling. Seriously, shut the hell up.

Re:Google (4, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015394)

Oh come on, was it really a surprise to anyone that Google does only care about OSS when it suits them and drops out instantly when it doesn't. All of their own sites, business and back-end technology is just as closed as Microsoft's.

Point 1) how is not pushing to mainline code "dropping out" of open source development exactly?

Point 2) The Common Android Kernel tree [kernel.org] is browsable, and looks to be fairly easy for anyone to take advantage of. The complaint here seems to be that Google isn't putting in enough work to merge their Linux kernel changes into the mainline, not that they have failed to release anything in a usable way. I find it somewhat disingenuous to slap down an open source contributor for failing to do our work for us.

Point 3) Microsoft's services are just as open?! Great, where is Microsoft's instructions on how I can export all of my data from all of their services in open formats? Google provides that [dataliberation.org] so I'm certain you're aware of where Microsoft publishes such information as well... Oh and while you're at it, how many open source projects do Microsoft projects contribute to? Python, Linux, and dozens of other existing projects get updates from Google and they've released more open source software of their own making than anyone else.

So, what company have you been watching that confused you so badly that you thought Google wasn't the single largest benefactor open source has?

Re:Google (1)

twistah (194990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015484)

Did you forget about the Google Summer of Code and multiple other projects where they basically fund the development of OSS tools?

Re:Google (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31015500)

they release little snippets of code and open source those products they base on OSS code because they have to by GPL.

Oh, that's right - that's why Go was released under the BSD license, right? Because they were forced to by the GPL?

Go climb back into Ballmer's asshole, you're a fucking retard.

One sentence to say it all... (5, Insightful)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014370)

"Because of this, Google has now prevented a large chunk of hardware drivers and platform code from ever getting merged into the main kernel tree. Effectively creating a kernel branch that a number of different vendors are now relying on."

That's all. It's obvious that Google doesn't care about it that much. And yet nobody demanded them to do so -- if Google wants it its own way, why shouldn't it be able to?
I may be a crazy open-source lunatic, but I am tired of all of this "It's a world conspiracy against Linux"-thing. Let's get a grip, talk less and code more.

Re:One sentence to say it all... (2, Insightful)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014424)

I don't think he is seeing this as a conspiracy against linux. He is just saying that some work may have to be done twice (because merging is not feasible) which is really bad for everybody. no one wants to maintain 2 code base.

Re:One sentence to say it all... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31014460)

So then maybe they shouldn't have kicked the android code out of mainline in the first place?

Re:One sentence to say it all... (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014542)

So then maybe they shouldn't have kicked the android code out of mainline in the first place?

If it created code dependencies that nobody buy Google could compile against, it's got no business in the mainline -- it effectively breaks the kernel for everyone else.

This isn't a matter of getting voted off the island because they don't like your features -- it's about making something which was incompatible and people deciding that it had to go.

Google has just TIVO-ized the kernel (2, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014638)

You can use Android, but you're now dependent on Google for maintenance, bug-fixes, and trusting that they don't include any evil bits.

Re:Google has just TIVO-ized the kernel (2, Informative)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015146)

Hardly. Nobody's forcing you to run their binaries on your phone. You can still compile the kernel and other applications from code, forked or not.

Re:Google has just TIVO-ized the kernel (0)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015268)

Please RTFA, Only against google's forked codebase. You can't use a generic kernel in your phone.

Re:Google has just TIVO-ized the kernel (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015354)

I wasn't talking about a generic kernel. You can still compile from Google's copy of the source just fine, it's no less visible.

Re:One sentence to say it all... (3, Informative)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014576)

So then maybe they shouldn't have kicked the android code out of mainline in the first place?

it never made it out of staging into mainline... it wouldn't build as there were items Google never released that it was dependent upon.

Re:One sentence to say it all... (5, Informative)

minsk (805035) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014852)

it wouldn't build as there were items Google never released that it was dependent upon.

Are you sure that statement is true? It seems inconsistent with other information posted here, and in the LWN discussion.

Re:One sentence to say it all... (3, Interesting)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014480)

Well, I didn't say he meant that either. I'm talking about the great fuzz around these issues. Everywhere I go there's someone trying to give his/her side of the "conspiracy against Linux", whereas I think that there is no such thing. So what if it can't be merged back? If it can't, it can't -- get something better and don't stay up all night banging the ceiling and complaining (if you get what I mean).
I would like to see people looking at what Google did and say: "Oh well, it's their choice and I can't do anything about it. However, I can help the Linux kernel with something better and more useful than that will ever be."

Unfortunately, few people think like me...am I just nuts?

Re:One sentence to say it all... (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014510)

Nothing is stopping people from porting android to use a standard Linux kernel.

Honestly It's a two way street, and I doubt that google looked at the Linux guys and told them to go fornicate with themselves.

Google does releases on their own schedule. Being someone that is deep into Android guts on the x86 level for a project of my own (android based car stereo) I am frustrated at them not releasing the latest version, but I can either sit and while like a baby, or take what I got and build on it.

Re:One sentence to say it all... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014800)

Or you could just use a regular linux kernel for your project, would save you a ton of hassle.

Re:One sentence to say it all... (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014822)

And what for the interface? Android is at least 9000 years ahead of anything else for a limited attention easy to use touchscreen interface. Plus I get a pile of apps ready to go including navigation.

Re:One sentence to say it all... (1)

grishnav (522003) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014996)

You could look into Maemo...

Re:One sentence to say it all... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014998)

I would have suggested using a voice interface, touch screen in a car seems like asking for an accident.

not quite... (4, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014596)

This isn't about some anti-Linux conspiracy, it's about conflicting business interests.

Google has made modifications to make their software work. Those modifications can not be integrated as is with the kernel. Cleaning up their open source code can be done, but their internal closed code would likely also need modifications to account for that cleanup. So for Google, merging their code would likely be expensive and require extensive testing and a large download and upgrade system for all of the live phones.

On the other hand, companies that are developing drivers and software that depend on the new kernel are now hosed because the kernel is no longer exposed as part of the Linux kernel. So they have to deal directly with Google for any changes to their kernel, and if they also want to release their products for other Linux platforms, they have to re-engineer much of the os-interaction functionality. Obviously a pricey situation for them.

If Google updates their code to get it into the kernel, it makes it cheaper and easier for other developers to work it, but it costs them money. If they don't then it costs the developers more money.

-Rick

Re:not quite... (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015082)

Nice summary.

I'd like to add: Developers, developers, developers, developers. Google should spend that money. Consider it an investment in your platform -- it makes it that much more attractive to other developers.

Re:One sentence to say it all... (1)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014748)

Huh? I think the point he was driving at was that these companies will now have to support their own drivers, with no chance of letting the community take over. If they could merge their drivers into the main linux kernel, then other developers can take on the task of migrating it to new linux versions, improving it, and creating security fixes. Since they can't do this, they (or Google) will now be responsible for maintaining the driver, always.

Anonymous Coward (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31014438)

Come dicono in Toscana, quanto puppano gli UnitedStatesOfNorthAmerica.

C'era da aspettarselo.
Buona notte America.

Re:Anonymous Coward (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31014488)

Y'a quelqu'un qui comprends ce que Anonymous Coward a écrit? Moi je n'y comprends rien.

Re:Anonymous Coward (2, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014646)

Y'a quelqu'un qui comprends ce que Anonymous Coward a écrit? Moi je n'y comprends rien.

Courtesy of the google translator ...

As they say in Tuscany, as the gay guy UnitedStatesOfNorthAmerica.

There was to be expected.
Good night America.

Still no idea what it meant. :-P

Re:Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31015392)

do you know blowjob? so, the tuscan verb "puppare" is litterally "to make a blowjob"; in my way, is in a methaphoric sense.

Re:Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31015432)

Y'a quelqu'un qui comprends ce que Anonymous Coward a écrit? Moi je n'y comprends rien.

Courtesy of the google translator ...

As they say in Tuscany, as the gay guy UnitedStatesOfNorthAmerica.

There was to be expected.
Good night America.

Still no idea what it meant. :-P

I know this is a time waster, but my knowledge of spanish somewhat helps with both languages. The italian one probably means "Like we say in Tuscani, 'There's a lot of gay guys in the United States... just as expected.'" to mean that the poster finds nothing unpredictable with the kernel change.

The french reply i'm guessing more "Wasn't I the only one who [always] understands what Anonymous Coward writes? But I [notice they are both anons] didn't understand this at all."

up merge justification has to be Android-agnostic (4, Interesting)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014544)

You don't merge new features into a robust low-level code base.

You merge support for abstractions the new features rely upon into the low-level code base, and build on them.

Make a case for kernel support of the "new lock" and "security model" independent of Android's reliance on it, and remove as many of the Android drivers using these facilities OUT of the main tree. IMHO, drivers really don't belong there, but should be available in "driver package sets" aggregated by distro providers.

Re:up merge justification has to be Android-agnost (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014922)

Make a case for kernel support of the "new lock" and "security model" independent of Android's reliance on it, and remove as many of the Android drivers using these facilities OUT of the main tree.

That's exactly right, we can't just be having code merged into the kernel mainline because a 'big business' depends on it. The answer to the question on it's presence there should be determined on the merit of the code itself, not the weight of the company proposing it.

Lots of comments on LWN.net's coverage (5, Informative)

chrisd (1457) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014662)

If you head over to LWN, we've already gone back and forth on this a bit. http://lwn.net/Articles/372419/ [lwn.net] . The short form is that if they don't like how we use the kernel, we're unlikely to be accepted upstream. It's all still released as source code to the world, but the mainline is not interested in most of what we've with to the kernel.

Re:Lots of comments on LWN.net's coverage (0, Flamebait)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31014892)

Surprise, Surprise, reinventing the wheel is not gonna earn you a lot of friends. And no making the wheel less round is not helpful either.

Re:Lots of comments on LWN.net's coverage (2, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015046)

Even if the floor is less round [wikipedia.org] ? (Not saying this is the case here. Just pointing out, that ideals can change. Einstein said it best: “Leaving research exclusively in the hands of engineers, we would have perfectly functioning oil lamps, but no electricity.”)

Re:Lots of comments on LWN.net's coverage (1)

VON-MAN (621853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015002)

Ok. But as far as I know, all new code has to be made fit for the kernel before merging, and not the other way around. So I wonder: can somebody else -outside of Google- cleanup and merge your stuff?

Re:Lots of comments on LWN.net's coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31015036)

I think there was a call for this and no one wanted to do it. Why would they? Google should be doing it.

If I had an open source project and someone showed up with a big blob of code that they then expected me to fix to merge into my code I would ignore it too. I have my own itches to scratch.

Re:Lots of comments on LWN.net's coverage (1)

VON-MAN (621853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015230)

That is not what I asked.

Re:Lots of comments on LWN.net's coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31015472)

That is not what I asked.
can somebody else -outside of Google- cleanup and merge your stuff?,

Uh that is exactly what you asked? Can someone else do it? The call was put out, it was even put into staging for this very thing. NO ONE not even Google stepped up to the plate.

The rules of staging is it can get yanked out of if no one is going to bother fixing it. It is not where code goes to die.

The answer is clear no one wanted to do it. That answer may be different today. But yesterday it wasnt. Judging from the reactions here and all over the place everyone is looking to Google to fix their own mess...

Re:Lots of comments on LWN.net's coverage (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31015034)

That's completely disingenuous. Everyone agrees that the problems Android needs to solve should be solved. The kernel community simply disagrees with *how* Google solved the problems. Long ago Google could have asked "we need to optimize power usage by doing agressive suspend" and then worked with the kernel community to get a solution that everyone was happy with.

But instead, Google went off into a corner, created their own solution behind closed doors that nobody in the kernel community likes and now it can't go upstream.

It's not about "how we use the kernel", it's about how you coded things in isolation then expect everyone to be ecstatic with the result despite the fact that the gatekeepers never had any input into the design.

Re:Lots of comments on LWN.net's coverage (4, Insightful)

Flavio (12072) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015184)

But instead, Google went off into a corner, created their own solution behind closed doors that nobody in the kernel community likes and now it can't go upstream.

No one in their right mind is going to start a lengthy debate with kernel developers when they have a deadline to meet and a product to ship.

In the industry, getting things done on time is priority #1. Google's implementation may not have been ideal, but it was delivered.

Re:Lots of comments on LWN.net's coverage (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015524)

isn't that what they should be allowed to do if open source is striving for the freedom to use the code as you wish?

Whoa there Cowboy (0, Troll)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015116)

Your representation of the facts is suspect on a number of fronts.

The short form is that if they don't like how we use the kernel, we're unlikely to be accepted upstream.
You casually forget to mention your introduction of a completely new lock method. This is a case of Google throwing code over the wall. That's not going to fly. When some suggestions are made regarding the method, they are ignored.

Then, there are proprietary dependencies that can't be released that breaks the build process. No effort is made on Google's part to make this play nice with a kernel build. More code throwing.

Then there are implications to other ARM builds that Google won't touch.

It's all still released as source code to the world
Which creates problems for practically every ARM platform developer BUT Google.

Outside of the Google Reality Distortion Field, the code just doesn't work. At all.

Re:Lots of comments on LWN.net's coverage (2, Insightful)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015294)

Which is perfectly fine, but it shows the autism in the google culture when it comes to working with people from outside. There're many companies working on Linux (doing more serious hacking than Android does), and they have learnt to interact with the Linux community when they want to add a feature. They ask maintainers what design they should follow to implement some feature. They listen, they write code, they get reviews, they make changes, they repost the patches. In other words, they interact with the community, they are a part of the community. SGI, for example, has done a tremendous amount of work in the past years to get the kernel in shape for their beasts with thousands of CPUs, they have touched a lot of complex core code, yet they did all contributing with the community, targetting the main kernel in first place.

Google, in the other hand, is not a "part" of the community. It hacks the kernel for months without any contact outside of Google, some day it announces a future product using the code and only after that, it drops a shitload of code to the community which does very weird things that many Linux hackers don't like. Then it does nothing to improve the design (because there's already production code depending on it), and it makes zero efforts to fix it or get it merged. Then it claims that everything is fine, because the code is GPL which means you can reuse it. In other words: Google doesn't care about what the rest of the community thinks before modifying the code, and it doesn't care when it releases either.

Given that Android is supposed to be not just a Google project but a community, and Google is a opensource oriented company, one would expect that Google would have done it better. Sadly, Android has become one of the best examples of how not to work in a opensource community,

Android phones.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31014836)

So does this mean I should or should not have hacked my android phone?
The rain shrunk my brain up too much to think.

Technical aspects (5, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015040)

"OMG fork!" and other political issues aside, I think it's interesting to look at the technical side of the problem. What is the exact nature of Google's changes to the kernel, why did they feel they need them, and are they actually a good idea or not? Can someone with kernel hacking experience enlighten us?

I'm particularly curious after reading the comments on LWN [lwn.net] , and specifically this [lwn.net] :

Kernel developers (including other embedded developers who have achieved good power savings modes) don't believe that the Android way of doing things is good.

and this [lwn.net] :

The code could be mainlined if Google were willing to consider that their wakelock approach was suboptimal and adapt to a more reasonable one. ...

The wakelock patches were first posted to the linux-pm list on the 13th of January 2009, which is just over a year ago. http://lwn.net/Articles/318611/ [lwn.net] gives a good overview of how they were received - there's basically no buy in, even from other developers in the embedded Linux field. ...

the major sticking point (ie, wakelocks) were posted for public review a year ago and most of the substantive issues people had with them weren't addressed at all in the four months of intermittent discussion that followed. If the entire world suggests that you do something in some other way and you refuse to, that doesn't constitute a genuine effort to work with them. Nokia have managed to obtain the same level of power management without such invasive changes, so any assertion that wakelocks are required for Android to achieve its goals seem pretty baseless.

So apparently the issue at the heart of this is a questionable design decision by Google.

Re:Technical aspects (1, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015238)

I love how they blast Google for not being willing to meet halfway, but they're doing exactly the same thing.

Not that there's actually anything wrong with -either- side, but if you're going to redress someone for something, you should make sure you're not guilty of it yourself first.

Re:Technical aspects (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015526)

Yeah cause it's not like the kernel devs have ever turned down ideas that later they would implement themselves after years of denial that there's even a problem with their original design. *cough* Complete Fair Scheduler *cough*

An oldie but a goodie: (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015092)

"Embrace & extend"!

Re:An oldie but a goodie: (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015352)

Since when is forking considered "embracing"?

Android is open source so does it really matter? (2, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31015322)

I suspect this isn't clear cut and there is more than a little "Google is too big we must hate them now" attitude. The fact is Android is open source and anyone can take their code do what they want with it just as Google can take any other open source code and do what they want with it.

That's the point of open source code. Claiming something is open and all about freedom and then trying force everyone into doing what you think should be done is neither really free or open.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...