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Android Honeycomb Will Not Be Open Sourced

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the hard-to-see-the-harm-really dept.

Android 295

At the ongoing Google I/O conference in San Francisco, Google today officially announced the next version of Android, named Ice Cream Sandwich, as well as Android 3.1, an "incremental platform release" of Honeycomb. An anonymous reader writes "In an effort to understand the landscape for developers, Andy Rubin was asked if, since Ice Cream Sandwich would be open, Android 3.0 and/or 3.1 will be granted the same courtesy. Rubin answered definitively in the negative. Honeycomb on its own would not be open, because its phone functionality is very broken. Ice Cream Sandwich will take all of the Honeycomb functionality and open source it alongside code that is much more universally friendly."

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editors already asleep? (-1, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit403 (1978294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090018)

i'd like to know if, since this site is stagnated, timothy will ever accept defeat and quit

Re:editors already asleep? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090046)

hide behind your chosen pseudonym some more feeb
you're completely pathetic

Re:editors already asleep? (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090252)

Replying to yourself as AC? Bizarre.

chicken cow beer ass bean (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090024)

chicken cow beer ass bean lolipop and ice cream

Re:chicken cow beer ass bean (0)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090276)

If Benjamin were an ice cream flavor, he'd be pralines and dick.

Honeycomb is... (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090030)

Honeycomb is big, ya ya ya
It's not small, no no no
Honeycomb has a big big bite
Big big taste in a big big bite.

Re:Honeycomb is... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090124)

derp

Re:Honeycomb is... (0)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090414)

Wow. do they even make that cereal anymore?

Re:Honeycomb is... (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090618)

No.

Mostly because of this. Where mah bees at? [youtube.com]

Re:Honeycomb is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090836)

Sorry but to this day I still eat Honeycombs regularly. Theyyyy'reeeee Great! Oh wait.

User perception (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090050)

I remember a while ago when Google announced Honeycomb would not be open sourced for the time being. A lot of people on Slashdot were unsurprisingly up in arms and, equally unsurprisingly, for all the wrong reasons. From a FOSS standpoint it's a terrible move on their part, but what many didn't understand was the reasoning:

Android has an extremely vast community of amateurs that create custom builds of AOSP. These are people with little to no coding experience, distributing specialized "ROMs" to an even greater amount of curious users who are barely a shade above the average user. So what would happen if Honeycomb were opened? There'd be a very quick uptake by those users and, given the Tablet oriented state of Honeycomb, a really really bad user experience. As pretty as Honeycomb is, that would have reflected badly on Google -- worse than what many jumping the gun on /. thought when Google initially delayed the source release.

With that in mind, I'm glad that they are deferring the code until Ice Cream Sandwich where it seems they will "do it right."

Re:User perception (5, Interesting)

markkezner (1209776) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090126)

I don't think the guys who make custom ROMs are significant enough to really be of concern for Android's image, ill conceived as some of those ROMs may be. I think the bigger concern would be careless manufacturers [slashdot.org] selling bad devices to Joe User. Anyway the people who flash custom ROMs onto their devices generally know they might break some things.

Re:User perception (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090366)

Uh huh, I'd say the REAL goal is a slow but sure march towards TiVoization [linfo.org] which I said would happen for...oh about a year now. Once Google said they wouldn't allow any GPL V3 (which RMS wrote to specifically keeping companies from TiVoing GPL software) I figured it was only a matter of time.

You watch these early moves are 'feelers" to see how big of a stink it causes in places other than Linux forums. When Google sees the fanbois are all onboard and making with the excuses and Joe Consumer frankly doesn't care they trot out a nice "its for security!" statement (probably timed right after some Android malware hits the news) and it'll be code signing or eFuses all the way.

As much as I don't agree with RMS on ...well hell pretty much everything, he was right on this. Once TiVo showed the corps how to run right around GPL V2 it became for all intents and purposes useless. Anybody using GPL V2 now might as well be using BSD or PD for all the "freedom" it protects now. After all what good is the code if you aren't allowed to modify it or run it on the device for which its intended?

I just hope moves like this teach the community two important lessons: 1.-There is no such thing as a "friendly" corp. They can come up with little slogans like do no evil, they can make shiny devices, it frankly doesn't matter what they do, because if it comes down to making more money and/or gaining more power or not fucking you? Well bend over pal, because here it comes. 2.- GPL V2 needs to be dumped ASAP and replaced with GPL V3, because as it is using GPL V2 is simply giving corps your labor for free while they don't have to give you ANYTHING in return. eFuses and code signing cost almost nothing and gives the corp all the control of proprietary while at the same time gaining all the effort that has been put into embedded Linux by the community.

Re:User perception (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090386)

Whilst tivoisation is a problem and is already happening I see another motive here - only approved partners get to release a properly functional tablet, for an entire year.

By not releasing this to the general public, Google has tight control over releases and android tablet, and that way can exercise a form of quality control they otherwise couldn't. This could be a (misguided, IMHO) attempt to compete with the iPad on consistency of user experience.

Re:User perception (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090610)

By not releasing this to the general public, Google has tight control over releases and android tablet, and that way can exercise a form of money grubbing they otherwise couldn't.

FTFY. I'm typically a Google fanboy, but this move seems to be specifically so that "only approved partners" (that fork over the dough) can have honeycomb. Google certainly deserves to make money off of Honeycomb, but closing off the source is not the best plan.

Re:User perception (3, Insightful)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090918)

Except that it just means the 'unapproved' tablet makers will continue using 2.2 and 2.3 as the basis for their tablets, which is a worse tablet experience than honeycomb - I tried out an archos 101, and despite loving my rooted gingerbread galaxy S to death, froyo really doesn't scale well to a 10" touchscreen.

If they want android to get a reputation as a shitty ipad knock-off in the tablet arena, they're doing a fairly good job of it by stopping honeycomb seeing wider release. I personally think gingerbread is significantly better than iOS on a smartphone, but I have to admit that iOS is whupping our arse in usability when it comes to the iPad.

Re:User perception (2)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090978)

I have to admit that iOS is whupping our arse in usability when it comes to the iPad.

Exactly, and Google has no one to blame but themselves when it comes to poor Android tablet sales.

2011 would have been the year of the Android Tablet. Then manufacturers delayed until easter, OK. Now it's fall 2011 for most models except for those blessed by Google.

For now we can only choose between the overpriced Galaxy Tab and Xoom (on par with the iPad in price) or the Android 2.x el-cheapo tablets, where there probably is a huge opportunity for tablets between those two extremes.

Oh well, 2011 isn't over yet.

Re:User perception (2)

Talisein (65839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090422)

... Once TiVo showed the corps how to run right around GPL V2 it became for all intents and purposes useless.

Unless your intent and purpose is that you just want to be able to see and use what people do to your source code and not dictate how people build their hardware.

Ultimately these companies rise and fall by the geeks that work for them; if Google does shed its skin and shows some evil nature of closed development or something.... then things will be inconvenient for a few years, they'll bleed the developers who understand the importance of openness (which seems to be a pretty large proportion of Android's devs), and eventually they'll be as irrelevant as Microsoft.

Re:User perception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090714)

Name a company that failed because they pissed off the FOSS community.

Re:User perception (1)

memoreks (1172021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090938)

SCO

Re:User perception (3, Informative)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090944)

Name a company that failed because they pissed off the FOSS community.

SCO

Digital Convergence Corporation

DivX, Inc

The XFree86 Project, Inc

Of course, you could argue that these were silly companies whose time had come. I'd respond that the FOSS community brought that time upon them. You'd respond with some stupid car analogy, conceding defeat in a manner obvious to everyone but yourself. Argument complete.

Re:User perception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090804)

What good would GPLv3 on Android do? It's irrelevant as long as the kernel isn't v3. Furthermore with the Linux syscall licensing exception (or belief in one anyway) the GPLv3 kernel wouldn't prevent closed user space drivers.

In short you're wishing for something that's impossible without writing a whole new operating system and software license.

How is this any different from Linux FOSS? (1)

jmcbain (1233044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090614)

Linux has an extremely vast community of amateurs that create custom distros of Linux. These are people with little to no coding experience, distributing specialized "distros" to an even greater amount of curious users who are barely a shade above the average user. So what would happen if Linux were opened? There'd be a very quick uptake by those users and, given the desktop oriented state of Linux, a really really bad user experience. As pretty as Linux is, that would have reflected badly on FOSS -- worse than what many jumping the gun on /. thought when Google initially delayed the source release.

Highlights of the day for me (3, Interesting)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090058)

Highlight of the day for me was the ability for an android app to connect to my home appliances termed Android@Home [pcmag.com] Anything from a light bulb to the sprinkler system outside. Of course the manufacturers of specific household items will have to work closely with android to deliver on the hardware side but as was demonstrated on live stream today, it can and has been done already. Kudos to those companies that are getting on board.

Also to note, a lot of the tools like the movie rentals from the marketplace will be backward compatible in the coming months as well as the developer tools like fragments all the way back to Android 1.6. And unless i missed anything, everything will be open source.

Re:Highlights of the day for me (0)

tyrione (134248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090410)

Highlight of the day for me was the ability for an android app to connect to my home appliances termed Android@Home [pcmag.com] Anything from a light bulb to the sprinkler system outside. Of course the manufacturers of specific household items will have to work closely with android to deliver on the hardware side but as was demonstrated on live stream today, it can and has been done already. Kudos to those companies that are getting on board. Also to note, a lot of the tools like the movie rentals from the marketplace will be backward compatible in the coming months as well as the developer tools like fragments all the way back to Android 1.6. And unless i missed anything, everything will be open source.

Bravo! Now you can join Windows and iOS in this market.

Re:Highlights of the day for me (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090666)

OK. I think I will. Thanks for the suggestion.

Re:Highlights of the day for me (1)

ogdenk (712300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36091050)

You can join my old Newton MessagePad 100 plugged into a serial X10 transmitter controlled via NS BASIC. Get off my lawn...

Oh that's right.... those born before '86 probably don't even realize that the iPad isn't the first non-Windows low-power "tablet" to ever hit the market....

Hell, my first smartphone was a WinCE Palm-sized PC (Originally a rebranded Everex Freestyle made by Trogon or something, then a Philips Nino) tethered to my phone with the sync cable connected to a null modem block connected to the serial data cable I bought for the phone which was an old Kyocera 2035. Tucked the cables in my pocket. People thought it was neat. For a lot of us who were alive in the 80's and have been in IT since the 90's or at least near it, none of this shit is remotely new.....

And back to the main point, any computer with a serial port can turn lights on and off. Any handheld can wirelessly send a signal (Cell, IrDA, Bluetooth, 802.11) to a machine connected to an X-10 controller or various other power control systems. It's retarded simple really. Just never been marketed heavily before that I remember. I did it with shell scripts to watch for commands and the old x10 daemon that shipped with freebsd way back when.

haaaaaang on ... (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090060)

Can they not remove the telephony stuff ?
They are worried that people will put together 2.3 source with honeycomb and make a phone out of it ...

Geeez guys, just let it out ... trust in the crowd

Re:haaaaaang on ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090208)

No I dont think you quite understand *how* bad the phone software stack is. Scoop your eyes out wonder how who wrote this shit got a job bad. The people who could fix it *DO NOT CARE TO FIX IT*. Best practices phsawh dont worry about that we are shipping 200k units! How many hours to compile the phone stack?

The companies that make the phone stacks are hardware companies. Software is just something that 'is easy' and dont worry about it. You just grab a couple of engineers (they are all the same right) and have them bang out some drivers.

Android and iOS is the closest thing to good many of these phone companies have seen in a long time. They quickly cranked up the crap-o-meter and shoveled what ever garbage to differentiate themselves onto it.

Android has made a huge difference in the phone market (more than people realize). The HW guys are not quite sure what to do as new companies are popping up that do what they did 3 years ago and running circles around them. The main guys didnt have to produce good code as no one really cared. People are starting to really care. They want a good interface and the thing to work correctly all the time. They now have to step up. But they have 20 years of bad history of 'this is the way its done' to overcome. I honestly dont think they are up to the task. Google realizes this.

Now given that rant. Google probably has another issue to deal with. The code they wrote might be junk. As an organization they have to grow up. They are finding that hard to do. I predict in the next 5 years all the 'fun' stuff at google goes away and it becomes a 'job' for many who work there. Where they 'talk about how it used to be' in hushed tones. New employees look on with envy but get to work.

Re:haaaaaang on ... (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090760)

As an organization they have to grow up. They are finding that hard to do. I predict in the next 5 years all the 'fun' stuff at google goes away and it becomes a 'job' for many who work there. Where they 'talk about how it used to be' in hushed tones. New employees look on with envy but get to work.

Translation: Google is turning into Microsoft.

Re:haaaaaang on ... (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090574)

3.0 was made for tablets like the XOOM only. The phone stack is nonexistant because of this very fact. It also give them an excuse to keep me from loading the GOOD non-beta version of 3.0 on my Nook Color. 2.3.3 is still pretty nice though :-)

Gump (4, Funny)

jvillain (546827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090070)

Google open source is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.

Re:Gump (0)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090086)

at least it taste good !

Re:Gump (2)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090616)

This honeycomb-flavored one is rock-solid! I can only lick the outside...can't get to the gooey honey goodness inside...

Re:Gump (2)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090834)

You are absolutely begging for an onslaught of suggestive replies. Please allow me to be the first: keep licking the rock-solid outside and the honey goodness will come out eventually.

Re:Gump (1)

terminal.dk (102718) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090780)

It must be the Monty Python chocolate then.
The one from: Whizzo Chocolate Company

See transscript if you have no clue
http://www.ibras.dk/montypython/episode06.htm [ibras.dk]

Re:Gump (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36091008)

Tip: It's a lot cooler to just drop the reference, then let someone else explain it.

Embarrassment rather than dislike of open source (5, Insightful)

William Ager (1157031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090096)

These comments seem very much to indicate that the source code issue, as I think most people expected, is less of a "we don't want people using this code for their purposes" and more of a "we think this code is horrible and don't want anyone laughing at it." That really suggests that, rather than be upset about the lack of open sources, people should be concerned as to why Google felt it reasonable to release software they're reluctant to release sources to because they're embarrassed.

Open source also opens organizations to criticism when they try to push out code that isn’t ready, and I think this is very much a problem for Google with Honeycomb.

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (4, Interesting)

slacker775 (611528) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090132)

That's exactly how I'm reading it too. So it's ok to run this pile of garbage code, but not good enough to look at and quite possibly improve. Does that make it official that Google just doesn't 'get it' when it comes to open source?

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090316)

It makes Google your standard large-scale code factory, producing sub-standard crap and sticking a "proprietary code" stamp on it.

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (4, Interesting)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090136)

Google fell prey to a manufacturer. If I read and understood correctly, the current state of honeycomb was put together to get the XOOM tablet out by its launch date.

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (4, Informative)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090140)

They say as much:

During the Android Fireside Chat this afternoon, Google’s Dan Morill explained a bit more about the situation. As the bits and pieces that make up Android 3.1 get added into the next version, and the brand new bits that will come together and make this unifying UI get implemented, it will be appropriate to release Android Source. So, quite definitively, Android for tablets will not be open sourced until it’s been fixed to Google’s standards. There’s little information as to whether or not these, in combination with the new fragmentation initiative, will ensure that current Android 3.0 devices will be brought into the open source times or not. More and more it’s beginning to feel like the Android 3.0 concept was little more than a knee-jerk reaction to have something, even if it’s not a great something, to stay within reach of the competition, with Ice Cream Sandwich being the resolving fix to the mistake.

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090142)

there's also the possibility of it still not making its way out of the testing gauntlet - they'll have tested it on tablets, and it'll no doubt run on phones, but if a user has a nightmare of a time getting it to work for their phone, Google suffers and more importantly the users suffer.

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090148)

That really suggests that, rather than be upset about the lack of open sources, people should be concerned as to why Google felt it reasonable to release software they're reluctant to release sources to because they're embarrassed.

Like many others in the tablet arena Google rushed something to market in order to stake out some early market share. Seems like we keep hearing similar stories. At least Honeycomb won't make it onto this [slashdot.org] .

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (3, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090222)

At least Honeycomb won't make it onto this [slashdot.org] .

Shut up before Viewsonic interprets your post as a challenge!

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090232)

if Google is embarrassed with the code why not open source it so that the community might modify it and make it better ? The strength on an open source system lies in the ability of participants to contribute to the work done. Maybe even Cyanogen might make good modifications to the stock Android 3.0 source to improve on it

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090554)

That really suggests that, rather than be upset about the lack of open sources, people should be concerned as to why Google felt it reasonable to release software they're reluctant to release sources to because they're embarrassed.

Would embarrassing source lead to embarrassing object code: either hard to maintain, buggy, or with security holes?

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (2)

Palmsie (1550787) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090248)

Well, remember, Google is bleeding top developers to places like Facebook and other startups since it has grown substantially and most likely doesn't have the startup mentality anymore. Releasing poor code provides as much of a job preview as a resume does for an employer. It doesn't make them look good, especially when Microsoft and Google are going through their largest hiring push ever this year.

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090346)

And what, Facebook isn't a pile of steaming shit under the hood? Come on, everything is in perpetual beta these days. Hell, Google practically pioneered the never-quite-completed software model. Everyone is writing crap code in the consumer and even in the corporate markets, and in actuality they always have, being able to hide the pure horror of what their code monkeys have produced behind the edifice of IP rights, well, that at and optimized compilers and assemblers, so that all the shit is squashed together so tight that it's sheer awfulness is hidden in machine code.

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090292)

Open source also opens organizations to criticism when they try to push out code that isnâ(TM)t ready, and I think this is very much a problem for Google with Honeycomb.

I suspect the code is functional but poorly architected. As they say, "first you write the code, then you understand it, then you re-write it." If there's a major rewrite underway, it's at least good to tell developers to expect that any of their changes would rapidly bitrot, and not to spend too much time trying to augment this version.

At least that's the impression I get from folks who are really happy with their Nook Colors on Gingerbread - if it were buggy they'd likely be complaining.

Still, they Google to release the code so that we can verify that the binaries are not compromised through recompilation. That's the only way to validate a platform as base-level secure these days.

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (1)

jdwoods (89242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090364)

Still, they Google to release the code so that we can verify that the binaries are not compromised through recompilation. That's the only way to validate a platform as base-level secure these days.

Read "Reflections on Trusting Trust"--Ken Thompson (found at http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/ken/trust.html [bell-labs.com] ) to learn how recompiling code does NOT validate security. Then read the earlier Air Force article in the link at the end of Thompson's article. Then consider how BIOS and other firmware, and even CPU microcode patches might contain malicious vulnerabilities. You want certain security? Then don't even think about it, much less record it anywhere. ;)

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090294)

I thought it was a huge, lame excuse when I first heard it, but since then I've been disassembling portions of Honeycomb to see what I can find. Of course you can't tell everything from disassembled binaries, but you can tell the basic organization and function names etc. I give it as my (not so) humble opinion that the Honeycomb codebase may very well be quite scattered and an inexcusable mess.

So now I still think it's a huge lame excuse, but perhaps one with some truth. Android devs in general don't know how to organize their code (though they are good at keeping it bug free).

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090396)

This may very well be true, but the fact that it is crappy code made for a specific merely indicates why the google model is not open. One can argue a key ingredient in the OS model, what makes is superior to closed source, is there is potentially objective eyeballs on the proces. Opening the software when it is done is little better than closed source code. It is one reason why people freaked when Oracle got a hold of OO.org and created libreoffice.

Then of course this proves that Google is not creating software that is meant to be used by the community. It is creating software for a specific prorpietary hardware manufacture, and then, if other manufacturers behave, will release the code to them. Like Apple, only the kernal/stack is OSS while all the stuff that makes the phone cool to use requires Google blessing. One can't use competing product like would be possible with true OSS software. One can't rework the product to meet end users needs. The phone exists to serve the interests of Google and the mobile provider, just like any average proprietary phone. Sure the Android can be broken in to just like any other phone, but why should this be necessary for an allegedly open phone. And sure Apps can be downloaded from any site, but if google were fully open to open source why would they not want to hast any software that wasn't malicious?

At the end of the day if Android were in fact open source and in fact freely available, none of the Google equivocating would be necessary..

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090442)

These comments seem very much to indicate that the source code issue, as I think most people expected, is less of a "we don't want people using this code for their purposes" and more of a "we think this code is horrible and don't want anyone laughing at it."

So it's the Malda excuse?

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090516)

It seems Google is worried Honeycomb being used in phones even though it is created to be used in tablets. Which is not saying closing the source is the right thing to do, though. Would it be too hard to rip out the phone related stuff from Honeycomb and then re-integrate it later when it's finished?

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090930)

These comments seem very much to indicate that the source code issue, as I think most people expected, is less of a "we don't want people using this code for their purposes" and more of a "we think this code is horrible and don't want anyone laughing at it." That really suggests that, rather than be upset about the lack of open sources, people should be concerned as to why Google felt it reasonable to release software they're reluctant to release sources to because they're embarrassed.

Open source also opens organizations to criticism when they try to push out code that isn’t ready, and I think this is very much a problem for Google with Honeycomb.

The reason they chose to release it is because it is targeted at tablets which don't have phone functionality. It's the phone-related portions which are garbage, and as they've already stated we all know the second they release the code the ROM community will try to put out a build for smartphones, and then everybody will bitch about how shitty it is.

Re:Embarrassment rather than dislike of open sourc (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36091032)

I understand them and appreciate it. If you put some code out which has something fundamental unsettled (e.g. a phone functionality for something which may be used for mobile phones), then you are not only encouraging fragmentation but enforcing it. Because the manufacturers will enter a race to have "the first android 3.0 phones" (while i personally find 2.2/2.3 quite ok for phones), and then the developers will probably even have different APIs for different manufacturers.

Open source does not mean that you publish everything you are doing all the time, but open source means that you publish the steps which make sense as open source. As long as they dont claim that, everybody can decide if he/she likes to buy a closed source product or not.

Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090146)

So basically, no up to date source code for almost an entire year. Yay!

Is that legal? (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090154)

I'm not well-versed in Android, nor a lawyer, but I do know that if you release anything that uses modified GPL code, you have to release the code under the GPL as well. And I find it hard to believe that Android didn't modify any of the GNU/Linux/whatever code they used. Anyone more knowledgeable in the subject care to comment?

Re:Is that legal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090188)

You have to release the source to people you distribute binaries to. End-user people would have to the device manufacturers (i.e. the people distributing binaries to end-users and thus proximally liable for the source distribution). The manufacturers are unlikely to sue google in turn, because google probably gave them the source.

Re:Is that legal? (0)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090196)

What GNU piece of software does Android use?

Re:Is that legal? (4, Informative)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090210)

Hm, oh I don't know.. the linux kernel?

Re:Is that legal? (0)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090218)

GPL'd, not GNU. Sorry.

Re:Is that legal? (2)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090300)

You mean the GNU Public License?
Just because RMS didn't write a LISP program to write the actual C code himself using emacs on a mainframe at MIT during the 80s doesn't mean it's not GNU.

Re:Is that legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090620)

Learn to ask more relevant questions. One acceptable question would have been: "I don't know that Linux is distributed under the GPLv2 license. Does that make me unqualified to take part in this discussion?" The answer is "yes" BTW.

Re:Is that legal? (1)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090250)

From what I understood, OP is wrong in his summary. Honeycomb source will be opened up in the future, when it is actually ready for commercial use. They don't want people taking a half baked version of Android and dumping it on some shoddy device.

Additionally, it may help in solving the fragmentation issue where different devices may have a slightly different version.

As for whether or not it is legal, if they have not released the software yet, it is perfectly fine (I don't keep a track of Android releases). But, there have been instances in the past where GNU is okay with companies delaying the release.

Re:Is that legal? (4, Informative)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090258)

Ughh.. My last sentence was badly framed. What I meant to say is, they can withhold the source code, as long as the haven't released Android for distribution.

Re:Is that legal? (4, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090254)

They did modify parts that are under the GPL, and they release those parts. The individual manufacturers release the parts the modify, as well (see for example, this page [motorola.com] ).

Unfortunately, the parts under the GPL are a small set of the code; mainly the kernel and some surrounding pieces.

Re:Is that legal? (4, Insightful)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090632)

Yes, the rest is under the Apache Licence 2.0 [wikipedia.org] which apparently allows proprietary modification. Thus we see (yet again) that RMS was right, even though he sounds like an old cook.

Re:Is that legal? (3, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090888)

it's not as much about rms being right as it's about rubin being a liar.

and I suppose this is bad news if you were waiting for 3.0 android-x86. the built in emulator of the sdk is horrible. just horrible.

all mobile open source seems to end up with the same shit.

they're trying to come up with a magical 'fix fundamental issues' sprint before 3.1.

Re:Is that legal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090284)

I'm not well-versed in Android, nor a lawyer, but I do know that if you release anything that uses modified GPL code, you have to release the code under the GPL as well. And I find it hard to believe that Android didn't modify any of the GNU/Linux/whatever code they used. Anyone more knowledgeable in the subject care to comment?

If they modified something like the Linux kernel then they need to release the modified kernel but not all of Honeycomb is swallowed up into the GPL.

Re:Is that legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090540)

Google will make it legal...[Hissss evilly]

Bait and switch off (1, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090168)

Like Apple and MS building a user base, open with was young generations bait.
Now that an average developer is using their systems, this could be a test, just how closed can Google go?
As for quality, this is the efforts of a for profit effort with strong branding and open code connections.
Why the functionality gap? Its their code, they are funded... Did the ipad2 cpu/gpu jump their roadmap? Has Windows suddenly got better in some area?

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090260)

This is not a surprise to anyone, just look at the log during boot up. /etc/gps Location service etc,,
I knew this would never be opened the day it came out

Crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090302)

Now I want an Ice Cream Sandwich.

In related news... (2, Insightful)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090308)

$CompanyOtherThanGoogle has announced they will not release their source, based heavily on GPL code, until they, and only they decide its "ready".

Replace the Google with Redhat, and Android with "Enterprise Linux 6.1" and see how many people start getting upset, threaten to boycott, etc..
why is it okay when Google does it?

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090322)

Because we all know that Google is evil.

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090360)

why is it okay when Google does it?

Because it's covered under the Apache license, not the GPL.

Re:In related news... (1)

TheCeltic (102319) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090656)

It's not.

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090922)

Because the Android Source isn't 'based heavily on GPL code'. That's why. The Apache License allows that.

TFA is wrong (4, Informative)

Talisein (65839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090314)

Before he said any of that, he said you have to understand the nature of git: When they release Ice Cream Sandwich, the Honeycomb source will be in the patch history. What they may not bother to do is to tag the specific commit of Honeycomb.

But once Ice Cream Sandwich is released, I have no idea who the fuck would care about Honeycomb; the only reason would be for a device that had proprietary drivers that never updates to Ice Cream Sandwich, but that could be solved pretty easily by just pinning the kernel release to Honeycomb and taking the rest of ice cream.

All this hand-wringing over Honeycomb is fucking annoying at this point. Get over it.

Re:TFA is wrong (1)

marnues (906739) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090496)

Sometimes I wish Slash-comments could be more like Yahoo Answers. Let's all vote for the parent and move on to other discussions. Too much nonsense comes out of bad articles like this one.

Re:TFA is wrong (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090500)

Today its "patch history", then "proprietary hardware secrets" "proprietary software secrets" "proprietary ad secrets" "proprietary telco setting" and wait for the Canadian "national security" line too.
Soon you might get enough to write your software. At that point Apple and MS start looking helpful.

Re:TFA is wrong (2)

wrook (134116) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090566)

All this hand-wringing over Honeycomb is fucking annoying at this point. Get over it.

Gladly. As you note, when the source comes out, everything will be (mostly) hunky dory. But I don't
have the source code yet. Without source code I can't study or modify the system.

I have to wonder, in your opinion, what is the point of having source code in the first place?
Why on earth would I be happy that it will come at some point in the future, but not
care in the least that it isn't here now? If I need the source code to do my work, then
I am waiting. I can't get my work done because I am waiting. Until when? Who knows?
If I don't need the source code, why would I care if it was open sourced in the first
place?

Open source is useful *because you have the source code*. I can't quite comprehend
the confusion as to why someone would be unhappy to have an "open source" system
where you aren't allowed to see the source code until the planets are aligned...

Re:TFA is wrong (1)

Talisein (65839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090640)

Having the source code to modify it IS great and IS the reason to have it.

But if the Honeycomb source is as fucked up as they say it is, and as fucked up as the comments in this post have said it is, then your modifications would certainly break almost beyond repair in their massive refactoring for the next version.

If your work depends on the source to Honeycomb and you don't have it because you're a small fry, well, that sucks, sure. OTOH if they hadn't done it this way then there wouldn't be a Honeycomb, there wouldn't be an Android tablet yet, and you would still be sitting on your ass left waiting for a release.

Honeycomb is less of a release than it is a closed beta, that's all. Hell, at least this way we at least know what some of the APIs are before the real release, right?

Re:TFA is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090690)

Gladly. As you note, when the source comes out, everything will be (mostly) hunky dory. But I don't have the source code yet.

Except that you don't even want the Honeycomb source code both because it's shit and because you don't have a Honeycomb device (because Honeycomb devices are also shit). So who the fuck cares? People who complain about Honeycomb remind me of the OtherOS whiners -- naysayers who never used Linux on their [imaginary] PS3.

Re:TFA is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090582)

It is very easy to squash all the commits to make the history generally worthless. You might see the entire diff, but real value is seeing the individual changes. Either way, google already does a lot of developing and munging before the code hits the Git repositories.

Re:TFA is wrong (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090906)

you have to take that with a grain of salt. there's no guarantees of how they will release it and if it's with patch history or not.

I mean, this is a guy who tweeted definition of open and then couple of short months later decided it was ok to protect few manufacturers by sitting on the source(and to hide that they released shit).

Honeycomb- not a big loss. (1)

rogerdugans (902614) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090436)

I run gingerbread on a hacked Nook Color and it runs great, albeit with some phone crap that is useless since it isn't a phone.
I tried the hacked up version of Honeycomb Preview (not quite the real deal) and saw nothing that was all that compelling; I did have a lot of force closes and crashes though.

Gingerbread is SOLID on the tablet.

Reading this does lead me to think the problems with the hacked release of Honeycomb Preview are not due to the community so much as the screwed up original code. Which is why the source isn't to be released.

While I could wish many things- like having the CyanogenMod team be hired by Google!- I think this decision may actually be the right thing to do. Google says the code is flawed still so they don't want to release it.

I am sure that those more knowledgeable about the legal ramifications will deal with the situation and I hope that whatever accommodations should be made to satisfy the licensing (if any) WILL be made.
I don't expect Google to not be "evil"- they are a big company, so some amount of that is to be expected.
I do hope that they never forget what helped get them into their position and FOSS code was a pretty big part of that.
Do the ad-based stuff you need to, evil though it may be, but honor the code licenses, Google.

Andy Rubin's definition of open.... (4, Insightful)

Karlt1 (231423) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090444)

http://twitter.com/#!/arubin/status/27808662429 [twitter.com]

the definition of open: "mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make"

So has his definition changed or have we always been at war with Eastasia?

MOD PARENT UP!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090550)

Google and Android fans are constantly posting in forums all over the interwebs that Android is better because 1) it's not Apple and 2) Android is "open". Now all they can say is, Android is not Apple.

Suck it, Google.

Re:MOD PARENT UP!!! (0)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090706)

No. Just no. What they can say is that "Google refuses to release embarrassing code to a world of incompetents who could potentially ruin Android's reputation by shoehorning Honeycomb into devices it was never meant to be shoehorned into". Sometimes openness just needs to take a backseat in order to protect reputation.

Re:MOD PARENT UP!!! (2)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090994)

Sometimes openness just needs to take a backseat in order to protect reputation.

This is complete bullshit. If reputation is more important to Google than openness, they shouldn't call themselves an advocate of openness, and neither should their supporters. It's not supposed to matter what other people choose to do with the code. That was supposed to be the "freedom" aspect of open source.

If Google cured cancer . . . (0)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090512)

Timothy would post something titled "Google fails to cure AIDS".

They're keeping it in the Honeycomb Hideout (1)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090562)

/80sChildhoodNostalgia

Sooo... closed source fixes "broken" code? HOW? (1)

TheCeltic (102319) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090652)

Bummer.. over the years, with all the contributions that Google has given to OSS (and received from it). What happened here? This is silly, they KNOW the benefits of keeping code open. How can anyone argue "we won't open the code because it's "broken"?" If I could name all the great open source projects that had "broken" code when they started and now are incredible I would.. let's just name a few: The Linux Kernel, Apache (a "patchy" web server.. name says it all), snort, and on and on an on.... What better way to foster development and maturity of code than to open it to the community?

fork the droid! (1)

anwyn (266338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090794)

Somebody needs to fork the droid that is replace the proprietary parts of android with Free Software creating the GnuPhone and the GnuPad! What would you rather have a droid that can only run those apps in a app store that Google thinks is good for you(or it), or something that can run anything in Debian's repository! It may be hard at first but the fork will succeed for the same reasons GNU Linux has. Google's developers may be smart, but they can not compete with the whole world!

Down with app stores. Up with app repositories!

Google can not attack with copyrights, because the proprietary parts would be rewritten. Copyright only protects the particular expression of ideas not ideas themselves.

Google cannot attack with patents because Google is a member of OIN, (Open Inventions Network). If Google were to attempt to leave OIN, it would expose itself to attack from the proprietary world!

Re:fork the droid! (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36090900)

can only run those apps in a app store that Google thinks is good for you(or it)

The word sideloading comes to mind. Also, you'd have to rewrite every app in the Debian rep: different abstractions, system calls, screen size and resolution problems, and a metric fuckton of dependencies come to mind why it wouldn't simply be "rewrite system, add Debian repositories, yay"

Apart from that, what would you achieve with a completely open-source phone, apart from stroking your ego and self-righteousness? Open-source phones already exist, but you don't see people touting them, do you? Do you know why? Because proprietary companies can simply crush you. Not through patents or copyright, but by simple virtue of being the size of Earth compared to you as an ant: you simply can't compete with that size difference and the clout it brings.

Re:fork the droid! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090950)

It won't succeed. A usage share below 2% isn't 'succeeding', and that's in a market where the OS could potentially be installed on every device.
Also the bit about Android only running "those apps that Google thinks is good for you" - I still can't decide if that's just ignorance or a deliberate lie to make that stupid idea of 'hey, let's run desktop software on a 4 inch touchscreen' even remotely attractive.

unbelievable (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36090876)

It's like they're trying to destroy their own products

I think choosing android 3 to be for tablets instead of forking it and
Name it something else is a beginners mistake

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