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RMS: 'Is Android Really Free Software?'

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the android-is-no-braveheart dept.

Android 433

An anonymous reader points out an article by Richard Stallman in The Guardian which questions whether Android should be described as 'free' or 'open.' Quoting: "Google has complied with the requirements of the GNU General Public License for Linux, but the Apache license on the rest of Android does not require source release. Google has said it will never publish the source code of Android 3.0 (aside from Linux), even though executables have been released to the public. Android 3.1 source code is also being withheld. Thus, Android 3, apart from Linux, is non-free software, pure and simple. ... Android is a major step towards an ethical, user-controlled, free-software portable phone, but there is a long way to go. Hackers are working on Replicant, but it's a big job to support a new phone model, and there remains the problem of the firmware. Even though the Android phones of today are considerably less bad than Apple or Windows smartphones, they cannot be said to respect your freedom."

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Marketing (2, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 2 years ago | (#37445952)

Marketing: The art of making something seem better than it really is. And sadly, most people fall for it, which is why they keep using that approach.

Re:Marketing (2, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446098)

Android is "free enough" for me. The API is open for programmers to use, and you can install what software you want. Most people don't care whether it's open source or not - just look at all the most popular OSes and devices out there. I'd prefer that they were still releasing the source, but as long as it works well and they don't try to force an Apple style walled garden, I don't mind.

Re:Marketing (1, Flamebait)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446178)

You're right. Most people aren't ideologues and don't care whether something is open source or not, which is why the walled garden you dislike is so hugely successful compared to Android's approach, which seems to have only served as a platform for malware.

Re:Marketing (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446264)

Erm. Have you seen Android's market share lately?

Re:Marketing (5, Informative)

Karlt1 (231423) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446556)

Erm. Have you seen Android's market share lately?

But that hasn't equated with success in their respective app stores. The Apple app market made over 17X the revenue of the Android app store last year.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/21/861-5-percent-growth-android-puny/ [techcrunch.com]

Re:Marketing (4, Insightful)

Zerth (26112) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446730)

Considering that many of the apps in the Google android store are ad-supported or just free instead of paid, I'd say store sales are a lousy way to measure success of the platform.

Re:Marketing (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446782)

Considering that many of the apps in the Google android store are ad-supported or just free instead of paid, I'd say store sales are a lousy way to measure success of the platform.

The Apple app store is no different. It has a great majority of ad supported and free apps. The ratio between the two is likely more or less the same.

Re:Marketing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446856)

Starting this year, more Android apps will be downloaded than iOS apps. And we're only talking about the Android Market here, not about alternate repositories like aptoid, appslib etc. Let's not even mention the good old way of installing apps called sideloading these days.

To me, this sounds like success. Revenue will certainly follow at some point.

http://www.appolicious.com/tech/articles/9375-analysts-expect-8-billion-app-downloads-for-apple-this-year-but-more-for-android [appolicious.com]

Re:Marketing (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446758)

Have you seen the fact that apple makes 2/3rds of all profits taken from.global smartphone sales? They couldn't care less about android's market share when the android phone makers are fighting for meager scraps.

Re:Marketing (0, Redundant)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446578)

Windows is "free enough" for me. The API is open for programmers to use, and you can install what software you want. Most people don't care whether it's open source or not - just look at all the most popular OSes and devices out there. I'd prefer that they were still releasing the source, but as long as it works well and they don't try to force an Apple style walled garden, I don't mind.

Re:Marketing (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446722)

With the move to Metro, I suspect they'll start creeping towards that walled garden they've always wanted.

Re:Marketing (0)

ibib (464750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446138)

Absolutely. And the writer of the piece (Richard Stallman) published by the Guardian seems to be marketing for free software. I mean, his statement that: "Even though the Android phones of today are considerably less bad than Apple or Windows smartphones, they cannot be said to respect your freedom." is in any way you look at it: bollocks.

WHY are they less bad? For whom?

Yes Apple smartphones are SuperLockedIn and not many people has much good to say of the new Windows phones. But come on, that blanket statement gets FOSS systems nowhere...

Android respects freedom 0 for apps (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446300)

WHY are they less bad? For whom?

Because Android respects at least freedom 0 [gnu.org] with respect to user applications: "The freedom to run the program, for any purpose."

What does this mean? Phones running Android are less bad than phones running iOS or Windows Phone 7 for people who use applications distributed as free software because Android has the "Unknown sources" checkbox.* This lets the user obtain free applications from anywhere and hire anybody to improve them without having to seek the OS maker's permission to run them.

*Yes, even AT&T lately; citation available.

Re:Android respects freedom 0 for apps (4, Insightful)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446902)

Of course, that same freedom does not apply to REMOVING applications. unless I root my phone, there are several applications pre-installed that I cannot remove, and nag me every few weeks to buy.. CityID, i'm looking at you, as well as my cell phone companies "Navigator" product, which is much less useful than Google Maps, which is also installed on the darn phone...

Re:Marketing (4, Funny)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446374)

And the writer of the piece (Richard Stallman) published by the Guardian seems to be marketing for free software..

Richard Stallman, founder and president of the Free Software Foundation, marketing free software?

Have you notified the authorities yet?

Re:Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446600)

For whom?

What about actually reading the first paragraph of the article? I know this is slashdot but, come on... your question is answered in the second sentence of TFA. Surely it is faster to read those two sentences than to write a post bashing the article.

To what extent does Android respect the freedom of its users? For a computer user that values freedom, that is the most important question to ask about any software system.

Re:Marketing (5, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446228)

More specifically, I call it "openwashing."

Named after "greenwashing," the act of selling something as eco-friendly when it actually isn't, openwashing is the act of selling something as open when it actually isn't. Like those "open" phones that you can't get the source code for and run locked bootloaders so you can't even jai- uh, "root" the phone.

I'm not against open phones, I want open phones. That's why I don't want anyone to accept an openwashed substitute.

Re:Marketing (2, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446274)

Thank you for finally giving us this word. Now we finally have a succinct and compact term for Microsoft's OOXML crap.

Re:Marketing (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446360)

For the record I don't claim to have invented it, a lot of people naturally came up with it around the same time.

Re:Marketing (2)

TheJediGeek (903350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446970)

For the record I don't claim to have invented it, a lot of people naturally came up with it around the same time.

That never stopped the USPTO

Re:Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446364)

Hi. I represent Kenmore, and I'd like to tell you about the new OpenWash(tm) system, featured in all of our top-of-the-line 2012 dishwasher models...

Re:Marketing (5, Insightful)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446774)

Openwashing, good term.

It is a sad day, Android is no longer open.

RMS might seem idealistic and harsh, he isn't very diplomatic, but he is right. We know that the NSA has no back doors in a GNU/Linux platform because we have the source for everything. Do you know that about Windows?

If Google doesn't release the source for Android 3.0, then you have to take what is in there on faith. Has it occurred to anyone to question why they are becoming secretive all of a sudden? Maybe because "do no evil" does not apply?

I have a nexus one, it's open, hardware and software, (I suspect that there are proprietary things in there, but it's as open as it gets FTW) I won't be moving to another phone any time soon.

RMS's version of free doesn't mean no cost, it refers to your freedom to do as you please with your software/hardware. You won't be able to do that with an Android 3+ device. FAIL.

Re:Marketing (1, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446882)

Marketing: The art of making something seem better than it really is. And sadly, most people fall for it, which is why they keep using that approach.

... which is what RMS has been doing all along, and continues to do. Marketing.

The fact is that his own software fails to meet the ideals laid down on the front page of the fsf website [fsf.org] :

1. "free from restriction"? The GPL license is full of restrictions, on copying, on redistribution, etc. That's not "free as in free speech".

2. "free to share and copy"? ... but only within the restrictions of the GPL. That's not free as in "free speech" either.

3. "free to learn and adapt?" While you're free to learn, you are NOT free to adapt, except within the restrictions of the GPL. Once again, that's not free as in "free speech" either.

4. "free to work with others"? Have you seen the restrictions on linking in the GPL? Or the list of licenses that it's not compatible with? That's not free as in "free speech" either.

Stallman is a hypocrite to be taking pokes at Google, while claiming his own license is "free as in free speech". Most licenses, by their nature, impose restrictions. Nothing wrong with that - but don't claim that yours doesn't when it does, and then be a bigger hypocrite by claiming others aren't "free".

Maybe it's another side effect of eating too much foot cheese [youtube.com] , just like the FSF pushing anti-google / anti-linux FUD last month in a lame effort to get some attention for that ugly stepchild, the GPLv3, as reported on slashdot [slashdot.org] .

I'd suggest Stallman first clean up his own act, except that his apparent disdain for the frequent use of soap and water makes that unlikely.

3.x is errata. (3, Insightful)

Asten (674521) | more than 2 years ago | (#37445998)

Isn't a developer free to license something however they want, within the constraints of the licenses of whatever is being used? If Google suddenly said they weren't ever publishing source again, I'd be pretty peeved, but they had reasonable, non-evil reasons for not releasing 3.x, and have committed to releasing Ice Cream Sandwich. I'd like to see 3.x released, but as long as it's a non-regular occurrence, it doesn't bother me any - but i'm not quite as idealistic as RDS - if that were possible.

Re:3.x is errata. (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446296)

You do not need "evil reasons" to keep your source closed. The fact that Google is not willing to release the source of the most current version of Android and only promise to do so with the next version shows only a lack of commitment to the open source aspect of Android. That may or may not be important, (hell loads of people are just fine with Windows and iPhone, not all of them are stupid).

However if I invested some real time developing Android (note: != developing for Android), that would make me think twice. For example, a small startup could be trying to create some original handset using Android to cut on the dev. Their investors could see Google attitude as a risk of being pwned.

Here we go (0)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446014)

Idealism crashing against practical application.

At this point, I'm just happy that we are moving in the right direction.

Re:Here we go (0)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446152)

At this point, I'm just happy that we are moving in the right direction.

Android is by definition a move in the other direction.

Re:Here we go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446204)

[[citation needed]]

Unless you're trying to convince us that "not instantly and totally there in one step" is "the other direction", in which case, you're a loony.

Re:Here we go (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446272)

I wouldn't say Android is a move away from openness but if it's a move towards greater openness at all, it's a very tiny one.

In practice an Android phone with a locked bootloader (and running a closed-source Android version) is as closed as an iPhone. How is that a significant step towards greater openness? Because the kernel is a distant relative of the Linux kernel? Big deal, some Windows versions used a BSD network stack and nobody was cheering.

Re:Here we go (1)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446266)

Which phone operating system were you writing and using your own applications for before Android?

Re:Here we go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446328)

Palm?

Re:Here we go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446516)

... and symbian, and windows phone, and whatever that motorola phone os was that ran jars...

Re:Here we go (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446422)

PalmOS, Windows Mobile (amusingly)

The hope, of course, is that we GAIN in functionality and capability, instead of progressing along with closed down platforms and having that lockdown creep up the stack.

Re:Here we go (1)

bored (40072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446468)

Definitely PalmOS. Still use the thing (treo 650), as I have 100% control over it. Plus, the parts are nearly free, and the battery life is measured in days... Finally, its built like a tank. I actually tried to break on at one point, and was only successful at breaking the screen and dislodging the battery connector. 20 minutes later I had it working again.

The dev kits are also free software.

Re:Here we go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446502)

How quickly we forget that *tons* of phones had JVMs before Android was event a gleam in Rubin's eye. I was writing MIDlets in 2002 for my J2ME enabled Motorola i85s. I owned several Java enabled phones after that one, mind you, that doesn't change the fact that they all had terrible screens.

Re:Here we go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446324)

That was certainly vague.

I'm not an idealist. I certainly don't forsee the RMS dreamworld where everything is completely open, and don't view non-free software as the anti-christ.

I don't expect google to open up _everything_, nor do I expect any company. It is nice to see companies open up the components where it doesn't rob them of a competative advantage. To me having some components of the system open is a step ahead from the usual practice of having none of the components open.

Of course not (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446040)

Of course it's not. Not only is it not free in the RMS sense of the world, withholding source [arstechnica.com] is not the openness Google always claimed it was promoting. Android exists solely to get people onto Google services for purposes of web advertising. The only reason it got so much support from techies is because it runs on Linux, and Google's PR department convinced them that it represented the usual unrealistic OSS fantasies about free ecosystems. Most users don't even care about such things. Apple is still the #1 smartphone vendor, and iOS the #1 mobile operating system counting iPads, iPhones, and iPods.

Remember, Google's main business is a closed, proprietary product--the search engine. Web traffic is regulated by a closed product run by an advertising megacorp. They are not some benevolent cheerleader of openness. They won't even implement Do Not Track [wired.com] in Chrome because it would interfere with their ad business.

Re:Of course not (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446182)

I think the reason that Google isn't releasing Android 3 source is that they don't want it installed on every crappy phone and tablet coming out of China, and giving it a bad name. Android is already known by some for being a bad product, because so many people have a bad impression, because they bought an inferior device. Not releasing the source at all was all they could do to stop it from being put on sub-standard devices. I guess the other option is to just release the source code, but not allow "Android " trademarks to be used on non-approved devices. You'd end up with something like Redhat and CentOS, where you could get the free version, but you wouldn't be able to ruin the Android name, as it has been now. That way people wouldn't confuse official Android with the releases put out by companies who aren't official partners.

Re:Of course not (2, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446322)

I think the reason that Google isn't releasing Android 3 source is that they don't want it installed on every crappy phone and tablet coming out of China, and giving it a bad name.

This sounds a lot like the argument Apple fanboys use for not allowing other OSes on iShinies.

Re:Of course not (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446606)

This is exactly what I was about to say. TM, which, surprisingly*, the poster mentioned takes care of the branding problem.
Surprisingly because he/she still thinks that's Google's motivation.

Re:Of course not (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446430)

That or they can do what AbiWord and VirtualBox used to do: the Free versions were called "AbiWord Personal" and "VirtualBox OSE". The Free version of Android would thus be called "Android AOSP" (Android Open Source Project) and the approved version "Android OHA" (Open Handset Alliance). I've already been using these names to distinguish devices with Android Market from devices without, especially when talking about the lack of an Android-powered close substitute to the iPod touch [pineight.com] .

Re:Of course not (1)

GlennC (96879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446890)

I'm afraid that won't stop the problem Google is trying to address, which is cheap crap running "Android."

Users won't care about "Free" or "Approved" versions...if they even read far enough to notice. They'll see that the cheap crappy device they're looking at runs "Android" poorly, and therefore think "Android must be crap, so I'll get an iPhone/iPad instead."

Remember Rule #1: People are generally stupid.

Re:Of course not (0)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446428)

You're wrong about IOS being the most common OS, Android has it beat worldwide. If a single manufacturer made android phones they would beat apple, however since its spread across Motorola, HTC, Samsung, LG, Huawei, etc etc etc they can't claim the cup on that one.

Re:Of course not (2)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446646)

Incorrect – if you consider the iPhone only, Android just has more market share. When you include iPods and iPads, iOS's market share is still about 2.5 times that of Android.

Re:Of course not (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446914)

Hm, sadly the only source I can find atm is the statistics release by Millenial's ad network. Would have sworn there were articles about this earlier, but for the life of me I can't find them now. Oh well, i concede it for now :)

Re:Of course not (1, Interesting)

Reapman (740286) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446580)

Just curious what exactly Google did to you, and why you perceive Google to be more evil then say Apple? Your always posting dozens of comments on any Google/Android article and if it wasn't for your low UID I'd write you off as another troll account. Judging by the time you invest in this on Slashdot I think you have a very personal or financial stake in this and just curious which it is.

Do you hate Google because they're not as open as you'd like (yet still more open then Apple), or do you hate Google because they are not Apple? Or are you just one REALLY old troll - in which case I tip my hat to you.

Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446044)

You'd think he'd like to interject in his conversation for a moment.

Re:Linux? (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446832)

Am I the only one who noticed he didn't call it GNU/Linux? Is he finally conceding on that point?

Re:Linux? (1)

heypete (60671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446920)

Doubtful. Does Android have GNU stuff in it, or is it just a modified Linux kernel?

Yawn. (0, Redundant)

ZPWeeks (990417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446050)

Idealist pissed that not everyone subscribes completely to each tenet of his philosophy. News at 11.

Re:Yawn. (5, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446120)

Each tenet of his philosophy?! How can something be open or free at all if the source code isn't even available? That's the fundamental basis of the whole idea.

Re:Yawn. (0, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446984)

Because not all of us subscribe to the same utterly silly and completely incorrect definitions you and RMS like to use for the words 'free' and 'open'.

The fundamental basis of the whole idea as you put it, is fucking flawed by any normal persons definition. When you're solution to a problem (in this case lack of 'free' and 'open' software) is to do the exact opposite (attach a viral, rather restrictive license like GPL with severe limits built in), and preventing it from being exactly what you're claiming it should be ... well it kind of makes you look stupid.

Before you bother to argue with me, remember, I've already said we've clearly got different definitions for free and open, everything after that is irrelevant.

RMS? Who cares? (-1, Troll)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446068)

Why, exactly, should we care what RMS thinks? The world, aside from the ranks of the rabid Stallmanites, only cares whether it's open, not whether it meets Stallman's ethical standards.

Re:RMS? Who cares? (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446104)

Because Google has been promoting its supposed openness for years now, so it's kind of a big deal when one of the founders of the movement calls them out.

Re:RMS? Who cares? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446286)

Really? It's a big deal when RMS criticizes something for its supposed lack of moral purity? Please. RMS is a one-man outrage brigade who has long, LONG since outlived his usefulness. If you can find an article talking about Stallman doing something OTHER than being outraged that someone in the software field actually lives in the real world, THAT would be a Big Deal.

Re:RMS? Who cares? (2, Insightful)

c (8461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446518)

> so it's kind of a big deal when one of the founders of the
> movement calls them out.

Not really.

RMS has called out damn near everyone with anything to do with free/open source software. I think it's almost at the point now where most projects/organizations should take it as a badge of honour when they've gotten large and important enough that RMS considers it a problem if they aren't 100% compliant with his concept of freedom.

Re:RMS? Who cares? (1)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446958)

Many of us find RMS's concept of freedom useful.

In particular, it is news to me that the source of Android 3.0+ is not available. I have been considering learning Android development. It is useful to know what the situation is.

Re:RMS? Who cares? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446172)

You need hardcore idealists to make progress, but yeah, it's generally best not to take everything they say too seriously.

Take `em out of their respective cages once in a while, let them scream about something for a bit, then put `em away till next year.

Re:RMS? Who cares? (3, Insightful)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446248)

Small correction for you - The world doesn't even care that it's open.

Re:RMS? Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446252)

Thanks for asking...

If you are happy with Windows (without networking*) as your only** OS choice besides a few proprietary Unixs, then OK.

BSD license was a direct result of RMS lobbying the Berkeley folks to adopt a GPL type license. He failed to get them to go all the way to the GPL, but at least got them on the track of a free license.

It would be hard to argue that the free licenses that followed (like Apache) were not influenced by what came before them too.

Nearly every large site in the world is based on Linux, which is free software using the license RMS developed. Nearly all of these sites have contributed back to the projects that they are built on, proving the validity of the model RMS envisioned.

RMS has had, and still has, probably, the greatest influence on the state of modern computing of anyone today.

* In case you didn't realize it, M$ Windows used the TCP stack from BSD.

** Apple OSX stack is almost entirely based on free software.

Re:RMS? Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446318)

Is "M$" some kind of retarded as fuck way to type "MS" that idiots use to look cool and trendy, or are you such a failure at life that you accidentally hit the 4 key rather than S like a non-fuckerlord would?

Re:RMS? Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446718)

Why does a potty-mouth servant of Redmond want to use the abbreviation for Multiple Sclerosis and apply it to the biggest copy cat company like that? We could use their ticker name MSFT though...

Re:RMS? Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446270)

Ah... Stallman. The unwashed, poo-flinging, rabid hermit that nobody listens to because they're so out of touch with society. It's one thing to acknowledge their contribution to society in the past, but to hold them up in modern times as a luminary only goes to show that your viewpoint is also out of touch.

Re:RMS? Who cares? (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446402)

The world, aside from the ranks of the rabid Stallmanites, only cares whether it's open, not whether it meets Stallman's ethical standards.

That's only true if you define "world" to be people who want it open.

If you want to define the "world" as every potential user of Android, the vast majority DON'T CARE if it's open. They care that it works, that's all.

People who rigidly cling to the notion that any software which hasn't been provided in a ideologically pure enough way is a Great Evil ... well, those people are as rabid and narrow minded as any other fanatic.

It's sad you got a Troll mod for pointing out that not everyone cares what RMS has to say. Because, an awful lot of us tuned him out years ago. Sure, he's a smart guy who has been an advocate for free software ... but his completely inflexible view that all software must live up to his notion, well, I just can't agree with him.

To me, he's that crazy guy on the corner with a "The End is Nigh" sign. Most of the times when I hear what he has to say, I disagree with him and then tune him out.

Re:RMS? Who cares? (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446588)

Problem is most people don't think enough about things, and by the time they start caring too late.

Like people who think you're a nut for not liking region locks on media, right until the point where they move to another country, and find that their collection doesn't work on local players, and they can't play movies they buy from their home country.

It's sad you got a Troll mod for pointing out that not everyone cares what RMS has to say. Because, an awful lot of us tuned him out years ago. Sure, he's a smart guy who has been an advocate for free software ... but his completely inflexible view that all software must live up to his notion, well, I just can't agree with him.

Disagreement is fine, calling people "rabid Stallmanites" is insulting and gets a troll mod from me automatically. If you seriously want to make that point you can make it a bit more politely.

Re:RMS? Who cares? (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446744)

Disagreement is fine, calling people "rabid Stallmanites" is insulting and gets a troll mod from me automatically. If you seriously want to make that point you can make it a bit more politely.

It's sometimes difficult to not think like then when you're confronted with someone who has a rigid, ideological position, whose starting point in all discussions is that they're right and you're wrong, and there is no room for any give.

RMS and some people who agree with him are sufficiently fixed in their ideology that it's hard not to end up saying "rabid Stallmanites".

You might as well try to convince someone their religion is wrong as try to convince RMS that not all software needs to be open. He and others are pretty inflexible on this position.

Re:RMS? Who cares? (1)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446434)

He is one of the founders of the Open source movement. Just because he called on your beloved company google for their pissing on Open source and its philosophy doesn't mean some of the techies do not care. May be as others have noted, main stream people may not care. Being in the tech world I guess if you belive in OSS you ought to care.

Re:RMS? Who cares? (4, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446582)

Without Stallmanites sticking to their convictions, there would be little or no Open or Free software, THAT'S FUCKING WHY.

Open Sores Software (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446084)

is NOT FREE!

A Belated Happy Mexican Independence Day [boingboing.net] !

Yours In Tijuana,
Kilgore Trout, C.I.O.

Don't forget Apple (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446108)

They also release some iOS 4 source parts [apple.com] . Is Android really more open/free?

Re:Don't forget Apple (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446424)

Wow, is iOS4 more open than Android 3? Hahaha this is pretty fucked up!

Better for android as a whole (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446112)

The whole reason for android being closed source now is that there were five different versions of android that are/were incompatible with each other. This way google can rein in the errant OEM modifications that led to these incompatibilities.

Re:Better for android as a whole (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446214)

Then Google can't keep pretending it's an "open platform."

Re:Better for android as a whole (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446610)

People don't understand what "open platform" means. Microsoft Windows is an open platform. iOS isn't.

Re:Better for android as a whole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446690)

you're kidding right? really, tell me you're kidding. of course they can. it's the business world, not tech. google can pretend that it's chocolate cake and lollipops. the day that google will stop pretending that all of it's products are what techies really want so that the lay person will think its "the stuff" is the day I will use capitals to start my sentences.

actually not really a bad marketing plan, if i were to start a business myself....

Re:Better for android as a whole (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446526)

Huh? Since Motoblur, Sense, and Touchwiz are all just shells on top of the base Android OS and can all run the same applications (with small exceptions) I'm not sure what you are getting at? The biggest fragmentation comes from the fact that Google handed over the responsibility of updating the OS to the vendors and the telcos who would rather sell you another phone and/or have you renew your contract than make your existing device work better and so there are 4 major versions in common use with significantly different sets of features.

Re:Better for android as a whole (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446626)

and can all run the same applications (with small exceptions)

My emphasis.

I imagine Google foresaw a future those small exceptions became large exceptions. Android is already rapidly showing signs of fragmenting into a disparate platform full of products that sort-of work, all of which have minor annoyances (but you can fix them with cyanogen! Provided you don't mind voiding the warranty on that phone you're stuck with for 18 months, working or otherwise!); I could easily see it becoming an absolute nightmare.

Re:Better for android as a whole (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446658)

Not quite, the biggest fragmentation comes from Google not forcing handset makers to allow the handsets to be unlocked by the end user without having special keys.

Re:Better for android as a whole (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446584)

So basically it's even less free? Isn't the whole point of free software that it can be forked and modified without needing someone else's blessing to do so? It's ever amusing to hear fandroids come up with all sorts of ridiculous excuses your why this is a good thing that google is doing despite it going completely contrary to the claims of "freedom".

And what phone does RMS own? (0)

nharmon (97591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446126)

Oh wait, he doesn't.

Re:And what phone does RMS own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446390)

Maybe if it came with a driver for the Xerox laser printer, he'd have noticed the situation three years ago.

Re:And what phone does RMS own? (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446490)

He's got an android, and the hurd kernel is in development.

Currently (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446132)

On the phone, Android is free software.

Ice Cream Sandwich is supposed to be Open Source.

Android 3 is not for phones, and the fact that people would complain about Android 3, and then follow up with "Android is a major step towards an ethical, user-controlled, free-software portable phone, but there is a long way to go" is why they did not release the source. People are clearly demonstrating they can't be trusted to keep it off the phone (I also imagine there was a little bit of pressure from tablet makers wanting to establish a market before the knock-offs could drop the price point).

Android is open source for the phone, and allegedly will remain into the future (along with becoming open source on the tablet).

All complaints about Android in summary focus on tablets, all complaints about devices focus on phones. Let's make are rants make sense please.

Re:Currently (2)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446250)

People are clearly demonstrating they can't be trusted to keep it off the phone (I also imagine there was a little bit of pressure from tablet makers wanting to establish a market before the knock-offs could drop the price point).

Can't be trusted to use an OS how they wanted to? Do you not see how such restrictions and artificial headstarts are against the spirit of openness that Google claimed Android represented?

Re:Currently (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446830)

I agree in principal, they should of just required dropping the name "Android" from such devices, but it should of ended there.

The fact is though, that Android phone is, and allegedly will remain Open Source. And more importantly, the handset hardware appears to have at least 2 companies (and with google buying Moto, hopefully 3) committed to open hardware (HTC and Samsung).

We have in the Android ecosystem, not just high-quality software being opensource, but high-quality hardware allowing custom software.

RMS, please elaborate this part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446164)

"Even though the Android phones of today are considerably less bad "

That's nonsense. Google's one of the worst companies when it comes to respecting users' privacy and Android users are not Google's customers. Google's Android is all about sucking as much private data out of their users as possible. Apple and MS don't do that.

Re:RMS, please elaborate this part (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446772)

Naivete... Apple and MS have both come under fire over user privacy issues. here's a major difference. On my ACA droid build, I have this nice app, it's called LBE Security Service. Thankfully, monitors every app that tries to access any type of information and do something with it. While giving me complete control over what is allowed to look at my data, what data it is trying to see and what it can do with it IF I allow it to see it. On WinMo 7, I have yet to find an application that comes even close.

It will happen. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446186)

someone will leak the source code.

Re:It will happen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446476)

leaking source code doesn't make it free.

who cares what he thinks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446222)

not this idiot hippy again.
why can't he fuck off to the planet 'free' where he can finally be happy and leave the rest of us alone.
dumb smelly hippy.

RMS... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446240)

This is no way proves that RMS is more than just a fat smelly hippy that may or may not wear shoes.

Android is not Open Source, it is Open Sauce (3, Insightful)

drevange (2365548) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446316)

You don't really get to submit to Android like you do other open source software programs. There is a NIH (not invented here) attitude. It is "open sauce". Add your favorite sauce on top of it after it is done, but that is truly about it,.

Android 3.0 will be released (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446372)

Google has said it will never publish the source code of Android 3.0

As far as I know, this isn't true.
What they said was that they were going to skip releasing the source to Honeycomb (3.0) and release the next version when it's ready.

Due to the nature of the source control system (in Android's case that'd be Git, I guess) the release will come with the complete commit history attached, so you can recreate Honeycomb if you wish.
They did say that they weren't sure if the Honeycomb releases would be properly tagged, though.

Re:Android 3.0 will be released (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446632)

As far as I know, this isn't true.
What they said was that they were going to skip releasing the source to Honeycomb (3.0) and release the next version when it's ready.

How exactly is that different from "Google has said it will never publish the source code of Android 3.0"?

Due to the nature of the source control system (in Android's case that'd be Git, I guess) the release will come with the complete commit history attached, so you can recreate Honeycomb if you wish.
They did say that they weren't sure if the Honeycomb releases would be properly tagged, though.

I would just like to remind you, and everyone else, of Andy Rubin's tweet about Android:

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

If Google is going to go against their own definition of 'open', and their supposed commitment to release the source code, that's their choice. But don't spin it, don't apologize for them, don't defend them. It's especially galling on a site where a large chunk of the subscribers crucify Apple and anybody who even remotely expresses a like for Apple's method of doing things.

Re:Android 3.0 will be released (2)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446908)

How exactly is that different from "Google has said it will never publish the source code of Android 3.0"?

It's different in the sense that it will be published.

I would just like to remind you, and everyone else, of Andy Rubin's tweet about Android:

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

If Google is going to go against their own definition of 'open', and their supposed commitment to release the source code, that's their choice. But don't spin it, don't apologize for them, don't defend them. It's especially galling on a site where a large chunk of the subscribers crucify Apple and anybody who even remotely expresses a like for Apple's method of doing things.

I'm not apologising for anyone. I just stated a fact -- it will be released, although not in a timely manner.
It's not a detail either. It may be important in order to build custom ROMs for devices which might not be able to run the next version for some reason.

You are the one attaching opinion to my words which I purposely left out. If you care so much, here is my opinion: I think it's bullshit that they are dragging their feet in this.
I used to think that their "closed until release" development process was a fair compromise between keeping new features hidden for marketing or competitive purposes and abiding by the open-source ideals they set themselves up to.
But that's only true as long as they play by the book. I didn't like the arbitrary way they decided to withhold the source, and I thought the fragmentation excuse was bullshit anyway.

So there you have it: my opinion, which still has nothing to do with the fact that 3.0 will be released.

Plain English (1)

philj (13777) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446776)

I'm very surprised The Guardian published this article as-is. A non-geek won't have a clue what most of the article means! Maybe it shows how far removed from reality RMS really is. A layman's not going to know what a binary blob or a firmware is, and they aren't explained. Very strange for mainstream news in my opinion.

Please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446828)

just tell us, which answer will make you go away???

You iNsensit"ive clod! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37446874)

ne3d your help! 4rofits without share. FreeBSD is the future of the Preferrably with an operating systems, Be a lot slower File was opened endless conflict

FUD (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446932)

... can you spell it?

He's grouchy that OSS is so far behind in mobile (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37446944)

I swear I'm not trying to troll here. The argument that OSS is "innovative" has another strike against it as we see the reinvention of computing with mobile devices. Everyone who's pushing the state of the art ahead is working in private industry. Nothing groundbreaking has come from the open source world even though computing has been turned upside down in the last couple of years. The theorists would say that this is the perfect time to break old paradigms, but every open-source effort is pretty much completely derivative from a functionality standpoint.

The open-source model is great, but current events are showing that the pioneers are going to come from closed-source developers.
   

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