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The Android SDK Is No Longer Free Software

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the fighting-fragmentation-at-all-costs dept.

Android 535

New submitter tian2992 writes "The new terms for the Android SDK now include phrases such as 'you may not: (a) copy (except for backup purposes), modify, adapt, redistribute, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or create derivative works of the SDK or any part of the SDK' among other non-Free-software-friendly terms, as noted by FSF Europe's Torsten Grote. Replicant, a free fork of Android, announced the release of Replicant SDK 4.0 based on the latest sources of the Android SDK without the new terms."

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Second Post (-1, Offtopic)

polyp2000 (444682) | about 2 years ago | (#42474433)

Wheres the first?

Re:Second Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474493)

Nope.

Re:Second Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474585)

OMG. You really FUcking failed it.

But Android is open (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474435)

Right?

Re:But Android is open (3, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#42474683)

So much for "don't be evil" ;)

Re:But Android is open (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474929)

I'm surprised anyone ever fell for that marketing bullshit. Don't be evil to whom and, who is to say what is "not evil" to one person is not "completely evil" to another?

It has to be one of the biggest logical fallacies I've ever seen/heard in a corporate motto.

Re:But Android is open (4, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#42474941)

I'm pretty sure that depends on your definition of "Evil".

Re:But Android is open (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42475093)

I'm pretty sure that depends on your definition of "Evil".

Yes, some animals are more equal than others.

Re:But Android is open (1)

jameshofo (1454841) | about 2 years ago | (#42474775)

To interpretation, see you missed the bit after the coma.

Re:But Android is open (4, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#42475015)

Do I have to pay to use it to build apps? Free as in beer. Most people aren't looking to extract the ethanol to put in their windshield wipers.

come on! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474471)

it is still more open than the iOS SDK, Blackberry and WP

Re:come on! (4, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#42475037)

Hitler was ok, he didn't kill as many people as Stalin.

Re:come on! (0)

_KiTA_ (241027) | about 2 years ago | (#42475073)

Hitler was ok, he didn't kill as many people as Stalin.

Stalin was ok, he didn't kill as many as the Church.

Re:come on! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42475095)

The church was ok, it didn't kill as many as ...
Oh fuck.

Re:come on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42475119)

As odd as it may seem there are still people that agrees with this statement.
It might be a minority and they may be retarded or misinformed but they still exists.

Ubuntu Mobile ... (5, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#42474477)

All of a sudden a new market opens for Ubuntu Mobile ;-)

Seriously, does that impact anyone? The thing is available for free anyway...

Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (5, Insightful)

iakoad (2807721) | about 2 years ago | (#42474691)

It impacts people who care about principle the software they use is based upon.
It also might influence (in part because of the above) future developments in Andriod. Of course, I doubt it will make a large enough difference to matter to most people.

Economies of scale not in favor of principle (2)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42474997)

It impacts people who care about principle the software they use is based upon.

Unfortunately for people who do care about principle, the vast majority of people buying electronics for individual use have shown that they do not care about principle, and only products targeted to the vast majority benefit from the sort of economies of scale seen in mass-market products.

Re:Economies of scale not in favor of principle (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42475123)

Thankfully the same economies of scale do benefit those of us who care since the hardware is mostly the same. For a good example of just this look at dell linux laptops or system76 or Nexus phones.

Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (5, Interesting)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#42475027)

It impacts people who care about principle the software they use is based upon.

Freedom is not (just) a matter of principle. The reason that people take your freedom away from you is because they want, later at their option, to be able to take other things from you that would naturally be yours. Microsoft locks people into proprietary licenses because they know that, after a few years of using the OS they buy from them you will need a new computer and a new system, either because your old one broke or because an associate wants to do the same things as you do already. Normally, if you were allowed your natural right to copy things you own, you would just be able to copy the old one and that would work fine. By taking away that freedom, Microsoft is able to take away your money from you again later for nothing more than you could easily have done yourself if they didn't interfere with your copying.

Google's aim here is to make life difficult for competitors such as Amazon and the Chinese Android clone makers (not that these will care). This allows them to interfere with the free market for their own benefit. For programmers reading Slashdot, that means that, instead of being four or more potential developers of mobile software you can work for, Amazon, Google, Apple and the Chinese, there may well only be two: Apple and Google. With the possible exception of Jolla and Ubuntu, there is almost nobody else in the market who could consider competing. For people buying mobile phones would mean that, instead of having widespread choice from different vendors, everything would go through Google or Apple.

This is one of the key reasons why licenses such as the AGPLv3 as well as free software foundations which can provide a neutral holder for coyprights are so important. Look at how FreeBSD development has been absorbed by Apple even though it was supposedly "Open Source". Without strong copyleft licenses the only choice will be which set of chains you wear. Once you are wearing those chains the only choice will be to give the mobile vendors what they want to take.

This work on Replicant is crucial and hopefully companies like Amazon which could gain from it will understand that and come out and support the project. Anyone who can contribute Android code should be working for the goals of Replicant wherever possible. Also you want to make sure that your code goes in to a neutral party under the AGPLv3 to make sure that you yourself will be able to get the benefit from it later.

BTW, isn't it funny the way all the "don't be evil" trolls suddenly shut up when we have an actual example of Google doing something not nice?

Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (3, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#42474767)

All of a sudden a new market opens for Ubuntu Mobile ;-)

Seriously, does that impact anyone? The thing is available for free anyway...

Just because it is free today does not mean it will be tomorrow. The fact that Google changed the SDK from being free as in beer to non-free is indicative that they could just as easily change it from also being not free as in paying a fee. Think of it like Walmart moving into a new market -- they heavily undersell the competition until there is little competition left. Then the selection goes down and the prices go up. What is to stop Google from doing the same thing and if they did, where would people go?

Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42474809)

If they did that Android would be forked. People who cared would move to the fork or Ubuntu for Phones or many other currently fringe options. Hell, it might inspire Samsung to make Tizen based superphones.

Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (4, Insightful)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | about 2 years ago | (#42474857)

No one would give a shit. People buy phones because they like the software / hardware or they trust the brand. They don't care if it's "open" or "free".

Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (3, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42474957)

Some people do, some don't.

I for instance only buy unlocked bootloader devices with FREE operating systems. This is why I currently have a Galaxy Nexus.

Whether enough do (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42475091)

Some people do, some don't.

The question is whether enough do to create economies of scale. I bought a Dell netbook because it was a 10" laptop that could run Ubuntu. But the economies of scale for netbooks ended up disappearing between when I bought it and now, and I don't know what I'll replace it with once it finally bites the dust.

Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474923)

Sounds all fine and swell, only problem is, handset makers are in bed with google. And as bad as it really is, they have binary blobs for drivers. If they no longer work on older forked versions of android, you can no longer use those, even though they work fine with Android 2.0.

Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42474977)

The fork is not going to be out of date unless AOSP is also closed.

In that case ubuntu for phones will be a better option for me.

Yes, blob drivers suck, but so far it seems we have to deal with them. Hopefully as this market matures that will go by the wayside as it has for just about all but video cards on the PC side.

Two devices (0)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42475047)

If they did that Android would be forked. People who cared would move to the fork

And lose all the non-free applications that one relies on, because those are unlikely to be made available for the fork. Not very many people are going to want to buy and carry two phones, one for only applications distributed as free software and one for only applications in categories not conducive to the free software model [pineight.com] , and pay for cellular voice and data service on both. So between the status quo and carrying two phones, where should the line be drawn?

Re:Two devices (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42475109)

They would not need to be made available for the fork.

It would be fairly simple to retain binary compatibility with AOSP or the last version of it. The same way the Cyanogenmod does not need special apps.

For me, I would not carry two phones. I would rather give up the non-free applications.

Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (4, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42474873)

There's very little point in Google closing Android, but the biggest reason for them not to is that it would create significant motivation for a group to fork the last open version. That fork would at the very least cause confusion that would hurt Android in the near term, and might even overshadow Google's version and become the standard, resulting in a loss of Google control.

On that note, the chances of Ubuntu Mobile suddenly becoming popular on the back of this, or on the back of some hypothetical closing of Android 4.3, is about zero. People upset about Android being hurt are likely people who want Android open. Their first thought would be "How can we regain our freedoms in Android", not "Oh well, let's just give up and switch to something else that's untested and unproven and doesn't work the way we're used to."

Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (4, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 2 years ago | (#42474895)

Seriously, does that impact anyone?

Certainly. Google is just getting around to reducing the fragmentation in the OS levels on the myriad of devices out there, and now there is going to be a proprietary (Google) SDK as well as a fully open (Replicant) SDK. This isn't exactly going to help thin the fragmentation herd.

Besides, Google has always prided itself in the fact that Android is open source. The new wording doesn't quite seem to hold the same theme as Andy Rubin's snarky twitter entry: "the definition of open: "mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make"

I like Android. I prefer it over the proprietary shut-up-take-my-money alternative but this is a stupid move by Google to try and keep Ubuntu/HTC/Samsung from gutting Android and creating a competing product.

Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42475087)

The amount of OSS was pitiful anyways and the closed source version beat the equivalent hands down on android.

Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#42475099)

replicant and other homebrew devs, it does.

Re:Ubuntu Mobile ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42475105)

Fucking. Google. Shill.

How much are they paying you to bullshit the /. community?

Does this surprise anyone? (2, Interesting)

under_score (65824) | about 2 years ago | (#42474483)

Google has long been willing to compromise on their "do no evil" mantra and is probably under huge pressure from successful incumbent phone device manufacturers to create barriers to entry in the market. This is common with any market where goods or services start to become commoditized.

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (3, Insightful)

quippe (767072) | about 2 years ago | (#42474749)

I cannot see how restricting the license terms of the SDK could impose barriers to competing manufacturers; it could probably create a barrier for derived works.
However, it is an evil thing.

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (4, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42474777)

Uh, what?

This is the SDK we're talking about. How does closing the SDK, but still distributing it for free to anyone who wants a copy, create a barrier to entry in any market phone manufacturers care about? Do you really think Samsung is saying "OMG! If someone forks the SDK and produces a slightly better development environment for Android phones, WE'LL BE RUINED! RUINED I tell you!"?

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (5, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 2 years ago | (#42474817)

Ok, I'm not entirely the biggest Google fan but:

Google has long been willing to compromise on their "do no evil" mantra...

Evil?? Are you claiming this change to their terms of use is evil??

Wow. That word has literally lost all meaning, hasn't it...

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (1)

quippe (767072) | about 2 years ago | (#42475101)

more free as in speech software = good
less free as in speech software = bad
restrict freedom of an existing software = evil

The fact that other companies behave also worse than this, does not mean we should lower our yardstick

Re:Does this surprise anyone? (2)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 2 years ago | (#42474937)

Also it's "don't be evil". You're thinking of the three monkeys [wikipedia.org] .
This is the weirdest persistent mistake.

It's a little worse than summary... (5, Informative)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 2 years ago | (#42474487)

I don't know why the summary concentrated on the copy provisions. Here is the complete clause #3.2. Emphasis is mine:

3.3 You may not use the SDK for any purpose not expressly permitted by this License Agreement. Except to the extent required by applicable third party licenses, you may not: (a) copy (except for backup purposes), modify, adapt, redistribute, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or create derivative works of the SDK or any part of the SDK; or (b) load any part of the SDK onto a mobile handset or any other hardware device except a personal computer, combine any part of the SDK with other software, or distribute any software or device incorporating a part of the SDK.

Re:It's a little worse than summary... (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 2 years ago | (#42474595)

Which may break a lot of licenses already in existence for them. Fortunately, the term "personal computer" is just what Canonical purports that your smartphone will become with Ubuntu for Phones.

So don't be a bad person and use their SDK with other software, or distribute software incorporating a part of the SDK. Gotcha.

Re:It's a little worse than summary... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42474739)

So you are being forced to cross compile, not that most don't already.
Why would they do that?

Re:It's a little worse than summary... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474927)

[...] Except to the extent required by applicable third party licenses, you may not: [...] (b)load any part of the SDK onto a mobile handset or any other hardware device except a personal computer, combine any part of the SDK with other software, or distribute any software or device incorporating a part of the SDK.

Hmm, seems like they are targeting on-device development with apps like AIDE [google.com] .

Practical Implications? (1)

Hardhead_7 (987030) | about 2 years ago | (#42474529)

So what are the practical implications of this? Can someone explain it to me? Is this going to affect, say, CyanogenMod?

Re:Practical Implications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474599)

It seems as though they are trying to prevent fork's even at the the sdk level. Unless for any reason the cyanogenmod team modified the sdk to make their builds we shouldn't see any problems from there.

Re:Practical Implications? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 2 years ago | (#42474655)

It seems as though they are trying to prevent fork's even at the the sdk level. Unless for any reason the cyanogenmod team modified the sdk to make their builds we shouldn't see any problems from there.

" load any part of the SDK onto a mobile handset or any other hardware device except a personal computer, combine any part of the SDK with other software, or distribute any software or device incorporating a part of the SDK" seems to say otherwise.

Re:Practical Implications? (2)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#42475049)

Yeah. SDK. Not the AOSP code. The SDK has nothing to do with Cyanogen or any other custom ROM, they're based off of the same code, code that's DESIGNED to work with what the SDK produces.
This does not affect CM.

Re:Practical Implications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42475053)

otherwise to what? that's not the opposite of either of his two statements. You do realize that an SDK and a custom ROM are completely different things. The SDK is used to create applications to run on an Android device. A custom ROM is a customized version of the OS, not the SDK.

Re:Practical Implications? (2)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 years ago | (#42474681)

Combining the above term with others - such as '3.4 You agree that you will not take any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android, including but not limited to distributing, participating in the creation of, or promoting in any way a software development kit derived from the SDK.'

Could for example be used to say that no, CyanogenMod, or any other 'distribution' - that is not an exact vanilla build is 'fragmentation' - and hence is not a permitted use.

Re:Practical Implications? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42474757)

If CyanogenMod is fragmentation, then what the fuck are Sense and Motoblur ROMs that these devices ship with?

I do not think it will be interpreted that way.

Re:Practical Implications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474823)

what the fuck are Sense and Motoblur ROMs that these devices ship with?

Separately licensed builds? HTC and Motorola aren't necessarily bound by the same license terms offered to you or I...

Re:Practical Implications? (5, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42474793)

CyanogenMod is not an SDK. It's an Android distribution. It is not in any way affected by the changes to the SDK licensing terms.

Re:Practical Implications? (2)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 years ago | (#42474967)

"You may not use the SDK for any purpose not expressly permitted by this License Agreement", "You agree that you will not take any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android".

If they say any specific use of the SDK is fragmentation, then you have real problems arguing it's not.
The argument that CM is fragmentation is not clearly ridiculous.

This being the case, you are in real trouble arguing otherwise, especially as they have considerably larger lawyers than you.

Re:Practical Implications? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42474999)

Cyanogenmod does not need the SDK.
They can use Replicant or make their own SDK from AOSP.

I think you do not understand what you are talking about.

Re:Practical Implications? (2)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42475065)

CM is not fragmentation, there are no changes to the API, but again: THIS IS NOT ABOUT ANDROID.

Android is still open.

The _SDK_ is what's changed. The _SDK_ is what you use to write _APPS_ for Android.

CyanogenMod contains absolutely nothing from the SDK. It is not in any way affected by these licensing conditions, any more than Ubuntu suddenly becomes closed source if Intel releases a C compiler for Linux systems. If Cyanogen and his team wants to fork Android and produce a version with an entirely incompatible API they continue to have the right to do that.

At this point I'm not sure if this is genuine confusion on your part, or if you're part of the legion of Slashdot Google FUD spreaders. I'm not happy about the SDK licensing change but I can honestly say it does not in any way, shape, or form affect the openness of Android itself. If and when Google imposes new licenses on AOSP, you can start to pretend that CyanogenMod is suddenly in legal jeopardy. It isn't right now.

Re:Practical Implications? (1)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#42475063)

I've already commented so I can't, but this post needs more mod points - people are missing the difference between the SDK and the Android source code. They're not related.

Re:Practical Implications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474699)

Well, although the summary does't mention it, the other provisions seem to indicate that you can't use it anymore for items like Ouya, or those Android-on-a-stick USB things anymore...

Re:Practical Implications? (1)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#42475075)

No they don't. They just state that you can't take Google's SDK, change some bits and release it as your own "SDK++!". This more affects anything that tries to bundle the SDK (May affect something like Unity? I don't know how that compiles Android apps).

Re:Practical Implications? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474719)

The AIDE (Android IDE) app that compiles Android apps on Android uses the SDK on a "mobile handset". The new terms would prohibit that.

Yes it's terrible to develop from scratch on a phone but it's really neat to patch a bug and deploy directly on the target.

Re:Practical Implications? (2)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42474751)

Very little.

From what I can tell, the nearest thing there'll be to real world consequences is that when Google releases a new version of the OS, people will have to wait until the corresponding AOSP release comes out before trying it out on their hardware. Previously, as soon as the SDK had a new version of Android available, you'd get a lot of (usually bad) ports of it to various phones and tablets. A significant example was Honeycomb, which wasn't put in the AOSP repository until the release of ICS (and the "AOSP" version is still hard to obtain as the versions of each file that make it up are not clearly tagged) which was, nonetheless, ported to a series of tablets by using the SDK version.

It's unfortunate, I don't know why Google is taking this action, but it remains the case that Android itself is FOSS, and I guess I'm not going to start demanding my torch be lit or my pitchfork be sharpened until I see evidence Google plans to change that; of course, even if Google was the secretly evil organization its detractors keep claiming, and planned to do that, it's hard to see how closing Android would do anything other than result in a serious, first class, fork that really would threaten "official" Android for years to come, so I seriously doubt they'll ever do that.

Re:Practical Implications? (2)

synapse7 (1075571) | about 2 years ago | (#42474985)

Well, the TaC is dated Nov 13th and there is a crazy amount of custom rom dev work going on, so I'm going say not much.

Alternatives. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474537)

If Android is no longer FLOSS, it has no advantage over iOS and is generally slower on most devices.
Java & Dalvik were always a bad idea anyway, since the VM is slow even with JIT. A faster VM might be revm, which only need 4 cycles per bytecode.

Re:Alternatives. (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42474771)

Android is FLOSS, the SDK is not.

Re:Alternatives. (2)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about 2 years ago | (#42474909)

So if I understand correctly Android (which is based on linux) remains FLOSS, it is just a development tool that has "become" close sourced?
If that is correct, then why not go on with the latest version and update that with the community? As it is not used, then this scheme falls into shambles right?
Also, am I the only one who thinks this is against the whole principle of FOSS? This looks like they used linux because of cheap and now make things closed source because of make $...

Re:Alternatives. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42475025)

Yeah, but you can make a new SDK from AOSP so people can use Replicant or another one.

I think google is trying and going to fail at attacking things like Kindle OS and that rumored Chinese android derivative.

Re:Alternatives. (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42475097)

The community certainly has the right to fork the SDK and distribute an open version. They'll miss out on the Google created development images of Android, which typically are released a few weeks before the corresponding AOSP versions, but that's about it.

As far as this being done to make money... I believe the SDK is still a free download. I'm not sure why Google feels the need to do this, but it doesn't appear to be about money.

take that Apple (1, Flamebait)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42474547)

love my iCrap but for the last few years it seemed like Apple was taking some code out of Android for iOS

Re:take that Apple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474643)

love my iCrap but for the last few years it seemed like Apple was taking some code out of Android for iOS

The surprise here is not that Google copies Apple slavishly and is busy playing catch-up (see Project Butter and every Android release) but that Samesung did not attempt to do this first.

Re:take that Apple (3, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42474697)

samsung probably copied a few of apple's design patents, but you can't patent the concept of a touch screen device. apple never made touch screens and samsung had real touch screen phones in testing before the iphone was released. along with others.

the iphone's strength was that it had a real almost desktop class OS. LG Prada had the crappy Qualcomm Brew. If LG shipped an android phone in late 2006 then it would have been a totally different story. Android as an OS was close to ready in 2006 it just that the GUI was made for blackberry type phones

Re:take that Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474879)

lol really? Do you really believe that? Sometimes I can't tell if you iHaters are trolling or just idiots. You do realize that Google would have smacked them to the ground for anything remotely similar to that. And I say that as a very happy Android user, who happens to not be blinded by bizarre brand loyalty.

Mirroring Oracle java vs IcedTea OpenJDK? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474565)

Seems they are following Sun/Oracle's footsteps with java.
Except they have been doing it for years...
http://gnu.wildebeest.org/blog/mjw/2009/11/14/trusting-companies-with-your-code/

Luckily there is IcedTea: http://icedtea.classpath.org/

The change is to prevent further fragmentation (4, Informative)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 2 years ago | (#42474639)

The Android platform has some fragmentation problems and there's been endless bitching about them on Slashdot. This change is part of a number of changes made to limit the problem. The section following the summary's quote spells it out:

"3.4 You agree that you will not take any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android, including but not limited to distributing, participating in the creation of, or promoting in any way a software development kit derived from the SDK."

tl;dr - you got what you asked for.

Re:The change is to prevent further fragmentation (3, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 2 years ago | (#42474743)

The Android platform has some fragmentation problems and there's been endless bitching about them on Slashdot.

Bullocks. Google could just use their trademark to enforce compliance, you know like OpenJDK does. They could simply only grant the right to use "Android" on distributions certified to be compliant.

Besides the fragmentation that people were complaining about were cause by Google themselves.

Re:The change is to prevent further fragmentation (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42474787)

The fragmentation is more the carriers fault than Googles.

Updates don't make it out so that users have to buy new devices to get updates. Google should force the OHA members hands on this. If you want access to market and the android trademarks you must supply updates to devices for X years.

Re:The change is to prevent further fragmentation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474791)

Everyone is to blame. Google for fast releases and vendors for refusing to upgrade devices.

Re:The change is to prevent further fragmentation (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42474847)

For fast releases?
A couple times a year is too fast?

In the world I live in that is damn slow. I have devices I update with new android builds near daily.

Re:The change is to prevent further fragmentation (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42474833)

more likely Amazon

they probably used the SDK to make their version of android. now they will most likely run to Microsoft which is worse for google

Re:The change is to prevent further fragmentation (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42474867)

Why would they use the SDK?
They can just grab AOSP and go from there.
Moving to MS would be far more expensive for Amazon and give them far less freedom. They would not have a Kindle, just another Windows tablet.

Re:The change is to prevent further fragmentation (2)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42474981)

I'm pretty sure Microsoft doesn't offer an open source tablet operating system, so no.

Amazon's use of the SDK is also perfectly legitimate under this license, assuming they're using it at all. The Fire OS is essentially bare Android with a custom launcher. It doesn't include GApps, but GApps are not part of Android, at least, from the point of view of the SDK. They haven't forked the API, and anything developed for the Fire will work on other Android systems 2.3 and better unless you explicitly do version checks.

Re:The change is to prevent further fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474789)

Yeah, I'm usually a fan of Google. But this sort of shenanigans makes it look like they went on a cheap date with open source and aren't calling back.

It's one thing to throw your weight around the top phone manufacturers and tell them to stop fragmenting the platform, but it's another to officially strip the license keeping everyone from (legally) doing so.

Amazon is probably why (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474835)

Likely due to Amazon. Amazon forked off of 2.3 and is staying on it so now if anybody wants to make an app that will run on the first successful android tablet (The only other one with any traction is the Nexus7 I believe) they need to target 2.3. Google is closed out of the Kindles entirely so they probably don't want Amazon or anybody else making a new fork off of 4.2 for the next generation of Kindles.

Re:Amazon is probably why (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42474911)

1. There are others with higher sales numbers than the Nexus 7
2. The newest kindles are not android 2.3
3. Amazon can download AOSP and make their own SDK like everyone else.

Re:The change is to prevent further fragmentation (1)

codewarren (927270) | about 2 years ago | (#42474855)

What the hell does a non-free SDK do to curb fragmentation? What does clause 3.4 have to do with clause 3.2?

Re:The change is to prevent further fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474939)

tl;dr - you got what you asked for.

Who got what they asked for? Apple fans' favorite argument against Android led Google to sell out on its open source supporters?

Re:The change is to prevent further fragmentation (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42474947)

tl;dr - you got what you asked for.

Did you? Are you the only person who doesn't conform to the hive mind?

Re:The change is to prevent further fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474995)

Does this mean Google don't want more people making OUYA like developer devices?

Does that in turn mean that Google are going to make an Android TV box/console?

Re:The change is to prevent further fragmentation (2)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 years ago | (#42475055)

"3.4 You agree that you will not take any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android, including but not limited to distributing, participating in the creation of, or promoting in any way a software development kit derived from the SDK."

That could mean anything. By commenting on how this is an evil bait-and-switch by Google I could be encouraging people to fork Android and cause fragmentation. Does this mean Google can take away my ability to develop software for Android and pull any apps I have created from the store? Is this some sort of back-door clause so they can do the Apple thing and pull any app for any made-up reason with this?

bad sign (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474677)

This looks like it only covers the SDK for now. We will see if this happens to android as a whole.

I was initially not sure if anyone would use Ubuntu on their phone. Now I am looking forward to the images for nexus devices in the next few weeks.

I am a reverse-engineer (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474807)

I may not reverse-engineer the Android SDK?

Fuck Google and fuck Android. You know what? Fuck all you fandroids too.

Re:I am a reverse-engineer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474871)

Me too?

Re:I am a reverse-engineer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474949)

Make your own SDK.

Re:I am a reverse-engineer (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42475117)

with BLACKJACK! and HOOKERS!

Re:I am a reverse-engineer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42475011)

I may not reverse-engineer the Android SDK?

Fuck Google and fuck Android. You know what? Fuck all you fandroids too.

You seem like a sensible person. Where can I subscribe to your newsletter?

What about LGPL? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474951)

Lots of people focus on GPL and don't realize this obligation when using LGPL libraries. LGPL allows you to use your own non-GPL terms, only on condition your own terms do not prohibit reverse engineering or modification by the user.

Does Android SDK link to any LGPL libraries?

It's the same as the older SDK agreements (5, Informative)

steevithak (1180195) | about 2 years ago | (#42475067)

I just checked the wayback machine and the SDK terms haven't changed much in years. Here's a link to the 2010 terms for the SDK:

http://web.archive.org/web/20100724144708/http://developer.android.com/sdk/terms.html [archive.org]

Pretty much the same as the current SDK agreement. The parts under proprietary license you can't mess with, the parts under open source licenses you can do what you want with. I can't see that anything has changed with the latest version of the agreement.

Not just Android (1)

alex4u2nv (869827) | about 2 years ago | (#42475069)

If you look, a lot of their apps are coming out of beta stage as well, with licenses and prices changing.

"Take any actions" or "Promoting in any way" (2, Interesting)

The1stImmortal (1990110) | about 2 years ago | (#42475079)

First: IANAL

What scares me about this license change is that Google is attempting to prevent, apparently in perpetuity, those agreeing to the license terms from doing anything involving fragmentation of Android (web links? Mentioning on Slashdot comments?), or from promoting a software development kit "derived from the SDK" - that presumably includes older, legitimate forks.

I didn't even realise that it was legal (or at least, enforceable) to prevent someone from doing something completely unrelated to the licensed material at issue in a one-sided license agreement. Like preventing people from doing things that "may cause or result in the fragmentation of android". That would be like the license requirement requiring users not to hop on one leg for the rest of their lives as a result of agreeing.

Hopefully the definition of "SDK" in the first section of the license [1.1: "The Android Software Development Kit (referred to in this License Agreement as the "SDK" and specifically including the Android system files, packaged APIs, and Google APIs add-ons)..."] is specific enough to not apply to derived works of the Apache-licensed source of the SDK in AOSP's repo's.

Only reason for such terms is malware (1)

hlavac (914630) | about 2 years ago | (#42475113)

Yes I am paranoid, but: The only reason they would not want you to look whats really inside would be that you would not like what you find in there.
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