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AOSP Maintainer Quits

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the thanks-for-all-the-hard-work dept.

Android 221

In a post on Google+, Jean-Baptiste Quéru, long-time maintainer of the Android Open Source Project, has said he'll no longer be working on it. "There's no point being the maintainer of an Operating System that can't boot to the home screen on its flagship device for lack of GPU support, especially when I'm getting the blame for something that I don't have authority to fix myself and that I had anticipated and escalated more than 6 months ahead." Quéru is referring to the recently-released Nexus 7 revision, for which Google has not provided factory images of Android 4.3. This seems to be because GPU maker Qualcomm is refusing to release the blobs necessary to boot the device.

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221 comments

Google can fix it with a hammer. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44501763)

The best way to solve this problem is for Google to announce that they will not to use any parts that don't include open source drivers. The blobs will be released real quick.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44501783)

That is exactly what google should do.
If your drivers are not in the mainline kernel, your parts do not go into nexus devices.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44501939)

Why?

Why would google do that?

Google doesn't give a damm about open source really. They care about profits.

Customers don't give a damm about open source either. Just a tiny tiny % of geeks care.

They are not going to screw over profits and customers for a tiny tiny % of users... that's just stupid.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (5, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44502155)

People dont give a shit how a structurally sound a bridge is constructed either, only a tiny tiny % of its users do.. Just because only a few know enough to care doesnt change the argument. Very often it is the unpopular ideas that are correct.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (1, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | about a year ago | (#44502283)

Wow... That was some analogy and some conclusion. Let's dive in!

People dont give a shit how a structurally sound a bridge is constructed either, only a tiny tiny % of its users do. Just because only a few know enough to care doesnt change the argument

Comparing a phone with a bridge is at best disingenuous. There are public health safety issues with bridges that are obvious to many I guess. The disadvantage for users is obvious. Phones? What disadvantage can you see for a random user by using a "closed" phone? Right. None.

Very often it is the unpopular ideas that are correct.

Well, now you have to define 'correct'. And you will quickly see that there are as many definitions as there are people trying to define it. Google doesn't care about your definition of correct, nor should it. And you don't care about theirs. Just, remember, don't throw around yours as if it is a universal version of 'correct'.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (5, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44502379)

There are public safety issues at play in a device you carry with you at all times,devices that will live in our walls, our appliances, everything. Open Source is the cement, the steel beams that will hold up future information society, dont be so dismissive of its true importance. How are we ever going have a galactic computer if we allow art to determine what can and cant be done on a computer? We should get it right and not sell out for movies.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502419)

There are public safety issues at play in a device you carry with you at all times,devices that will live in our walls, our appliances, everything.

Ok then all mobile phone software should be closed source to prevent people from messing with something that can potentially harm them.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#44502815)

Alternatively, all mobile phone software should be open source because it makes third-party security audits possible.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502871)

Alternatively, all mobile phone software should be open source because it makes third-party security audits possible.

Third party security audits don't require open source.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (1)

MeBadMagic (619592) | about a year ago | (#44502835)

You sir, just FAILED the "Tom Joad Test".

http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2009/08/plague-of-punitive-populism.html [blogspot.com]

Myself, I would say:

Ok, then all mobile phone software should be OPEN source to prevent people from messing with something that can potentially harm them. If I have the source, I can take responsibility for checking potentially harmful code as apposed to giving responsibility for my safety to somebody else.

Open Source == Accountability

Closed Source == Power

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

B-)

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502399)

Comparing a phone with a bridge is at best disingenuous. There are public health safety issues with bridges that are obvious to many I guess.

Begging the question.

The disadvantage for users is obvious. Phones? What disadvantage can you see for a random user by using a "closed" phone? Right. None.

Overgeneralization.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (0)

shiftless (410350) | about a year ago | (#44502319)

Very often it is the unpopular ideas that are correct.

Correct, and also laughable, because Google will never implement this idea.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (1)

mungewell (149275) | about a year ago | (#44502421)

People dont give a shit how a structurally sound a bridge is constructed either, only a tiny tiny % of its users do..

Yes, but it's those tiny tiny % who either choose to work at Google or support the community around these 'cool' devices. If those people walk away the devices are doomed to failure, regardless of the 'common man'.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (1)

madprof (4723) | about a year ago | (#44502569)

Or they'll end up (eventually) with an OS like Apple's.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44503005)

Android is apple's o/s copied, just alot crappier!

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (1)

Zalbik (308903) | about a year ago | (#44502575)

People dont give a shit how a structurally sound a bridge is constructed either, only a tiny tiny % of its users do

Bullshit. I don't know anyone who doesn't care whether a bridge is structurally sound. I know a number of users that assume the bridges they drive over are structurally sound however.

And WTF does this have to do with anything anyway?
Companies that build bridges care whether those bridges are structurally sound, as they can face litigation and huge damages if the are not.

I'm guessing Google doesn't care whether they use open-source as they don't see any cost-benefit to doing so.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44501973)

You guys are idiots. Google is not your friend. They don't put much energy into the open source part of Android. All the business-relevant parts are proprietary closed source software. Google could not care less if you can't run a fully open source Android version on their hardware. They haven't quite killed the competition yet, but rest assured that Google will cut you off if they feel they can get away with it. The age of the PC compatibles is over. They're being replaced by terminals that access SaaS.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44501989)

That is exactly what google should do.
If your drivers are not in the mainline kernel, your parts do not go into nexus devices.

Good luck with that.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (4, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44502143)

Except Google will find itself without a Nexus device to sell. Especially since Google has started toning down their Nexus line and starting offering "Google Edition" phones which are stock Android phones.

Because you think companies like Samsung, HTC, LG, etc care that the drivers are open or not? They sign the NDAs and get access to partial source code they need to create their devices.

As for using obsolete fabs and such - it's still expensive. Masks still cost around $100,000 each, and you need 10 or more of them still for a modern chip, so a tapeout run still costs a couple of million dollars.

FPGAs can be used, but when I used them, the dev systems used FPGAs cost $30K each, and the entire system ran at 10MHz. Oh, and you needed 4 FPGAs to simulate a subset of the chip. (That said, if you have 10 hours or so, Android DOES boot...).

The big problem still is the 3D stuff - all highly patented - implementing an open core will basically violate piles of patents, including many dating all the way back to when companies like S3 existed.

Of course, you can run Android in pure 2D mode, as 2D graphics are mostly patent free, but performance stinks. At the very least, a plain old framebuffer with no hardware acceleration can be implemented using open and free drivers.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (-1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about a year ago | (#44502233)

I think Android needs Qualcomm more than the other way around.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44502633)

I think Android needs Qualcomm more than the other way around.

how so? there's other chip design sources. they went with qualcomm because it's 'muuuuuuuuurican. I kid you not.

qualcomm is consistently dicky, with dicks for leadership so why bother with them? all they're good at is lobbying their products and consistently failing to provide sw side in a fashion companies and users would like. does their hw even do what it claims to do in hw?

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502513)

According to wikipedia there's a Nexus 7 with a tegra SoC and another with a QC SoC. I've read that nVidia is actually supplying an open source driver for tegra and Rob Clark is making great strides to get a working driver for adreno GPUs (for proper linux). Is that too different to get working on Android?

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44502551)

Uhhh...and why EXACTLY would Google do that, especially when doing so would cripple their devices as NOBODY is making a top tier GPU that isn't patented up the ying yang and I would argue that even making one is impossible thanks to patents?

In this case frankly there is nothing anybody can do, there is NO top tier mobile GPU being produced that isn't patented and cross licensed up the ying yang, from texture compression on up is ALL patented 6 ways to Sunday and all of Google's money can't fix that.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (2, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44503003)

Patents do not preclude open source, and really, they work with it quite nicely. To get a patent, you need to publish your ideas rather than rely on trade secrets. Really, copyright law applies more to the source code, but it is still protected.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502647)

Uhh... that probably won't work. For most of its life, the Android kernel wasn't mainline

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (1)

kllrnohj (2626947) | about a year ago | (#44502173)

Then nobody would ship on Nexus and everyone else would carry on as normal. Google doesn't move many devices, they aren't a major player here.

Also open source drivers is not going to happen, but that's not even what's being asked for. Qualcomm isn't allowing Google to redistribute the *binary blobs*

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#44502961)

Then they should use intel parts.

Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502981)

Open in all the wrong places!

Let anyone forget... (4, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year ago | (#44501767)

Lest anyone forget, or for lack of never knowing, that this reason is likely only the tip of the iceberg.

It's not to discount it as a significant factor, but anyone who's quit from a position knows it's not just one thing, usually, there are several - lack of pay/low pay, poor work structure, poor work environment, demeaning personalities, etc.

Getting endless gripes and complaints about lack of support for something as popular and 'open' as the Nexus 7 when they've got no ability to fix the situation - but should, by Google's own marketing claims - has got to be pretty disheartening on its own, but I'm certain it's not the only thing.

Re:Let anyone forget... (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44501987)

"The task is not possible" can be a pretty compelling argument for giving it up.

Re:Let anyone forget... (2)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about a year ago | (#44502043)

It sounds like obnoxious people were blaming him for the problem, which is completely beyond his control. Walking away seems like a good decision. It's up to Google to fix this.

Re:Let anyone forget... (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44502089)

It's also worth noting that this was his full-time day job at Google (possibly more than full-time, if it went as this kind of project often goes). That's sometimes a good situation, because you're getting paid rather than putting in unpaid nights/weekends on the project. But sometime it can actually be worse, and more stressful, because it's your real job and you have to work on it daily. At least if you get burned out on a volunteer open source project, you can ignore it for a bit, step back from the mailing list and bug tracker for a little while things settle down, and then come back to it later with some fresh energy. But if it's your actual day job that is harder to do, unless you have an exceptionally flexible boss.

Qualcom? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44501785)

I don't think this is a problem, I want a non-Google Android device because of this NSA scandal. That dictates open source, and if Qualcomm devices won't meet that, then fair enough, that's just lost money to them.

I can get Taiwanese, Korean and other non-Google android devices, so this isn't really a problem.

Re:Qualcom? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502101)

Interesting...so you assume that NSA's tracking software is part of the phone OS? I assumed that it would be easier to grab the traffic from the towers (or better yet, on the backbones that the towers tie in to. Either way, I think your best bet to not be monitored is to get rid of your phone(s) entirely. That's the direction that I'm going in...as soon as I have a job that doesn't require one, that is...

Google PRISM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502669)

" I assumed that it would be easier to grab the traffic from the towers"

Its part of PRISM, to which Google signed up. So I want Android, but not the Google pack on top of it. The Google data is grabbed by the NSA, the OS, Android is fine, its a good open source OS, but sadly usually comes with that Google pack on top of it.

So I will be switching to an Android device without the Google extensions. There's plenty of choices there, lots of Korean tablets, Taiwanese tablets are Android but not Google. So I won't have problems. Qualcomm be damned.

Re:Google PRISM (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44503053)

Stop spreading that FUD. Companies were *forced* to provide data, with the possible exception of Microsoft from what I've read. If you want to stay out of PRISM, don't use any US services, including your ISPs.

Re:Qualcom? (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year ago | (#44502259)

And you think those are open sourced...? Have you even tried to install a rom on one of them? How do you even find which rom to use...?

Re:Qualcom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502531)

Open source like SE Linux?

That the NSA created.

Re:Qualcom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502679)

As if the NSA hasn't worked out all the proper agreements with our buddies in Taiwan and South Korea.

Sad, but not unexpected... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44501797)

I don't blame him for his frustrations. It's time for Google to step up their game a bit when it comes to guaranteeing proper support of AOSP. I put the blame squarely on Google for this mess, which is of their own creation.

Well, I guess that settles that (5, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#44501849)

Up until this news, I was seriously considering buying one.

Re:Well, I guess that settles that (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44501867)

Join the club. I guess I will have to stick with the original one a little longer.

I would pay extra for a device with all the drivers in the mainline kernel. So far that seems impossible in the tablet/phone area.

Re:Well, I guess that settles that (4, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#44502013)

Agreed. I'd be willing to pay considerably more, and would consider it a major point of sale feature. It would mean I wouldn't be at the mercy of the device maker for firmware updates, at the very least. (A vanilla build of android from source is practically garanteed to work if all device drivers are in mainline kernel. If push came to shove, I could roll my own damned update.)

At this point I seriously wonder why there aren't people clamoring to produce fully open hardware SoC solutions for this market. Even lower powered devices on obsolete fab processes would be very desirable given the lockouts presented by the major players. A shiny toy is worthless if you can't actually use it.

The only thing I can come up with for why this hasn't happened is the employment of thermonuclear patent portfolios. Again, refusal to hold a patent bomb would further influence my purchase choice. Combined, i'd be willing to pay over 200$ more. (But I must have BOTH features. Mainline support, and peace of mind for not supporting the patent madness.)

Seriously. Show me a device that does both of those things, and can actually fit in a pocket, and I will buy it.

Re:Well, I guess that settles that (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#44502081)

If "fit in a pocket" is in your criteria, then the Nexus 7 isn't for you; you want a phone form-factor. However, if you're looking for the perfect tablet form factor, then 7" is the right size to fit in your hand without danger of dropping it.

Re:Well, I guess that settles that (2, Informative)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | about a year ago | (#44502127)

Some of us don't have tiny girly pockets, in which case the Nexus 7 is indeed borderline pocket-sized.

Re:Well, I guess that settles that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502413)

can confirm, i wear regular jeans and have an average size penis, it fits in my pocket fine, not that i would walk around all day with it in my pocket, but if i need my hands for some reason, it fits fine in the front pocket. So if your a hipster with skinny jeans and a tiny penis it might not fit, also if you're black and were regular jeans, and if your black and were skinny jeans, well i'm not sure what to say to that, maybe, I'm sorry?

Re:Well, I guess that settles that (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44502643)

Can you sit down with it in your pocket?

You know, without breaking it, or your penis?

Re:Well, I guess that settles that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502449)

Pretty sure girly pockets are bigger than man pockets. Cuz guys don't need to carry around as much useless crap. :P

Re:Well, I guess that settles that (3, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#44502563)

This is an easy mistake to make.

The reality is that pockets on women's clothing are often tiny, or outright missing. This is why women carry purses, and why they constantly ask male friends/lovers to hold things for them. This is because female clothing is tailored to accentuate the curvature of the female anatomy, and pockets distract from this effect. Take note the next time you go clothing shopping with the girlfriend. While she's in the changing room, just look casually at the clothing there in the lady's section. You will note that slack pants almost never have pockets of any kind, and female jeans tend to have oddly shaped or diminutive pockets. Skinny jeans especially.

Clothing designers (cough) design clothes (for skeletons) this way on purpose. They expect that the woman will have a matching handbag to match "her outfit." This is *why* women have 50 purses, and insist that they need to buy a new one every time they get a new outfit.

Seriously, you'd have trouble getting an ipod mini into the pockets on women's skinny jeans. Forget about getting a 7in tablet in there.

(Having 2 sisters sucked big time while growing up.)

Re:Well, I guess that settles that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502611)

I did not realize my old navy cargo shorts were girly pants, but ok.

Re:Well, I guess that settles that (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | about a year ago | (#44502329)

My Nexus 7 fits perfectly fine in my pockets, thank you. Even with a case.

Not that I'm going to roam around town 24x7 that way, of course. But I can slip it into my back pocket when I need to chase after my toddler. It also fits into my suit coat pocket -- a bit heavy, of course, but convenient for business purposes.

7" tablets are "pocket-able," but not "pocket-sized." And that's perfect for me.

It's Qualcomm's decision to make (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44501875)

From AOSP's own site:
"Android is about freedom and choice. The purpose of Android is promote openness in the mobile world, and we don't believe it's possible to predict or dictate all the uses to which people will want to put our software. So, while we encourage everyone to make devices that are open and modifiable, we don't believe it is our place to force them to do so."

So why cry so hard when Qualcomm went with one of the choices you gave them?

Re:It's Qualcomm's decision to make (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44501895)

Sure, just like it is my choice to never buy a device with one of their SoCs.

Re:It's Qualcomm's decision to make (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44501923)

It'd be one thing if this was in a third-party android device; nobody is insisting that Google must require every Android device to have open drivers, too. But this is Google's flagship device that's supposed to show off their platform. If they really "encourage everyone to make devices that are open and modifiable", they could lead by example by making sure that's true of their own device!

Re:It's Qualcomm's decision to make (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about a year ago | (#44502071)

It'd be one thing if this was in a third-party android device; nobody is insisting that Google must require every Android device to have open drivers, too.

No one is insisting that Google police all the other Android device manufacturers, no. However, anyone shipping an Android device with closed-source kernel drivers is not following the terms of the GPL, which means they have no license to redistribute the Linux kernel. Legally speaking, no matter what Google requires, it's a choice between open drivers and copyright infringement.

Re:It's Qualcomm's decision to make (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502103)

However, anyone shipping an Android device with closed-source kernel drivers is not following the terms of the GPL, which means they have no license to redistribute the Linux kernel.

Well then good thing the Linux kernel isn't licensed under the GPL. It's licensed under a modified GPL allowing for binary drivers.

Re:It's Qualcomm's decision to make (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44502427)

Well then good thing the Linux kernel isn't licensed under the GPL. It's licensed under a modified GPL allowing for binary drivers.

That's not true at all. The license is clarified to indicate that user-land programs aren't licensed under the GPL. The license modification is to make it GPL 2.0 only, not 2.0 or greater.

See here for more info. [yarchive.net] The only question is whether the driver is a derivative work or not, which is a complicated legal term which didn't have software in consideration when it was (poorly) defined.

Re:It's Qualcomm's decision to make (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about a year ago | (#44502507)

The only question is whether the driver is a derivative work or not, which is a complicated legal term which didn't have software in consideration when it was (poorly) defined.

That is a complicated question, but in this case the real question is simpler: is the combination of the kernel and the driver on a running system a derivative work of the kernel? The two are distributed together, which makes it no different than a closed-source program distributed with a GPL library dependency. (Think of the kernel as the "library"—it doesn't matter which part is larger.) If binary modules do not violate the GPL, then GPL and LGPL are effectively equivalent for libraries, which would be a significant change.

It is much less likely that something like the nVidia binary driver, which is carefully not distributed with the kernel, or even specific to Linux, would be considered a derivative work. However, as you say, that area of copyright is not clearly specified for software.

Re:It's Qualcomm's decision to make (5, Informative)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about a year ago | (#44502429)

Well then good thing the Linux kernel isn't licensed under the GPL. It's licensed under a modified GPL allowing for binary drivers.

Stop spreading misinformation. There is no exception for binary drivers. There is a clarification that the kernel copyright "does *not* cover user programs that use kernel services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of 'derived work'." User programs; not drivers. Otherwise it's stock GPLv2.

Here's the actual license [kernel.org] so you can see for yourself.

A few companies like nVidia get around this by never distributing the drivers with the kernel. In nVidia's case, they use the same driver for Windows and Linux, so they can also argue that there is nothing Linux-specific about the part they're distributing. Even so, many see this as a grey area. The Android case is completely different, both because these are Linux-specific drivers and because they are being distributed with the Linux kernel on the same media as part of a complete operating system. This is just as much a violation of the license as distributing a closed-source program which depends on a GPL library.

Re:It's Qualcomm's decision to make (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502463)

Not true. It's straight GPLv2. The kernel devs just interpret the GPL in a way that allows for binary drivers in limited circumstances.

Re:It's Qualcomm's decision to make (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502325)

Yawn...what's this...someone complaining about kernel modules being proprietary again...here's an old analysis: http://linuxhelp.150m.com/politics/kmodsGPL.htm [150m.com]

Re:It's Qualcomm's decision to make (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44502181)

I just hate how the entire open source-ness of google's stance revolves around commercial video. Its disgusting ot see how much of computing is being sold out for copyright. Abolishment is the only possible rational course from here on out.;

Re:It's Qualcomm's decision to make (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502019)

Android is about freedom and choice.

There is his fundamental mistake. Android is about making Google Money. Nothing more nothing less.

Its not fragmentation!!!111one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44501901)

Wait, yeah it is.

When the official opensource project can't run on the official flagship device due to the same shit that prevents interoperability on damn near every other android device ever made.. It's called fragmentation.

Each vendor is an island. Samsung may as well be apple. (Or asus, or LG, or even Moto)

Re:Its not fragmentation!!!111one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502715)

My. Fandriods sure get mad when their platform of choice is called out on it's problems!

Thanks for proving my point.

Linux... Free for everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44501915)

... as long as you have our secret proprietary boot loader!

Re:Linux... Free for everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502099)

That's why you need GNU/Linux, for with free software you have freedom!

lol hey remember when they sold linux by the pound? lol

and so i says to the guy, i says, i says, "excuse me but is that your nose or is it the telecom industry?"

in soviet russia, the telecom industry's nose insults YOU!

Much Noise, No Change (2, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year ago | (#44501959)

Quitting AOSP doesn't solve the problem. It makes it worse.

What we can do, is start a campaign of "name and shame", that starts asking key questions of Qualcomm spokesdrones, why?

And here is the real bits that should concern people, I rather doubt there is anything all that special about the blobs of code needed, or even the underlying hardware. Further, given the Copyright and Patents that SHOULD be protecting the "intellectual property" of Qualcomm, there is NOT A SINGLE REASON to release the code.

Even if the Lawyers want to be involved, how about writing a waver for AOSP so they can include the blobs needed, or the APIs to code themselves what is needed (probably showing up the crappy programmers at Qualcomm) etc etc etc.

There are plenty of ways around this issue, but if Qualcomm won't play nice, then it is time to start playing hardball. Believe me, a very loud "name and shame" Campaign would work. Here is just a one suggestion.

1) Android Apps detect if the device is running a Qualcomm chip (of any kind) and simply puts a blurb up that says "Your device is using Qualcomm Chips. Qualcomm doesn't fully support Android Open Source Projects, so please consider as part of your next Android Phone/Device one that doesn't use Qualcomm chips. Thank you.

Re:Much Noise, No Change (1)

BreezeDM (2887189) | about a year ago | (#44502037)

I was thinking of getting a new phone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, but since I heard about this I am no longer interested. What chip makers/producers are friendly to AOSP?

Re:Much Noise, No Change (2)

gnoshi (314933) | about a year ago | (#44502291)

Texas Instruments seems good, based on their history with the Galaxy Nexus.
Samsung isn't necessarily friendly to AOSP, but they do make their own SoC (Exynos) so at least Samsung isn't hamstrung by another manufacturer when making drivers. They also have a pretty good history for long-term updates.
It is worth noting that Qualcomm also makes the SoC for the Nexus 4, which has been updated to 4.3. Still, they hung the HTC One S out to dry, and there is this example too.

Not to encourage crime or anything but it would be awesome if the drivers source for some Qualcomm devices was leaked. Or if Google (and other manufacturers) actually created adequate legal contracts with the hardware providers for their Nexus devices so this shit didn't happen.

Re:Much Noise, No Change (1)

Threni (635302) | about a year ago | (#44502423)

> Samsung isn't necessarily friendly to AOSP, but they do make their own SoC (Exynos) so at least
> Samsung isn't hamstrung by another manufacturer when making drivers. They also have a pretty
> good history for long-term updates.

You're fucking joking. Samsung made noises about "the community" but then did nothing to help Cyanogenmod, to the extent that pretty much all the developers gave up on porting CM to the Exynos versions of the S3. The Exynos is a case in point - Samsung refuse point blank in handing over any docs/source, which means the Exynos version of CM sucks compared to the Qualcomm version.

In terms of updates - it's now August 2013; Android 4.2 source was released last October, 4.3 recently, so guess which version of Android this "flagship" product is running? That's right - 4.1. They've promised 4.2 several times and each time they miss it. As soon as it turns up people are going to go "Huh? 4.2?".

Re:Much Noise, No Change (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#44502535)

> Samsung isn't necessarily friendly to AOSP, but they do make their own SoC (Exynos) so at least
> Samsung isn't hamstrung by another manufacturer when making drivers. They also have a pretty
> good history for long-term updates.

You're fucking joking. Samsung made noises about "the community" but then did nothing to help Cyanogenmod, to the extent that pretty much all the developers gave up on porting CM to the Exynos versions of the S3. The Exynos is a case in point - Samsung refuse point blank in handing over any docs/source, which means the Exynos version of CM sucks compared to the Qualcomm version.

In terms of updates - it's now August 2013; Android 4.2 source was released last October, 4.3 recently, so guess which version of Android this "flagship" product is running? That's right - 4.1. They've promised 4.2 several times and each time they miss it. As soon as it turns up people are going to go "Huh? 4.2?".

How do you know it was not Qualcomm who did this?

Remember the hoopla about getting Java GPL with a classpoint excpetion? Adobe were the assholes with some of its graphics rendering and fonts which made up a full .6% of the source code held the rest hostage.

Qualcomm and ARM have patents and part of the agreement is you have to make it closed source so competitors do not steal our ideas BS or whatever Samsung had to sign in order to make its own chip.

We do not know. But what I do know this problem is dramatic in the hardware world and why we can't have great drivers for things like ATI cards. ATI wants to help but they outsourced and contracted some of the work to others who are being assholes when it comes to copyright.

Why aren't Nvidia drivers opensourced? You can thank the MPAA and h.264 consortium for that! You want hardware accelerated video? You make em closed source etc.

Re:Much Noise, No Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502129)

Quitting AOSP doesn't solve the problem.

How does it not solve the problem? The problem is he's getting blamed for stuff out side of his control. He quits, no more blame, problem solved.

Re:Much Noise, No Change (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502211)

Quitting AOSP doesn't solve the problem.

How does it not solve the problem? The problem is he's getting blamed for stuff out side of his control. He quits, no more blame, problem solved.

Yep, and AOSP is free to get a developer who sees things their way, and the proprietary BS with phones rolls on. This isn't even about Nexus devices, since as a whole they receive AOSP-based releases very quickly. This becomes a "problem" when you want to compile Android 4.3 for an older device that will never see official support for it, and find that the drivers are precompiled with no source available, and you are stuck either writing your own, or using the older version of the OS.

Re:Much Noise, No Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502217)

and the proprietary BS with phones rolls on.

That doesn't sound like a problem to me.

Re:Much Noise, No Change (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44502459)

What we can do, is start a campaign of "name and shame", that starts asking key questions of Qualcomm spokesdrones, why?

That has worked so well with NVidia.......

Re:Much Noise, No Change (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#44502557)

Hollywood and the h.264 consortium is who blocked the release of opensource drivers for Nvidia.

Which is why I was one of the opponents of it being part of HTML 5 when so many slashdotters were going on and on how much better it was bla bla. Side effect is the patent holder can tell you how to run the company.

It would not surprise me if Qualcomm and ARM have agreements with others like Samsung to make them closed source if you want to use are brilliant ideas etc.

Re:Much Noise, No Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502649)

Maybe if Linus gives Qualcomm the middle finger, things will change.

Re:Much Noise, No Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502777)

Maybe if Linus gives Qualcomm the middle finger, things will change.

To BSD

Replicant (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44501961)

Just a reminder that the Replicant [replicant.us] project is trying to make a completely free and open source version of the Android software stack, including the parts that interface with the hardware.

Re:Replicant (4, Informative)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#44502445)

.... that works on hardly any hardware, because it lacks drivers.

android sucks anyway (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44501975)

ive had my android phone for almost a year and im dying to get rid of it. worst phone i have ever owned.

been there, done that (1)

ClassicASP (1791116) | about a year ago | (#44502069)

I've been in that whole situation myself. A developer anticipates and escalates problems many months in advance and is just ignored and dismissed of, but then when it all goes wrong as predicted, they still get blamed. Sucks, but it happens.

By the Way... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502087)

The GPU in Intel's upcoming Baytrail tablet SoC already has 100% GPL mainline Linux drivers in at least the 3.10 kernel... just sayin'

Re:By the Way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502293)

... and a lot of apps in the Market rely on native ARM code.
Google never should have allowed native code into apps outside of their control until they had their LLVM implementation (renderscript) working.

Andy Rubin's comment.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502183)

I remember an Andy Rubin tweet bashing Apple about about open source complete with a one-liner to check out and build Android.
Apparently you can no longer do that.

It is time to wake up (1)

trifish (826353) | about a year ago | (#44502231)

and realize that your geeky wet dream of fully open source OS on mobile phones is just that -- a dream.

Samsung, practically the only true major player behind Android, sells more phones to the dumb sheep than Apple does. They don't care about geeks a bit.

Re:It is time to wake up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502353)

The geeks are the dumb sheep.

Re:It is time to wake up (4, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | about a year ago | (#44502381)

You had me until you brought out the "dumb sheep" trope. You would be more effective in persuading people if you could leave out the hyperbole and tired, cliched insults.

Re:It is time to wake up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502659)

mmm yes. Absolutely correct. It's all about the drones these days. Sheeple is soooo 2008.

Re:It is time to wake up (1)

phorm (591458) | about a year ago | (#44502911)

I believe that Samsung also includes the appropriate blobs necessary to boot their devices.

One odd thing... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44502241)

I'm not surprised that Qualcomm are being dicks about driver source(though I would assume that they have some haha-nominally-GPL-compliant shim for interacting with the Linux kernel, like Nvidia does); but the lack of a factory image seems very weird indeed.

Do they somehow think that anybody who wants to steal their precious secrets (and has the resources to actually be a threat), is going to be stopped by the need to buy a $200 consumer electronics widget and crack it open? If the device is shipping, the driver binaries and firmware blobs are shipping with it, in millions of units. They aren't going to stay secret long against anybody who cares.

Re:One odd thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44503037)

This was ALWAYS the argument about VHS piracy back in the day with MacroVision. Anyone who had the equipment to make 1000's of VHS copies usually had the equipment that stripped off the macrovision protection as bad signals in the waveform. Where the home user can't piggyback another VCR if they tried.

Just wondering... (2)

carou (88501) | about a year ago | (#44502443)

Is there an upper limit to the number of times we can sarcastically quote "Open Always Wins!" after news articles like this one, before it stops being funny?
I know we haven't reached it yet, I'm just asking for information.

Paging the old school (1)

Applekid (993327) | about a year ago | (#44502461)

I guess it's time for the old piracy groups to step up and steal the factory images that the production house is flashing onto those devices.

we are all to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44502613)

All of us that buy, or let relatives buy Android devices that use restrictive and closed blobs.

Customers and only customers have the power to make the change.

Every time we encourage someone else to buy a non-Android device make sure to publicise the fact on open social media like Farcebook or Twatter on the corporate tags and pages to raise awareness in the less technology literate and make some voices heard.

It is one thing for companies to see bottom-lines get affected, but they also need to understand why. Don't just boycott, let the world know why too!

Android is deprecated (3, Interesting)

frinkster (149158) | about a year ago | (#44502873)

Read between the lines.

Queru is gone. Rubin is gone. The Chromecast, whose original and main purpose was to get Android devices connected to external displays, ran Android in prototype builds but was released with Chrome OS. Look who runs the Android group now... The head of the Chrome OS group, who is still the head of the Chrome OS group.

I'd give it no more than 2 years before the Nexus & Motorola products are released with Chrome OS and Android is 3rd-party device only with all Google services removed.

Face it, Google just isn't getting what they wanted out of the platform.

Re:Android is deprecated (3, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | about a year ago | (#44502975)

Face it, Google just isn't getting what they wanted out of the platform.

Or they got exactly what they wanted: market penetration. The majority of happy Android users will have no problem upgrading to a closed Chrome Mobile as long as they get keep their apps (which will then be emulated in an Android VM, a VM within a VM if you will). And Google dropping old, smelly, and open Android means they won't keep their apps on future Android devices.

If I could go back in time and tell myself 5 years younger that Google, not Microsoft, was going to lead the next wave of Embrace Extend Extinguish, I'd have laughed in my own face.

Re:Android is deprecated (1)

foma84 (2079302) | about a year ago | (#44503081)

Android is 3rd-party device only with all Google services removed
OH GOD, that would be sooo awesome. You actually got me exited with this thought.
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