Google’s iron grip on Android: Controlling open source by any means necessary

By Archean
Oct 21, 2013
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  1. Google’s iron grip on Android: Controlling open source by any means necessary

    "Taking the Android app ecosystem from Google seems easy: just get your own app store up and running, convince developers to upload their apps to it, and you're on your way. But the Google APIs that ship with Play Services are out to stop this by convincing developers to weave dependence on Google into their apps. Google's strategy with Google Play Services is to turn the "Android App Ecosystem" into the "Google Play Ecosystem" by making a developer's life as easy as possible on a Google-approved device—and as difficult as possible on a non-Google-approved device."

    And the conclusion:

    "If a company does manage to fork Android and make something compelling outside of Google's ecosystem, there's the little matter of nearly every manufacturer being contractually barred from manufacturing a device that runs the new OS. Even if this new Android derivative is better, for an OEM jumping out of the Google ecosystem, it's probably more trouble—and risk—than it's worth.

    While Android is open, it's more of a "look but don't touch" kind of open. You're allowed to contribute to Android and allowed to use it for little hobbies, but in nearly every area, the deck is stacked against anyone trying to use Android without Google's blessing. The second you try to take Android and do something that Google doesn't approve of, it will bring the world crashing down upon you."

    A very good read on alleged 'open source' nature of android.
  2. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,922   +630

    I don't get it. The modding community is huge with many forked projects. Just because you can't buy a Samsung with this installed out of the box, doesn't mean Android isn't open.
  3. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 5,690   +96

    I guess you missed the point, to be completely open source means, anyone should be allowed to use their APIs in whichever way they deem it fit, and inline with GNU. However, it is not the case (hint: recent spat with MS about youtube app). Secondly, they 'closed sourced' all their core apps (e.g. maps etc.).

    Another example from the same article:

    "Google revamped the Android location APIs and released them as part of Google Play Services. In other words, Android's top-tier location services are now closed source. If the above history is any indication, the open source location stack will be left to rot. The added features include the Fused Location Provider, a "complete rewrite" of Android's location algorithms, Geofencing (which lets you define locations on a map that will trigger events in an app when the user enters them), and Activity recognition, which uses accelerometer data and fancy algorithms to determine if the user is walking, biking, or driving—all without turning on the GPS."

    So with each new iteration of an API, the gap will grow, and if someone tries to do something creative, which Google doesn't like, they can easily throw them out of their ecosystem. So much for the 'open' brigade.

    Now on modding, how many 'normal users' you think can go on and 'root' their phones, or install custom roms? Very very few. I consider myself an reasonably literate user when it comes to this, but even I try to avoid it since, one can easily run into 'unforeseen' problems.
    St1ckM4n likes this.
  4. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,922   +630

    Thanks for the nice explanatory post.

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