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Tuesday, 20 September 2011 11:48

Richard Stallman wades into Android

Written by Nick Farell

It is not open it is just free
Open source guru Richard Stallman has been thinking a lot about Google's Android software and come to the conclusion that he does not like it.

Writing in the Guardian, Stallman said that Android is an operating system primarily for mobile phones, which consists of Linux (Torvalds's kernel), some libraries, a Java platform and some applications. Linux aside, the software of Android versions 1 and 2 was mostly developed by Google; Google released it under the Apache 2.0 license, which is a lax free software license without copyleft. The Linux version is not entirely free software, since it contains non-free "binary blobs" some of which are really used in some Android devices.

Android platforms use othernon-free firmware, too, and non-free libraries. Some of the applications that generally come with Android are non-free, too.

He said that Android was different from the GNU/Linux operating system because it contains very little of GNU. Stallman admitted that 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.

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

Stallman thinks that Google might intend to turn Android proprietary permanently; that the release of some Android versions as free software may have been a temporary ploy to get community assistance in improving a proprietary software product.

Nick Farell

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0 #1 STRESS 2011-09-20 12:41
And who is surprised by that? Google is not charity or your friend they just as evil aka business / money orientated as Microsoft & Apple
0 #2 PorscheRacer14 2011-09-21 00:45
It's also not entirely free if they have to pay Microsoft or whoever else a fee per device sold just to use Android...
0 #3 fteoath64 2011-09-21 08:49
Quoting PorscheRacer14:
It's also not entirely free if they have to pay Microsoft or whoever else a fee per device sold just to use Android...

The MS licensing is insurance against MS suing device vendors for Android "internals". This is really legal backmail by MS as Viewsonic and Acer have succumb to it. As you have seen, since parts of the internals are closed. The vendor has no idea if there is infringement or not, so it depends on the complainant's filing.

Google did give HTC some help in their patents to fight Apple, so there is some assistance, if a vendor is big enough. Remember, chooses the fights it wants to protect their own product reputation. It is only fair.
0 #4 goldplated 2011-09-21 14:07
Richard Stallman is just pissed off that is once pure GPL OS has now some how been arguably fully legally built into a private binary operating system with no license issues regarding having to show its source.
How could of this been pulled off?

Steve Jobs spent all that money turning the super un-restrictive BSD licensed OS in to a full featured desktop OS over a decade. Could it be that Steve is so quietly pissed that it has had a large part in his bad health, well it wouldn't surprise me.
0 #5 Cartman 2011-09-21 16:00
Well liking he that or not Android is IMO only choice to if you dont want [censored]n iphone
WM suck and rest is hmmm
IDK if its not free, the best part about Android is that there is huge selection of custom roms ,so WTF you wouldnt flash yourself in future Android 3.0 and pay 0$ and have up to date os on your older phone..

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