Android open sourced

Jim Ancona jim at
Tue Oct 21 19:01:07 CEST 2008

Didier Raboud wrote:
> Hey... it says "open-source" (you can read the code) not "free software"
> (you can do whatever you want)...

It appears to be "Open Source" in the sense that it uses OSI-approved 
licenses, Apache 2.0 for most code, GPL for kernel patches. Note that 
both of those licenses are also considered to be "free software" 
licenses by FSF (see Do you 
have some other definition of "free software" in mind?

> tells : 
<quote from SDK license agreement snipped>
> and others, and others and others... restrictions...

Note that those are the terms for the SDK download, not for download or 
use of the source.

> And for the code itself...
> You have to grant your copyright to Google...

That's only if you want to contribute code back to the project. In that 
case you have to assign your copyright. Many free/open source projects 
require a similar grant, including Apache and Gnu/FSF (see

> I don't want to work non-paid for Google. But please do ! ;)

That of course is your choice. But you are free to work on Android 
without assigning copyright to Google. Just fork a new Didier-Android 
project--the licenses let you do that.

To me, the key issue is whether Google has in fact open-sourced 
everything needed to make a working Android distribution for a 
non-supported platform. I'm not qualified to judge, but I'll be waiting 
to hear from the experts. The good news is that so far, Google appears 
to be keeping their promise to open-source Android.


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