[OT] Is Android really free? (was Re: root almighty)

Gothnet openmoko at nastylittlehorse.net
Thu May 21 15:53:31 CEST 2009

Ignacio Torres Masdeu wrote:
>> in fact there is a lot of closed linux devices out there , for example
>>  routers,motorola phones, ebook reader... and those doesn't mean Linux
>> is closed,
> It only means that if they don't publish the code, and that's usual,
> they are violating the GPL. http://gpl-violations.org/

Not necessarily. They don't have to provide any mechanism to re-flash the
device, then the linux based device is just as closed, even when they
publish the source. GPL does not protect against this (v3 might, not sure).

Ignacio Torres Masdeu wrote:
> The problem with Android is not the license of the OS, but the
> "ecosystem" around it. Closed hardware, DRMd content (applications,
> music), the restrictions imposed on the OS by cell companies... it's a
> nightmare, and the freedom of the user doesn't even appear in the
> horizon.

It's BSD style FOSS. Anyone can do what they like with it. The fact that
others can close their versions doesn't detract from that. If you want to
argue that it loses flexibility as a platfor, when you're using a self- or
community-compiled version, then sure.

Ignacio Torres Masdeu wrote:
> I have strong feelings against Android, for the restrictions around it
> are very similar to those of the iPhone, though Apple doesn't try to
> disguise themselves as "open source paladins".

No, they really aren't. You can download and install stuff from outside the
approved store on commercial android handsets
and on free/open ones ones (Android on FR) you have full control, including
the full source under APL2.

You just try getting the source from Apple and running it somewhere else.

Ignacio Torres Masdeu wrote:
> Android, as a platform (not an OS, not a device) is worst than closed,
> for it lures developers with the false concept of an open environment.

Yes, just like the entire BSD operating system! It's a trap!

Ignacio Torres Masdeu wrote:
> Yes, people could fork and create gAndroid but where would they run
> it? It's a wolf with a lamb skin,

Why fork when you can port? There are several places doing just that and
re-submitting upstream when they have good results. It's being ported to
some nokia devices, netbooks, FR etc.

And why is it a wolf in lambs skin? I mean, what the hell are you talking
about at this point? Where would they run what?

Ignacio Torres Masdeu wrote:
> And my last rant. Why did they create yet another isolated platform?
> For f*cks sake! It's not even standard java! At least Objective-C
> builds on top of C! Couldn't they create a set of libraries? Or use if
> they wanted portability use Python? Argh!
> My 2 cents

Java is the most popular language on the planet right now, more people know
it than know pretty much anything else going. Attracting developers is
essential to the success of the platform. Why *not* use java?

I use python myself, and I like it, but I don't see why choosing java was

Frankly, I think you're nuts. A big corp puts a lot of work in and releases
a whole new userspace environment targeted at MIDs, phones etc, under one of
the least restrictive licenses out there, and you're calling it worse than
closed source!

You're weird!

You instinctively decide to hate it due to some features you don't like
(which are aimed at supporting proprietary apps, and you're free to disable
in your version, or just not use those apps). There's nothing stopping
people from releasing android apps as FOSS. personally I really like the
idea of paying for apps from an app store if I choose to, or using/writing
free ones if I don't.
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