WikiReader sales and the future of Openmoko
Jon 'maddog' Hall
maddog at li.org
Fri Aug 20 09:24:20 CEST 2010
I have been watching the conversation about Android and its "openness",
and I think that Timo's answer is the closest.
You should also remember that while Android is associated with Google,
and certainly they had the greatest say of it, that other companies of
the "Open Handset Alliance" also had input to Android and how it
Finally, Android is a "sample implementation". The ones who last touch
it before it goes on a device are the handset manufacturers. They are
the ones who really determine what device drivers are used. And they,
in turn, are affected by the component manufacturers and what they will
allow to be released in the way of sources or even information on the
Finally, the carriers also have a hand in this. The carriers really do
not want to see an "open" phone, where people can change the OS. They
fear it, and perhaps for some good reasons (or what they think are good
reasons....but are really not so good reasons) such as "network
This is why most of the phones not only are locked, but also use only
signed binaries. I doubt that the manufacturers care about signed
binaries (although it might cut down a bit on warranty support costs)
and they definitely do not care about locked phones (other than unlocked
phones might piss off their favorite customers, the carriers).
Looking at the original OHA, you see the unholy alliance:
o component manufacturers (some infamous for how closed they are)
o handset manufacturers (HTC)
o codec manufacturers and licensors
and finally Google ("one ring to bind them all") the drum-beater. But
like a lot of drum-beaters, they could only beat the drum....they were
bound by contracts and agreements to do things. Even the mighty Google
can not do everything they want to do.
Google's (and the OHA's) methodology in engaging the community was not
the best IMHO, but also can be explained by the way that the project
evolved. I think that Chromium OS is going along much nicer, and I
still hope that Android will eventually evolve into a real Open Source
project.....assuming that Oracle does not kill Android at the same time
that they try to kill JAVA.
Of course some people may still argue that Android is "not open". I am
not going to waste my time with that argument, but I just wanted to put
a few more facts into the evaluation.
P.S. for those of you who might be interested, I am typing this from the
Amsterdam airport on my way to the FrOSCon 2010 conference in Bonn,
Germany this weekend. Perhaps I will see some of you there.
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