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Android Cellphones Google Handhelds Open Source Privacy Technology

RMS: 'Is Android Really Free Software?' 433

An anonymous reader points out an article by Richard Stallman in The Guardian which questions whether Android should be described as 'free' or 'open.' Quoting: "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. Google has said it will never publish the source code of Android 3.0 (aside from Linux), even 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. ... Android is a major step towards an ethical, user-controlled, free-software portable phone, but there is a long way to go. Hackers are working on Replicant, but it's a big job to support a new phone model, and there remains the problem of the firmware. Even though the Android phones of today are considerably less bad than Apple or Windows smartphones, they cannot be said to respect your freedom."
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RMS: 'Is Android Really Free Software?'

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  • Re:Marketing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Monday September 19, 2011 @02:35PM (#37446098) Homepage Journal

    Android is "free enough" for me. The API is open for programmers to use, and you can install what software you want. Most people don't care whether it's open source or not - just look at all the most popular OSes and devices out there. I'd prefer that they were still releasing the source, but as long as it works well and they don't try to force an Apple style walled garden, I don't mind.

  • Re:Of course not (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday September 19, 2011 @02:41PM (#37446182) Homepage
    I think the reason that Google isn't releasing Android 3 source is that they don't want it installed on every crappy phone and tablet coming out of China, and giving it a bad name. Android is already known by some for being a bad product, because so many people have a bad impression, because they bought an inferior device. Not releasing the source at all was all they could do to stop it from being put on sub-standard devices. I guess the other option is to just release the source code, but not allow "Android " trademarks to be used on non-approved devices. You'd end up with something like Redhat and CentOS, where you could get the free version, but you wouldn't be able to ruin the Android name, as it has been now. That way people wouldn't confuse official Android with the releases put out by companies who aren't official partners.
  • Re:Marketing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Monday September 19, 2011 @02:47PM (#37446274) Homepage Journal
    Thank you for finally giving us this word. Now we finally have a succinct and compact term for Microsoft's OOXML crap.
  • Re:Of course not (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Reapman ( 740286 ) on Monday September 19, 2011 @03:03PM (#37446580)

    Just curious what exactly Google did to you, and why you perceive Google to be more evil then say Apple? Your always posting dozens of comments on any Google/Android article and if it wasn't for your low UID I'd write you off as another troll account. Judging by the time you invest in this on Slashdot I think you have a very personal or financial stake in this and just curious which it is.

    Do you hate Google because they're not as open as you'd like (yet still more open then Apple), or do you hate Google because they are not Apple? Or are you just one REALLY old troll - in which case I tip my hat to you.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury