Yet another application claims to be open source without actually publishing any source code. While the WordPress folks have a pretty good record when it comes to making source code available it does not excuse this sort of thing. It’s rather simple. You can’t actually claim anything to be open source until you actually release the source. It annoys the bajeebers out of me when I see people use the ‘open source’ as a marketing ploy.
Or more appropriately, when is open source not open source? The answer, I’m sad to say, is when Google get involved. With the release of Android many people got excited about this new open source development environment for mobile devices. Unfortunately, the current license is not an open source one. Android, at this point in time, is not released under the Apache license. What they do say is:
“Once the SDK reaches a more finished form, Google intends to release most of the components under the Apache v2.0 open source license ”
which could mean tomorrow, next year or never. Also note the use of ‘most’ – either it’s open source or it’s not – pick one Google. It also means that even if most components get released under the Apache license, Google could still keep, and use any licensing they like on key components. That is to say Google would be able to pull a “Tivo”.
Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that Google paid for Android and it’s their product. What I do object to is the claims that it is opensource. At this juncture is is most definitely not. So far all that Google have released is what is required by the GPL and LGPL.
Truly, I’m disappointed.
It’s true. There is no GooglePhone. What we are going to get is an SDK, Android, which will hopefully allow us to build quickly and simply. Sadly the licensing still allows devices to be locked down tight, so don’t expect to see a flood of Opensource devices hitting the streets any time soon.
Since the SDK isn’t due to be available until the 12th November 2007, I’ll hold back for now. Once I have my paws on it I’ll let you know what I think. As it stands I don’t see it as any sort of challenge to Openmoko, in fact I think it adds strength to it.
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