Will it be more open than Android?

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Jan 02, 2013
1:22 PM EDT
I have two questions: Will it be more open than Android or will it have all sorts of proprietary bits tacked on by the manufacturers? If the latter I really don't see the advantage here other than having another competitor in the field. Will it have the apps to attract consumers and compete with Android and with iPhone? If not then nothing else will matter - it will fail.

Jan 02, 2013
1:36 PM EDT
Honestly if it is even AS open as Android (meaning the same level of binary cr@p) I will still support these devices more due to:

1.) It runs on the EFLs - they are wonderful libraries.

2.) It isn't just some crappy java layer over a Linux kernel.


Jan 02, 2013
1:59 PM EDT
@caitlyn, your comment leaves me wondering about something.

From near-prehistory, proprietary applications have been available for Linux, and its licensing specifically allows this. WordPerfect, Netscape, and StarOffice come to mind. Linus' take on the matter is one of pragmatism: "it's what they want to run," for any definition of "they." Of course, the matter is different when trying to attach non-GPL bits to the kernel, because he controls that, so even if he can't stop others from building proprietary modules to run on their own machine, a la nVidia, Linus can disavow any obligation to support it when it breaks ("if you break it, you get to keep both pieces"). Thus the "Tainted: P" designation in kernel panics.(*)

IIRC, you have generally taken a similar pragmatic view towards proprietary-apps-on-free-kernel, even if you admit it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

So what I'm wondering is this: If I can take the Android source and build my own Android system for my own device, up to and including the Dalvik VM, and install it on either my Raspberry Pi or my desktop PC, how does that make the device manufacturers' distributions any more closed than, say, Red Hat Linux? Or could you say that roughly:

CentOS is to Red Hat as CyanogenMod is to (some company's) Android?

(*)Interesting how close "Tainted: P" is to "Tainted :P". Somehow, Linus sticking out his tongue at users of proprietary modules seems somehow appropriate.

Jan 02, 2013
3:42 PM EDT
@gus3: First, you state my position correctly. I essentially take Linus' view, which, like you, I consider to be a pragmatic approach. However, given a choice between a FOSS app and a proprietary app if all things are equal I'll take a FOSS app every time. Even if all things aren't equal if I can get a satisfactory result from the FOSS app that's the direction I'll go.

Red Hat, OTOH, pretty much releases most everything they do under FOSS licenses. Most of the exceptions have to do with software they purchased which has preexisting commercial licenses which they can't get out of, at least in the short term. Red Hat has, over the years, shown their commitment to FOSS and has given back to the community in the form of code contributed upstream, including to the Linux kernel. Can you say the same for phone manufacturers? How about Google? How much proprietary code has Google developed that they have no intention of ever opening?

Jan 02, 2013
4:46 PM EDT
Thanks, caitlyn. That's the answer I was hoping for.

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