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Google Opens Up Android Codebase 204

Posted by timothy
from the now-even-more-open-sourced dept.
rsk writes "It's official: Google has Open Sourced Android. The source code can be downloaded from Android's Git repository. Bugs are handled at the Google Code Android project page with documentation being handled by a collection of Google Site pages. One of the more interesting aspects of Android seems to be the seemingly Eclipse Foundation-like organization of the project, welcoming both Individual and Commercial developers into the Android development pot. One of the benefits of this arrangement is securing the existence of the project by involving commercial interests and their money in the process ... this is also one of the downsides; having commercial entities charter and lead features of a platform that their own commercial offerings provide 'enhanced' versions of, sometimes leaving the free offering always lacking in one obvious way or another. It's hard to say at this point how involved Google will be in this process, or the Open Handset Alliance in general, with managing the health of sub-projects under the Android umbrella as time goes on."
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Google Opens Up Android Codebase

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  • by Zach978 (98911) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:04PM (#25455823) Homepage

    We need to port this thing to all kinds of devices, and would also be nice to port the framework to run natively so you could develop Android apps that would run natively on Linux.

    • by FunkyELF (609131) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:33PM (#25456343)
      port it to the iPhone
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        You might be able to port the framework to the iPhone, but you could never release it via the App Store.
        • by Em Ellel (523581) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @02:51PM (#25457535)

          You might be able to port the framework to the iPhone, but you could never release it via the App Store.

          Erm, the whole point of porting it is to NOT deal with App Store. We are taking replacing the whole iPhone OS with something else (BSD based OS/X with Linux)

          Getting the OS onto iPhone is easy - thats how Jail-breaking process works, the real hard part will be writing the drivers.

          Can't wait though - I was very disappointed since I found out G1 does not support AT&T's G3 frequency and that I am stuck with iPhone for a while. Android on iPhone would be a decent cancellation prize - at least until better hardware that works with AT&T and runs Android comes out. ....wonder if someone will port it to Treo too? There are number of linux drivers for some of those already.

          -EM

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            ...cancellation prize...

            Word Nazi says you should try using words you know you know instead of ones you think you know. Your consolation prize is a reprimand from an A/C.

          • Ah. I was assuming the goal was to run Android applications on top of the iPhone OS, not replace the OS wholesale. My mistake. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FunkyELF (609131)

      We need to port this thing to all kinds of devices

      An open source platform for mobile phones isn't any good at all if there isn't a open hardware platform to run it on. Good luck modifying android and running it on your shiny new phone, tmobile wouldn't let you.

      • by James_Duncan8181 (588316) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @02:02PM (#25456769) Homepage
        Just like nobody ever got Linux running on the Xbox, right?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by FunkyELF (609131)
          Let me know when they have graphics drivers written for Linux on the Xbox.
          I ran Linux on my xbox for several years but never did anything graphical...it was pointless. I just ran a game server (bf1942).
          The most useful thing you can do with the Xbox is run XBMC which is built using illegally acquired XDKs. The hardware can't handle high def sources, but the hardware on the 360 could, and now XBMC is ported to Linux....so where is the Linux on the 360?
          And before you talk about Linux on the PS3 let me ju
      • by H0p313ss (811249) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @02:11PM (#25456915)

        We need to port this thing to all kinds of devices

        An open source platform for mobile phones isn't any good at all if there isn't a open hardware platform to run it on.

        I seem to recall some chatter on the OpenMoko [openmoko.com] Community [openmoko.org] mailing lists [openmoko.org]. They'd love to have already ported Android to their open hardware [openmoko.org] but there was no ARM4 binaries available to play with. I'm sure that with this source release I'll be able to boot Android on my Freerunner [openmoko.org] sometime this year.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          That freerunner looks pretty neat.

          From reading the FAQ and some articles...it says it is not really ready for primetime, unless you are a developer.

          Is this true? How easy to you find it to use? What about the apps currently available for it? What service providers can you use it for?

          Can you give some detailed info on how you use the phone and how you find its ease of use, and utility as far as what you can do with it with available software?

          • by jmcnaught (915264) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:13PM (#25462193) Homepage

            The Openmoko isn't ready for prime time at all. It reminds me of using Linux in the nineties--lots of configuring stuff by hand--but at least back then when you got it working it was stable. I'm still getting lots of slowdowns and crashes. The GSM reception drops out every few minutes... sometimes it's better, sometimes it's worse depending on the distro you're using and what updates you've applied. Even Qtextended (formerly Qtopia) crashes a lot. I don't think the GSM reception thing is hardware related because I've had it running perfectly before. There are also basic problems like how it doesn't always wake out of suspend when you have a call or a text message, but I think that's been mostly resolved.

            Something I discovered the other day was that even if you leave the phone plugged into the wall charger all night you might wake up with a dead battery. Once the battery is charged it starts draining. The best part is that if the battery is completely drained you can't power up the device even when it's plugged in. You actually have to get a new battery if you ever let it completely drain... or have the tools and knowledge to resurrect a dead battery on your own. Thankfully my brother also has a Freerunner so I managed to power on with his battery then swap mine in after it booted.

            Watching from the outside it seems like the Openmoko team really lacks leadership. They started working on a GTK+ based system and released it as 2007.2... that one was close to being functional but the GSM parts were unstable. So they started working on ASU (now called 2008.8 or .9) which is a mish-mash of Qtopia ported to X11, Enlightenment and PyGTK. That's what they're focused on right now. But they've also got the project called FreeSmartphone.org, so they have a third distro called FSO. FSO has its own phone stack instead of using the one from Qtopia. Eventually they'll bring the FSO phone stack to 2008.8.

            They also just announced that they're going to stop developing the applications they've been working on and focus on stability and reliability of the basic phone functions and suspend/resume. That's the best news I've heard out of the team yet.

            Of course there are also community distros. Rasterman releases some of his own experimental builds and so do a few others. There's a distro called Fat and Dirty Openmoko (FDOM) that is just 2008.8 with a bunch of apps installed and some fixes applied. And you can run Debian on it too, but I haven't tried that yet.

            As far as applications go, I imagine you could port anything that runs on your Linux desktop to the phone as long as it's not to resource intensive. The phone has X11 and it's even got 3d acceleration.

            Right now on my phone the address book, dialer, calendar and sms/email are from Qtopia. I have Pidgin, Pythm (an mplayer front end, untested), Navit and TangoGPS for GPS, Linphone for VoIP (haven't really used it yet). For browsing I've got Minimo 0.2 (it kinda sucks) and Midori (webkit based, just installed it today). And I have Duke Nukem 3d which is controlled by tilting the phone. Sounds like fun, but it's actually a little tiresome. I was thinking of installing Abiword but I don't know how much word processing I'll be doing with the touch screen keyboard.

            So I guess to wrap things up you shouldn't get this phone unless you've got money to burn for a cool pocket linux gadget. I still use my cheap Nokia flip phone most days. But the Openmoko is fun to play with and it comes with a really nifty stylus/pen/laser pointer/flash light. Really.

            I'll probably try Android on it, but only after someone else releases kernel and rootfs images so I don't have to do much work. I'm still much more interested in the Openmoko platform than in Android because the Openmoko is much closer to a familiar GNU/Linux system than Android ever will be.

            One thing that would be nice though is if the market gets flooded with smart phones that boot Linux kernels with all devices working. Because I was thinking that down the line I might buy an Android phone so I can put Debian or an Openmoko derivative on it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by H0p313ss (811249)

            As other people have pointed out, the Freerunner is not a mainstream device and will not be for quite some time, in fact the current revision of the hardware has a number of acknowledged bugs that cannot be worked around in software. The software is hardly beta quality, more like alpha.

            My own feelings vary from awe to frustration. We're talking about a handheld device with GSM nad GPS and bluetooth radios that is an order of magnitude more powerful than the first machines I ran linux on. (My first linux mac

      • Open hardware is available out there.
        I recently bought one, and so far I find the hardware quire acceptable.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by cl0s (1322587)

          I really wanted one for the longest but the software is not nearly complete. I mean Android is barely complete as far as apps go and OpenMoko is even farther behind on that.

          You should be able to port Android onto your OpenMoko though, I'm sure that will be one of the first non-G1's to have it.

          Android though I would say is open enough for me, the HTC hardware is closed and all but I've been able to download separate apps right from the browser and install them on my G1, without even touching T-Mobiles Androi

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by oravecz (543740)
        Why all the talk about T-Mobile not letting you do something. They don't have any claims over the software platform. Android will be soon be shipping on a variety of wireless carriers' phones.
  • When G1 was first introduced, it became painfully clear that it was severely hamstrung by the carrier-dictated limitations on software features.

    The Bluetooth stack was totally castrated, leaving out not only tethering and PAN, but also voice features, as well as file transfer.

    There are a lot of these glaring omissions in G1s software, that were clearly dictated by T-mobile. My question is this... now that Android has been open-sourced, will Google and T-mobile team up to block 3rd parties from filling in th

    • by tsa (15680)

      I'm so glad to live in Europe. The utterly retarded US mobile phone market never ceases to amaze me. But, since I don't know anything about programming, let me ask a stupid question: can you in principle port Android to any modern phone out there, or are there hardware requirements?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by NoTheory (580275)
        well... Android is a linux based operating system with a custom java virtual machine that accepts java files, and spits out .dex machine code which i think (but not sure) is specific to the G1 at the moment.

        So in short, i don't think it's readily portable to other machines (i'm not positive though, it'll depend on the differences in chip architecture and the like, dunno how similar the G1 is to other phones).
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You're wrong, people have already been running it on other devices (such as the HTC vogue, I think) for quite some time now.

          • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @03:19PM (#25457977) Homepage

            the HTC Vogue might be running similar hardware to the HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1). either way, HTC is a member of the Open Handset Alliance, and they make a lot of popular carrier re-branded handsets. so you might be able to run Android on many of those devices [wikipedia.org].

            the HTC Vogue/Touch uses the TI OMAP 850 processor while the HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1 is running on a Qualcomm MSM7201A ARM11. so other HTC phones running on, either Texas Instrument's OMAP or Qualcomm's MSM line processors, should support Android as well. in fact, all HTC phones run on either TI, Qualcomm, Intel, or Samsung processors. and it just so happens that TI, Qualcomm, Intel, and Samsung are all members of the Open Handset Alliance. so i wouldn't be surprised if all HTC handsets eventually supported the Android platform.

            that's the power of having a strong cross-industry alliance supporting open standards. i think Android has a very good chance of dominating the cellphone market and potentially revolutionizing the industry.

          • by NoTheory (580275)
            Cool, thanks for the info
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by blahbooboo (839709)

        I'm so glad to live in Europe. The utterly retarded US mobile phone market never ceases to amaze me. But, since I don't know anything about programming, let me ask a stupid question: can you in principle port Android to any modern phone out there, or are there hardware requirements?

        There are a lot of negatives in the U.S. cell market (mainly with the handsets sucking and all the handset crippling). However, there is one clear winner, the cost of cell phone plans is FAR cheaper than in Europe. Yes, incoming calls might be "free" in Europe, but YIKES the caller pays a lot per minute and the receiver still has a more expensive plan.

        I used to think the European cell systems were better, until I saw how much these folks charge versus what the user gets for this charge. The Europeans can'

        • both systems should be replaced with wireless broadband as part of basic public infrastructure. then you'd have truly carrier-neutral handsets.

          right now handset makers need to get permission from the carriers to use their proprietary networks. they have to cripple their phones and let the carriers lock down their software. no new technologies or applications can be developed without the carrier's approval--that's why there's been very little growth in cellular technology compared to the progress made on the

    • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:11PM (#25455959)

      Weird.... Google said the bluetooth decision was theirs due to stability.

      There is a Skype voice App in the G1 Marketplace.

      File transfer? You have Mass Storage, You can attach files to emails. There is no limitation I am aware of in android which would forbid a p2p application which uses the memory card.

      But I'm sure you're right. It's a conspiracy by TMobile to not offer... what is it you want again that you aren't getting? It's not like exchange missing is a conspiracy. The G1 is missing quite a bit of stuff but I would wager it's a result of development resources being insufficient not intentional desires to offer less.

      • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:16PM (#25456019)

        But I'm sure you're right. It's a conspiracy by TMobile to not offer... what is it you want again that you aren't getting?

        (1) A2DP and AVRCP
        (2) Bluetooth tethering (can be implemented as a DUN)

        These are two things that work fairly well on my WinMo 6.1 (HTC6800) and should be a piece of cake. I would switch to the G1 for those things (and if TMobile had a 3G network comparable to the EVDO revA that I'm on now -- they don't).

    • by Zach978 (98911) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:16PM (#25456027) Homepage

      They just ran out of time with Bluetooth. They also had to cut stereo bluetooth audio, why would t-mobile want to cut that?

      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:19PM (#25456105)

        They also had to cut stereo bluetooth audio, why would t-mobile want to cut that?

        So you would have to buy one phone for each ear.

      • by repvik (96666)

        iPhone doesn't support stereo bluetooth audio (A2DP) either. Apparently, there is some reason to drop this, even from a multimedia-oriented phone.

        • by CdBee (742846) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:49PM (#25456553)
          Apple has a real reason to not implement a full modern Bluetooth stack - if they do it on the iPhone it will be expected/demanded/hacked onto the ipod Touch, and people would then use an iPod Touch with a cheapo bluetooth phone rather than paying the premium for an iPhone
          • by repvik (96666)

            That's gotta be the worst excuse EVAR. You can't use a cheapo BT phone as a *headset* and use that as a replacement for an iPhone. If it was the other way around, yes.

            • by Em Ellel (523581)

              Apple has a real reason to not implement a full modern Bluetooth stack - if they do it on the iPhone it will be expected/demanded/hacked onto the ipod Touch, and people would then use an iPod Touch with a cheapo bluetooth phone rather than paying the premium for an iPhone

              That's gotta be the worst excuse EVAR. You can't use a cheapo BT phone as a *headset* and use that as a replacement for an iPhone. If it was the other way around, yes.

              I think you missed his point - he was saying the other way around. Get a cheap phone that supports bluetooth. Use Touch as the "headset" . Though without a microphone or bluetooth hardware in iPod Touch I am not sure how he suggests this will be done.

              Now if someone builds a relatively cheap G3-to-wifi bridge - this can make things interesting.... but it has nothing to do with anything here.

              -Em

              • by repvik (96666)

                I got his point alright. Thing is that the iPhone doesn't support A2DP headsets. Even if it did, you wouldn't be able to use the iPhone *AS* a headset. You'd be able to connect headsets to it. It'd be the same with the iPod.
                The iPhone could support A2DP headsets easily without supporting *being* a headset. Same with the iPod.

                • by Em Ellel (523581)

                  I got his point alright. Thing is that the iPhone doesn't support A2DP headsets. Even if it did, you wouldn't be able to use the iPhone *AS* a headset. You'd be able to connect headsets to it. It'd be the same with the iPod.
                  The iPhone could support A2DP headsets easily without supporting *being* a headset. Same with the iPod.

                  As I understood it he is not talking about A2DP specifically, but other features of "full featured Bluetooth stack" which include being a headset to a phone - which is still pointless as I do not think Touch has BT hardware anyway.

                  As for why not support A2DP - I am guessing it mostly has to do with making sure the iPhone survives past noon without needing a recharge (under current limited feature stack you can almost make to 5pm!!!)

                  -Em

                  • by repvik (96666)

                    I don't think the battery issue is relevant either. It does support headsets, just not *stereo* headsets. The battery sucks either way (Atleast until you jailbreak it!)
                    Seriously though, after I jailbreaked my iPhone, I can now get it to last almost two full days. Before that I didn't have a chance at a full days worth.

          • by dfn_deux (535506)
            There isn't any support hardware for bluetooth on any ipod, never has been. I doubt sincerely that Apple left out BT profiles because they thought people would hack a BT radio and antenna on the touch. While some people may be capable and motivated to do such a hack I doubt that enough people would be capable or motivated enough to follow their lead; certainly not enough to make any considerable dent in Apple's bottom line. It is far more likely that the data features were left out to prevent people from ha
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by WiseWeasel (92224)

            That's not the main reason. Apple is trying to encourage the ubiquity of the iPod connector interface, and including A2DP would severely undermine this, as car and electronics manufacturers would just use that to interface with iPods and iPhones instead of the proprietary iPod port. This would put Apple's competitors on much more equal footing with Apple with accessories and 3rd party electronics integration.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Weedlekin (836313)

              This is a far more likely reason than any of the others that have been given, because:

              1) Apple very likely pull in a fair bit of revenue from 3rd. party accessory manufacturers who license their proprietary iPod connection protocols and logos.

              2) iPods are ubiquitous, so those connectors crop up in all sorts of unexpected places, and the fact that Apple won't license the protocols to other MP3 player (and phone) manufacturers means that people who want to use anything that has such a connector have to buy fr

    • by not already in use (972294) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:19PM (#25456107)
      Here's my take on the situation. Google realizes that carriers want strict control over their devices. This doesn't bother me one bit, nor does it bother 99% of consumers. The 1% is does bother are people who want a profit-seeking corporation to bow to the wants and needs of a small minority.

      It bothers me when people complain about this, because the software is open. Branded versions will always be based on the open version, much the way you see MyEclipse staying in tune with the vanilla eclipse releases. Combine this with the fact that there is existing open hardware available (and opportunities to create more) and this supposed "community" that can put it all together, it leaves me wondering, what is there to complain about?
      • No (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wurp (51446)

        Google realizes that carriers want strict control over their devices.

        No, carriers want strict control over *your* and *my* devices. You know, the ones we either paid up front for, or the ones we paid out subsidized by our contract.

        This bothers me quite a bit.

        • No, carriers want strict control over *your* and *my* devices.

          Well, in particular, the devices you buy through them. Which, as you mentioned, are typically subsidized through contract. Of course, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from purchasing an unlocked phone from a third party and paying them for service only. It is a conscious (albeit ignorant and uninformed in the sense that many people see this as a requirement) decision to purchase the hardware from the carrier.

          • by wurp (51446)

            Well, my phone is a Neo1973 [openmoko.org]. I hate contracts, too, so I'm on AT&T GoPhone.

            I do think it's silly of us to let carriers dictate what happens with the phone we buy from them, though.

      • I want a computer (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kwerle (39371)

        I want my General Purpose computer to be able to fit in my pocket, run whatever programs I want, and be able to make phone calls. Why is that hard or unreasonable?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lupis42 (1048492)

        Here's my take on the situation. Google realizes that carriers want strict control over their devices.

        Of course they do. So what? Why should they get it? I want strict control over people being allowed to park in front of my house. That doesn't mean I have any right to it. AT&T wanted strict control over what could be plugged into their telephone jacks. That doesn't mean they got to have it, and I for one am grateful that it was decided that the network should be open to innovative new devices, because I like the fax machine, and I thought the MODEM was pretty handy for a while there. So what if

        • Of course they do. So what? Why should they get it?

          They are going to get it regardless. If the stipulations of Android didn't allow this, they would use something completely closed. Do you consider this a better alternative? Google realizes that to attain market share, they have to give carriers some control. This doesn't stop anyone from putting Android on an open platform, such as OpenMoko, so I'm still trying to figure out what all the fuss is about.

          • by lupis42 (1048492)

            They are going to get it regardless.

            Why?

            Why shouldn't we simply demand that the FCC (who's job is to defend our interests in the matter of communications) should be stepping and telling the carriers something like 'suck it up, you *have* to open this up or we'll take away your right to transmit'.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cl0s (1322587)

      You can install apps from the market, internet or the memory card. I've been able to install an iTunes remote through the memory card thats not yet available in the market. Too bad it didn't work with Rythmbox, but still I was able to install other apps with out going through T-mobile.

      I'm very optimistic about how far hackers can take this. I mean look what they do with closed source propriety stuff. They might have a few road blocks purposely put there but have already given us a huge jump just by releasin

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mc900ftjesus (671151)

      Google didn't have a production-ready BT stack, they have already said this was their fault, not T-Mo.

    • by outZider (165286) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:29PM (#25456277) Homepage

      Uh, if you read Google's releases, it wasn't T-Mobile castrating those features, it was limitations of releasing a bug free 1.0, and they've promised more bluetooth functionality in later API and OS releases. T-Mobile has not neutered the bluetooth functionality on their other smartphones, why would they do it on the one device they're touting so well as 'open'?

    • Google announced quite clearly [slashdot.org] before the launch that due to coding deadlines the phone would be issued with a limited Bluetooth stack and full features would be added later, and user developers were welcome to make their own solutions in the meantime...
    • by jbailey999 (146222) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @02:11PM (#25456913) Homepage

      One of the reasons we chose git was to make sure that we can't do that sort of blocking. While obviously the Core Technical Team can control what winds up in the master repositories, part of the reason we chose a distributed revision control system was to make sure that ultimately we can't block new ideas and new features.

      If you'd like to chat more, come by #android on FreeNode.

      (obDisclosure: I work in the Open Source Programs Office at Google)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zebra_X (13249)

      T-Mobile is one of the most customer friendly carriers out there.

      For example, if you have your phone for more than 3 months they will unlock it for you so that you can use other SIM cards while travelling. I learned this after paying to unlock my T-Mobile dash.

      Additionally, they fully "tolerate" tethering. Again with the Dash, it was a matter of firing up the PAN app and connecting my laptop, no call required.

      I don't know if this was just becuase I had a special rate plan but I also found that I was never c

  • Hackability (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737)

    Looking at the misfeatures implemented by Motorola into their phones to inhibit hacking (signing the bootloader, kernel, filesystems) and the frequently missing drivers, it makes me wonder how far one could take the environment released here.

    Could you, once built, take the resulting setup and shove it on a G1 and run it? Or are there similar vendor lockouts like those Motorola has implemented?

    I'd like to see a tivo-dodge here, but I'm not optimistic.

    • The real question -- How hard to port to OpenMoko? Or, another open hardware initiative to take advantage of everything Android has to offer.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:06PM (#25455865) Homepage Journal

    When will we see a port to the Palm Treo?
    And how about a lightweight netbook version?
    Or just a light weight GP disto based on Android.
    The hard part will probably be the JVM/JIT compiler.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CdBee (742846)
      if you search a site called 'Internet Tablet Talk' you'll see some enterprising types have already got the Android preview version running on a Nokia N810 web-pad

      Android on a Netbook would be superb
      • by dfn_deux (535506)
        Don't bother to install this unless you are are a dev. The early release that they have working on the n810 is excruciatingly slow since it runs on top of the existing maemo/hildon UI on an already resource limited platform; furthermore the android install is so feature bare that it transforms a reasonably versatile little tablet into a pretty useless little screen which does almost nothing and and what is does do is doesn't do well.
    • Why would you want to run Android on a netbook when there are already perfectly good Linux distros that are more well suited to a non-phone appliance?

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Well so far most of the distros I have seen on netbooks are not that great.
        A lot of people just install Ubuntu refresh on them.
        Android is designed for a small screen and low cpu power. It may be a good match for netbooks.

  • Earth to Slashdot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Whitemice (139408)

    >having commercial entities charter and lead
    >features of a platform that their own commercial
    >offerings provide 'enhanced' versions of

    Earth to Slashdot... this is how almost every major OSS project runs; people who pay for developers [such as me] will get the features they want.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Earth to Slashdot... this is how almost every major OSS project runs; people who pay for developers [such as me] will get the features they want.

      Indeed. This is not new. Apache, Samba, the Linux kernel, OpenOffice.org, Mozilla's product line, Eclipse, etc., all have features that were bought and paid for by someone, whether by directly employing the individuals involved, or through donations to a supporting foundation, or a little of both.

      I'm not saying that's good or bad -- it's just a part of the open source landscape today and will remain so for quite some time to come. It's good in that encourages development that benefits everyone. It's bad

    • Re:Earth to Slashdot (Score:4, Interesting)

      by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:27PM (#25456247)

      Earth to Slashdot... this is how almost every major OSS project runs; people who pay for developers [such as me] will get the features they want.

      No. There is a big difference.

      Typically when a commercial entity leads development of OSS where they have a propriety solution that enhances it, they PREVENT those key proprietary feature from EVER being added to the free version. Thus the ONLY way to get it to use their paid version.

      Even if the community WANTS the feature in the free version, and volunteer developers are willing to build it, the commercial entity prevents it from happening. Refusing those patches, playing politics, and so on.

      Of course the OSS community can always fork the project... but then they lose out on all the good things the commercial entity IS feeding into the development, and you get all the other community fragmentation issues that go along with forking too... there is no win-win.

  • How open is Android? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Qwavel (733416) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:13PM (#25455977)

    One important aspect of being 'open' is whether you favor your customers or the carriers.

    I see evidence of this distinction in support for bluetooth API's: the stronger and more customer oriented phone manufacturers support bluetooth API's (which makes many interesting applications possible). On the other hand, when carriers have a stronger role in designing a phone - this comes up particularly for CDMA phones - then the bluetooth API's are dropped or postponed.

    So I was quite shocked to see that Android v1.0 does not support bluetooth API's!

    I know that Google has claimed that they didn't have time to get the bluetooth API's into v1.0, but that is just the sort of thing that companies will tell us when they change plans due to carrier pressure. The BREW environment (for CDMA phones) has been playing this game for years: continually telling developers that bluetooth support was just around the corner.

    I sure hope that Google doesn't play the same game with us. I really want this to be an open and powerful platform.

    • by Qwavel (733416)

      I should add...

      Just because Google adds support for bluetooth API's to Android won't prevent manufacturers from removing that support, but then we can blame the manufacturer/carrier.

      • They've done such a great job keeping out custom Windows Mobile ROMs, how could they fail at securing an open source OS? /sarcasm

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Wrath0fb0b (302444)

      On the other hand, when carriers have a stronger role in designing a phone - this comes up particularly for CDMA phones - then the bluetooth API's are dropped or postponed.

      My HTC PPC6800 (Titan, Mogul) was designed for Sprint and VZ (CDMA/EVDO) and it has a perfectly functional BT implementation. External applications (e.g. pdanet) can even provide bluetooth services (DUN).

      • I believe they're referring to the Verizon monster. That big, ugly, overpriced, phone-locking craphole.

  • by cl0s (1322587) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:13PM (#25455981)

    Got my G1 yesterday. What I've played with so far is pretty nice, the camera is very light sensitive though, so far the only complain I have.

    You can install apps from the market, internet or memory card, and the possibilities are endless just with the original OS. Can't wait for some hacked versions of Android so I can really have some fun though.

  • 2.1 GB?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonnythan (79727) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:15PM (#25456003) Homepage

    I'm no developer.

    Can someone explain why the source code for a mobile phone's OS would be 2.1 GB?

    • Re:2.1 GB?? (Score:5, Informative)

      by NoTheory (580275) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:27PM (#25456255)
      This isn't just the OS. This is the OS and the SDK. The tools are the major component of the download. There's a whole android emulator included. :P The OS itself is a couple hundred megs of linux.
    • Re:2.1 GB?? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:32PM (#25456325) Homepage Journal

      It's actually not all that unusual for the source code for an OS (or any project, for that matter) to be much, much larger than the resulting installable code.

      Take a look, for example, at the Linux source. The kernel source is like -- what? -- 300MB?

      The resultant compiled and compressed kernel on a 32-bit system is like 1.7MB.

      So the source is like 300X the size of the resultant kernel.

      And that's just the kernel.

    • Re:2.1 GB?? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:51PM (#25456591)

      It's extremely well documented:

      /*

      ADD FUNCTION
      Created by KSP on the morning of the sixth day of the eleventh month of the year one thousand nine hunderd and ninety eight (Gregorian calendar)

      */

      /*

      This function takes 2 integers, by value, and adds them up, returning the result as one number!

      */

      int add(int a, int b) {
      /*Here we start our function*/
      /*The line below will be executed when this function is called*/
      /*Declare a temporary variable to store the result*/

            int c;
      /*Initialize it with the value zero (0)*/

            c = 0;
      /*Doublecheck that c is really zero*/

            if (c == 0) {
      /*All good so far... */
      /*Let's add them up! */
      //c = b + a;
      /*20080109 - JDS: above line commented out. The calling function CLEARLY wanted to sum up a plus b. NOT the other way around... I'm surrounded by aholes! Sheesh!*/

                  c = a + b;

            } else {
      /*DANGER! HERE BE DRAGONS!*/
      /*For some reason our temporary variable lost its initial value. Oh my Lord! We need some error handling here. Perhaps we could raise an error, telling whoever called this function that something went berserk. Or maybe we can silently just return zero. I like that! This will certainly be better for the other programmer, after all, he won't have to deal with error catching, etc... Let's make life easier for everybody!!! Actually, I like the number 3 better. Ever since I was a kid, it's been my lucky number. I'll return that! I'm so good, I'm BATMAN!.*/

                  c = 3;

            }
      /*Here's where we return the final value...*/

            return c;

      }

  • Been to a P2P site or a 7-11 in Hong Kong recently? The source code for everything is 'open'...

  • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:24PM (#25456191) Homepage Journal

    To build the Android source under Linux, you will need Ubuntu.

    wtf? How do I emerge that?

  • Doesn't mean much... (Score:3, Informative)

    by magamiako1 (1026318) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:27PM (#25456243)
    For the end users around here, this doesn't mean much for you.

    This does not mean that you'll be able to run whatever version of Android you want on your phone. I would imagine there's very likely situations with code signing involved that ensures that if you're using XYZ's phone, that you'll only be allowed to run the XYZ versions of Android.

    This open sourcing does not mean that you simply get to buy an Android phone and then download a version that you want and run that. Not only due to "artificial" reasons such as code signing, but due to hardware features (or lackthereof).

    All this really means is that the companies get to have someone else do heavy legwork for them. Beyond that, it means more familiarity with the Android platform which means there's potentially more market for the platform on the bottom line.

    More developers means more applications, more applications means more market for Android. Google and the phone carriers are happy. As an end user, you still get a locked down piece of junk--but hey, at least you'll have 50 variants of a card game to buy instead of 40.
  • Yay Google! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NSParadox (135116) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:31PM (#25456307)

    It's so ironic that the same day Google releases one of the largest and most impactful open source projects, Microsoft declares the day "Global Anti-Piracy Day". Horray for Google -- thanks for making our cell phones more powerful at as low a cost to the user as possible. Now if only there were more free and open carriers around....

  • OH SNAP (Score:5, Funny)

    by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:31PM (#25456317)

    "To build the Android files in a Mac OS environment, you need an Intel/x86 machine. The Android build system and tools do not support the obsolete PowerPC architecture."

    quite the burn there

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:33PM (#25456345) Homepage Journal
    Come on, I don't think this phone does enough yet. If they can't make a phone that can run SETI@Home while I play Duke Nukem Forever, then I'm not interested!

    And there's no word on its ability to make my dinner, either. What good is a cell phone if it can't deep fry?
    • by Nahor (41537)

      What good is a cell phone if it can't deep fry?

      This is not a software problem, they are just not using the correct battery.

      • This is not a software problem, they are just not using the correct battery.

        I wonder if that would explain my A/C and four-wheel-drive problems as well.

  • See cracking down on piracy has already propelled open source. It was early this morning when microsoft announced anti piracy day. Now, all of a sudden, adroid is open source. HAHA! What's next were all going to switch to linux today? If only we didn't switch sooner, then we could truly savor the moment.
  • As much as I LOVE open source and the idea of an open source operating system for phones, I fear that phone companies are going to take advantage of this. It won't take much for them to take a beautiful open source, extensible, customizable operating system and ship their phones with a custom locked down, provider locked, limited use piece of crap.

    As much as I hate restrictive license agreements, there should be a clause in their license stating that no one can install (for resale) a version of this os with

    • GPL3 does something close to what you want. It imposes no restrictions on what you do with GPL3 code; but it requires that, if you ship a device with binaries built from such code, you make the code and whatever is necessary to replace the binary with a modified version based on the code available to the purchaser of the device.

      That is arguably somewhat better than your proposal, since it dodges all the hairy questions about what a "restriction" is("You removed proxy support!" "No, we simplified the UI to

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