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Android Modder Tries To Outmaneuver Google 152

Posted by timothy
from the only-a-link-to-a-url dept.
itwbennett writes "Google recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to Steve Kondik, the creator of Cyanogen, a popular souped-up version of Android, asking him to stop distributing applications such as Gmail with his modified software. 'We make some of these apps available to users of any Android-powered device via Android Market, and others are pre-installed on some phones through business deals,' wrote Dan Morrill on the Android developer blog. 'Either way, these apps aren't open source, and that's why they aren't included in the Android source code repository.' Now, Kondik thinks he's found a workaround. He plans to release a 'bare bones' version of Cyanogen without the applications, leaving it to modders to make a backup copy of the Google applications that shipped with their phone for later reinstallation before hacking away at the Android software. 'The idea is that you'll be able to Google-ify your CyanogenMod installation with the applications and files that shipped on your device already,' Kondik wrote."
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Android Modder Tries To Outmaneuver Google

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  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 56 (527333) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @11:39AM (#29581201)
    This actually seems like a more-or-less legitimate point by Google. I'll probably get flamed for this, but it seems like people may have overreacted a little bit.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

      It could just as easily be said that the IP issues surrounding Open Source are not well understood and prone to violation when mixed with proprietary IP. The assumption that Android was going to be an open system was clearly false, and Google's reliance on Linux has opened them up to unwanted competition.

      • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 56 (527333) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @11:48AM (#29581313)
        I'm with you right up until the end... I agree that there are IP issues with open source, particularly when you have to both open and proprietary IP involved. However, I don't see how this is a case of google being opened to 'unwanted competition.' Here is how I see it: - Android is open-source. - Not all of the apps on Android are necessarily open-source. - Therefore, Cyanogen, Drizzy, and whoever else are free to mod it to their hearts delight - just so long as they don't also redistribute things that aren't open-source. If this is really Google's qualm, and they will leave Cyanogen alone after he removes the proprietary IP, then I really don't see the problem.
        • 1. "IP" (assume you mean "Intellectual Property") is a weasel word. It has no meaning.
          2. "Open Source" isn't what has issues. Google has an issue with this guy distributing their copyright software without a license, which is entirely their perogative
          3. It is also entirely an individual user/owner of an Android phone perogative to save a backup copy of these copyright apps so as to facilitate reinstalling them after switching from Android to this Cyanogen.

          • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

            by lenehey (920580) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @01:23PM (#29582699)
            Intellectual Property:

            Function: noun
            : property that derives from the work of the mind or intellect (as an idea, invention, trade secret, process, program, data, formula, patent, copyright, or trademark) ; also : an application, right, or registration relating to this "

            --Merriam Webster.

            To help you out even further, the word "property" means, "2 a : something that is or may be owned or possessed : WEALTH, GOODS; specifically : a piece of real estate b : the exclusive right to possess, enjoy, and dispose of a thing : a valuable right or interest primarily a source or element of wealth : OWNERSHIP c : something to which a person has a legal title : an estate in tangible assets (as lands, goods, money) or intangible rights (as copyrights, patents) in which or to which a person has a right protected by law"

            --Merriam Webster

            Are you still confused?
            • Why is this modded flamebait? The assertion that "intellectual property has no meaning" is clearly false in every sense of the word. Suggesting that IP has no meaning is just another way of saying "I don't know what I'm talking about but I'm going to make this odd and big assertion to look like I have a clearly detailed opinion".
            • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward
              why is this flamebait? stupid mods.
          • by 56 (527333)
            1. Intellectual Property means legal ownership of patents, copyrights, etc. Clearly, you know this. You may not like it, but "IP" is the standard term in this discourse and, more importantly, in the law. So you're going to have to get used to it.
            2. I was not saying that Open Source has issues. I was saying that issues arise when you have an intermingling of open and proprietary software, such as in Android devices. This very debate is proof-positive that there are indeed issues in these instances.
            2a/3.
            • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

              1. Intellectual Property means legal ownership of patents, copyrights, etc. Clearly, you know this. You may not like it, but "IP" is the standard term in this discourse and, more importantly, in the law. So you're going to have to get used to it.

              All of which are nonsense. True, they might be part of the "legal system" (presently itself a big steaming pile of nonsense, squared) but the fact that some "lawmaker" scribbled something down on paper and called it a "law" is not by itself a sufficient pre-conditi

              • by ID000001 (753578)
                This is going too far

                by your definition, not only is there no such thing as IP, there are also no such thing as law since law are just "lawmaker scribbing down some common consensus on a piece of paper".

                Why don't you just say "IP is not a physical object" instead? So your statement actually, you know, makes sense.

                Your problem is that you think all laws are just made up by some entitles with power.
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  Why don't you just say "IP is not a physical object" instead? So your statement actually, you know, makes sense.

                  Because that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that "law" as a set of rules to govern society, is itself subject to rules of logic and science, a fact which many, if not most legal "industry" members refuse to acknowledge, in effect pretending that "law" represents some sort of higher order of existence, not bound by mere physical universe. As the result you get statements like " the l

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by DMiax (915735)

        If BioWare sells a linux live cd with Neverwinter included you do not have the right to redistribute a mod for free, even if it includes free software. I think it is called "mere aggregation" and it is well understood to be specifically exempted from the viral effects of the various licenses.

        So Android is free but the Google Apps that usually come "for free" with Android are not.

      • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @11:56AM (#29581427) Homepage Journal

        Try researching before commenting. Android is not Google's operating system. Android is run by the Open Handset Alliance. Google is a member of the OHA. Yes, Google created Android -- you or I or anyone can download Android, compile it for our hardware, and run it without paying Google or anyone a single dime.

        Google Maps, Google Mail, Google Market? They're GOOGLE'S software, not OHA's. Google wants money for them. You want it on your phone, you pay.

        Why is it so hard to see that Google and Android are not affiliated anymore. Separate companies.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          But the one thing they love more than a hero is to see a hero fail, fall, die trying. In spite of everything you've done for them, eventually they will hate you.

        • I did pay. I bought a phone that is branded with the "Google Experience". Cyanogen's mod is written specifically for this type of device, so he is not re-distributing anything that consumers didn't already pay for. And how is the "Android" Marketplace a closed-source Google app? I'm shocked the OHA allowed that to happen.
          • by 56 (527333)
            It's not an issue of you paying. It's an issue of Cyanogen distributing copyrighted software without paying.
            As I see it, you are entitled to install the Google apps that you have already paid for (by buying your phone) on a modded device. Cyanogen, however, is not allowed to distribute that software pre-installed on his mods.
          • Yes, but it is not his to distribute...do ya understand.
      • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Enderandrew (866215) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [werdnaredne]> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @12:17PM (#29581681) Homepage Journal

        Why is the modded interesting?

        Android is 100% open source.

        It is possible to use non-OSS apps with Android.

        If someone was taking Linux and illegally distributing proprietary, commercial Linux apps with it, they'd get a cease and desist. That doesn't mean that Linux isn't open source because you're prohibited from illegally distributing certain closed source apps with it.

      • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        It could just as easily be said that the IP issues surrounding Open Source are not well understood and prone to violation when mixed with proprietary IP.

        The issues surrounding Open Source are the same that surround proprietary licensed "IP". The same copyright is involved. The same requirement to follow licensing is involved. The trick is to pay attention to that mix of licenses. When I go and buy a Dell laptop and it comes with a package of software pre-installed, I still have to pay attention to the licenses involved for each piece of software that came bundled with that system. We've been able to survive this mix of proprietary licenses for decades

        • Car analogy... Replacing the factory radio with an aftermarket model that makes use of the GPS and Onstar-type hardware without paying the monthly service fee. Does that work for you? I am sure someone will punch holes in that analogy but it does raise an issue of hardware ownership and the right to re-purpose it (think video game consoles and phones; new or obsolete models).

          • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

            Yup - that's a great bad analogy. But it's just not the same if it doesn't come from Badanalogyguy himself.

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        Geeze. Next time, could you at least demonstrate your complete lack of understanding of simple issues with an inappropriate analogy? That would at least be in-character and potentially amusing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      I'll probably get flamed for this

      You'll probably het modded "Interesting".

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by selven (1556643)
        We, the moderators, need to sign a giant collective pact to make the wishes of the mod point martyrs come true. It's deeply disturbing how often the tactic works and propels you to a +5 insightful.
        • by mcvos (645701)

          I agree. When I get mod points, I usually try to meet people's expectations when they expect to be modded down.

    • by noundi (1044080)

      This actually seems like a more-or-less legitimate point by Google. I'll probably get flamed for this, but it seems like people may have overreacted a little bit.

      No you shouldn't. It is completely valid, and it's not only because it's not open source, it's also illegal to make use of anothers trademark, such as the case with Firefox/Debian. In FOSS however you can fork the project, which you can't here. Still I see no reason why this is even noteworhty. Google is careful about its channels. I wouldn't want my brands to be associated with just anything either.

      • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Informative)

        by evalhalla (581819) * <elena@valhalla.gmail@com> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @12:28PM (#29581855) Homepage Journal

        > In FOSS however you can fork the project, which you can't here.

        Yes, you're free to fork the Android project and do whatever you want with it, it's under a FOSS license.

        What you can't do with the fork is distribute Google's proprietary apps that happen to run on Android: if you need their capabilities you have to write an alternative.
        While such applications feature strongly in the "google phone" as usually sold, they have no technical advantage, and there is nothing in the system that prevents alternative applications from taking their place.

        • by makomk (752139)

          Except you'd have no way of finding and installing the other applications, since the Android Marketplace (which is the main method of obtaining apps) is itself one of those applications that's closed-source and can only be used with Google's approval. Basically, the open source version is useless as a smartphone platform as is - you have to fork the entire platform, including setting up your own separate application store, writing your own e-mail client, etc.

    • A little helper program so you could easily push buttons to back up and restore the google apps. Make it easy.

      I have a new (to me) G1 and I gotta say some things are easy and a joy (sadly, twitter, althouhg good news, ssh) while other things are so difficult and painful (logging into starbucks wifi through the web) I can see myself going postal and throwing the phone across the room. Especially if I hear the words "meditation", organic" or "yoga" one more time.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      This actually seems like a more-or-less legitimate point by Google. I'll probably get flamed for this, but it seems like people may have overreacted a little bit.

      Yes, the zealots will flame but this move by Google seems to be "possibly evil". Of course I or any of the other people posting on this thread are not in possession of the full facts just yet but I'm very interested on what exactly Google's intent was with this.

      What does Google have to gain by alienating the mod community?

      I'd like to unders

  • Slashdotted... (Score:5, Informative)

    by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @11:43AM (#29581251)

    Google Cache [74.125.47.132]

    The current state..

    The last few days have been difficult. What has become clear now is that the Android Open Source Project is a framework. It's licensed in such a way so that anyone can take it, modify it to their needs, and redistribute it as they please. Android belongs to everyone. This also means that big companies likes Google, HTC, Motorola, and whomever else can add their own pieces to it and share these pieces under whatever license they choose.

    I've made lots of changes myself to the AOSP code, and added in code from lots of others. Building a better Droid, right?

    The issue that's raised is the redistribution of Google's proprietary applications like Maps, GTalk, Market, and YouTube. These are not part of the open source project and are only part of "Google Experience" devices. They are Google's intellectual property and I intend to respect that. I will no longer be distributing these applications as part of CyanogenMod. But it's OK. None of the go-fast stuff that I do involves any of this stuff anyway. We need these applications though, because we all rely so heavily on their functionality. I'd love for Google to hand over the keys to the kingdom and let us all have it for free, but that's not going to happen. And who can blame them?

    There are lots of things we can do as end-users and modders, though, without violating anyones rights. Most importantly, we are entitled to back up our software. Since I don't work with any of these closed source applications directly, what I intend to do is simply ship the next version of CyanogenMod as a "bare bones" ROM. You'll be able to make calls, MMS, take photos, etc. In order to get our beloved Google sync and applications back, you'll need to make a backup first. I'm working on an application that will do this for you.

    The idea is that you'll be able to Google-ify your CyanogenMod installation, with the applications and files that shipped on YOUR device already. Or, you can just use the basic ROM if you want. It will be perfectly functional if you don't use the Google parts. I will include an alternative app store (SlideMe, or AndAppStore, not decided yet) with the basic ROM so that you can get your applications in case you don't have a Google Experience device.

    I'll have more updates soon as I get all the code hammered out.

    Thanks for all the support thru all of this.

    This entry was posted on September 27, 2009, 9:41 am and is filed under Home.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    They will fubar this if it has any sort of step beyond download + install.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Umm... The first shttp://mobile.slashdot.org/story/09/09/29/1510232/Android-Modder-Tries-To-Outmaneuver-Google?from=rss#tep in installing Cyanogen's stuff is to root your phone. This is not intended for the technically challenged.
  • In other words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @11:44AM (#29581263) Journal

    This is not a work around. He will comply with Google's wishes and most everyone will be more or less happy. Google keeps their proprietary apps available for license and he gets to have his distro without having to pay for a distribution license.

    A compromise that is win-win all around.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      I'm sure pre-compiled images with all the apps will appear in the usual places within hours of each release anyway, much like they did with XBOX Media Centre.

    • Yes, but google should make this as easy to do as possible. Ok they obviously don't *have* to, but it would be nice if they did.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AmberBlackCat (829689)
      I happen to want a so-called "smart phone" that I can program, and wouldn't mind having a touch screen. However, the iPhone is only available on AT&T and I hate Google. So a Google phone with all of the Google stuff taken out is very interesting to me. Maybe this guy's found a new fan...
      • by jrumney (197329)
        I hope this move raises people's awareness of the fact that the Android Marketplace application is a Google proprietary application, and the Android Marketplace is in fact restricted to a small list of countries [google.com], even for free applications. There are better alternatives [slideme.org], but unfortunately not many developers upload their applications there, I suspect because they assume that everyone can access the official marketplace, and Google doesn't exactly make the restrictions widely known (try finding them from th
    • by steelfood (895457)

      This is a workaround. It is the modder complying with the C&D, and working around Google's restrictions by not including the closed-source apps. What it isn't is the modder trying to "outmaneuver" Google.

      FWIW, a compromise would involve some sort of mutual agreement between the two parties whom originally set conflicting terms. In this case, only Google has set the terms, and only the modder has agreed to those terms. The opposite hasn't happened, since the modder's ability to mod Android is separate fr

    • by ajs (35943)

      This is not a work around. He will comply with Google's wishes and most everyone will be more or less happy.

      Yeah, it seemed odd. The Slashdot headline struck me as something I'd expect from The Onion... "Area man defiantly complies with Google's wishes. Search giant left with confusing feeling of satisfaction."

      Anyway, it was a rather silly story to start with. He violated Google's copyright. Google asked (in as nice a way as C&Ds allow) for him to stop. He did. This really wasn't worth anyone's time.

  • cyanogenmod (Score:3, Insightful)

    by proudfoot (1096177) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @11:44AM (#29581269)
    I have a rooted G1 and use Cyanogenmod: it provides several enhancements, such as root, which allows for Wifi/bluetooth based tethering. It is also somewhat more responsive and quicker than the official firmware. It does have less battery life, and can be less stable then the official version however. While it is true that Android is open source, Android without many of the base apps such as Gmail/Google maps is not particularly useful. Still though, this won't prevent me, and other users from using this mod. And since I paid for the phone, and by extension, the applications that came with the phone, I should be able to transfer them to a new operating system on the same phone.
    • by 56 (527333)
      Can't you just re-download them from the Market?
      • by Skythe (921438)
        You can get Maps and maybe Youtube from the market, but not much else. The market itself isn't Open Source and part of the license violation, anyway.
  • Not outmaneuvering (Score:5, Informative)

    by ddrueding80 (1091191) * on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @11:47AM (#29581303)
    It isn't outmaneuvering, I'm sure this is what Google had in mind. No licenses being broken, and a strong modder community.
  • Andoid Touch (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by BlueBoxSW.com (745855)

    When is a non-phone version of Android going to come around?

    Wouldn't mind playing with it, but I don't need it as a phone.

    And I think there's lots of potential for it as an open source portable media device.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why not get the nokia n810 [wikipedia.org] then? It's much less restrictive, it's been on the market for quite some time now and you can get one quite cheap.

      • by Jaysyn (203771)
        He just said he didn't need a phone.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by crwl (802043)

          He just said he didn't need a phone.

          The N810 isn't a phone. The upcoming N900 is, however.

          • by Jaysyn (203771)
            Ok, you got me. I just looked at the picture & saw that it looked like every other side-flipper smartphone out there & didn't actually read the wiki.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 56 (527333)
        IWell there's the android netbook, the Acer Aspire One D250m, so I can't imagine an android-does-ipod-touch will be far behind.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rivetgeek (977479)
      If you download the sdk they have an emulator.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tangent3 (449222)

      There's the Zii Egg [zii.com]...

  • Outmaneuver? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bernywork (57298) <bstapleton.gmail@com> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @11:51AM (#29581341) Journal

    I don't think that's actually true.

    I think this solves their complaint, this means that the code is being left with the end user, and is not being distributed by them.

  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @11:51AM (#29581345) Homepage Journal

    I love my Android G1 (with Cyanogen's Mod). But Google is not Android, nor vice versa. Google created Android, and then spun it off to the Open Handset Alliance (OHA).

    This means that Google is now an application developer for Android, just like any other application developer. Android supports competitive markets (and there are at least 3 Android markets out there). Gmail isn't the only email interface, Google Maps is not the only maps interface.

    I love my Android phone, but I don't love the Google apps -- they're too intrusive. I'd love a Google-less G1, and I'm down for trying the new mod without the Google apps if it will work fine.

    Again, Google is not Android. Android is Android, maintained by the Open Handset Alliance. Cyanogen might be wiser to join the OHA, actually, and license the apps if he wants them.

  • Works for me. He also said he's working on an app that'll do the backup for people who can apparently handle rooting and uploading custom ROMs to their phone but can't handle a few adb commands.

    Honestly, I don't LIKE all the googlifying of the phone. The default ROM on a Mytouch 3G (how pervy is that name, btw?) doesn't even let you skip the google signup.

    I'll definitely put SOME Google apps back on my phone (Google Maps, Listen, etc) but I'm pretty happy to not be REQUIRED to.

  • Basically Google's operating system is open source like Apple's operating system is open source. You can fiddle with the geeky low level core stuff, but the things that are actually useful and make it valuable are proprietary and can't be messed with without being sued.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Android is an open source operating system. But not all apps that run on it are open source. How is that a "dirty little secret"? Google never claimed anything different.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      comparing it with OS X is a bit extreme. with the expected barebones android mod, it will still be a fully functional phone. i don't know of any OS X mods that give you a fully functional working PC just without iLife and iTunes, etc...

    • by WeirdKid (260577)

      Good analogy, but it's no secret. Google is more than happy to take your open source, contributed works and use them for profit. It's free engineering work on components that just aren't very useful without all the proprietary other parts, and as long as there are corporate fanboys out there willing to do it, Google and Apple would be stupid to not take advantage of it.

    • ut the things that are actually useful and make it valuable are proprietary and can't be messed with without being sued.

      Because there's nothing valuable in the underlying operating system... oh, right, except for the fact that those "useful" things can't be run without it.

    • Basically Google's operating system is open source like Apple's operating system is open source.

      Not really. OS X, the OS itself is partially open source and partially closed source. Things like the graphics frameworks have proprietary, closed source parts. Then they provide some closed source applications lie iTunes on top of it.

      Android is actually open source through and through. All of it is open source and not even managed just by Google. So it would be more like if Apple released all of OS X as open source and spun it off to a third party, but still provided closed source applications like iTunes

  • The WINE and ReactOS projects don't provide MS Office, IE or Media Player. FPGB (http://games.slashdot.org/story/09/09/29/0516251/Gameboy-Color-Boot-ROM-Dumped-After-10-Years [slashdot.org]) doesn't provide GameBoy cartridges. MAME makes you responsible for finding your own ROMs. Et cetera, etc.

    • by Compholio (770966)

      The WINE and ReactOS projects don't provide MS Office, IE or Media Player. FPGB ... doesn't provide GameBoy cartridges. MAME makes you responsible for finding your own ROMs. Et cetera, etc.

      Actually, Wine does provide "IE" (in the form of a minimally functioning clone) - but your point is well taken.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      Heck - Windows doesn't provide MS Office.

    • WINE and ReactOS aren't redistributions of Windows.

      This is more like if MS told people making Windows XP slimming programs to not distribute Calculator with their mods because MS owns Calculator.

      Of course, you can't redistribute Windows like that, where you can Android.

  • by diamondsw (685967) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @12:13PM (#29581637)

    This is essentially how it works on any platform you're hacking. You can release all the open-source bits, modifications, and instructions you want (modified roms, killhdinitrd, dsmos), but the minute you combine that with proprietary software (Google Apps, Tivo software, Mac OS X DVD's), you're in hot water. So the usual result is anyone who wants to remain legitimate distributes only the modifications, and allows users to bring in the proprietary bits themselves. It's worked well, and keeps everything legally clean. Perhaps a little more work for the end user, but hacking has never been point-and-click.

    Tivo hacking, Mac OS X hacking, now GooglePhone hacking. No different.

  • I am confused (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529@yaPERIODhoo.com minus punct> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @12:31PM (#29581911)

    My HTC Touch Pro2 ships with Windows Mobile, Office Mobile, IE Mobile, and Windows Media Player. I went to the XDA Developers forum and downloaded a cooked ROM containing Windows Mobile, Office Mobile, IE Mobile, and Windows Media Player. An Android ROM customizer gets a cease-and-decist from Google. To my knowledge, no Windows Mobile ROM customizer has gotten a C&D from Microsoft. I'm no Microsoft fanboi, but I *am* confused as to why Google would raise a stink over their product being distributed in such a way that it will ONLY be useful on devices that already came with the software. It's not like he lifted it from an Android handset and is selling it in the App Store or even ported it to the iPhone and is giving it away for free on Cydia or something like that. I guess I just don't understand how being distributed on cooked ROMs that only work on handsets that originally came with the code and will only be used by a subset of Android owners is going to harm Google.

    • by Zach978 (98911)
      Not all devices will be "blessed" by google, in fact many G1's in Asia do not have Google apps due to licensing issues. Also - the carrier gets a cut of the Market revenue, so there may be device/carrier specific modifications to the Market app to enable this tracking.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)

      I *am* confused as to why Google would raise a stink over their product being distributed in such a way that it will ONLY be useful on devices that already came with the software

      Because that's not the case. Android can run on a wide variety of platforms, including a lot that are not supported by Google. Google only wants to support their apps on a certain set of platforms. You are confusing the issue somewhat because everyone running Windows Mobile on a handset is doing so because the manufacturer has bought a license from Microsoft, while not everyone running Android has any business relationship with Google.

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Considering that MS is likely unaware of the mod in question- rest assured, if MS knew about that sort of thing being pervasive as Cyanogen's mod was for Google Experience devices such as the G1 and Mytouch, you could bet your bottom dollar they'd do the same thing as Google did.

      Just because you're seeing it going on and Microsoft not doing things about it doesn't make it any better on the part the Windows Mobile modders or Google any worse for it all for their actions here.

  • by argent (18001) <peterNO@SPAMslashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @12:33PM (#29581963) Homepage Journal

    This isn't an "outmaneuver", it's precisely the right thing to do. It's no different from other open source projects with closed source components, like emulators that require a ROM image to function, or the Second Life client that requires proprietary Vivox components for voice.

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @12:43PM (#29582115) Homepage

    In the case of any "open source" based device what is going to happen is the manufacturers learn quickly that some portion of the user community will do completely unexpected things with the device and the software on it. Often, this will violate various agreements, including potentially trade agreements governing the use of the device in places. This is especially true with cell phones - wouldn't you like to have a cell phone that **ALWAYS** gets a channel rather than competing with other phones in your area? Nevermind that the tower owner might not like this hack, there is little that can be done to stop it, especially with a more "open" phone.

    The other thing that is expected - and is clearly happening - is people get confused about licensing and what is and what is not free to redistribute. The end result is again, there is no control over content. In this case the developer/distributor decided to comply with Google's request. They could have just as easily said bugger off, and if they were in a non-compliant country there would be little Google could do about it. And that is assuming they could find the person at all.

    Sure, it looks obvious to manufacturers that an "open" device might be cheaper to start with. But there are other costs that are just beginning to become apparent. Most of these are mitigated by locking down the device so it might have "open" roots but is unmodifyable. As in the case of things like Tivo, Archos, Kindle, etc. the manufacturers have done quite a bit to ensure this sort of problem doesn't come up. Unfortunately, what we are going to see with "popular" devices is they will get pried open, exposed, hacked, and proprietary content redistributed and modified.

    I'm just waiting for the first person that figures out a way to use the cell service with a Kindle for some other purpose. Something that costs Sprint enough that they want to cancel their agreement with Amazon. Something that doesn't involve destroying the Kindle to rip the cell modem out.

    • The whole tone of your post demonstrates that you have drunk the cool aid of the content industry,

      of which traditional mobile operators are part,

      the point is that I have a mobile to make calls, and send/receive SMS and not to me monetized, GBP 6 /megabyte indeed.

      Kindle would do better to make their device actually work, see the comments of Princeton students, HINT it sucks!
  • by watanabe (27967) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @01:02PM (#29582387)

    There are a few technical pieces missing from the comments here, and this story is still definitely developing. From Cyanogen's twitter feed today: "This is about proprietary device drivers and not Google at this point. These drivers are not redistributable."

    This is a nice reminder that there's likely no building a usable phone room without infringing on some agreements. I do not expect this to change in the near future; what this means is that a sort of 'merge' or 'overwrite' or patch system will need to be put in place for people modding their phones.

    This will take a little time to build would be my guess, but isn't insurmountable; I think the complexity of building such a thing should fit inside of the typical hacker attention span that's been piqued right now.

  • Timothy, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mewsenews (251487) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @01:33PM (#29582845) Homepage

    "Complying with demands" is not "outmaneuvering".

  • It took me some time to formulate an opinion on this, and so what I say is not a knee-jerk reaction. I personally kept hoping that google were pushed into this because of either the alliance they are in or because of something less obvious (like pushing around some proprietary rubbish from htc) - but so far it appears not to be the case. My position will flip utterly though if that does occur.

    First of all, let me compare google android to windows mobile - go to xda-developers.com and have a look at all the

  • by august sun (799030) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @02:34PM (#29583709)
    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/09/google-cracks-down-on-android-developer/ [wired.com]

    "The Android engineers at Google are now making available previously unreleased components â" makefiles and configuration files â" that will give independent developers the ability to create Android releases in the same manner that Google does, but without using Googleâ(TM)s proprietary apps. These engineers are working with volunteers from the community and have already begun working on alternatives to the proprietary Google applications."


    It doesn't sound as contentious as the OP but it definitely seems like Google is taking the right tact on this to me.
  • Google has a point; they never claimed those Google Apps are open source.

    Maybe the work that he does to stay in compliance will provide a sort of "road map" for others in the future who wish to mod/hack so that they can do so without ending up being threatened legally, yet will still be able to provide their work to the community in a usable form that will allow the the mods to be easily installed without the user losing functionality they want.

    I have to agree with everyone else who has stated that "outmane

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