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Android Modder Tries To Outmaneuver Google 152

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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  • Re:Interesting (Score:1, Interesting)

    by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @11:42AM (#29581235)

    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:2, Interesting)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @11:45AM (#29581283) Homepage Journal

    I'll probably get flamed for this

    You'll probably het modded "Interesting".

  • by dingen ( 958134 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @11:55AM (#29581399)

    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:cyanogenmod (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 56 ( 527333 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @12:03PM (#29581497)
    Hmm, that's a really good point. The Market app is one of ones they have a problem with? If that's the case, then this really does put a damper on the Android modders. Anyone know if the Market App is one of the ones involved?
  • I am confused (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <voyager529@ya h o> 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.

  • Re:Andoid Touch (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tangent3 ( 449222 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @12:43PM (#29582111)

    There's the Zii Egg []...

  • 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.

  • Re:In other words (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AmberBlackCat ( 829689 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @02:22PM (#29583551)
    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...
  • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @04:56PM (#29585429)

    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 law does not have to make sense, its the law!" etc.

    Also, saying that "IP is not a physical object" is an oversimplification in itself, as many "laws" dealing with "physical objects" also seem to try to defy reality.

    Your problem is that you think all laws are just made up by some entitles with power.

    Laws are made by "lawmakers", in US all of whom are presently pretty much for sale to the highest bidder. And that is in addition to the multi-multi-billion dollar "legal industry" which thrives on maintaining an arcane order of high-priests, priests, assistant-priests and various lesser acolytes dedicated to worship of the deity of "law" and "interpretation" of its musings, because the supposedly universal set of societal rules is by now so byzantine that no citizen can possibly understand even a fraction of them. Naturally, it is in the highest interest of that parasitic industry to keep things that way. Having illogical, convoluted, self-contradictory "laws" is very much akin to having the Book Of Nostardamus as your reference material: one can, given enough mental gymnastics, "read" anything one wants out of it.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by selven ( 1556643 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @05:10PM (#29585567)
    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.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?