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Google won't share Android 3.0 source early on

updated 01:45 am EDT, Fri March 25, 2011

Google not sharing Android 3 source to public yet

Google in an interview saidthat it wasn't giving out the source code to Android 3.0 for well after the launch. Engineering VP Andy Rubin claimed to BusinessWeek that it could be months away as the code had been rushed to make the Xoom launch date. The design was optimized almost exclusively for tablets and would likely work very poorly on phones, but with few controls to developers to prevent them from working it in

"We didn't want to think about what it would take for the same software to run on phones," he explained. "It would have required a lot of additional resources and extended our schedule beyond what we thought was reasonable. So we took a shortcut."

Rubin insisted that the company had "not changed [its] strategy" and was committed to open-source code, but critics have argued that Google's approach has been insincere and usually favored itself. Most Android releases have followed a pattern of handing out source code only months after its use in a shipping device and only for certain milestone releases. The approach gives Google's major hardware partners like LG, Motorola, and Samsung unfair advantages by letting them develop early while punishing smaller companies that are depending on the source code to get started.

In filtering the release, however, Google is also showing an instance of monitoring the quality of the experience on Android instead of hoping developers provide it themselves. Rubin at one point celebrated unwanted apps as a positive because they were allegedly proof the OS was open, even though users were blocked from removing the apps. Android 3.0 is Google's key play in tablets and likely has the search giant eager to preserve the core experience as much as possible early on before allowing others; the first customizations won't arrive until the summer and the new Galaxy Tab line. Apple has often pushed its at times limited but more consistent approach to a high level of success.

It isn't until the next version of Android, Ice Cream, that Google might start to truly unify its phone and tablet platforms.

by MacNN Staff



  1. cal6n

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not really surprising.

    Google have realised it'll take that long to remove all the evidence of copyright and licence violations...

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They're Calling The Next Version 'Ice Cream?'

    My money's on Rocky Road.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    boo hoo

    boo hoo, you had to wait a few months to get an entire OS completely for free.

    When you release something open source, that doesn't not make you an indentured servant-for-life.

    I don't know if some people are the confused or what, but Google can give you things for free on their own schedule, whenever they please.

    At no point are you ever entitled to receive the next release, or by a certain date, or before someone else. And to the other criticism, at no point are you ever forced to include it in your products.

    who are these "critics" anyway - just Microsoft employees - oh yes they still have a few employees, they love to make their intellectually dishonest criticisms, and spread them around to confuse who it might. But none of these criticisms explain why its an advantage to remove the option of having the free download.

  1. Nate83

    Joined: Dec 1969


    We Live in the USA...

    And everyone knows you have the right to free healthcare, education, food, and to the money of people that make over 250k. Now we can tack on the right to received free software source code in a timely manner. The fact that Google has recruited and is paying the salaries of some really smart people to put this all together should not give them a say in anything that happens with the product. Shame on them!

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RE: boo hoo

    Don't call it "open" if it's provided at the discretion of a single company or entity.


  1. The Vicar

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Far be it from me to defend the FSF, but when Google used GPL-ed code to build Android they set themselves up for this. If they don't like being hassled when they don't make their code public, they should have used BSD instead. (That would also have avoided the whining from the Kernel team when they chose to change file locking and display code.)

    There's a reason why the other big tech companies are ALL either avoiding GPL (Apple and Microsoft) or else pushing things which run on top of GPL code without modifying it (IBM): the FSF loves to sue over perceived infractions, and the language of the GPL is deliberately vague (RMS has admitted this) so that the terms used can mean whatever the FSF wants them to mean in context. The GPL is a ticking time bomb if you want to use code released with it to build commercial software.

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