[FoRK] Do Not Anger the Alpha Android

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Thu Mar 31 18:08:40 PDT 2011

On 3/31/11 5:43 PM, Jeffrey Kay wrote:
> I wasn't so much throwing dirt (full disclosure to others that don't know
> --- I work on Windows Phone at Microsoft) --- just interested in knowing

I don't think he was referring to you dissing the Goog.
And good luck with that.  ;-)

> whether others were as incensed about this as some of the blogs I've been
> reading.
> It's really not MSFT or Apple that are taking up arms over this AFAICT.
> Google has started to tighten up its control over Android.  I think folks
> that use Android had the Linux picture in their heads --- they could do
> whatever they wanted without any consequences and they had a sugar daddy
> paying the bills to keep moving it forward.  Now Google is saying that this
> isn't quite the case --- if they are going to pay the bills, there's a quid
> pro quo.

I haven't yet seen all of the specifics, however I expect that the details amount to: "Sure, you can do whatever you want, within 
reason, and with high standards, and continued interoperability, and don't poison the market.  And contribute something back once in 
a while."  Or they will amount to that when the dust settles.  Having just spent months getting approval to release updates to an 
LGPL library and a small thing I wrote in a few days released as Apache 2.0 licensed, I can appreciate that something is needed to 
get many large corporations to release anything in a timely way.  I finally received approval 3 days before I was presenting at a 
AnDevCon, after ratcheting up my pressure over the previous few weeks.

> I admit I'm amused, but only by the fact that was _totally_ predictable.
> Google won't continue investing in a platform without maximizing their
> revenues --- that's their search model also.  They drop projects that don't
> pay.  On the plus side for Android users, this is a tacit promise that they

It's been written that the main reason that projects get dropped is that engineers lose interest and stop working on them.  I'm 
curious of the full dynamics of that.

> are not going to step away from Android any time soon.  But for the huge
> number of OEMs that just want a platform to use as a base for their own
> projects, this is going to start limiting them.  Does this really mean

It _may_ start limiting them.  The system is already open source, so if you just want a departure point, I don't see how it would 
limit you.  If you are just releasing an Android system, and expect to continue releasing an Android system with updates etc., then 
this isn't going to be limiting at all: It is probably required to get out of the mode where manufacturers and phone companies 
poison the market somewhat.  For instance, some device makers and some carriers have abandoned slightly older phones rather than 
port newer versions of Android to them.  Often, this was because porting the customized interface was no longer feasible, perhaps 
because carrying forward hacks was a problem.  (Although Microsoft / AT&T are said to be having a huge problem with this right now.)

> anything for MSFT or Apple?  Probably not much. The long tail of OEMs may
> reconsider the platform (and they probably weren't customers of MSFT anyway)
> or conform (which might not be good for the "openness" that a lot of Android
> users like).
> Interesting times ...
> --- jeff | jeff at jeffreykay.com | www.jeffreykay.com (blog) |
> www.kayslens.com (photos) | kosherhog (twitter) | i'm a pc | החזיר כשר

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