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In which Andy Rubin digs a hole just a little deeper

Andy Rubin’s definition of “open”, October 2010:

the definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”

Andy Rubin replying to Alibaba’s John Spelich, September 2012:

“Aliyun uses the Android runtime, framework and tools.  And your app store contains Android apps (including pirated Google apps).  So there’s really no disputing that Aliyun is based on the Android platform and takes advantage of all the hard work that’s gone into that platform by the OHA.”

From “open to everyone to use” to castigating people for “[taking] advantage of all the hard work that’s gone into that platform by the OHA.”

Either it’s open, in which case everyone gets to take advantage of the work, or it isn’t, in which case Rubin needs to say it. 

If Rubin believes, as he say, that Aliyun “contains pirated Google apps”, then they should sue, rather than pressuring partners not to work with them. 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/narcogen David Josselyn

    Why? Legal action is expensive and often yields little relief. Anyone can still download and use Android. Most OEM partners operate on a different level, with early access, use of the Google name and logo, and other perks. Rubin is saying that use of official builds of Android may be an exclusive requirement of those partnership agreements. If that is so, and he can get compliance with the agreement just by asking the OEM (and commenting publicly) why shouldn’t he? 

    Why do you think legal action comes first and conversation comes later?

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    When it’s a clear case of copyright infringement – which is what Rubin is claiming – it wouldn’t be expensive by corporate standards. I’m assuming, of course that Google has already asked Alibaba to remove its code from the store. If not, then it’s worth asking the question of why Google has chosen to make this public complaint prior to a private one. 

    (I should add that I think you may be conflating two separate points: Rubin claims that Acer has to abide by its conditions of OHA membership, which is one issue, but also hints that the reason Google is so unhappy is that Alibaba is distributing Google code illegally. I don’t blame you for conflating them, to be honest, because I think that’s Rubin’s intention.)

  • Waza_Be

    OMG, you don’t know what you are talking about!
    You are mixing the Google Licence for Google Play, Google Maps and all other products with the ANdroid source code.

    You should have know that everybody can download and use Android on a phone, including Acer and Alibaba, they can change bit of code.

    But if you are going deeper and break some API, that means that app won’t work on it, and Google will not give the licence to include what we call “Google apps”.

    That’s what happen to Acer, they can stil install Android on their phones, but no more benefit from official apps.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    No, I’m not conflating the two, Rubin is – that’s the point I’m making. Rubin continually talks about “the platform”, without specifying what he’s talking about. 

    All Alibaba has done is create a forked version of Android. That’s legal, but Google doesn’t like it. So Google is trying to say that Alibaba also steals proprietary code. Note that if that was true, Google should, as I say, have sued. That they have not is, to my mind, telling. 

    Finally, you should also know that simply passing compatibility isn’t enough to allow a company to use Google’s apps or call their product Android. They have to license from Google – and Google gets to apply any terms it wants. 

  • Waza_Be

    “All Alibaba has done is create a forked version of Android. That’s legal, but Google doesn’t like it.”
    You definitely don’t know what you are talking about.

    Samsung Touchwizz is a fork of Android
    HTC Sense is a fork of Android
    Motorola Blur is a fork of Android

    Wimm is a fork of Android that is not licencied, is encouraged by Google and has no access to Gapps.
    Baidu is a fork of Android that is not licencied, is encouraged by Google and has no access to Gapps.
    Amazon is a fork of Android that is not licencied, is encouraged by Google and has no access to Gapps.

    There are many of them, I don’t know, but the rule is clear, either you are licencied and you have Gapps acces, ore you have no licence, and therefore, you cannot use Gapps!

    What’s hard to understand?

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Sorry, but you clearly don’t really understand what “forking” means. When you fork a code base, you create an entirely new version of the code – and updates to the original code aren’t necessarily implemented to your new “forked” version in the future. It’s like a fork in the road – you go one way, the original goes another. TouchWiz isn’t a fork of Android – it’s a set of user interface elements layered on top of Google’s core retained code. 

    What’s more, your point is now completely irrelevant to the original post.

  • Waza_Be

    That’s funny you have never been to github…
    I use to fork open source projects, create commits, pull new code.

    Maybe I am wrong and all github users are wrong after all!

    https://help.github.com/articles/fork-a-repo

    Maybe github is a small un insignificant website for open source projects ;-)

  • Waza_Be

    Just to add one more thing, so I am pretty sure you will delete all comments because it obvious that all the blog entry is false; just look at cyanogenmod, the most popular fork of Android!
    https://github.com/CyanogenMod

    They are not part of the OHA, and they have no Android license.. Funny thing that they are helped by Google with their blessings and CM Team commit changes to Android everyday

    They have no access to Google Apps or whatsoever and can copy Android code since 1.6

  • http://husk.org/ Paul Mison

    Nitpick: given what I think the right meaning of OHA is – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Handset_Alliance – it’d be nice to see a link for disambiguation.