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07 April 2011, 10:49

Android chief says Android is still open source

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Android icon In a posting to the Android Developers Blog, Andy Rubin, VP of Engineering and the man in charge of Android development, has said that Android is, and will continue to be, an open source platform. The posting's title, "I think I’m having a Gene Amdahl moment", alludes to Gene Amdhal's coining of the term FUD for Fear Uncertainity and Doubt. Rubin's statements come in response to commentary surrounding reports that Google is holding back the Android 3.0 Honeycomb source code and that the company is taking more control over modifications to Android.

On the issue of the source code for Honeycomb, Rubin writes that the company will "continue releasing source code when it is ready" and that the "Android team is still hard at work to bring all the new Honeycomb features to phones". When this work is completed, "we'll publish the code". Whether this will be Honeycomb or a later version, as alluded to by departing CEO Eric Schmidt in February, is unclear, but Rubin says that the delay does not represent a change in the company's open source strategy for the mobile phone and tablet operating system.

Rubin says that the company has always required devices to conform with basic compatibility requirements and that it has had an "anti-fragmentation" program in place since Android 1.0. "There are no lock-downs or restrictions against customizing UIs" said Rubin. The original report referred not to restrictions, but to Google wanting approval on any changes made by early-access partners who have access to the Android code before it is released as open source.


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