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Isn't Android Supposed to be an "Open Platform"?

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Journeyman

Isn't Android Supposed to be an "Open Platform"?

Why would Google and all the carriers sell us on Android as the "open" alternative to the iphone when in fact it is NOT open at all. T-mobile has made Sherpa and Imeem exclusive to their devices. This was confirmed by Buddy at geodelic. The newness of the platform on other carriers has made for alot of finger pointing about why apps are missing from the market on certain phones and there is not accountability. Carriers are saying it's the market place or HTC and vice versa. This really needs to be addressed. Any thoughts or comments are appreciated.

5 REPLIES 5
Journeyman

Re: Isn't Android Supposed to be an "Open Platform"?

The Open Platform just means anyone can grab the Android SDK and create apps, there is no barrier of entry to do this and to get them on the Android Market.

If you are equating open source with open platform, then i have a few things about that :

The operating system is open source, the licensing of use of certain apps, the hardware and the service from your carrier is not open source.  All the open source means that is part of the OS is probably protected by the GPL (i.e. someone cannot license the OS for profit) and the source code is readily available for someone to look at and modify and distribute if their license is an open source derivative.  The market apps do NOT have to be open source, they are separately developed apps that MAY or MAY not be open source, the OS open source license does not extend to those applications.

People confuse Open Source for "free and transparent" to all - there is a bit of transparency, but remember, this is for the base operating system.  The Google specific apps, the sprint apps, the HTC specific app are not necessarily open source.

Message was edited by: revlayle

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Journeyman

Re: Isn't Android Supposed to be an "Open Platform"?

Android is an open platform. You can write and install all the apps you want.

Sherpa, however, is not open. Sherpa is a proprietary program that is exclusive to T-Mobile. Just like T-Mobile customers can't have Sprint NFL or Sprint TV, Sprint customers cannot have Sherpa.

The Sherpa web page itself is T-Mobile branded:

http://www.geodelic.com/sherpa/

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Journeyman

Re: Isn't Android Supposed to be an "Open Platform"?

That is only a link, not a branding.  Just like the Facebook and twitter logo links on the right side of the Geodelic page.Imeem is not branded as T-Mobile either.

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Journeyman

Re: Isn't Android Supposed to be an "Open Platform"?

Geodelic partnered with T-Mobile to develop Sherpa, a customized app with our unique learning feature.

From that webpage.

jonnythan is right. Sherpa makes android a "closed platform" the same way that HTC Sense or any of the Sprint apps do...meaning, not at all. They're developed to promote a specific device or carrier over another. They could run on our Hero, but until the developers of the application (T-Mobile, Geodelic) decide that they want to release it to the android market at large, they don't have to.

As for imeem, I'm not sure that it's a T-Mobile exclusive. I think it might be due to the market problem that we've heard about recently, as there have been people here that were able to download it.

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Journeyman

Re: Isn't Android Supposed to be an "Open Platform"?

revlayle,

Pretty good, however you CAN resell open source software for a profit.  Profit actually does not play directly into the open source licensing or restrictions.

There are a lot of different Open Source licenses, Android happens to be licensed under the GPL2  (Gnu Pulbic LIcense)  Under the GPL 2 you can take any pice of code, modify it in any way that you wish to modify it, use it for any purpose, even to make a profit by reselling that software.  You don't even need to modify the source code, you can simply take it and sell it.  However, IF you do modify the software, or create software based on the GPL2 license, you are required to make available  ALL your source code derived from the original source code to anyone who asks for it.  You can also not place furthe restrictions on what the person who gets that source code from you can do with it.  In other words, you can modify it any way you want, and you can sell it, but since the source code for the software is available for free, you are unable to "force" anyone to pay for your program based on the GPL, since you have to make the source available for free.

There are other licenses such as the license that BSD is release under.  With that license, you can take/leach all the efforts of the open source community, turn around and modify the source code in any way you wish, and never return anything to the community that created the basis of your project.  (That is why Apple chose to use BSD as the base of OSX for their macs and iphones.  They were able to take, take, take, and not have to give anything back.  Apple did nothing wrong (legally), after all that is the way the developers licensed their source code.)

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