Andy Rubin on the meaning of "open"
As CITEworld's Nancy Gohring reports, Google has announced that Andy Rubin no longer will oversee development of the Android mobile operating system that he brought to the search giant in 2005.
Sundar Pichai, who heads Google's Chrome and Apps divisions, will assume Rubin's duties, though Rubin will remain with the company.
One of Rubin's guiding principles was insisting that Android remain "open" -- freely available for partners to change and use.
But the definition of "open" varies. For instance, Google works on some aspects of Android in private, then usually works with a single hardware partner to release a "flagship" device highlighting the newest version of Android. The source code itself is not always released at the same time.
Below are some direct quotes from Rubin regarding his and Google's interpretation of "open":
- [T]he definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make” – Rubin’s first tweet, October 9, 2010, in response to criticism of Android by Apple founder Steve Jobs (translation: It's the command for compiling the Android kernel)
- "Device makers are free to modify Android to customize any range of features for Android devices. Our approach remains unchanged: there are no lock-downs or restrictions against customizing UIs. There are not, and never have been, any efforts to standardize the platform on any single chipset architecture. We continue to be an open source platform and will continue releasing source code when it is ready. We will continue to work toward an open and healthy ecosystem because we truly believe this is best for the industry and best for consumers." – blog post, April 6, 2011
- "Open source is different from a community-driven project. We’re light on community, but everything we do ends up in an open source repository. We make the code open source when the first device is ready. We’re building a platform, we’re not building an app. When you’re building a platform, you evolve and improve APIs, and sometimes APIs are deprecated. When you’re dealing with new APIs community processes typically don’t work — it’s really hard to tell when you’re done, and it’s hard to tell when it’s a release and when it’s beta. And developers need an expectation that the APIs they’re using are done. If someone were to look at an early release, they could start using APIs that aren’t ready and their software might not work with devices. We’re in a shepherd role and we made the decision to release the platform in the 1.0, 2.0, etc. scenario to make sure these APIs that developers are using are available on all devices on the platform. And going forward it’s part of our job to make sure that stays together. A community process is more difficult to manage — we take submissions, but it’s in a more controlled way as far as how it comes back out." – May 10, 2011 at Google I/O
- "Android is my creation, my baby. When I was an engineer I was always a fan of open source, and now our whole commercial strategy is based upon open source. You can imagine how passionate I am about this." – November 2011
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