CNET has posted a lengthy look at how Google is dealing with the open source aspects of the Android platform, and how some open source advocates are less than pleased with Google’s actions so far. Google’s approach seems to be to develop everything in-house first, under controlled conditions, and then to release much of the code to the open source community once it is ready.
Andy Rubin, Google’s man heading the Android development project, said that about 8.6 million of 11 million total lines of code that make up Android will be made open source. CNET points out that the current Linux kernel is made up of roughly 8 million lines of code itself, so that seems to imply that most of the open source code in Android is likely to be from the kernel that is already freely available.
Another item that is causing Google to take some heat is its decision not to use the very popular GNU General Public License (GPL) for Android. Instead Google has gone with the Apache License, which will allow hardware manufacturers to keep any code they develop themselves strictly proprietary, whereas GPL would have required that all derivative works be given back to the community. As such, any UI extensions or applications developed by Samsung, as the story suggests, would not have to be made freely available to Samsung’s rival LG.
The article is lengthy, but certainly worth a read.