Android: No Copyleft, big problem…

I read that Google will be providing all their Android software under an Apache license. Ed Burnette at ZDnet says:

With Android, carriers like Sprint and Cingular are free to use either open or closed source for any custom applications they install on their new Android phones. And of course, third party programs (like the ones you write) can be open or closed.

Then concludes:

It wouldnâ??t surprise me to see completely free/open distributions of Android which eschew any proprietary add-ons in favor of open source alternatives.

I seriously doubt this.

Given AT&T, Verizon’s and other carriers history on locking their hardware I’m pretty sure that all we’ll see (in anything at all) is their version of Android that’s bound to the handset with proprietary drivers, etc. that makes it the only distro that works.

I know why they went with Apache, because no carrier would go anywhere near a Copyleft license and at the end of the day without carriers Android isn’t going anywhere.


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