Thursday, July 17, 2008

Google's Android open source door is now closed

Have you heard the shocking news? If not then let me strip it down naked for you.

It all started when developers who're building apps for Android received a note through its mailing list, the content of the note is somewhat like this:

"from: Android Developer Challenge Team to: Android Developer Challenge Contest Entrants date: Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 5:50 AM subject: Final SDK build available (84853); deadline extended to Tuesday, August 5
ADC Entrants, We're pleased to announce that SDK build 84853 is now available on your private download site. This will be the last build released for ADC Round 2 and is the build that you will need to submit your final application under. In addition, the final ADC deadline has been extended to Tuesday, August 5. This is the final ADC deadline. Thanks! * Android Developer Challenge Team

What is in your mind when you read the note up there? Yup, if anger and frustration are in your picture; then you can imagine how are the feeling of Android developers when they read it.The note indicates that Google has been privately offering SDK updates only to selected developers, only 50 winners of the ADC that is.

So where's the openness of Android platform that Google has promised before? InakaBoyJoe, one of the developers has expressed his feeling in a sarcastic joke about it at the
Android Developers forum group; but yet it seems appropriate:

"Ahhhhh, now it makes sense. So they've been making private SDK releases while the rest of us suffer with the pile of bugs from the 4+ month old release. And then "leaking" this information is their way of telling us, "We really only need about 50 apps for the platform, so the rest of you can just go develop for iPhone."

The boiling heat of that particular
forum thread then cleared with an apology post from David McLaughlin (Android Advocate), and a wise one from Josh Guilfoyle: "The e-mail you all received was an accident, but is essentially an admission of this policy. It will be interesting to see if Google now decides to formally comment on the private SDK releases."

After that, lots of tech bloggers were picking up on the news and started to posted their own "sarcastic" comments about how Google is now has closed the door of its most hyped mobile platform. Since this is a family weblog, I can't post them here. But I picked one that's good, and it came from Mr. James Kendrick (

"The dream came crashing down this week as developers discovered that Google had indeed kept Android open to everyone. Well, let's just say it's open more to some than others. ... Why, that's kind of like tying developers hands behind their backs, isn't it? ... Let me tell you, the last thing Google needs with all the other delays and problems they have been having getting Android to a working state is to have the bulk of the developers pulling out of the race. And if I was one of those offended I'd be gone already. Fool me once..."

But of course not all are losing their faith on Google's Android, and have keep up their heads and hope for the betterment of mobile world. Like this optimistic comment from Mat Asay (
the Open Road):

"I don't think Google should be accused of holding back from its community here. I just think the company needs to be much more transparent about why it's doing what it does. There are very good reasons to do a limited SDK release before releasing the code to a wider distribution. Google just needs to state what those are."

I do hope so, and we should hope so too... Because if not, then it'll be as good as if we join in the "
hankering" Linux fanboy line from now on, to hope for the "openness" and for a little while interesting point of view from open source. ;-p

Sources are from
Android Developers Group forum, via PCW Business Center.

[blogged with my Treo 750v]

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