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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Google Cease & Desists Android Modder

Lauren Weinstein writes:

If you don’t follow the world of Google’s Android OS, you might not realize that a tremendous amount of work related to Android is being accomplished by independent coders who customize, extend, and otherwise do great things with Google Android phones such as the HTC G1 and myTouch. By basing frequent (sometimes even daily) system updates on the open Android code repository, these unpaid enthusiasts have been supplying new Android features way in advance of official releases

While Google has done the community a great service by open-sourcing most of Android, I find it distressing to learn that perhaps the most prolific of the independent Android phone “ROM” creators (with over 30K active users) – who goes by the handle of “Cyanogen” – has reportedly just been served with a “cease and desist” order by Google. (...)

Google’s dispute with Cyanogen appears not to revolve around the mostly open-source portions of Android, but rather relate to the fact that he is bundling into his releases a number of the very important closed-source Android apps, like Market, Talk, Gmail, and YouTube.

The Android and Me site say an inside source provided them with the following background info:

The C&D that Google sent to cyanogen was spawned by Google’s legal team, and lacks the support of the Android developers (who think it’s in VERY poor taste), likely spawned by the fact that he included a copy of the new 1.6 marketplace which had not been released anywhere else. He’s had at least 1 phone call with Google, and is working to open a dialog with them about the issue. They’re so far well with in their legal rights to do what they did, and he’s trying to open a dialog to allow him to continue. At this point, he thinks they’re acting in good faith, and is trying to keep this as quiet as possible to avoid any negative PR, so long as they’re acting in good faith.

[Thanks George!]


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