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RMS on Android

George R [PersonRank 10]

Monday, September 19, 2011
9 years ago11,698 views

There is a story at the Guardian by Richard Stallman. He discusses Android. He laments that Android is not open source free to change software. He says that "Replicant" is a free open source alternative, but so far there are a limited number of devices that are supported. ...

He also complains that many Android configurations attempt to prevent installing free software.

"Some device models are designed to stop users from installing and using modified software. In that situation, the executables are not free even if they were made from sources that are free and available to you."

"The point of free software is that we have control of our computing, and this doesn't qualify. While any computing system might have bugs, these devices might be bugs. (Craig Murray, in Murder in Samarkand, relates his involvement in an intelligence operation that remotely converted an unsuspecting target's non-Android portable phone into a listening device.)"

"Google said it withheld the 3.0 source code because it was buggy, and that people should wait for the next release. That may be good advice for people who simply want to run the Android system, but the users should be the ones to decide this."

It seems to me that distributing defective binaries compiled from buggy sources is a major reason that those sources should be distributed, so that they can be fixed.

"Even though the Android phones of today are considerably less bad than Ap+ple* or Windows smartphones, they cannot be said to respect your freedom."

* – Note RMS spelled this word correctly, but the blogoscoped forum software is blocking the correct spelling.

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