• Apple had a headstart on Google. So Google made a bet on open source to help adoption and accelerate development. That bet paidoff and Android’s market share today is much much larger than Apple’s. But Google has been trying to sabotage Android’s open source root ever since Android won the mobile wars.

    • Yep this is it. Google did it because they were forced to, to catch up to apple and try to boost worldwide adoption, and you’re right, it worked.

      While its possible that google could close off things, it would really hurt their adoption with carriers all over the world, so they won’t.

      Also its exciting to see some really popular android forks like MIUI and HarmonyOS that are becoming more than just skins.

      • Thanks!

        Eventhough Android is FOSS, it really doesn’t work for most people without Google Play Services, which is as closed as sofware gets. I hope we get more alternatives like MicroG that close the gap.

  • There’s the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which is open-source and contains most components of Android. Google has allegedly forced manufacturers to install their proprietary components, though (Play Store, Chrome, YouTube, Play Services etc.), so what you commonly know as “Android” is not fully open-source.

    And yeah, it was to drive adoption. The tech community (excluding Richard Stallman, of course) still believed open-source was the solution to everything back then. Nowadays, I will name Android as my primary example of why open-source alone is worth nothing.

  • Most of it is open source. You need to add a few things to make it work. That’s what lineageos did.

    They open sourced it to drive adoption. And to make app development easier.

    Obviously they don’t own the Linux kernel so they must release kernel changes.

    They want to do away with that with fuscia so maybe they do want more control over the kernel intellectual property

  • Most current FOSS which offers some online services, hardware support, certain drveres and protocols, include GoogleAPIs, which are also FOSS, this is the main problem and how Google control the internet. This make it irrelevant if a OS like Android or other service is FOSS or not, at least in privacy or to avoid Big Tech. It’s sad, but since Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and others have gotten massively into the world of FOSS, offering a large part of these products, developed by in-house devs and contracted in their own Stores, such as Google code , GitHub, GitLab and others, the original philosophy has been greatly distorted. A new definition of FOSS is urgently needed to avoid these confusions between what is independent FOSS and what is ‘proprietary’ FOSS

    • I’m not sure why there is a need for a new FOSS definition. If it is free and open, it’s FOSS. Most Android distribution that are installed on phones you can buy are NOT FOSS. The Google Play Store is not FOSS. The Google Play Services are not FOSS.

      The core of Android is FOSS, though, and that is called AOSP - Android Open Source Project. It’s a working smartphone OS. Install F-Droid on it, and you have a FOSS store that’s filled with FOSS.

      I mean, sure. Microsoft is about to embrace and extinguish. But I’m not sure if they distorted the original philosophy of FOSS. How so?

      • I’m not talking about Google Play, I’m talking about Google Code, a FOSS repository, such as GitHub, which is from Microsoft, MS even allows itself the irony of offering FOSS and even Linux distros, for example KALI in the MS Store itself. On Android it is even sad to see on F-Droid more and more apps marked with the addition ‘This app has specifications that you may not like’, for carrying non-free components and even ads.

        • Okay, then I see even less of a problem. The important thing is to understand that Microsoft is about embrace and extinguish. FOSS is still FOSS. Github is under the control of Microsoft. Not FOSS.

          F-Droid is simply honest with you about certain aspects. FOSS doesn’t mean that the software is morally flawless, you know? You can easily have extremely awful and fucked up software, while it is still FOSS.

          I think you’re talking about things that are indeed problematic, but I think they don’t have to do with FOSS. It’s what those companies, services and softwares are doing. These are two seperate issues.

          For example, the fediverse isn’t a better alternative because the underlying software is FOSS. It’s better because it’s decentralized by design. Facebook could be FOSS, and still be awful, manipulating and dishonest. It’s a seperate issue.

          • This is the point, FOSS is great for share, for devs for own projects, for collab…but of course it is not what many say, FOSS is neither a guarantee of privacy, nor of security and, of course, many times of proper functioning. That is, for a normal user, without programming skills greater than Hello World, all this is not so relevant, he can’t really use all the advantages which offers a accesible script nor modify it to his like or fork it, but if a product offers a good TOS and PP, which is not controlled by BigBrother, it works optimally for what he need it, have good support and maintenance, the latter also things where FOSS shines often as non-existent, that is to say that FOSS or any other software or service is only as good as the support community or the dev team behind it. The trustworthy of a soft or a service is based on much more as only a license type, that is only shown in the daily use and in the support and maintenance it receive.

  • I keep reading these comments…perhaps my understanding of FOSS is flawed…but, I don’t consider my Google phone “free” (in free software sense) at all. I hate it and use it as I’m poor and I can’t function without a phone, so I tolerate android.