On Android and differentiation

InfoWorld’s Galen Gruman on why open source could kill Android’s chances.

This is precisely why I fear for Android’s future. The open source community is much more likely, based on its history, to screw around with umpteen hundred variations that are piled willy-nilly on top of umpteen OS variants, creating a mess that only a few nerds will want to play with.

You think?

Gruman goes on to hail the rumor of Google making its own phone to squash the fracturing of the Android market. But, wait, the Macalope thought “open sauce” — this multitude of hacks and putting all the power in the hands of oh-so-brilliant open-source developers — was what made Android so great.

So confusing! [antler scratch]

  • This seems to place the problem squarely in the wrong hands. Far from the open source community fracturing the platform, how fractured is the Apache community? Sendmail? Perl? Ruby? Python? PHP?

    The real problem is the carriers and the handset makers – they have a proven record of requiring special tweaks and hacks and removing functionality to suit their own needs and differentiate themselves from each other to hide their true commodified status. That’s where the fracturing is going to come from – free software only forks as a last resort.

    • Scruff:

      > Free software only forks as a last resort.
      Nonsense. Look how many distros of Linux there are. The problem is that developers always think they know best, and that preexisting code/software is always wrong. The reason why the examples you gave are all non-forked is that they are published languages, based on standards, and sendmail, well, sends mail – woo hoo. The majority of open source software forks itself out of relevance, as unlike a company with goals and standards, the open source community is hardly a community, and more a collection of warring factions with their individual beliefs and notoriety being their only goals, rather then those of their users.

  • Android, the open source mobile OS project is gaining a lot of popularity mainly because it is an open source project. But the major problem in it is, the lack of documentation. The plugins are good, but the layout and the UI are hard to understand.

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