updated 07:55 pm EDT, Wed October 20, 2010
Android's "openness" questioned
Facebook developer Joe Hewitt has questioned Android's status as "open source" software, while arguing that the mobile platform only succeeds because Google yields to carrier demands. Hewitt suggests Android is "no different than iOS" until it becomes "read/write open" and control is shared with the community, "not show and tell," according to a Twitter post.
The developer followed his short jab with further explanation on his blog, where he admitted that Android is "the most open" of any major mobile OS.
"The fact that you can replace the home screen with a third-party launcher or even make your own app store is a clear sign that Google's heart is in the right place," Hewitt said. "However, there is clearly something keeping them from being even more open. That something is probably the carriers, and not Google's management philosophy."
Hewitt went on to argue that Google's flexibility with carrier demands was likely a critical factor pushing Android's success. If Google had prevented the platform from becoming compromised, it "would very likely be irrelevant today."
"It bothers me that so many people's first exposure to the idea of open source is an occasional code drop, and not a vibrant community of collaborators like I discovered ten years ago with Mozilla," Hewitt wrote. "I am hoping that at some point it becomes practical for Google to move Android towards the Firefox model of open source, because I am sure that they want to."