I recently read this story over at engadget mobile and couldn’t help but think this sort of thing really hurts the Android scene. I know CyanogenMod was in the wrong because he was re-distributing non open source programs. (Marketplace, youtube, maps, etc.) Google did give him the go ahead so long as he took those programs out. But here is where I really get worked up about this.
1. Why aren’t those programs open source?
2. If the ROM only runs on Google devices wouldn’t the people already have “licensing” to run the software?
3. I have been using Windows Mobile for 4+ years and have downloaded countless “cooked” ROMs including programs that I am sure were not open source nor were they licensed for my phone. And I have never see a ROM creator get a cease-and-desist from Microsoft to stop distributing their OS or programs provided. I have seen some ROM creators get cease-and-desist for including paid programs, but never from Microsoft. There are quite a few that even include Microsoft Voice Dial in their ROMs which isn’t free and only licensed for certain phones.
Now does this make Microsoft more open than Google? No. Maybe Microsoft just doesn’t care because they are working on a new phone OS. But even then, my phone currently has Windows Mobile 6.5 which isn’t even due out till next month and there have been 6.5 ROMs since before it was announced.
I honestly think the flexibility and non-threatening nature of Windows Mobile has been the only thing that lets it survive. I think the Windows Mobile (now called Windows Phone) has a bigger feature set and better hardware available than any other mobile phone OS. But the OS just sucks when it comes to usability.
If Google really wants Android to make a big splash with the smart phone market they need to stop acting like Apple and a bit more like Microsoft. Especially when you say your OS is “open”.
What do you guys think?