[ubuntu-uk] [OT] How free is the Android OS?

Tim Dobson lists at tdobson.net
Fri Oct 17 01:11:34 BST 2008

Michael G Fletcher wrote:
> * How free is the OS really?? I know it has a Linux based kernel and
> will be open source (?), but with the 100% free OpenMoko, would OM be
> better?

I don't think anyone has their hands on it at the moment, so we don't k 
how free it is.
I'm a proud Neo Freerunner owner and I'm watching carefulyl froma distance.
What we *do* know is that it is being released under the Apache Licence 
which is non-copyleft and thus may mean that t-mobiles version of 
Android isn't free software per se.

> * Is it worth tying into a contract with t-mobile (also phone will be
> sim-locked), ie - does this go against what freedom is about, or is it
> a necessary evil? (like proprietary drivers/firmware)

Good question. I suspect if the phone is fully free software, it should 
be very hard to lock it to a providor. Having said that, it sounds 
unlikely that the handset will be without restrictions.
Is it a necessary evil? Strictly speaking no. When there are fully free 
phones, it's hard to argue it's necessary, but you can expect to pay the 
full price of the phone if it is unlocked.

> * Better to wait for the G2, G3 etc etc due to maturity of OS and
> better hardware? or cooler to be an early adopter - assumable it will
> be 'easily' upgradeable on the OS side.

Unless the money is buring in on your fingers, at least wait for some 
user reviews - if it lives up to the hype, there will be some rapid 
community development on the platform for the first 6 months at least I 
suspect. This sort of thing can be fun to be involved in.

> * And the ultimate question... black or white?

black is best :)

If each of us have one object, and we exchange them, then each of us
still has one object.
If each of us have one idea, and we exchange them, then each of us now
has two ideas.   -  George Bernard Shaw

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