Feeds

Google cracks open Android's closed development

Future control to curb OEM enthusiasm

SANS - Survey on application security programs

OSCON Google will crack open more of Android's development process but keep new versions of its mobile OS closed for competitive reasons.

The giant will change Android's Native code Development Kit (NDK) so that contributed code joins the publicly available Android source tree rather than going into Google's private tree.

There's no date for when the switch will take place, but it should follow a similar move on the Android Software Development Kit (SDK).

Public contributions won't be possible on un-released versions of Android though. That will remain hidden, and Android's development will remain a private affair.

Google wants to retain competitive advantage and prevent a scenario where OEMs ship unfinished source code on phones with disastrous consequences for developers and end users as their code breaks or applications downloaded from the Android Market fail to work.

According to Google, this has nearly happened before when one unnamed OEM wanted to start shipping pre-release the Android 1.5 - codenamed Cupcake - on its phones.

Defending the private development of what is a Linux platform, Android open-source and compatibility program manager Dan Morrill told the O'Reilly Open-Source Convention (OSCON) in Portland, Oregon that Google couldn't afford for this to happen, so some development of new platforms is done in private.

"We realize we struck a balance a lot people in the fee software community might not think is ideal, but we think it works for us," Morrill said.

Speaking to The Reg, Morrill said Google wants contributions from the community because they add value and is looking on a project-by-project basis at what it can make open.

"There's no reason not to be in the open. We do have specific reasons for why some things we do we keep internal, because we compete with other companies in the electronics space," Morrill said.

Despite this closed development process, participation in Android is growing. Google claimed submission rates on Froyo were 150 per cent higher than contributions to the previous Éclair. Forty companies are official Android contributors with 1,000 contributions since launch.

Morrill also noted that Google is trying to convince phone hardware providers like Qualcomm and Texas Instruments to open up their code to work with Android features such as the radio interface link – a hardware abstraction layer. He said Google has got a long way to go but the company is working with companies to "make them realize this isn't strategic." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.