Surprise: AT&T's First Android Isn't Open

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/S...nt-Open-107258



Quote:

Surprise: AT&T's First Android Isn't Open

Motorola Backflip launches, but AT&T's crippled the device...

08:55AM Tuesday Mar 09 2010 by Karl Bode





AT&T's first foray into the business of offering Android-based phones isn't going particularly well, and it's pretty clear the company's general dislike of Google for their positions on competition, network neutrality and open access is spilling over into AT&T handset decisions. Last week AT&T launched their first Android phone (the Motorola Backflip), but pulled Google search from the device in favor of Yahoo. That alone could be brushed aside as "all's fair in love and mobile war," but this week finds AT&T taking heat for trying to cripple the Android platform.



Users complain that not only are they relegated to Yahoo search, but AT&T has loaded the Backflip with annoying AT&T applications that can't be removed. AT&T's also managed to cripple user choice in terms of adding new applications, preventing a full range of now-standard Android options including tethering. Notes a Backflip user:

Quote:

There is NO option to install applications from untrusted sources. This means anything on your SD card, downloaded from the web or over your wifi at home WILL NOT WORK. Naturally, you also cannot use the "su" command in terminal. With the Kaiser's bloatware, they removed/hid apps from you so you wouldn't try to use them and replaced them with their crapware. Also on my first day of using it I got a number of "Force Close" messages including on the built-in applications (ie: Motorola's flavor of the desk clock).



As Engadget correctly notes, that kind of behavior on AT&T's part is exactly the sort of thing wireless CEO Ralph de la Vega said they wouldn't do when discussing Android last year:

Quote:

...we like the Android as an operating system on its own, but we want to make sure that we have, and customers have the option, to put applications on that device that are not just Google applications, so when the G1 came out and T-Mobile launched it, it's primarily a Google phone. And we want to give customers the choice of other applications on that device, not just the same Google applications.



Apparently, by "choice," AT&T meant theirs -- not yours. Again, AT&T's behavior is rooted in fear of what happens as wireless networks evolve and carriers like AT&T lose the power to be gatekeepers and are relegated to the role of dumb pipe operators.



Bring on the outrage.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    samabsamab Posts: 1,953member
    This is what OPEN SOURCE is all about.



    You can take the source code, fork the whole thing, strip out things you don't want and add other proprietary stuff on top of that.



    If you want to blame somebody, you should blame it on Google --- who put the Android OS on Apache license which specifically allows AT&T to fork and keep the source code.
  • Reply 2 of 18
    solareinsolarein Posts: 143member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by samab View Post


    This is what OPEN SOURCE is all about.



    You can take the source code, fork the whole thing, strip out things you don't want and add other proprietary stuff on top of that.



    If you want to blame somebody, you should blame it on Google --- who put the Android OS on Apache license which specifically allows AT&T to fork and keep the source code.



    If that's not enough, here's what the Open Handset Alliance has to say about their choice of license



    Quote:

    Apache is a commercial-friendly open source license. The Apache license allows manufacturers and mobile operators to innovate using the platform without the requirement to contribute those innovations back to the open source community. Because these innovations and differentiated features can be kept proprietary, manufacturers and mobile operators are protected from the "viral infection" problem often associated with other licenses.



    Viral infection problem? Did they really say that? I mean the least they could've done is try to put it nicely, rather than coming off as a rabidly anti-open source proprietary software shill.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solarein View Post


    Viral infection problem? Did they really say that? I mean the least they could've done is try to put it nicely, rather than coming off as a rabidly anti-open source proprietary software shill.



    GPL is viral and it is a problem. Saying someone that choose Apache over GPL is rabidly anti-open source is being a class 1 freetard. Congrats on the promotion.
  • Reply 4 of 18
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,756member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    GPL is viral and it is a problem. Saying someone that choose Apache over GPL is rabidly anti-open source is being a class 1 freetard. Congrats on the promotion.



    Spring is in the air and so are the ad homs.

    Nice.



    BTW, he didn't write that choosing Apache over GPL was being rabidly anti-open source. He said describing it as a viral infection (and perhaps it is) was not nice and made them sound rabidly anti-open source. vast difference. At least get your facts straight before you start with the personal insults.



    To the OP: I hope Android users do complain about this. AT&T are being pricks here. Why is it that complaints about this type of behavior are only allowed when it isn't Apple?
  • Reply 5 of 18
    solareinsolarein Posts: 143member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    GPL is viral and it is a problem. Saying someone that choose Apache over GPL is rabidly anti-open source is being a class 1 freetard. Congrats on the promotion.



    How about you learn to read? Where did I say that I have a problem with them choosing Apache over GPL? I was specifically referring to the terminology being used. Saying that the GPL is "viral" and is a "problem" is decidedly taking a stance against GPL, I'm not saying it's not true but the word choice carries a connotation. It is a very unprofessional choice of words to use, especially since the platform's kernel is licensed with GPL and they have every reason not to alienate the developers of their kernel. The right thing to do would be to use neutral words to describe their choice so as not to appear to take a stance against the GPL. They could've simply said that the license has the benefit of allowing operators and manufacturers to keep their features proprietary, and be done with it.
  • Reply 6 of 18
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    ...enough to let AT&T do whatever they want with it.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    asianbobasianbob Posts: 797member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by samab View Post


    This is what OPEN SOURCE is all about.



    You can take the source code, fork the whole thing, strip out things you don't want and add other proprietary stuff on top of that.



    If you want to blame somebody, you should blame it on Google --- who put the Android OS on Apache license which specifically allows AT&T to fork and keep the source code.



    Yet on the other hand, we have Verizon, probably the most "strip it down and add proprietary stuff" carrier of all of them, with not just one, but two (3 if the Devour takes off) highly successful Android smartphones. And neither one has a single feature that was crippled. And I assume the Devour will follow suit.



    Open source is a double-edged sword, yes, but you still have to put the blame where it's due, on AT&T, not Google. Every other manufacturer of Android smartphones have done nothing but improve upon the stock Android OS (i.e. Sense, MOTOBLUR). Even the custom ROM devs have improved Android (i.e. giving 2.1 features on the 2.0.1 ROM). AT&T decided it would be in the "best interest" of the customer to cripple those things, not Google.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Until companies like HTC customise it until it steps on Apples IP, leaving Google safely out of harms way as they are not directly involved in any alleged infringements.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post


    Yet on the other hand, we have Verizon, probably the most "strip it down and add proprietary stuff" carrier of all of them, with not just one, but two (3 if the Devour takes off) highly successful Android smartphones. And neither one has a single feature that was crippled. And I assume the Devour will follow suit.



    Open source is a double-edged sword, yes, but you still have to put the blame where it's due, on AT&T, not Google. Every other manufacturer of Android smartphones have done nothing but improve upon the stock Android OS (i.e. Sense, MOTOBLUR). Even the custom ROM devs have improved Android (i.e. giving 2.1 features on the 2.0.1 ROM). AT&T decided it would be in the "best interest" of the customer to cripple those things, not Google.



  • Reply 9 of 18
    asianbobasianbob Posts: 797member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    Until companies like HTC customise it until it steps on Apples IP, leaving Google safely out of harms way as they are not directly involved in any alleged infringements.



    I'm assuming you meant to write "Until companies like HTC customizes it and alledgedly steps on Apple's IP...".



    And what does that have to do with this being AT&T's first Android smartphone being crippled? Please put that discussion in one of the few "Apple v. HTC" threads we have going on.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Why would I have alleged twice in the same sentence describing the same thing?



    It shows how Google, by releasing the basic OS avoids any alleged infringements by allegedly not adding allegedly patented IP to it or adding it to alleged handsets as alleged in allegedly patent trolling lawsuits involving their alleged partners.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post


    I'm assuming you meant to write "Until companies like HTC customizes it and alledgedly steps on Apple's IP...".



    And what does that have to do with this being AT&T's first Android smartphone being crippled? Please put that discussion in one of the few "Apple v. HTC" threads we have going on.



  • Reply 11 of 18
    asianbobasianbob Posts: 797member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    Why would I have alleged twice in the same sentence describing the same thing?



    It shows how Google, by releasing the basic OS avoids any alleged infringements by allegedly not adding allegedly patented IP to it or adding it to alleged handsets as alleged in allegedly patent trolling lawsuits involving their alleged partners.



    Better, but still doesn't have anything to do with AT&T and their crippling. Unless you're claiming that AT&T is now an alleged Google partner and open for being sued by Apple.
  • Reply 12 of 18
    So after years of avoiding Android because they have the iPhone, AT&T finally adopts it.



    But then picks up an underpowered, crippled version of the platform with bloatware. Way to diversify, AT&T.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solarein View Post


    How about you learn to read? Where did I say that I have a problem with them choosing Apache over GPL? I was specifically referring to the terminology being used. Saying that the GPL is "viral" and is a "problem" is decidedly taking a stance against GPL, I'm not saying it's not true but the word choice carries a connotation.



    The whole point is that anyone that chooses to use an OSI approved open source license is not likely to ever be "rabidly anti-open source" because anyone rabidly anti-open source would pick...dum dum dum...a proprietary license.



    Only a free software zealot would ever describe an open source development project as "anti-open source" because they used the word "viral". Ohh...that is heretical according to the holy RMS and the church of the FSF.



    Note that the members of the Open Handset Alliance are all corporate entities.



    Quote:

    It is a very unprofessional choice of words to use, especially since the platform's kernel is licensed with GPL and they have every reason not to alienate the developers of their kernel.



    Who? The corporate devs who contribute 70% of the kernel? As long as they get a paycheck they'll keep coding as long as there is a corporate advantage for supporting the linux kernel.



    And what the heck are they going to do anyway? Boot the Android stuff off the kernel? Oh wait, GregKH already nuked the Android kernel code from the staging tree.



    Here's a clue: Google can afford to maintain a fork of the kernel...and the FSF is probably deathly afraid of that anyway. Not even the FSF fsks with Google or GPL v3 would have kept the Affero terms. Heck, RMS can't even get his way on the Gnome mailing lists anymore. It was hilarious when Stormy told him to be more polite rather than just ordering them around.



    Quote:

    The right thing to do would be to use neutral words to describe their choice so as not to appear to take a stance against the GPL. They could've simply said that the license has the benefit of allowing operators and manufacturers to keep their features proprietary, and be done with it.



    Why? It's not like RMS/FSF uses neutral words regarding proprietary software. What they wrote is immensely more professional. Viral (strong copyleft) software licenses ARE a problem whether they are GPL or MPL or CDDL or whatever for corporate developers. AND they put "viral problem" in quotes indicating that the term wasn't necessarily their term but from external sources. At least they aren't saying that folks that disagree are "unethical".



    What more can you ask in terms of "neutrality"? Complete capitulation and simply joining the FSF camp? Frankly the open source side of the house is immensely tolerant and neutral of all the idiocy from the other side and frankly we walk on egg shells too much to appease freetards who can never be appeased anyway.



    Only Theo really stirs stuff up from time to time.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post


    BTW, he didn't write that choosing Apache over GPL was being rabidly anti-open source. He said describing it as a viral infection (and perhaps it is) was not nice and made them sound rabidly anti-open source. vast difference. At least get your facts straight before you start with the personal insults.



    How about you read that sentence again. Calling anyone that uses the Apache license as "rabidly anti-open source" for whatever bogus reason is kinda like calling the Catholic Church in the US "rabidly anti-catholic" for whatever bogus reason because the Pope is sometimes displeased with what the US bishops say or do. At least until a full schism occurs anyway.
  • Reply 15 of 18
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,756member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    How about you read that sentence again. Calling anyone that uses the Apache license as "rabidly anti-open source" for whatever bogus reason is kinda like calling the Catholic Church in the US "rabidly anti-catholic" for whatever bogus reason because the Pope is sometimes displeased with what the US bishops say or do. At least until a full schism occurs anyway.



    Thanks for the clarification, but your explanation doesn't help your case...it's almost like you think someone using an Apache license is automatically pro open source. Yes, one can use the Apache license and still be fairly, even rabidly anti-opensource. Perhaps you have heard of a small company named Microsoft. They have in the past utilized the Apache license, though very rarely to my recollection. While they have been making noise of being more pro (or perhaps less anti)-open source, it would take a fantastic leap of fuzzy logic to think their use of OSI licenses means the cannot be anti open source. That is just dumb.



    Your catholic analogy simply makes no sense Let's give you a better one. If you are openly anti-catholic, but have a thing for catholic girls and perhaps even attend mass to pick up, this hardly makes calling you anti-catholic incorrect. You can still be generally or rabidly anti-catholic and attend mass. You can can use an open license and still be generally or rabidly anti-open source.



    The OHA used whatever license they felt would be most beneficial to their members. The choose the Apache license. This concretely confirms neither support for nor a position against open source in general.



    I do see your point now though. Might have been better to use your follow up posts first, instead of going straight to the person insults.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    solareinsolarein Posts: 143member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    The whole point is that anyone that chooses to use an OSI approved open source license is not likely to ever be "rabidly anti-open source" because anyone rabidly anti-open source would pick...dum dum dum...a proprietary license.



    No, your logic is flawed. An entity can be rabidly anti-open source and still choose an Apache license if it serves their purpose for a specific instance. In any case I have no interest in speculating whether the OHA is anti-open source or not. I don't know why your reading comprehension is so bad but I explicitly referred to the wording they used on that page, nowhere did I attempt to speculate about the stance of the OHA on the issue or what their choice of license means. For all we know the wording here was approved by some branch of the organization that detests open source for whatever reason, and does not represent the choice of words that the organization would've chosen.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    Only a free software zealot would ever describe an open source development project as "anti-open source" because they used the word "viral". Ohh...that is heretical according to the holy RMS and the church of the FSF.



    Oh so you think there's nothing wrong with those words right? Organizations should have no problems throwing those words around? We'll see about that...



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    Why? It's not like RMS/FSF uses neutral words regarding proprietary software. What they wrote is immensely more professional. Viral (strong copyleft) software licenses ARE a problem whether they are GPL or MPL or CDDL or whatever for corporate developers. AND they put "viral problem" in quotes indicating that the term wasn't necessarily their term but from external sources. At least they aren't saying that folks that disagree are "unethical".



    Oh wait a second, so putting the term in quotes and making it appear that it wasn't their term makes it more okay? You just admitted that there may be something wrong with using the term. Here's an idea: how about you don't use the term? It's completely unnecessary and the meaning can be easily conveyed by something like...



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    What more can you ask in terms of "neutrality"? Complete capitulation and simply joining the FSF camp? Frankly the open source side of the house is immensely tolerant and neutral of all the idiocy from the other side and frankly we walk on egg shells too much to appease freetards who can never be appeased anyway.



    Only Theo really stirs stuff up from time to time.



    How about simply saying "the license does not impose licensing requirements on derivative code, therefore it has the benefit of allowing operators and manufacturers to keep their features proprietary." There, wasn't that easy? My point was just about the choice of words, geez. When did I say anything about joining the FSF camp? Clearly the words are not neutral. You betrayed yourself when you admitted that there may be a reason to put the words in quotes to distance themselves from it. The meaning could've easily been conveyed with a more neutral and professional set of words.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post


    Thanks for the clarification, but your explanation doesn't help your case...it's almost like you think someone using an Apache license is automatically pro open source. Yes, one can use the Apache license and still be fairly, even rabidly anti-opensource. Perhaps you have heard of a small company named Microsoft. They have in the past utilized the Apache license, though very rarely to my recollection. While they have been making noise of being more pro (or perhaps less anti)-open source, it would take a fantastic leap of fuzzy logic to think their use of OSI licenses means the cannot be anti open source. That is just dumb.



    Microsoft isn't rabidly anti-open source either. They might be rabidly anti-FSF. STILL a different thing. Nor do they have to be "pro open source" if they use Apache...just not "rabidly anti-open source".



    Hence the religious analogy...although I agree the catholic one I gave was weak. MS dislikes Catholics but tolerates or likes Protestants. Calling them anti-Protestant makes little sense when they spread FUD about Catholics.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solarein View Post


    No, your logic is flawed. An entity can be rabidly anti-open source and still choose an Apache license if it serves their purpose for a specific instance.



    Right. Show me a non-theoretical instance of anyone who is "rabidly anti-open source" and chooses an open source license. In order to be "rabidly anti-open source" you need to have significant philosophical bias against open source to reject it "rabidly".



    There may be some folks that are "rabidly anti-FSF or rabidly anti-GPL or rabidly anti-Free Software" but open source itself is sufficiently benign and mutually beneficial that being rabidly against it is difficult.



    Please also explain how YOUR word choice of "rabid" is valid in this context. How can one be "rabidly" anti-anything and STILL do that anything?



    A handset alliance that is "rabidly anti-open source" would rally around a closed source OS for handsets as an alternative to Android. Not embrace Android and promote it.



    Quote:

    In any case I have no interest in speculating whether the OHA is anti-open source or not. I don't know why your reading comprehension is so bad but I explicitly referred to the wording they used on that page, nowhere did I attempt to speculate about the stance of the OHA on the issue or what their choice of license means. For all we know the wording here was approved by some branch of the organization that detests open source for whatever reason, and does not represent the choice of words that the organization would've chosen.



    And you still have no comprehension that calling GPL or any copyleft license viral has zero indication of being pro or anti open source at all. ESPECIALLY in an instance where they are allaying fears that their license is viral when it is not.



    Quote:

    Oh so you think there's nothing wrong with those words right? Organizations should have no problems throwing those words around? We'll see about that...



    Yes, no problems whatsoever. GPL is viral. It's not even FUD given it's actually true. All strong copyleft licenses are viral by design but GPL more so because of the FSF's position on derivative works. Obfuscating the issue by calling it "copyleft" is no less confusing and no more neutral.



    Quote:

    Oh wait a second, so putting the term in quotes and making it appear that it wasn't their term makes it more okay? You just admitted that there may be something wrong with using the term. Here's an idea: how about you don't use the term? It's completely unnecessary and the meaning can be easily conveyed by something like...



    I was indicating that the OHA was distancing themselves from the term, not that the term is not okay to use or that there was something wrong with it.



    Quote:

    How about simply saying "the license does not impose licensing requirements on derivative code, therefore it has the benefit of allowing operators and manufacturers to keep their features proprietary." There, wasn't that easy?



    Except it does not explicitly address the concerns that some companies have with viral open source licenses. This IS a sentence from the FAQ.



    Is the term "viral" less "polite" than "copyleft"? Yes, however, it is the term most used when describing viral open source licenses because "copyleft" isn't a real word. The term "reciprocal" also does not adequately describe the condition as it is more "forced reciprocal".



    Quote:

    My point was just about the choice of words, geez. When did I say anything about joining the FSF camp?



    Yes, it is all about choice of words. A criticism or attack against strong copyleft, GPL or the FSF is NOT an attack on open source in general. RMS would argue the two (Free Software and Open Source Software) are different anyway.



    The use of "rabidly" is also a word choice.



    Quote:

    Clearly the words are not neutral.



    And GPL itself isn't neutral. So what? Neither is the term "copyleft". There is no requirement to be neutral.



    Quote:

    You betrayed yourself when you admitted that there may be a reason to put the words in quotes to distance themselves from it. The meaning could've easily been conveyed with a more neutral and professional set of words.



    Or they may be allaying fears that Apache is viral like GPL which is how I read it? Since when is viral not a professional word because it is "non-neutral"?



    There are many reasons to quote words by the way. In this case, my belief is that they choose to address a common and valid concern among corporate software users of open source licenses regarding specific language...namely that some are "viral".



    Folks have been calling GPL viral before Microsoft started doing so...pretty much from when it came out. And even when MS did so they clearly stated they had no real animus against open source:



    "Finally, the fact that we believe strongly in the value of IP protection doesnt mean that we discount the importance of contributing to and supporting the public domain of knowledge as well. We believe that interaction between the public domain and the IP-based sector needs to be based on mutual responsibility and respect."



    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/e...redsource.mspx



    Of course he went on to muddy the waters further by using "shared source" of which some is open source and some is closed but that's another topic.



    note: My putting "shared source" in quotes doesn't mean that it isn't valid to use in a professional environment. It is simply a term that MS uses when describing their family of "source available" licenses.
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