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Android: Opening A Pandora's Box of Licensing

Sep 17, 2010, 19:32 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Glyn Mody)

"Like many, I have watched with satisfaction the rise and rise of the Android mobile phone platform. After all, at its heart lies Linux, and much of it is open source. But not all: leading phones contain major proprietary elements that mean that Android is not the perfect free software system we have all been waiting for. It is, however, one of the best we have got at the moment, and a good place to start from.

"Aside from that contentious issue of just how free Android really is, there's another that's not talked about so much. This stems from the fact that Android is not a monolithic system, but is put together from literally hundreds of smaller pieces, most of which are open source. Of course, that's great news: this is how its supposed to happen in a world where you can mix and match elements. But as a fascinating new report [.pdf] from Black Duck makes clear, that code soup takes the complexity in dealing with licence proliferation to the next level:"

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