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How to Manage Open Source Licensing in Android Development

May 31, 2011, 13:11 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Peter Vescuso)

"The internal components are those created by Google specifically for the Android project; the external components are by and large other open source projects. Two major external components -- the Linux kernel and WebKit -- are governed by reciprocal licenses (GPLv2 and the Lesser General Public License). In addition to the two major external components, an additional 30 or more internal components (including dbus, grub, emma, e2fsprogs, bluez, Bison), also use reciprocal licenses. Twenty eight components use the GPL and five use the LGPL, while others use non-open-source licenses such as the OpenSSL and the Bzip2 license.

"All of which means there is more complexity under the covers than you might expect. Hence the management of hundreds of components, multiple licenses, and associated obligations presents challenges for developers and device manufacturers that use Android, as well as the third-party companies that develop software components for device manufacturers."

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