Open source used to be about copycatting popular proprietary products. In today’s emerging markets of Big Data and cloud computing, however, open source drives innovation while proprietary products play catch-up. It is surprising, then, that the industry’s other major market, mobile, is a comparative wasteland for open source.
Oh, sure, Android appears to be on track to dominate tablets, just as it does the smartphone market. But Android is hardly a paragon of open-source virtue. In 2011, VisionMobile concluded that Android is one of the most closed open-source projects, at least when compared to other major open-source projects like Linux, Firefox and others. Google, not surprisingly, chafes at this characterisation, but its own engineering directors admit Android is “both open and closed depending on business needs at any given time.”