"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:"