How open is Android in reality? The system now runs on more than 300 million smartphones and tablets, made by all sorts of companies. It primarily targets the ARM platform, according to Christopher Neugebauer, a young Tasmanian developer, who presented a talk on Android to the island’s LUG a couple of months ago.
Android has a Linux kernel at its core. “There’s the kernel itself which talks to your hardware; there’s a C library (in the case of Android, it’s called ‘Bionic’ (most Linux distros use Glibc, from the GNU Project) which provides a useful interface to the kernel; and then there’s the user space. The difference is that the userspace is an entirely custom one developed by the Android project, so it doesn’t, for example, include X11 for drawing GUIs, but instead it uses its own custom layer,” he says.