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Google set to launch Android source code
Christo Jacob
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Followed by the launch of Google phone, the search giant is charged up to launch the source code of its mobile operating system Android on its website for Android Open Source Project. Google expects that by making the source code available to the developers, a wide variety of applications will appear. The move has created a buzz in the industry and hot debates are raging about Google's approach.

The LiMo Foundation, which publishes specifications for middleware for mobile Linux devices, opines that Google's model might be too open.

Android is released under the Apache license, which doesn't require developers to share the future changes to the code back with the community. This is one of the reasons why some people wonder whether Android will become fragmented as various incompatible versions of the software appearing in phones across the market.

Andrew Shikiar, Director of global marketing for the LiMo Foundation said, "If it's fragmented and scattered, and the only common version is the Google-optimized one, it's good for them." That's because the G1, which is optimized by Google, comes loaded with many Google services that can eventually bring in revenue for the search giant. If that turns out to be the best version of an Android phone, more people will use it and so, presumably, more people will be using Google apps.

In the website for the Open Handset Alliance, the group supporting Android, Google says that using the Apache license will let manufacturers innovate on the platform and allow them to keep those innovations proprietary as a way to differentiate their offerings.

LiMo and Symbian, which also is going open source, each use different licenses, but both include obligations for people who change their code to share their changes.

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