From AppleInsider | Google clamps down on handset makers to stem Android fragmentation:

Though it has long heralded Android as 'open,' Google has recently taken other steps to gain control of its mobile platform. Just last week, it was revealed that the company had closed availability of the source code of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, a tablet-specific version of its platform.

There's a new-ish mode of engagement with open source that's open source once we're done with it. This allows people thinking about adopting the packages to vet everything fairly well and to mitigate the dangers of being unsupported in the future if, here, Google's support for Android died. But what it allows the provider to do is to retain rights to every bit of code, and fork into a proprietary branch their future development.

That is to say, if you release a package you've written completely by yourself under the GPL and never accepted patches, you could then release version 2 based on the same code as a copyrighted, proprietary, closed source piece of software. That's what Google's doing with Android.

You initially get more adoption than a closed platform because the source is out there for anyone to maintain if they need to so that they can keep selling hardware, but once enough folk use it (initially for that but later for other reasons, like broad adoption), BAM, close up shop. You've gotten the adoption benefits of open source with the later benefits of proprietary lock-in thanks to planned obsolescence driven by consumer capitalism.

It's sort of the issue with BSD for me. BSD really isn't Free Software, precisely because it's too freely (little "f") exploited. OS X is here thanks to FreeBSD's overly unrestrictive license. We'll never see tons of the changes Apple made to the codebase, and are lucky to have gotten anything from Apple via Darwin. Similar with KHTML and Safari, though there Apple has been great about giving back with WebKit. Up until now, at least. Because the software's not properly protected (and here I include LGPL v2), Apple owes us nothing. What good is it if your work only creates a standard for Square One? You want to ensure the future versions enabled by your continues to be an open standard and a force for *cough* good.

Neither of these modes of producing open software, BSD or open after we're done with it, are really "open" in spirit. Both are waiting for conventional modes of production to exploit their resources right back into a closed situation. Bless their hearts.

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