The suggestion has been made countless times that manufacturers who customize their devices’ builds of Android (that is to say, nearly all of them) should have the decency to offer users the option of reverting to a completely clean, stock version of the platform if they so choose. The concept came up at a press lunch featuring Google CEO Eric Schmidt last week, and the dude came up with an interesting explanation for why they don’t require that of their partners: “if we were to put those type of restrictions on an open source product, we’d be violating the principle of open source.” Of course, “the principle of open source” is open to wild differences in interpretation, the source of well over 20 years worth of intense debate in the developer community and the reason why countless types and versions of open source licenses exist (GPL, BSD, MIT, and so on). We’d also argue that the fact that Google is allegedly placing a range of arbitrary restrictions on certified devices (that is, those that feature the Market and other Google apps) gives them the platform they need to impose one more… but hey, Schmidt’s an opinionated guy, and until Android stops growing by leaps and bounds, there’s probably not a great capitalism-inspired argument that can be made here.

Google’s Schmidt says requiring stock Android would violate ‘the principle of open source’ originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 24 Sep 2010 12:12:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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