Friday, November 16, 2007

SDK from the Open Google Alliance

I made a mistake in reporting last week on something called the Open Handset Alliance. Despite my reporting (and the press releases and news stories) and what it claims on the Google Code pages, today there is no Open Handset Alliance. There is a Google-owned project called "Android."

A friend asked (quite reasonably) "Just curious if you have downloaded [the] Android SDK ... I don't want to commit my company to whatever the license says so I'll hold off on doing my own analysis."

I did a little snooping and what I found:

  • Looking at the download site and the license terms made clear: the download greement is with Google, Inc., a Delaware corporation, not the so-called "Open Handset Alliance". (Thus putting the lie to the idea of the OHA being "co-sponsored" by four other companies.)
  • There's no source code on the site, under an Open Source Initiative-approved license or any other license.
  • According to the architecture diagram, as much Android code as possible is based on a BSD (or comparable) permissive license. No viral GPLv3 here, so presumably DRM and music players will be available on gPhones.
  • Android is a platform for Java applets, not native C/C++ apps. Symbian, of course, has native apps, and it sounds like even Apple will have a native app SDK before the gPhone ships.
Alas, the SDK requires an Intel-based Mac (or Windoze) to run, and my first Intel Mac is about 2 months away. So unless I can borrow someone else's machine, I won't be doing any development any time soon.

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