Print 36 comment(s) - last by bug77.. on Sep 28 at 4:15 AM

Is bloatware protected under the tenants of open source?  (Source: Optaros)

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, during a recent Q&A session  (Source: YouTube)
Google CEO says it would be violating one of Google's guiding principles to allow users to revert to stock configs

From skins like HTC's Sense UI and Motorola's Motoblur, to the deluge of apps installed on Android phones by carriers and hardware manufacturers, Android phones can be a bit cluttered at times -- much like their PC brethren. 

Many customers have wished in vain that there was a single, easy "reset to stock configuration" option, which will revert their phones to a stock build of Android and delete the excess.  Not so fast, says Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Mr. Schmidt, an opinionated figure in the tech industry and part-time evangelist for Google's philosophy, recently explained in a question and answer session why Google doesn't believe this is a good idea.  He states, "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 "open source" is as wide and diverse an umbrella as possible in the tech industry, and Mr. Schmidt's definition of open source may be quite different from the next man's.

So other than taking the open source "moral higher ground", why might Google not want to give customers a quicker way to remove OEM/carrier junk?  Well one key reason is market share.  Google gives away Android for free, hoping that the mass adoption will more than make up for the development costs via advertising and app sales.  Part of the equation to convince wireless carriers and hardware manufactures to pick Android over a competitor (Symbian, webOS, Windows Phone 7) is allowing them to free modify their custom Android build to their heart's content.

But curiously, despite Mr. Schmidt's statement and the apparent advantages to adoption that not including a "clean build" option brings, Google reportedly will go in quite the opposite direction with Android 3.0 "Gingerbread".  Gingerbread will kill off custom OEM skins, replacing them with a single Google-made skin.  Of course the carrier-specific apps/junkware will likely remain, but Google's actions definitely show it to be quietly moving in the opposite direction, even as it defends customized deployments.

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RE: It's open source
By Master Kenobi on 9/27/2010 6:21:43 AM , Rating: 2
Ditto. It's funny how cluttered most opensource things are, especially operating systems. They end up no better than Windows half the time when it comes to pre-installed software that may or may not be useful stuff you want. This generally leads to the OS "splitting" or a new one being made in its place that is more streamlined and efficient. It's a never ending cycle as old as open source itself.

RE: It's open source
By quiksilvr on 9/27/2010 9:23:35 AM , Rating: 1
But it should be just as easily to remove the software the skin and have stock Android if the user wants it.

Motorola and HTC should not have the right to force users to use their skins if the user doesn't want it. It should be easily uninstallable as should the bloatware.

Verizon shouldn't have any right whatsoever to force users on the Samsung Fascinate to use Bing. It should be just as easy to switch to Google (or Yahoo if that's your thing) and not be forced to use it. THAT sort of thing should be regulated.

If you're going to be "open", make it open at both ends (giggity).

RE: It's open source
By cditty on 9/27/2010 9:48:49 AM , Rating: 3
I agree with you, but I do like my HTC skin better than stock.

RE: It's open source
By The Raven on 9/27/2010 9:39:35 AM , Rating: 4
It's funny how cluttered most opensource things are, especially operating systems.

What distros are you referring to? Are you talking about just preinstalled apps? Or real crapware? I see crapware as (for example) a superfluous wifi management client or a 'program' that links you to AOL or (my favorite) AV software that is impossible to remove.

With any open source OS I've seen, if you don't want something that is preinstalled, it is easily removable and easily replaceable.

And none of that crap on Windows is for free. That is just all some form of advertising. Not to mention, you PAID for Windows and you still have to have it subsidised somehow with ads.

I don't know what distros you are talking about, but even if there was real crapware on opensource OSs:
1) It is probably ('probably' because I'm not sure exactly what you are talking about) easily removable
2) probably non-intrusive
3) and understandably ad funded as you are (most likely) not paying for the OS to begin with.

You're standing in a Ysalamiri bubble, Master Kenobi ;-)

RE: It's open source
By kc77 on 9/27/2010 9:44:27 AM , Rating: 4
Huh? Cluttered? Compared with Gentoo, or Arch...maybe. Compared to Windows? Um, no. Most linux distros save for 1 asks you what you want to have installed anyway. You definitely have a choice. Even in the case of Ubuntu, I would hardly call gnome cluttered. They are limited to what they can fit on 700MB and usually it's the same stuff it has always been for years.

When distros "fork" it's not because things are necessarily cluttered it has much more to do with providing a distro that is geared towards a particular demographic or function. Linux Mint in reality installs more stuff than the distro for which it is based. Remix installs about the same number of programs and but has a custom UI geared towards notebooks and netbooks.

Considering that which ever open source distro you pick you're likely to still be under a gig or 2 versus Windows 10GB install it just doesn't make much sense. Calling open source OS's cluttered is like calling Vista stable. Sure compared with examples way back in the day when everyone configured their networks manually you could call it "cluttered" in that sense. However, compared with anything else being sold at retail it's still pretty streamlined and requires much less resources to get the job done.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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