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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 Iaiken on 9/27/2010 9:24:55 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
root privileges


Are easy to get on pretty much every single brand of phone except Motorola. Usually, there's a $2-$5 app for that which doesn't require any level of technical sophistication on the users part whatsoever.

You then go into Settings>Application Settings > Manage Applications and remove all the OEM crap.

Samsung even went as far as to provide the code FREE on the handsets SIM card.


RE: It's open source
By The Raven on 9/27/2010 9:49:16 AM , Rating: 2
Nice. As long as end users are FREE to do that, I see ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with Google's choice here. Besides, the carriers/handset makers are the ones who provide the support for these devices to the masses, so they should be FREE to modify Android to better support their customers (in theory lol).


RE: It's open source
By bug77 on 9/27/2010 10:16:58 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, the joy. I can get root access for $2-5.

Imagine Windows doing that.


RE: It's open source
By Iaiken on 9/27/2010 11:46:00 AM , Rating: 3
Most of the codes to unlock root can be gotten for free.

These apps are essentially charging for you for the convenience they provide.

Want to ruin their day, get the code, write a free app.


RE: It's open source
By The Raven on 9/27/2010 3:21:37 PM , Rating: 2
True but you can't just copy someone's code and be immune from a lawsuit. That is if you sell/publish it. I'm sure you know that just because something is available at no charge and has the source open doesn't mean that you can blast it everywhere. Check the license.


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