I was reluctant to make this post. Not because I have allegiances or loyalties, but because it is a touchy legal situation that I have only heard about… I don’t have first hand details. Before I write an article like this, where I really WANT to voice my opinion, I want to have my facts straight. There is nothing worse than going off on a huge rant only to find out that the very facts on which your arguments are based on… are flawed.
For the reasons outlined above, this is the objective, summarized version:
At this moment in time, Cyanogen is the #1 Android OS Modder on the planet. For people that “root” their phone, he is the hero that brings them the awesome stuff to install. If you’re wondering what the reasons are to root your phone, half of the reasons are so you can install stuff this guy builds (for free) for the community. He recently started a website to showcase his mods and help people install them with FAQ, videos, ROM updates, etc… It is at CyanogenMod.com.
The website is down…
Last night I got a tip from a reader, asking me urgently to please visit a petition thread on XDA-Devs about Cyanogen. The thread is directly associated with an article by Taylor Wimberly of AndroidAndMe that says Cyanogen received a Cease & Desist letter from Google, telling him he must stop distributing his custom ROMs because they include distribution of closed source apps like Android Market, GTalk, Gmail, YouTube and others.
I’m assuming Google has every right to do this and if they push, Cyanogen will legally be forced to obey their commands. But the real issue is… why is Google doing this? They have SO much more to lose than gain. You know that whole “Android is open” feeling the world has as we look down upon iPhoners? This could be the first step to eroding that mutual trust Google has built with the Android Community.
But let me stop here – I said I would withhold my opinion until more solid details were released. I can’t say I’m eager to get the details because to be honest, it doesn’t look good. I’m hoping Google’s legal team kind of slinks back and decides to shy away from the issue. Of course this is about much more than Google. This is about all of the members of the Open Handset Alliance. This is about the core values and foundation of Android.
I hardly want to look.
By the way, the petition on XDA-Devs asked “Should Google leave Cyanogen alone?” and the results:
- Yes (97.58% with 1,091 votes)
- No (1.61% with 18 votes)
- Wait and see (.81% with 9 votes)
That last option wasn’t added until VERY late in the thread and you’re dealing with devs so there is an obvious bias. But aren’t these devs a big part of what make Android awesome? Just sayin…