[NTLK] Einstein, Android, new Hardware, old Hardware

Mark Crutch mark.crutch at gmail.com
Thu Dec 1 05:42:16 EST 2011

> While in theory I generally support the concept of open sourcing, I am
> concerned that it has caused a severe dilution of the Android platform, to
> the point of frustration to some of its users. While some Android users are
> still waiting for the latest update, and a few recent Android
> devices--according to Google--won't be offered *any* updates from here on,
> the recent iOS 5 update covered iPhones all the way back two years ago to
> the 3G, and was (mostly) done unobtrusively.

I fail to see how this has anything to do with Google or with Android being
Open Source. It's a problem with individual manufacturers who chose not to
provide upgrades to older products. Any of those manufacturers _could_
chose to keep older devices updated (assuming the hardware is capable
enough), but have decided not to. Yes, it's disadvantageous to users and
may provide an argument for Apple being "better", but the problem doesn't
lie with Google or Open Source software.

The one advantage that Open Source does offer in this case, however, is
that third parties can continue to provide upgrades even when the original
manufacturer doesn't - e.g. CyanogenMod ROMs which are available in recent
Android flavours for some rather old devices that would otherwise have been
left behind. Nobody can legitimately offer such a service for an iOS
device, once Apple decides it's too old to support anymore.

You're also conflating the notion of "Open Source" with the idea of an
"open platform". They're not the same thing at all. Android, Linux, Windows
and MacOS are open platforms - I can run any software I like on them
without having to have that software approved by anyone first. This has
nothing to do with whether or not that software is Open Source. iOS is a
closed platform which limits the software you can run to that which Apple
has explicitly approved (jailbreaking aside).


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