> It is imperative that all code contributed to the kernel be legitimately free software.
> For that reason, code from anonymous (or pseudonymous) contributors will not be accepted.
> All contributors are required to “sign off” on their code, stating that the code can be distributed with the kernel under the GPL.
> Code which has not been licensed as free software by its owner, or which risks creating copyright-related problems for the kernel (such as code which derives from reverse-engineering efforts lacking proper safeguards) cannot be contributed.
Does the same reasoning not apply to Android?
This is a Google commit, it's not owned by the author. Clearly Google owns the copyright, it was done at Google's direction and for reasons that are relatively obvoiusly in line with Google's interests. There's no meaningful ambiguity here.
Corporations donate code all the time, even to Linux, and the "true" human author doesn't necessarily correlate with the names on the git commit. This is no different.
Fundamentally this is just a joke. Anyone who put their name on that commit would open themselves up to ridicule, so the project management lampshaded the issue with a faceless commit.
So, yes, the same reasoning applies to Android. And this is perfectly fine. There are things to complain about, but IP hygine doesn't qualify.
You can allow random people to merge code into your repository, but if there is a legal problem, expect people to knock on your door. As you say, in the case of the Android change, it's obvious that the commit is anonymous on purpose.
Do they require government-issued proof of identity? If not, they can't stop "pseudonymous" contributions at all (and IMHO that is a very good thing.)
Somebody (linus?) decided if the author name look like real name, he would accept it.
Whoever chose to commit anonymously (or gave the order to) knew they were doing something shitty and didn't feel comfortable doing it "in public".
It doesn't prevent things like that from happening but it makes you question if it's the right thing to do. Sometimes that's the best we can hope for.
That isn't necessarily true (although it definitely seems possible in this case, especially given the choice of name). The other possible reason is that they knew they were doing something perfectly reasonable but controversial, that other people would dislike, and they didn't want the Internet pitchfork mob coming after them.
It is interesting that major corporate-run-open-source projects like Android have individual names associated by commits. It's a huge change from software engineering in general - the general public doesn't know what I personally do at work, and can't come after me for it - and there's not even a need for it for open-source reasons: since copyright is owned by Google, there's no requirement to identify the individual employee more precisely. Everything could have been committed by email@example.com.
If the person behind this commit had the position that they stand behind this commit but they only intend to stand behind it 40 hours a week and then they want to go home, I would sympathize with that.
I'm sure this commit was largely motivated by business reasons, but it seems pretty reasonable from a forward-looking technical standpoint as well.
Google search on Android has gone far beyond an endpoint where you give it a string and it gives you a list of URLs; it gives smart autocomplete, you can search by voice (which is smarter than speech recognition + text search), it provides custom result widgets for various situations, etc. As the feature set expands, it becomes less and less reasonable to have a single client that works against an abstraction implemented by many competing backend services, so the idea of a "search engine picker" makes less and less sense. It's saner to just say "this is the Google search client, and other search services can write their own clients". For example, Bing has its own Android app with its own design and features not in Google search. (That's not to say it's fair; Bing needs to be a separate app, whereas Google search is a first-class part of Android.)
I can't remember ever asking for anything more than that though. It's what a search engine should do, and no more. I had to switch away from Google to DDG exactly because they stopped doing this (instead of providing links to the actual webpage they now embed AMP pages). Fortunately, iOS allows me to switch search providers.
Yes, but I don't think that is true of this feature:
1. It's a feature. Features have inherent maintenance cost. A team can only support so many features, and new features generally come at the cost of other features being well-developed. A significant part of my day job involves killing features that technically work but require so much maintenance overhead that we can't effectively work on new things. This makes some existing users of those features unhappy. We're killing them anyway.
2. The change improved the level of corporate support for Android, thereby improving Android's future headcount and budget, thereby improving the ability for other features to get delivered. Trashing that on principle does harm users. There are plenty of dead and dying mobile OSes with a customizable search engine that aren't helping users in their current state.
It's also not a realistic scenario.
Anyone who bought a Samsung Galaxy S from Verizon got a phone with Bing as the default search engine. Some of the people who bought that phone would've preferred Google.
Because of this feature, there was added additional effort in using the phone due to the need to switch the search engine. And likely some of them didn't even know about the option, and wound up with an experience worse than they would've without it being present.
Adding to this, there is malware that changes this setting.
I think this was a valuable option to have -- but there are no features that cause zero trouble to anyone.
The competition is enough to get past that I guess. Or we're just in an age where monopolies aren't really litigated much. Either or both seem plausible to me.
if that change wasn't made, you could change the default search in both cases. now thanks to Google greed you are stuck with Samsung choice of bing. suck to be you.
Can we find others? :-)
What does this commit do?
Why did this commit get accepted in the commit history tree published at android.googlesource.com?
He didn't want his name to be attached as the person who did this (and we can assume it was some sort of protest to the change) so he committed this as "Anonymous Coward".
Also "Anonymous Coward", as others pointed out, was the way Slashdot referenced guest comments.
It still is.
As opposed to what? Do you expect them to maintain an alternate tree without the change that doesn't match published binaries?
An alternative would have been to bury the change in “misc cleanup” commit. Kudos for at least being honest.
>Google could face a record penalty this month from European regulators for forcing its search and Web-browsing tools on the makers of Android-equipped smartphones and other devices, potentially resulting in major changes to the world’s most widely deployed mobile operating system.
"In their Statement of Objections, the European Commission accused Google of the breach of EU antitrust rules in three ways:
- by requiring mobile manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Google Chrome browser and requiring them to set Google Search as default search service on their devices, as a condition to license certain Google proprietary apps;
- by preventing manufacturers from selling smart mobile devices running on competing operating systems based on the Android open source code;
- by giving financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-install Google Search on their devices."
This sort of thing isn't like a speeding ticket where there's a cop just sitting by the side of the road looking for someone to give a ticket to.
The infamous Microsoft/IE case happened because someone, Netscape, was unhappy enough about the event (and had the resources...) to make a compelling enough case to convince a court there was anti-competitive behavior that was causing harm. No one has made such a case for this Cowardly commit, so...
despite a single commit indicating that the google search engine is required for some feature somewhere in the OS, the reality of the situation is that android is not tied specifically to any search implementation.
How do you think it violates antitrust laws? Do you propose that all companies should be required to make all of their features available on all possible variational usage of their service?
For 1, what was the market landscape for smartphone websearch in 2009?
For 2, The Microsoft decision was the result of complex litigation relating to the specifics of microsoft's position in the market, defining what the "market" even was, and the nature of newly invented web browsers, and the conclusions reached in that trial were quickly disregarded by the prosecutor/government within a few years. There's no bright-line law here.
Also you should put quotes around open-source, AOSP does not run on any real device due to a lot of android parts being private + private drivers. It took me one month to run a custom kernel on my Samsung to get the basic hardware working, it's as far as open source as you can get. Android is a "look but don't touch" kind of open-source.
The "feature" in question in their application was "searching the web". Imagine if they shipped a default e-mail client that only allowed you to use Gmail, and you had to install a separate client to use e-mail with any other e-mail provider. How many people are going to just use Gmail rather than go find some other app and provider? That's an unfair advantage due to product tying.
Microsoft bundled IE into Windows 98 in a way that you could not remove. Microsoft argued that, hey, it's just a standard part of an operating system, and you can get something else, what's the big deal. The government didn't buy it. They settled before the government could reach a final ruling about whether this was anticompetitive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tying_(commerce)#Microsoft_pro...
That's how Google Android works now. There originally was a generic email app, but Google quickly replaced it with Gmail early on.
1. Chromebooks don't run Firefox. I'm sure you can get FF running, but it's not part of the Chromebook "agenda." Chromebooks are actively being used like candy in educational contexts, so we can establish shoo-in adoption and widespread acceptance. So... I think the sooner we can accept that we are no longer operating in the kind of world that prosecutes this kind of anticompetitive behavior, the better - if just for the sake of personal closure.
2. A similar situation I've seen this exact account used is https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/36911336#comment30. The whole thread (or at least the first few messages) must be read for context, but this particular comment is also being posted by nobody@, presumably due to political sensitivity. (If you ask me, it was Nick who posted that message, and he needed plausible deniability for some obscure/stupid legal reason.)
I get the impression nobody@ can be used by anybody if they can justify the circumstances. My guess/hunch is that maybe it needs an LGTM from maybe one or two others.
Others point out this usage probably finds its origin in Slashdot culture, which is likely true, but also probably a ternary relationship in this instance.
If google doesn't control the searches end to end on android they would have missed out on some good innovations like instant apps and google now. I love that this is one aspect of this totalitarian control they didn't compromise on, cuz it's keeping them in the dominant position with a good flow of data coming in!
I'm curious to see legislation attempt to tackle this, obviously more competition is good! What gives me pause is this relentless trend of killing off small startups and competition through strict defaults like only using Safari on iOS and no other browser. Even chrome on iOS is just Safari with a different navbar
Reminds me I should check out MicroG again (replaces Google services).