Debunking Four Myths About Android, Google, And Open-Source

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | ZDNet | February 18, 2014

Summary: Several stories recently have spread misinformation about how Google licenses Android and its services. Here's the real story on how Android licensing works with open source and Linux.

You would think that Android relationship with Linux and open source would be fairly well understood by now. However, recent articles in the tech and general press have created confusion where none ought to exist. Let me see if I can un-muddy the waters.

The Guardian published a story, which they have since taken down, spreading FUD about Google, Android, Linux, open source, and licensing. The paper later published another article trying to get the Android facts right, but, well, they still don't.

Not long afterwards, Ben Edelman, Harvard Business School professor and consultant to "various companies that compete with Google,"  analyzed the Google's Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA PDF Link) that was revealed in the 2011 Oracle v. Google lawsuit. When all the MADA provisions are taken together, Edelman argues, they tie Google's apps into a near seamless whole. These provisions detail how Google applications are presented on a licensed device to help Google expand into new markets.