On September 24th 2009, Google sets their legal team on the ROM creator, asking him to stop distributing the parts of Android that aren’t open source but in fact are good old traditional closed source apps – made by Google. Cyanogen himself (Steve Kondik) responded something in the spirit that since the ROM only runs on hardware that already runs the apps users already have a license to use them. Google responded, saying they protect the Google Phone Experience.
This C&D act triggered a huge reaction in the Android communities as people suddenly became aware of the fact that A) parts of the Android core OS aren’t at all open (source) and B) Google is not the cuddly Teddy Bear we all want it to be.
In the xda-developers.com front, where a lot of the custom ROMs are being discussed and users of them hang out, they created the Open Android Alliance with the intent of creating a completely open source Android.
In another end and indepedently of the xda-developers it seems, lots of participants in the google group android-platform pretty much decided the same thing but they rather started out discussing exactly what would be needed to do and what code there is and so on.
Currently, both camps have been made aware of each other and there have been expressed intents of joining into a single effort. I don’ t think such subtleties matter much, but we just might see the beginning of a more open more free Android project getting started here. I’ll certainly be interested in seeing where this is going…
Updated: they now have their own domain. Link in article updated.