Google Android Engineer echos what I have been feeling for quite a while as he declares that Google itself is a major bottleneck when it comes to Android being an Open-Source project.
This has been evidenced as of late where Google bends to its relationship with T-Mobile by block tethering apps for US T-Mobile customers via the Android Market.
The Android Market itself was something that Google never wanted to maintain or oversee as they initially envisioned it to be self governing by users separating the good and bad apps by rating them with starred comments.
Following Android early on and knowing Google’s mentality I could see that they just wanted Android to be a catalyst for breaking open mobile Internet use where as after that people can use whatever resulting mobile setup so as long as it increases their Internet use which Google would monetize.
Its analogous to a parent holding a child as they learn how to ride a bike and then back away as the training wheels come off.
Google now sees itself having to continually push the bike as the child folds its arms and raises its legs saying the bike isn’t going fast enough.
This is echoed by the Android engineer that offers the greatest direct and honest insight to its development within Google, JBQ.
He stated on Sunday April 5th in the Android Discuss Google Group:
“At the moment, it’s clear to me (being in the middle of it) that Google is a major bottleneck when it comes to Android as an Open-Source project.
As such, you can expect that we’ll focus our energy primarily on things that only Google can do, and much less on things that can also be done by anyone in the community (assuming skills/time, of course), so that the desired end result can be reached as quickly as possible.
Putting together nightly builds, opening and maintaining a wiki (… and helping direct traffic on the mailing lists, which you’ve been doing) are aspects where the community as a whole can get involved right now without help from Google. We’re also looking for contributors to sanitize the behavior of the open-source tree on dream, or to decouple some unfortunate proprietary dependencies that still exist in the source tree. As time goes and more of the
Google-only tasks get completed, more such options will open.”
Do you think Android can survive without Google steering the ship now or is it still too early and once Google can ween off more and more to outside contributors will Android really flourish?