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Is Free Software here to stay?


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These are the slides of my talk at FrOSCon 2011:

"Innovation especially in the mobile market is currently driven by mostly proprietary technology. Not only Apple with its iOS and accompanying products but also Google with its behind-closed-doors development approach towards Android are threatening approaches which foster open development processes. Which technologies and business models can survive in such an environment?

This talk will give an overview on the current Open Source and Free Software commitments of companies driving the mobile market. I will give insights into how much Android is actually free in GNU's sense of freedom and cover the potential of driving forces of the mobile evolution such as app stores to foster free access to data, code and people."

Published in: Technology
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Is Free Software here to stay?

  1. 1. „This will be the year of Linux on the desktop“
  2. 2. The Netbook backdoor
  3. 3. The Netbook backdoor D EN IE D B Y U SE R S
  4. 4.
  5. 5. Smartphone Market Share Q1 2011 Others: 3% Microsoft: 4% RIM: 13% Android: 36% IOS: 17% Symbian: 27%
  6. 6. Smartphone Market Share Q1 2010 Others: 4% Microsoft: 7% Android: 10% RIM: 20% Symbian: 44% IOS: 15%
  7. 7. Software/AppsOperating System Hardware
  8. 8. Operating system ●Completely proprietary (besides some parts) ●Thats it
  9. 9. Dev tools ●iOS SDK: Developer program fee ($99/year) ●Xcode (Objective-C) ●Mac only
  10. 10. Apps/Ecosystem ●Only on Apples App Store ●Not GPL-compatible („Usage Rules“) ●The Usage Rules are very scary for every Free Software developer ●Open Source software exists nevertheless
  11. 11. Apps/Ecosystem Fun fact: The Developer Program license agreement does explicitely forbid you to use the location services API for fleet management.
  12. 12. Operating system ●First proprietary, then open, then proprietary again Source code not available ● No political backing by Nokia anymore ●
  13. 13. Symbian
  14. 14. Operating system How many points out of 100 do you think Android would score in a test auditing its openness?
  15. 15. Operating system ●Most parts licensed under GPL (Linux), LGPL (WebKit) and Apache License (Android specific components) Trademark owned by Google ● Source code released „at will“ by Google ● Officially maintained by Open Handset ● Alliance which is not a legal entity
  16. 16. Operating system Development behind closed doors ● ●Linux kernel forked without merging back (whos to blame here?) ●There exists a Contributor Agreement though it is highly unlikely that many 3rd party contributors exist Very good documentation ● No public Roadmap ● Closed apps like Gmail and Market ●
  17. 17. Operating system Fun fact: Android scored 23 out of 100 points in the Open Governance Index
  18. 18. Dev tools ●SDK: Can be freely downloaded, source in repo only ●Win, Mac, Linux ●ADT plugin for Eclipse ●NDK: For C or C++ development
  19. 19. Apps/Ecosystem ●Android Market: central app repo ●Installation of apps directly is possible (easily) ●Market is GPL-compatible
  20. 20. Vendor ecosystem ●HTC: Sense UI is now (probably) open source ●Motorola: Proudly presented by Google Samsung: Unlocked bootloaders? Hired ● Cyanogen ==> All in all, vendors have not much to say
  21. 21. Patent craze
  22. 22.
  23. 23.
  24. 24.
  25. 25. Is there a way towards truly open smartphone OSes?
  26. 26. Not as long as patent and related laws are revised categorically!
  27. 27. A Free OS needs to be governed by a community of users,developers and vendors; not by a single company
  28. 28. The Web is the only truly open, device-independent platform
  29. 29. Browsers in smartphones are very powerful (in terms of performance)
  30. 30. Access to phone functions● Accelerometer/Orientation => DeviceOrientation (W3C)● Location => Geolocation API (W3C)● Camera/Audio => HTML Media Capture (W3C)● 3D capabilities => WebGL (W3C)● Offline apps => Offline web applications (W3C)● ...
  31. 31. Most probably 50% of all native smartphone apps could very well be implemented as Web Applications
  32. 32. Mozilla is one of the mostimportant driving forces behind this
  33. 33. What are the major barriers for a wider distribution of web apps instead of native apps? ●Finding apps ●Launching apps
  34. 34. Enter Mozillas Web Apps spec: Allows devs to let the user install their website into his browser
  35. 35. The Web is the future of mobile Free Software! Think about it when starting your next mobile software project...