Cyanogen vs. Google?

Maybe that title relies too heavily on sensationalism. How about, “Little snag in the road for popular hacker”? If you haven’t heard of Cyanogen, you probably haven’t had the slightest inkling to dig into your Android device and pimp it to its full potential. Cyanogen is, by far, the most popular Android ROM cooker to date.

At first, his work was embraced by the bleeding edge risk-takers. I remember the motto for the release threads was something along the lines of “stability is our fifth concern.” Cyanogen has been providing both experimental and stable ROMs for sometime now, and his work is certainly the most heavily used of all available cooked ROMS.

Even though I use another ROM for daily use, Cyanogen’s recovery image is the only one I’ll touch. It just blows every other image away. Anyhow, with the background taken care of, the story is this: Google has sent Cyanogen a Cease and Desist letter regarding his distribution of closed source apps that he bundles with his ROMs. These include Maps, Market, Talk, Gmail and YouTube.

Cyanogen is working on a a dialogue with Google, and I hope they can come to an agreement. I can hardly blame Google for wanting to protect the brand when it comes to copyrighted material, but I think the open source ethos in which Android is partially entrenched (and which has garnered Google a good bit of support for their platform) might have them at odds with… themselves.

Perhaps a ROM review (unlikely) or promise to leave those apps untouched would suffice. I don’t know enough about the tech or politics involved to register a strong feeling on the issue. Apparently, Cyanogen’s position is that, although he is not licensed to distribute the apps, he is developing for vanilla Android Experience devices that are licensed to have the apps pre-installed. It should be an interesting story to follow, and I’m hoping for the best. That scenario, in my estimation, would be Google allowing Cyanogen to continue his work without too much trouble. I am hoping for that… but am not necessarily expecting it.

Somehow, I think Cyanogen will find a way to mush on.

Via Android and Me

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