WIRED.com Get It Wrong on Google Pulling Apps from Market

Discussion in 'Android Tablet News Depot' started by OffWorld, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. OffWorld

    OffWorld Senior Member

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    Android App Removals Cast Doubt on Google’s ‘Openness’ | Gadget Lab | Wired.com

    The link is to the second article I've seen on Wired.com about Google having pulled emulator apps from Market without any warning. Wired's writer is supposing it was done on the complaints of Sony and Nintendo, both of whom are heavily invested in the mobile gaming market and to whom the Android emulator apps represented a threat to revenue streams. To bolster this notion the author notes that the apps were pulled just as Sony launched its "Playstation Phone" (aka Sony Ericsson Xperia Play).

    The only problem with that is it is most likely coincidence. There is no evidence either Sony or Nintendo issued take-down notices for the apps. And as almost every commenter to both this article and the previous article that hit the day the apps were actually pulled has pointed out, the apps were pulled due to GPL violations!

    The emulator apps are based on free open source emulators for Linux (also ported to other platforms). The app sellers, Yong Zhang and ZodTTD, forked that open source software to Android and sold the apps in the Market - also without any attribution to the original authors. Plain and simple code theft, and profiting from it in violation of the GPL license. THAT is why the apps were pulled.

    The other big point the author gets wrong is that he uses this app pulling as evidence that Android isn't really open anymore. The Android MARKET isn't open, and Google never claimed it was. It has always been Google's private store - granted it has very loose requirements for getting your apps into it (unlike a certain store of a fruity variety) but the fact remains Market is NOT part of the Android OS, and the OS is still open source (Google still insists that Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich will see AOSP releases).

    I'm a big believer in open source software and without it we wouldn't even HAVE Android. I also like emulators and when I first saw them for sale in Android market - knowing what open source projects they were built upon - I did wonder how in the heck those guys were getting away with selling them. Then again, off the top of my head I wasn't sure which ones are GPL and which are MIT license (or something other license that allows selling derivative projects). Those guys got off light, imo, the Free Software Foundation should be suing them to recover the ill-gotten gains and "donate" it back to the original projects.
     
  2. ObsidianBlk

    ObsidianBlk Member

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    Just to be clear... the fact they were selling the emulators (even if gpl) would not have violated gpl. The violation is not making available the source code. GPL allows you to take a GPL project, modify it, and sell theresulting application, as long as the original authors credit is maintained AND you give clear, easy, and free access to your applications source code.
     
  3. OffWorld

    OffWorld Senior Member

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    I probably should have worded more clearly that I wasn't sure offhand what exact licensing the various open source emulators have.

    You are absolutely correct that the GPL does allow you to sell and profit from the code, but only if you make your source code available and credit the original authors - neither of which was being done by these guys. Which is why I say the poetic justice would be for their profit to be directed to development on the original projects. They should also be forced to release their source code (or at least threatened with legal action if they don't). It's really stupid of them to have violated the GPL when they could have easily still made the money legally by adhering to the license in the first place.
     

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