Practical Technology

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Android: The Open Mobile Choice

Recently there has been a bit of a hubbub over Microsoft forbidding the use of software using the GPLv3 open-source license and all similar licenses on Windows Phone 7 (WP7). Then, the boys from Redmond realized that by the strict letter of their new rules they had just forbidden the use of some of their own open-source applications on WP7. As Homer Simpson would say, “D’oh!”

Microsoft may be slow, but they get there eventually. Shortly after their error was pointed out, they explained that some other open-source licenses, including their own of course, were actually OK on WP7. And, oh by the way, they might consider opening WP7 up to software under other licenses. That’s big of them. Apple, of course, has long forbidden the use of GPLv2-licensed software.

I was recently asked why Apple and Microsoft was doing this. The answer is quite simple. Apple, and to a lesser degree, Microsoft are all about control. You see when you buy an iPhone, iPad, or a smartphone with WP7, you’re not really buying a device, you’re renting the use of a device.

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