I was a bit dismayed to read in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal about Google’s delaying (preventing?) Acer from launching a phone in China using an operating system that competes with Google’s Android… Aliyun has been on the market for about a year and still has only a tiny market share. But given [the owning company] Alibaba’s enormous presence in the Chinese market, Aliyun could become more popular quickly — if handset makers adopt it. Aliyun has an interesting heritage. It is Linux-based and is actually a derivative of Google’s Android. But since Android is open source, a company can take it and modify it into something unique, a process called “forking” — so long as the firm doesn’t want any further support from Google.
Thus, the irony that Google, an advocate for open source and “free” software, is upset about one of its “customers” (who don’t pay for the software), rejiggering Android for its own purposes.
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