Lawyer hits out at Google's open source efforts

A law professor has hit out at the way that Google is controlling its Android product saying that the outfit is making one of the classic mistakes of those who try to put controls on open source.

Eben Moglen, a professor of law at Columbia Law School and the founding director of the Software Freedom Law Center, said that Google is simply repeating the past mistakes of other companies that tried to put tight controls around the release of their open-source software.

Talking to Business Week, Moglen said that experience teaches companies that exposing the code to the community helps more than it hurts you.

However he does not think that Google has got the memo over that one. It has notified device makers of its change in plans with the Honeycomb incarnation of Android.

It seems likely that Google will likely wait to make another open source distribution of Android software until it completes the next version, called Ice Cream.

Android is based on Linux, but Google sticks in a lot of its own code. But Google has been criticised for making improvements to its products to meet its needs but doesn’t turn many of the changes over to the broader open-source community.

Where it has done so, it has received praise for its efforts. The framework for a new type of data analytic system, called Hadoop, has wide adoption by big Web companies and traditional businesses.