Coalition seeks to replace all of Google's closed source Android components
Last week, Google issued a cease and desist order to Android modder Cyanogen, whose popular Android ROM modification was downloaded more than 30,000 times, but included versions of closed source Google applications instead of purely the open source components.
In a blog explanation, Google said, "Unauthorized distribution of this software harms us just like it would any other business, even if it's done with the best of intentions."
The modding community was outraged, and many claimed it to be the end for Android as an open source project. Some called for boycotts, some proclaimed that it was time to start developing for the iPhone, some just generally overreacted. Cyanogen's ROM crossed the open source line by including Google's closed source packages like Gmail, Google Maps, and even the as-of-yet unreleased new Android Market.
Now, a coalition has formed called the Open Android Alliance which seeks to prevent this sort of clash from ever happening again by creating an Android environment that is 100% free and open source under the GPL3 code license.
"We don't have anything against the existing closed applications, however, we believe in open platforms and want all users to be able to modify their systems as they see fit. Above all, remember, we are not 'Anti-Google.' We are 'Pro-Android.' Please act accordingly when posting on this project," the project's summary says.
Attempting to replace Google's services in Android is going to prove a colossal task, as it includes replacing the majority of the Android experience as users currently know it. This involves bringing in a new e-mail client, IM client, navigation/Google Maps client, calendar, YouTube application, Android Market, sync manager, setup wizard, and much more.