2009年10月3日 星期六

My opinion on the Google Cease-and-Desist letter

Recently people are discussing about the Google CnD letter sent to Cyanogen to stop the distribution of Google closed-source apps. The reason most people who do not agree with Google is that Cyanogen only made Android ROMs for Google Experience Phone (GEP), which already have Google closed-source apps in it. However, I have a different view on this.

First, I think no matter Google closed-source apps (like Android Market or Gmail) or open-source projects (like Android), they are all originally developed (and owned) by Google. Google just choose to release Android in Apache License so people can use (and modify) them to have a better platform. However, Google did not choice to release Android Market / Gmail as open-source apps so they still have the rights for these apps to decide who can use (and redistribute) them.

Second, GEP does have Google closed-source apps in it. However, the manufacturer of GEP have got the license from Google to distribute the Google closed-source apps, but Cyanogen does not. And to say the Cyanogen ROMs are only made for GEP is non-sense because it only happen in good-will. Any hackers can get the Google closed-source apps from the ROM to redistribute them again. If that happens (and do happened), then it harms the rights that Google has. If Cyanogen has made some closed-source apps by himself and put them in his Android ROMs to redistribute, I would not say it's not right and will be happy to see this because he is the owner of the apps and his decision might benefit people who have the ROM. But if he puts some apps that are not made by himself into his ROM and does not have the agreement to authorize such things, then I cannot see why it's wrong for Google to send the CnD letter.

I still don't understand why people are still arguing on this. Is it not so simple?