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Open Source Community Gets To Taste Froyo

06.24.2010
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Android app developers were reminded again this week about why they like to write code for Google's platform rather than Apple's.  The Android developers at Google just released the source code for Android 2.2 "Froyo," and the coders who download it are aware that this freedom would never be condoned if they developed for the iOS.  Not only does it help developers write better apps for the platform, it also gives those people a chance to influence the direction of the platform and add features that they'd like to see.

There are some recent changes in the Android Open-Source Project to report.  Although some have been frustrated with the level of openness in Google's open source process, much has been improved.  Tim Bray, the leader of the Android open source division, says that the process for contributions is now a "well-oiled machine" that should enable even more contributions.  Android 2.2 was able to implement hundreds of platform changes from the open source community.  Most of the platform contributions are getting a response within a few business days. 

This time, Google released the full source tree with full change history in a single step to accelerate migrations to Froyo.  Google has also restructured the Android source tree to add better separation between closed and open source modules so that it is easier for device manufacturers and custom system builders to use Froyo.  On a related note, Google also open sourced a handful of additional hardware-related libraries.  Android project developers also removed some unintentional dependencies on closed source software. 

The core platform now has all the config files necessary to build the Android open source code on its own.  The developer tools are being built right in the open (tools include Eclipse plugin and emulator) along with the Compatibility Test Suite.  Android has also created two separate Google Groups for the Android project: one is specifically meant to discuss build issues, and the other is for contributions.  If you want to contribute or post on the build group, read through the archives and be committed to finish any contributions you decide to make.