I have a bit of philosophy I’d like to pass in to your fellow developers at Motorola/Google regarding people who root phones. It something that people there should really think through.
Google and Motorola have taken a root hostile position and I think that is a mistake. I think that your companies should do a 180 on that and embrace the rooting community and take advantage of a lot of talent rather than seeing us as if we were criminals from breaking into our own phones.
I would point out first that Android is really just Linux which is an operating system that comes from our world. It is not only free but the license requires all improvements to also be free. You get for free and you have to give back for free. Because of this license an environment was created where most all the biggest corporations on the planet and tens of thousands of individuals came together to build the single most dominate operating system on the planet. And all those Linux developers were root.
In contrast Apple started with BSD which is also open source operating system but with a different license. With BSD you can grab the code and turn it into a closed OS which is what Apple did. I remember early iPhone user who got root access had their phones bricked by Apple who sent out an update that deliberately destroyed their phones. Steve Jobs was an evangelist and Apple has its cult following much the same way L. Ron Hubbard started Scientology. When I look at the iPhone all I see is the same one button mindset that reflects the one button mouse that Apple still has on their laptop computers. An Apple breakthrough is something Android has been doing for years. Some day they might even get widgets.
What it comes down to is evolution. Evolution is the principle designing force on the planet, not just for life – but for companies – and for technology. Humans developed a cooperative model that allows us to link our minds together and share knowledge. That’s what makes us the dominate species on this planet. Similarly Linux evolved into the dominate operating system (except in the consumer world in PC computers) and it was because it is intrinsically cooperative.
Root users is where the cool development lives. Instead of fighting us you should encourage us, embrace us. Allow the evolution to continue. This is after all the single advantage you have over Apple, and without the hacker community Google will become just another big dumb company like Apple. You can take advantage of free development that is just sitting there wanting to help. You could even buy some of our technology which would encourage even more development. There are some of us who you can’t hire because we like the freedom of self employment. We live outside the box. Our world is the world of new ideas and innovation.
So – getting to the point – I recommend that when you release Jelly Bean that you don’t include the root hostile code that is in this release and that you make the system root friendly and that you embrace the root community and take advantage of the evolutionary forces that got you where you are today. Otherwise the open source world will develop its own Linux based operating system for phones and Google will be left behind.
Something to think about.