A new report has ranked Google’s Android operating system the most “closed” open source platform among eight major open source projects. VisionMobile on Monday published The Open Governance Index, a deep look at the relative openness of Android, Qt, Symbian, MeeGo, Mozilla, WebKit, Linux and Eclipse. Going beyond licensing models and using governance as a core metric, the firm determined that Eclipse is the most open open source platform with an Open Governance Index of 84% while Google’s Android was the most closed open source platform analyzed in its report. Read on for more.
“Android ranks as the most closed project, with an Open Governance Index of 23%, yet at the same time is one of the most successful projects in the history of open source,” VisionMobile wrote in its report. “Is Android proof that open governance is not needed to warrant success in an open source project?” The firm goes on to suggest that Android’s success has less to do with open source licensing and more to do with Google’s financial muscle.
“Google has made Android available at ‘less than zero’ cost, since Google’s core business is not software or search, but driving eyeballs to ads,” the report states. “As is now well understood, Google’s strategy has been to subsidise Android such that it can deliver cheap handsets and low-cost wireless Internet access in order to drive more eyeballs to Google’s ad inventory.”
VisionMobile goes on to stated rather conclusively that Google’s size, billions in marketing dollars from carriers and vendors, and the need to counter Apple’s momentum are responsible for Android’s success rather than the OS itself or the open source licensing model. “Android would not have risen were it not for the billions of dollars that OEMs and network operators poured into Android in order to compete with Apple’s iconic devices,” the firm wrote. “As Stephen Elop, Nokia’s CEO, said in June, 2011, ‘Apple created the conditions necessary for Android.’ ” VisionMobile’s full infographic follows below.