Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Christopher Mims

A View from Christopher Mims

It's Official: Apple Is Now More 'Open' than Google

Google promised that Android would be open source …

  • August 4, 2011

Quick, which tech powerhouse’s flagship mobile product came out dead last in a systematic survey of the openness of eight open-source software projects?

Look who’s pushing around device manufacturers now

You’d be forgiven for saying “Apple,” considering that the Cupertino-based company makes no bones about locking down its mobile iOS and app store tighter than a bicycle left outdoors in Manhattan. But it turns out that Google, which has become increasingly “meh” with regard to its famous mantra in direct proportion to its growth and profitability, is now the home of the least open open-source project evaluated: Android.

Indeed, Android was the only project evaluated by VisionMobile (pdf) to score less than 58 percent, compared to the Apple-sponsored WebKit browser project’s 68 percent. (Webkit powers all versions of Apple’s Safari browser, as well as Mail and other OS X applicaitons.)

The reasons for Android’s poor showing were straightforward: the project has no real public roadmap, and decisions about the future of Android are made unilaterally by Google. Funny how it turns out that throwing code over the wall whenever the company feels like it does not an open-source project make.

Webkit, on the other hand, even bested the famously open-source-friendly Mozilla foundation’s Firefox browser (which scored 65 percent). No wonder, then, that Google feels safe basing its own browser—Chrome—on top of the relatively open and democratic WebKit standard.

via Ars

Learn from the humans leading the way in intelligent machines at EmTech Next. Register Today!
June 11-12, 2019
Cambridge, MA

Register now
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to MIT Technology Review.
  • Print + All Access Digital {! insider.prices.print_digital !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The best of MIT Technology Review in print and online, plus unlimited access to our online archive, an ad-free web experience, discounts to MIT Technology Review events, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    6 bi-monthly issues of print + digital magazine

    10% discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    Ad-free website experience

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

    The MIT Technology Review App

  • All Access Digital {! insider.prices.digital !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The digital magazine, plus unlimited site access, our online archive, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    Digital magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

  • Print Subscription {! insider.prices.print_only !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six print issues per year plus The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Print magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.