According to self proclaimed patent expert Florian Mueller of Foss patents, Apple and Google are again in a discovery dispute involving the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Mueller headlined his post: “Google to court: Galaxy Nexus code just like that of iPhone”. Apparently Mueller, nor Apple, is aware that the source code is posted to the Android developers official page, as it has been with every version of Android sans Honeycomb.
Of course we must consider the fact that perhaps there is some secret sauce within the Galaxy Nexus that we don’t know about. This would most likely be secret sauce belonging to Samsung though and not Google. The request for the source code was implicitly to Google this time around and not Samsung.
More after the break
Apple contends for some reason or another that the source code for Android and the source code for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus are different. Indeed there are going to be things differences between the code posted on source.android.com however, as we suggested earlier, most of that would belong to Samsung not Google. Google is supposed to supply the same source code to all of their OEM’s, the same code released to developers. The modifications, UI enhancements and other special treats lay with the OEM.
What makes this story take an even stranger twist is that Google claimed that the source code for the Galaxy Nexus is a trade secret. Bare in mind that the Galaxy Nexus is supposed to be a “vanilla” Android device and also the “developer” device. Developer’s from your overnight Fred in the shed developers to multi-million dollar app and game development studios use the “developer” phone, dubbed the Nexus line, as a reference device for Android.
“Although Google releases some versions of Android through the Android Open Source Project, the internal functionality of Android running on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is Google’s trade secret.”
Mueller argues that if Android is as open as Google claims it to be than by the “open source” rules anyone should be able to inspect it, before and after it’s running on a device. Mueller writes:
“But under open-source rules the one who wants to do so has the same right to inspect the code as someone who wants to fix a bug (possibly a critical security vulnerability), add a feature, or translate the thing to the Klingon language. Open source rules don’t discriminate against anyone who wants to look at the source code.”
As our friends at Phonearena point out Mueller has always taken an anti-Google stance on his blog (which happens to be using Blogger, a Google product). Mueller contends that Google should either come clean and claim that Android is closed like the iPhone or honor Apple’s full request.
We contend that if the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich that is posted to the Android website isn’t the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, than what is it?