Android developers pledge to make open equivalents to Google's proprietary apps

Google's legal threat against an open source Android developer who made a replacement phone firmware that ran faster than Google's own slow-and-poky version has sparked a commitment to replace all of Google's proprietary apps with free alternatives. Cyanogen, an Android dev, made much-loved Android OSes that bundled in Google's default apps, like Google Maps, and Google says that this violates their copyrights and has ordered him to stop. They're probably right as a matter of law, but this is infra-dumb as a business question: Google's default Android OS is very slow, and shipping these improved OSes only makes the pitch for Android more attractive.

Google, however, appears to be significantly less permissive on this front than Microsoft. The company's legal department objects to the Cyanogen mod on the basis of its inclusion of Google's proprietary software. They sent Kondik a cease and desist order compelling him to remove the mod from his Web site. The Android enthusiast community has responded fiercely, condemning Google for taking a heavy-handed approach. Even Google's own Android team appears to be frustrated with the legal department's zeal. After the news about the cease and desist broke, Google developer Jean-Baptiste Queru posted a message on Twitter suggesting that he could be pursuing alternate employment opportunities.

Kondik expressed disgust with the entire situation, but has been working with Google to find a reasonable resolution. He remains optimistic that he can accommodate Google's requirements and still make his mod available to users. In a blog entry posted Sunday, he explained how he plans to move forward. The Cyanogen mod will no longer include Google's proprietary applications. Instead, users who have "Google Experience" phones will back up those applications to external media and will restore them after installing the modded ROM. He is building a special tool to facilitate the backup and restoration process.

Irate Android devs aim to replace Google's proprietary bits