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Tip of the Hat: The 'forking' of Android is inevitable

No matter what it does, Google can't prevent device makers from customizing Android -- 'open source is by its nature forkable'

By Mike Bucken, Computerworld
February 12, 2014 12:21 PM ET

Computerworld - Google did a masterful job creating an open-source project that led to the development of a platform to run its apps on mobile platforms.

Android has been wildly successful and now runs most of the mobile devices used around the world. The main reason it was developed relatively quickly and moved so quickly to the top of the market providing billions of dollars in revenue for Google was the open source roots.

It's the open source code, though, that has started blunting Google's control over Android. Device makers like Amazon have modified -- or forked -- Android's source code to support its apps rather than Google's. And reports surfaced this week that Nokia, soon to be a unit of Microsoft, plans to unveil a smartphone running forked Android software.

Computerworld gives a Top of the Hat to freelance journalist Ron Miller for his piece, Android can't escape the Pandora's Box in sister publication Citeworld, which provides a straightforward look at Google's dilemma -- no matter how hard it tries to prevent others from modifying Android, it can't because open source software is "by its nature forkable."

Read more about mobile/wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.

Originally published on www.computerworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

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