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Re: Android port

From: Po Lu
Subject: Re: Android port
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2023 17:57:14 +0800
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13)

Konstantin Kharlamov <hi-angel@yandex.ru> writes:

> On Fri, 2023-01-20 at 09:19 +0200, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
>> > Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2023 09:47:34 +0300
>> > From: Jean Louis <bugs@gnu.support>
>> > Cc: Po Lu <luangruo@yahoo.com>, emacs-devel@gnu.org
>> > 
>> > * Eli Zaretskii <eliz@gnu.org> [2023-01-19 17:28]:
>> > > First, we need to decide whether we indeed want to have this in Emacs.
>> > > Android is not a free platform, so when its support comes with a lot
>> > > of additional non-trivial code that we'd need to understand and
>> > > support/maintain (including a lot of Java), we had better discussed
>> > > that first.
>> > 
>> > Replicant is free platform.
>> That fact is not relevant to this discussion.
> I think the point Jean meant to make is that Android platform per se isn't
> closed, even if the unfortunate situation is that many vendors ship a lot of
> closed code, mainly drivers (tho situation with closed drivers is slowly
> improving, Google seem to be working on that).

Google is working on allowing the proprietary drivers to run alongside
any version of Linux, not on removing them entirely.

Google themselves develop Play Services, arguably the most problematic
piece of proprietary software in Android.

> The link Jean posted is just one of (free and open source) derivatives of
> Android platform. The other one very popular comes to mind was CyanogenMod,
> which later was succeeded by LineageOS.

LineageOS and CyanogenMod are not free software, because both contain
proprietary device driver files, and in the case of CyanogenMod,
proprietary user level libraries as well.

AOSP, on the other hand, is really free software.  But that doesn't help
when you can only run it in an emulator.

If you had read the Android appendix of the Emacs manual, you would have
seen that it explains this situation:

H.1 Android history

Android is an operating system for mobile devices developed by the Open
Handset Alliance, a group of companies interested in developing handsets
that can run a common set of software.  It is supposedly free software.

   Like the X Consortium of times past, the Open Handset Alliance
believes that “openness” (namely, the regular release of the Android
source code) is simply a tool to increase the popularity of the Android
platform.  Computer companies normally produce proprietary software.
The companies in the Open Handset Alliance are no different – most
versions of Android installed on devices are proprietary, by virtue of
containing proprietary components, that often cannot even be replaced by
the user.

   Android is not designed to respect users’ freedom.  Almost all
versions of Android (including some which are supposedly free software)
include support for Digital Restrictions Management, technology that is
designed to limit users’ ability to copy media to and from their own
devices.  Most Android devices also come with proprietary Google
applications which are required to run the system, and many other
Android applications.

   Thus, it must be necessary to consider Android proprietary software
from a practical standpoint.  That is an injustice.  If you use Android,
we urge you to switch to a free operating system, if only for your
freedom’s sake.

   We support GNU Emacs on proprietary operating systems because we hope
this taste of freedom will inspire users to escape from them.

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