Android father Andy Rubin responds to Steve Jobs about "openness"

Android father Andy Rubin responds to Steve Jobs about

Andy Rubin has responded on Twitter to Steve Jobs' remarks about Android's openness -- how Google is using it as a smokescreen for fragmentation -- made during the Apple Q4 2010 earnings call yesterday.

"the definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make

During the live call, where Apple announced their over-the-top results to shareholders (and everyone listening along on the web), Steve Jobs expounded on Apple's integrated business model and software focus, and how that's parlayed directly into the success of the iPhone and iPad. In markets that were previously considered slow-moving when it came to innovation, and not particularly user-friendly before Apple came along, Jobs singled Google out for requiring Android users to be their own systems integrators.

Does Rubin's tweet, while a perfectly nerdy, open-source software response (the commands needed to view and compile Android's code), really do much to counter that notion for the mainstream?

[@ARubin via SlashGear, Android Central]

by Andrew Wray

Staff

Your source for everything iPhone and iPad. More news, more how-tos, more app and accessory reviews. iMore.

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There are 40 comments. Add yours.

Rene Ritchie says:

My mom wants to go to a store, buy a phone, and start using it. The make command is as meaningful to her as Klingon. Bottom line -- it doesn't matter who's the most open or the most integrated, it matters who gives the best phones to the largest amount of end users.

sting7k says:

Only hardcore nerds will even know what he is talking about. Steve's hate level is far more advanced.

gregorypleau says:

Um yeah. I'm not going to invest in platforms that require the userbase to know THAT.

JNGold says:

chmod 777 - Now doesn't that make sense? :)

firesign3000 says:

As others have already said, your average user doesn't know what rooting is, likely doesn't care, and won't ever do it. Whether they buy an iPhone, an Android, device, or even a dumb phone they just want something that works. So while it's nice that you can root Android devices, Jobs is right in this case. It's a smokescreen for fragmentation.

Joel says:

he just proved Jobs' point and simultaneously demonstrated the huge chasm between engineers designing functions and companies designing products for people's lives.

OrionAntares#CB says:

My mom wants to go to the store, get a phone, and be able to make calls on it then and there. Bottom line - that's why "dumb" phones still exist in such numbers.

Faizaan says:

So it's a phone for programmers. What about the rest of the masses. My 70 year old aunt can use an iPhone and my 2 year old niece can use it. That's what's openness is. No carrier bloatware allowed on iPhone. That is open. Lots of bloatware on android is not open. This google openness is a pain in the ass. Atleast Steve jobs has solved one thing from me. I dont get a call from an uncle or aunt or a parents asking me if they should click yes in the security warning they are getting.

Bill says:

"If a user can operate an Android phone correctly, Android is the better choice. If a user can’t, they buy the iPhone. This is the reason why Apple fanboys can’t backup their reasoning when they say the iPhone is better than Android"

brn2prgrm says:

Oh goodness, everyone needs to get off of steve jobs nuts!!!! Like seriously, he called you out... and this is what you come up with. lol you cant even explain a thing. especially the CEO from Tweetdeck. you are weak as hell too.

Pimp Lucious says:

@Brn2prgrm
The irony of your statement is hilarious.

jasondeno says:

Excuse me stewardess, do you speak Geek?
Me neither. That's why I carry an iPhone.

Dan says:

I think Andy Rubin should learn to speak English if he wants to work in this country.

Jim Washok says:

Yeah, real user-focused response there! Failure of many...focusing on tech rather than user & use.
I work in the mobile marketing industry and I can assure all that what may be open for the carriers does not translate to openness for the users. The carriers are still smarting from becoming dumb pipes in the days of landline telecomm...they are doing every thing they can to avoid a repeat in wireless using control...that means kissing openness goodbye and saying hello to fragmentation and confusion.
Glad to have Steve shut down the 7” iPad rumors...that was getting annoying. Steve will do all he can to avoid multiple models of a device. Along with ease of use, he believes strongly in ease of choice. I recall from my Microsoft using years spending days trying to decide on a PC/laptop. I decided on my first Mac, which model to buy, in less than an hour...my second, less than 15 mins. iPad decision in April...how much space and 3G or not 3G...that easy.
One last comment on this tweet, as with the antennae issue & how Steve handled that, when will competitors learn to not respond...don't counter back, don't copy, rather outwit. Wanna beat Apple? Disturb their market(s) back...if you're smart, daring and capable enough to do so. 14+ million iPhones sold past quarter, most likely iPhone 4 since Apple does not openly sell previous gen devices...where's the antennae issue now?! There should be A LOT of pissed off people with those numbers.

Pimp Lucious says:

"My mom wants to go to a store, buy a phone, and start using it. The make command is as meaningful to her as Klingon. Bottom line — it doesn’t matter who’s the most open or the most integrated, it matters who gives the best phones to the largest amount of end users."
Seems that the reason Steve is so upset is that Android has replaced the iPhone as the choice for the majority of users. I'm sure you don't think it's only geeks buying all those phones. When it takes all iOS devices combined to match android smartphone sales, Apple is losing that battle.

Justin says:

Some of you guys are funny! Rubin isn't saying you have to know that set of commands to use the phone. Sheesh! He's just saying that if you want to see/modify/whatever Android's source, you can...it's "open." Perfect example is LauncherPro. The developer has heavily modified Android's launcher to include features and functionality way beyond stock Android. As a user I'm free to replace the stock launcher with LauncherPro...it is as simple as installing an app.

Ky772 says:

@Rene Ritchie
Yeah, I know, right? Because your mom needs to know the make command to actually USE an Android device. Did Rubin's tweet completely go over your (and everyone else's) head here?
Anyways, the only valid point Steve made was that Android shouldn't fragment it's hardware as much. Do we really need the Moto backflip and other weak devices? No.

Trevor says:

The bottom line is choice. Everyone can choose what phone/OS they prefer. If talking open source, customization, user freedom and control, Android obviously wins. If talking ease of use, user experience, and consistency, iOS/iPhone wins. Both are great platforms for different reasons and different people. Both can do things that their competitors cant. Which one is more important to you? Thats all that matters.

(Copy of) Dev says:

Sigh. It never ceases to amaze me when people not only take things out of context to fit their preconceived notions, but they wear the ignorance of that context as some sort of badge of honor. In 3 fun 'n e-z bullet points:
1) You do not need to know any of this to use an Android product -- ever. Jobs' comment that Android users have to be sysadmins, as well as the echoing comments above, are pure bunk.
2) With Android, you can poke around under the hood, or completely replace the engine. And not just OEM's -- anybody. That is Rubin's definition of open -- that anybody can muck with it if they so choose. You do not ever have to touch it, but you have that feedom if you want to. Android by design meets that definition, and iOS by design does not.
3) While he has done his best to sow confusion about the word "open," Jobs has never offered a definition of "open" in this context, ever. So, by the only definition available, Android == open, iOS == closed.
As Rene correctly points out, whether or not that open approach can win in the smartphone/tablet spaces is another question entirely...

zero credibility says:

@Bill
can operate an Android phone correctly, can I be arsed with all the extra work ? no,
@Freaknasty
you a the funniest guy on here ... you are so much of a stereotypical android user I'm not even sure you realise it. please don't stop commenting.

John says:

I love my Android. I agree with Trevor. They have different pluses and minuses. overall, I like the apps on my android alot more so I've gone that way.

Ron says:

Freaknasty said: "...Android has replaced the iPhone as the choice for the majority of users."
Also, cookies have replaced swimming for the majority of users.
Android is NOT A PHONE, or a device of any kind.

Totalimmortal363 says:

Yea, no one knows what the hell that means

TumnusMr says:

Lots of fanboyism going on here... In any case I'll chime in.
While I often don't agree with Jobs' rants, I do agree that tweets like this trying to prove that Android is open is disingenuous.
1) Being mostly open source does not automatically make it an open platform. Most bluray players, DVRs, and internet TVs run some form of Linux, but they're more closed than Apple's platforms by any definition.
2) Does the Tweet commands listed give you all the Google apps and in particular the Marketplace app? I don't think it does and they have to be licensed.
3) Jobs is talking about the platform, not the OS with respect to openness. With iOS you can write any web app you like using open standards and submit free or paid applications that use the published APIs to run on the devices (and while the submission process is not perfect I would much rather have some vetting going on for safety and quality purposes than none at all). I'm not saying that Android is not open, but as a platform I would argue that is not much more open than iOS.
4) I don't think Google or any of the manufacturer's ever intended for ROMs to be customized, etc and in fact they are starting to clamp down on this, so they obviously don't value the small demographic that appreciates this aspect very much.
5) Why is so much weight being put on Tweetdeck's comments? Not to belittle their efforts, but it is hardly an advanced class of application that is using all the capabilities of the OS and hardware so it can't be all that hard to make it portable across different versions of OSes.
At the end of the day it is horses for courses. Each platform has its advantages and disadvantages that appeal to different people and you should hope that all the platforms stick around for a long time as competition provides greater choice has been driving innovation.

mtmjr90 says:

I think the vast majority of consumers who a) saw this tweet, b) read blogs that report this tweet, c) would listen to Steve Jobs' earnings call (and care) are exactly the type of people who would understand this tweet and appreciate it's significance.
There may be disagreement over whether "open" or "closed" is better for consumers, but isn't that the point of competition? Android is BY DEFINITION (as opposed to marketing), as Andy points out, open source. Leave it to the consumers to decide which is better (and clearly they like both).

Earless Puppy says:

His definition sounds even more confusing then Android itself....

SockRolid says:

Hey Rubin, try this:
cd /; sudo rm * -f

SockRolid says:

The general public doesn't give a flying f*** about "openness." We'll see how many Android users prefer Android clones to iPhone when iPhone hits Verizon.
Android does relatively poorly overseas. Why? Because iPhone sells on multiple carriers in most countries. There aren't any safe havens for Android like Verizon is in the US.

Eric says:

Guys ... By saying that he's not saying that you HAVE to know how to do that to use Android. You can just go out and buy a perfectly working Android phone (I did, it's great lol). All he's saying is that ON TOP OF THAT (the basic experience), you can also customize it like you want. My mom owns an Android and absolutely loves it. She doesn't know how to root a phone, or anything like that, but she sure can use it just as easily as an iPhone.

Robes says:

@Freaknasty:
Your statement represents what's wrong with this entire argument. There can never be a fair comparison between the iPhone and the entire collection of companies making Android phones. That would be like a game where Kobe Bryant squared up against the entire NBA on one team against him. How stupid is that Freaknasty? Very stupid right? The iPhone is ONE phone. Android is made up of dozens of WACK phones together competing as one. So what you are saying is that apple didn't beat Droid X, Droid Incredible, regular Droid, Evo 4G, Epic 4G, G2, the entire Galaxy S family, and every other Android phone combined. Pick one and compare sales and the iPhone makes them all his girly late night lover!!! Why would you say iPhone versus Android as if Android is a phone. Android is a system used on many phones. The iPhone is one phone. Do you understand? Every time I read about iPhone vs Android I see someone try to explain to people in the responses and comments that this is a ridiculous comparison but once again it's back. It's like saying F-16 vs Military. How can you compare one jet to tanks and ships and the Army, Navy, Airforce, and Marines. Would you actually make that comparison?

Janey says:

Android is quickly becoming like Linux when you run into problems.
User: "Hey, I have this problem in Android.."
Others: "Oh, that version sucks. you should use Cyanogen's mod. Root your phone."
User: "Uh, I just need to do $whatever"
Others: "Root your phone!"
That kind of stuff is what drove me away from Android. When the standard answers were "Root your phone" and "install some third party mod" and no actual solutions to my problems, I decided enough was enough.

Name Error 404 says:

Here are my 2 cents:
Android is not really a platform; it is a building block for the carriers and anyone else to make a platform. This is what it means when the system is open. When the carriers or the ROM Hackers take stock Android, they alter it and make it there own platform. This is why there is problems with consistency. Google does not make money off of Android, they make money off of searches and selling our data. It is not really their OS when it leaves the carriers.
This can be a very GOOD thing, though, once someone does it properly. If a developer or manufacturer who did not have the resources to create their own OS from scratch uses Android as a foundation for their own unique and revolutionary OS, we could have a system that blows everything else away (even Apple). This is the TRUE meaning of open source, giving the small developers a chance to make a big impact, not pasting a layer of ATT or Verizon Bloatware on Froyo.

TK says:

You guys are just proving that the iPhone is the "smart"phone for idiots because it's easy to use

Bill says:

Iphone is a brilliantly dumb Smartphone. Plain and simple. That is all it is. Go go moms and elders... ease of use away.

Kei says:

For those who think Android is more successful than iPhone, please point me to the singular company that is competing financially with iPhone. Oh. There isn't one.

Name Error 404 says:

@Kei, Your logic is flawed. The Android Operating system itself is free and open source, so it cannot make any money. If the iPhone made only 32 cents then it would be financially more successful than Android. It is like comparing Microsoft Outlook with Mozilla Thunderbird.
I think a better way to put it is: "If the iPhone sells 10 million phones, and the Samsung Galaxy S sells 2 million phones, and the Motorola Droid 2 sells 3 million phones, who wins?"
Answer: Everyone. Apple wins because it sells phones. Samsung and Motorola win because they sell phones with very little cost of developing the operating systems on them (they can just make the hardware they want). Those that buy the iPhone win because they have a simple to use device that is compatible with various other devices. Those that buy the Android phones win because they get phones that are more customized to the size, form factor, and physical options they prefer (not everyone likes the form of the iPhone) and they get the use of widgets, glance-able information, and a functional (though not perfect) form of flash player.
As long as the companies make money and the customers are happy, there are no losers. (Except the people who believe everything out of Steve Jobs mouth, like "Its got multitasking" in his 2007 iPhone introduction speech. He is a salesman. He will stretch the truth to make his stuff sound better.)

tgandur says:

Steve is saying that Windows is open. Andy is pointing out that, in fact, it is not. And when Android People are refering to iOS as closed they are talking about the source code. By this definition Windows is one of the most closed systems in the world.
How Open Source will have an importance to the end user? Just look at Mozilla Firefox. Also, look at Songbird or numerous other software that is made available thanks to Mozilla source code.
For Android this means apps that are more integrated with the OS.
I still think that iphone is more suitable to some people but when about the openness Steve is wrong or did not understand what Android people mean by OPEN.

Fred says:

I'm so glad that Android or any other soft/hard ware is on the Market it will force the Biggies like Apple to work harder and eventually Soft and Hardware gets cheaper over Time - I personally will not buy and Pay double for the nicer Look and follow the Followers they think they are better/clever People who use Apple Stuff - -future development will get stuck in the cul de sac ! -if no Open People are allowed to have there Say - keep doing the good Work "Open People"!

Praveen says:

iPhone is really really awesome, my father loves it, my mom loves it, they find it very very very simple to use, like an automatic transmission family car.
I on the other hand am a POWER USER, my needs are generations ahead of my parent's needs, my needs are far far far more advanced & sophisticated & technological superior to my parents' needs from a smart phone. I need the multitasking, widgets, quick access menus, swipe keyboard, large screen, customization features, Multiple UI choices on the same phone unlike the simple UI (if it can be called one) on the iPhone. I was waiting for all this on a phone so that I could ditch my netbook for business purpose.
The iPhone is simple & does its limited features fantastically, have no doubt about that - but to me iPhone maybe satisfies 30% of my networking & mobile communication & mobile computational needs, whereas Android on my Samsung Galaxy I9003 solves 80 - 90% of my needs.
Remaining 10% - 20% demand is always changing & progressing. If someone could fill that, the world would end !!! Ha ha ha