Has Google become Microsoft?

In today's open source roundup: Google and Microsoft share some similarities. Plus: How to upgrade from Debian 7 to Debian 8. And Dropbox versus Google Drive

Google might be the new Microsoft

Microsoft has long been reviled by the open source community. But Microsoft's days of dominance ended when the world moved to the cloud and mobile devices. A writer at FOSS Force wonders if Google is becoming the new Microsoft.

Christine Hall reports for FOSS Force:

My guess is that the company poised to win the most-hated-in-free-tech prize is Google.

Yeah, Google. The company that’s popularized two Linux distributions — or at least, two operating systems using the Linux kernel. The company that’s given consumers free use of Docs and Drive, and which owns and operates the servers where tens of millions of people store their photos and music — and for free unless they like music too much and need extra storage. Google, which through its browser gave Linux users the gift of Netflix — something of a trojan gift, to be sure, but a valuable gift just the same. Free search, free Android, the free Chrome browser and free Chrome OS.

The trouble is that none of it’s free. We just don’t pay for it with cash.

Android and Chrome OS are open source, but locked into Google’s cloud services with the tightness of proprietary software. Their combined installed bases have turned free users into sizable market shares, both for Google’s core advertising business and it’s burgeoning cloud services.

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FOSS Force readers shared their thoughts about Google possibly becoming the new Microsoft:

Mike: "One nitpick: Neither Android nor Chrome are open source. Android is based upon the open source AOSP project, but with proprietary addiitions, including but not limited to all of Google’s services. Similarly, Chrome is built upon the open source Chromium with extra proprietary bits added. Even the open source CHromium isn’t free from controversy (just ask Debian), since it was recently caught silently downloading and executing a proprietary extension without user consent.

It is a mistake trying to assign human-like motivations to any publicly traded corporation like Microsoft or Google. They are entities designed to make money, pure and simple and all other concerns are secondary at best. You may think of Google as “less evil” than Microsoft, but neither company really has your well-being in mind. I don’t hate any of them, but I don’t trust any of them either, and neither should anyone else.

That said: While Google does release a lot of FOSS softare, they use it as a tool to advance a decidedly non-free agenda."

Timon19: "Google’s “fight” for “Net Neutrality” was just as self-serving as anything else, since it helped further enshrine them as a big player to the detriment of upstarts.

…which is not to say that companies shouldn’t try to look out for their own interests, but by engaging the government to do their dirty work for them, they’re like every. single. other. company. that’s in a leading position."

George: "Google also owns Boston Dynamics, that nerd nest that spawns terminator-style robots for DARPA. Think about that!"

Jezra: "Yes. According to Thiagio Macieira (who is sort of kind of the Tizen community liaison or something), In order to license Android for phones, Samsung had to sign an agreement to NOT install other OSs on those phones. This is why Tizen will never be available on a Samsung flagship device.

To me, this stinks of Microsoft’s anti-competitive practice of denying licenses to manufacturers who might dare to install an OS other than Windows."

Eddie G. : "I for one don’t like Google, they’re too much in a rush to get all your data / movies / music onto their “free” cloud-based storage. here’s a question for you, what happens if their server goes down? Unless you have an up-to-date backup, then you’re pretty much screwed right? And I know a lot of people will claim that Google has backups of it’s backups etc…but a downed server is just one scenario, what about loss of power for 6 city blocks? Or some form of interruption to the line?

I don’t like Google because they are trying too hard to get your data on their stuff. In regards to their free stuff and how entangled those free items are within thew Google infrastructure, I feel that unless they do something REALLY aggressive, something that takes away my freedoms to use whatever OS I choose, then they can exist. I’m not interested in their motivation whatsoever, who wants to work for free? but if in the process of working you hamper others or try to control everything then you become the enemy….and that’s just how I see things…"

Laxator: "Google is a lot worse than Microsoft. And is has become like that since Page took over as CEO. On some Android tablets their data-collection obsession has become quite extreme, to the point of “You don’t give me your personal info, you don’t get to use the tablet!”. You can’t use the browser, and you get a pop-up every second to “Enter you Google credentials”."

CFWhitman: "What Samsung licenses is not Android (Android itself is Free Software). What they license is the right to pre-install Google Play and related services (including some applications) on their devices.

Also, what they agree to avoid in order to maintain that license is not installing other operating systems, but rather installing non-standard versions of Android. That is, any Android based operating systems that they install must meet certain criteria and be compatible with Google Play. Tizen is not affected by this because it is not based on Android. If it were, Samsung could not release any Tizen devices, and they have released some."

Nitecrawler: "Final note: google already a bigger evil than m$…"

More at FOSS Force

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