6/10/12 Announcement: Optimus Development & Usage Requirements
There's been a lot of drama and bickering lately due to members who repost the work of others without giving proper credit and/or misleading the community into thinking they’ve made moderate-to-major improvements to a ROM -- when in actuality they've made insignificant changes. Unfortunately, 9/10 times these complaints are valid.
So, as a reminder to all members, your use of (downloading, installing, and endorsement) or release of (uploading and taking credit for) custom development work in the forums is an acknowledgement that you understand the following:
All Android users have the right to access and modify source code -- original or otherwise. Source code, in plain English, is un-compiled human readable code that doesn’t require a magic decoder ring to decipher what it says.
Google releases Android as open-source code, which enables you to use it, customize it, and share it - under the condition that whatever you do with it remains open to the community. Having this level of access enables the community to make personalized customizations (e.g., improvements to performance, battery life, themes, and removal of applications), without the fear of being sued by software giants.
In contrast, Apple, Microsoft, and various other companies release closed source software - in binary form – restricting and complicating our ability to make changes.
When software developers modify software that inherently uses GPL code, they automatically surrender claims of ownership. This includes restricting others from modifying and/or re-distributing software that they’ve made modifications to. In the forums, examples of software include ROM’s, hacks, kernels, and other tools built atop (stock or otherwise) the Android operating system.
Claims of ownership, and restrictions on distribution, is harmful to the Android community at large. A fundamental component of the GPL is that wisdom is not something that you own, profit from, or keep to yourself. Knowledge is shared with others, with the understanding that others are going to use, modify, and pass their knowledge along to others. In other words, true Android developers are selfless in their efforts.
Every great modification to Android lays the groundwork for the next – and each is made possible because Android development is a community effort. For example, if you add a groundbreaking performance improvement – it might have been your idea, but it was made possible because of the work of other developers. Giving proper credit and linking to original source code is a mandatory requirement when releasing development work in the forums.
The responsibility lies on all of us to support these principles, whether we are on the giving or receiving end of customized Android software. We should all ensure that developers are following these guidelines before we choose to support them.
Like the rest of the community, staff members (including individual members of the AC Development group) reserve the right to examine all posted software and determine compliance.
A popular member today, could be a banned member tomorrow if we discover they are blatantly and knowingly violating these rules.
That's how we roll at Android Central.