(This is a guest post by Dave D. from ThisGreenMachine.com. The original article can be found at this link.)
Iíve been quite torn lately. Last week I took issue with Eric Schmidtís response to a question posed by Danny Sulivan of SearchEngineLand.com. In short, Sulivan asked Schmidt why Google doesnít require carriers and manufacturers to give consumers the option to install a stock version of Android on any device. This is a point that I brought up in a previous post, suggesting that a simple way to fix fragmentation would be to require stock Android on all new devices with an option to install custom skins after purchase. Schmidtís response left no room for misunderstanding. He stated that putting such restrictions on the use of Android would violate the very principle of open source.
My immediate reaction was to call Schmidt a coward for hiding behind the banner of open source instead of taking responsibility. At the time, I believed that Google held the ultimate responsibility of ensuring a good user experience for Android devices. As I ranted to anyone who would listen, the discussion often became heated when I was called a hypocrite: how could I praise Androidís inherent openness in my other articles, then have the gall to be angry when the same openness didnít work in my favor?
As I defended my position, the feelings of anger slowly turned into embarrassment. ďDamn, that was a good point,Ē I thought to myself. They were right, my stance has always been that Android is superior to iOS due to the choices given to consumers. Requiring that all devices ship with stock Android would be taking away that choice. Just because an option isnít one I personally enjoy doesnít give me the right to tell others they canít have it either.
One analogy that stuck with me compares open source software to a cooking recipe. Recipes are made available to everyone with the idea that anything can be tweaked to the cookís liking. It would be a shame to be denied the recipe for some delicious chocolate chip cookies because I wanted to add peanut butter. At the same time, it would be ludicrous for me to blame the terrible taste of the modified recipe on the original author. Without the ability to customize Android to their liking, carriers and manufacturers would have never adopted the platform at such an amazing pace. As much as it may pain me to admit, carriers should be allowed the same openness that I demand, even if this means I donít agree with their decisions (Bing search on Android devices?! Oh please kill me quickly.). No oneís forcing me to buy one, right?
References:  Search Engine Land