Yesterday, in a short but fiery presentation Apple’s CEO took potshots at iPhone’s biggest competitor – Google Android. As Chinmoy wrote earlier today, Jobs challenged “everything Android – from the openness, to the fragmentation, and the tablet experience”.
Steve Jobs also gave his (rather comical) definition of open. The Apple chief, who claimed that the first thing that popped into his mind when he thought about the word “open” was Windows, admonished Android for failing to offer a consistent experience to all Android users.
As you can imagine, Google isn’t pleased with what Jobs had to say. Andy Rubin, the man in charge of the Android platform, has shot back at Apple through Twitter. Rubin used his long dormant Twitter account to share his definition of open.
the definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”
While Rubin didn’t explicitly mention Apple, it doesn’t take a brainiac to figure out who he is targeting with his first tweet. This controversy is particularly strange because “open” isn’t such a hard word to define. I have a pretty well-defined opinion regarding exactly what being “open” is all out. It essentially refers to freedom. It might be freedom to choose, freedom to redistribute or simply freedom to modify. Apple’s repeated attempts to redefine “open” is frankly distasteful. Rubin’s definition might be geeky, but his ideas are definitely closer to the conventional wisdom. But then, nothing about Jobs is conventional.