"The new terms for the Android SDK now include phrases such as 'you may not: (a) copy (except for backup purposes), modify, adapt, redistribute, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or create derivative works of the SDK or any part of the SDK' among other non-Free-software-friendly terms, as noted by FSF Europe's Torsten Grote. Replicant, a free fork of Android, announced the release of Replicant SDK 4.0 based on the latest sources of the Android SDK without the new terms."
It impacts people who care about principle the software they use is based upon.
Google's aim here is to make life difficult for competitors such as Amazon and the Chinese Android clone makers (not that these will care). This allows them to interfere with the free market for their own benefit. For programmers reading Slashdot, that means that, instead of being four or more potential developers of mobile software you can work for, Amazon, Google, Apple and the Chinese, there may well only be two: Apple and Google. With the possible exception of Jolla and Ubuntu, there is almost nobody else in the market who could consider competing. For people buying mobile phones would mean that, instead of having widespread choice from different vendors, everything would go through Google or Apple.
This is one of the key reasons why licenses such as the AGPLv3 as well as free software foundations which can provide a neutral holder for coyprights are so important. Look at how FreeBSD development has been absorbed by Apple even though it was supposedly "Open Source". Without strong copyleft licenses the only choice will be which set of chains you wear. Once you are wearing those chains the only choice will be to give the mobile vendors what they want to take.
This work on Replicant is crucial and hopefully companies like Amazon which could gain from it will understand that and come out and support the project. Anyone who can contribute Android code should be working for the goals of Replicant wherever possible. Also you want to make sure that your code goes in to a neutral party under the AGPLv3 to make sure that you yourself will be able to get the benefit from it later.
BTW, isn't it funny the way all the "don't be evil" trolls suddenly shut up when we have an actual example of Google doing something not nice?
Android SDK is now proprietary, Replicant to the rescue
In order to use the SDK, you must first agree to this License Agreement. You may not use the SDK if you do not accept this License Agreement.This sentence alone already violates freedom 0, the freedom to use the program for any purpose without restrictions.
Today, the truly Free Software version of Android called Replicant came to the rescue and released a free (as in free speech) version of the SDK.
Apparently, Google made this step to prevent fragmentation of the ecosystem. What are they going to do next? This situation is far from perfect for software freedom. Developing Android Apps in freedom is only possible as soon as the Replicant developers catch up. Looks like Android stops being a Free Software friendly platform.
So let’s all help that this trend is stopped and Android remains Free. Signing up on the android discussion list is a good first step to asses the situation and plan further action.
Update: It has been pointed out by some people that the SDK Terms and Conditions are older than previously assumed. Google only requires explicit agreement now and shows the terms before download. That wasn’t the case earlier.
Update2: Replicant developer Paul Kocialkowski wrote a blog post as well and explained in more detail what the problem with the SDK is.
However now Google decided to put an overall non-free license for the SDK, which brings back the need of having a fully free Replicant SDK. Since our only SDK release is getting old (it was API level 8), we built an SDK package from Replicant 4.0 sources, that is API level 15.
You can download the SDK from the ReplicantSDK page, find an installation and usage guide as well as the build instructions on the wiki.