Why is Android Called Open Source Operating System?

All this while we have been hearing that Android is an open source operating system. Of course, if you’re an average user, must have never contemplated on what an open source operating system is or why the makers have kept it like that…?

However, saying that would be wrong!

Let’s figure out the reasons for you getting an Android instead of an iOS or Windows phone.

Amongst all others, you’d pick an Android because there are many manufacturers selling Android devices with their unique features. For instance, Samsung has enable health tracker while some other brands have got finger touch unlocking. Such features surely entice many basic users. In addition, you may also find Android absolute convenience. Most certainly they are! But why is so? Simply, because they are based on open source operating system. Now you must be wondering what’s open source system?

Also Read: Best open-source software

What is Open Source?

Open source in general refers to source code that is programed in a way that it can be modified by users or free use or other developers to bring the updates as and what may seem fitting to them.

Search Enterprise Linux also quotes it as, “Open Source is a certification mark owned by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). Developers of software that is intended to be freely shared and possibly improved and redistributed by others can use the Open Source trademark if their distribution terms conform to the OSI’s Open Source Definition. To summarize, the Definition model of distribution terms require that:

  • The software being distributed must be redistributed to anyone else without any restriction.
  • The source code must be made available (so that the receiving party will be able to improve or modify it).
  • The license can require improved versions of the software to carry a different name or version from the original software.”

Some of open source software include LibreOffice, Mozilla Firefox, Android, etc.

Is Android Really an Open Source Operating System?


Back in 2005, Android Inc., developed it with open source roots. Android is designed with Linux kernel as its basis. Linux kernel is a monolithic Unix-like computer operating system kernel. Most parts of Android are open source with a few binary blobs, which are made so as to make them work smoothly with certain hardware. In other words, Android platform or Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is available for everyone to make any change that they wish to.

What does it mean to be an Open Source Operating system?

Being an open operating system has many benefits in itself such as you can alter ROM of your device and mess around a lot many things in it. In addition to this, setting up ROM on your device discards the device from manufacturer’s warranty. However, there are various benefits of it. Here you go:

Advantages of Open Source Operating System:

  • If you are a developer or aim to come up with a new operating system, the Android is your way. You can customize your device in anything want. You can even build a complete new operating system of your own. In other words, rooting is easier.
  • They are handier to operate.
  • Developing apps for such device involves much ease than in closed-source. Since every specification of the operating system is before you, tweaking becomes much easier.
  • Getting an app is way too easier. They can come from anywhere, be it app store or .apk download or may be via some sharing app.


Disadvantages of Open Source Operating System:

  • They are relatively vulnerable. It’s easier for such operating systems to get infected with viruses.
  • If any changes are brought in by individual users, these devices run out of warranty or become sole responsibility of user, i.e. when rooting is undertaken.
  • Less support is available for such devices if anything goes wrong. Such operating system tend to rely on its community of users to respond to and fix problems.


Having an Android is surely fun! They are handy and convenient and yet they have their own highs and anomalies. However, now you’d know what your Android is developed with and if you wish to tweak it a bit, you can! But remember to get professional knowledge before you start off with that.

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