Edward pointed my to this blog today which brought up a point I myself have been making in regards to Android. I spoke to several people at the CE Linux meeting a couple of weeks ago about this for one. To quote from the blog:
Android is an island of its own, and useful code sharing is largely limited to the kernel.
At Collabora Multimedia we are currently working with both Maemo and Android systems and while I can see the appeal of Android from a phone makers perspective I can’t help but be a little saddened by how worthless it is to the general linux eco-system. One of the things I always loved about Nokia’s Maemo effort is that since its using so many of the standard components that we use on the Linux Desktop, it means that when a feature is added or a bug is fixed in Maemo, it directly helps also the linux desktop. Nokia and Maemo has had a strong and direct impact on a lot of open source projects, ranging from GStreamer, D-bus, GTK+, Telepathy, Matchbox, X Window System and more. And Nokia’s work on Qt going forward will of course have a direct impact on the quality of KDE.
Android on the other side has a much more marginal impact. I know they have contributed some patches to Webkit, but apart from that they offer little value to the rest of the linux eco-system. Been even told by some kernel developers that an Android kernel driver is about as immediately useful for the mainstream kernel as a FreeBSD or OpenSolaris driver. Meaning that porting is needed.
So for me personally I can’t help but feel a lot more positive about Maemo (or Moblin for that matter as they too share the same kind of philosophy as Maemo) and getting a N900 is definitely on my TODO list. That said Android is a work in progress and hopefully we can get them to abandon their essentially proprietary stack going forward and instead incorporate more and more shared libraries with the server and desktop. Maemo has proved that for a smartphone these libraries works just as well as Googles homebrew. Some of the efforts we are involved with are pushing in that direction and hopefully Google will realize that the secret to the success of open source is synergy.