In a rather unsurprisingly research, it has been found that Google’s Android OS for smartphones, portable computers and tablets is the most closed open source operating system available today.

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The news comes from Boy Genius Report – a blog dedicated to covering consumer electronics and the technology that powers them – in the form of a post in which they discuss a research conducted by a market analysis and strategy firm.

Titled Open Governance Index (OGI), the research report introduces an all new way of measuring the relative openness of open source projects. It is based on the four elements of governance:

  • Access: availability of the project’s latest source code to developers, a publicly known roadmap and transparent decision-making
  • Development: how much developers can contribute to and influence the project
  • Derivatives: ability of developers to take the source code, customize it and distribute “derivates” of the original project
  • Community: the structure of the community surrounding the project, whether the project discriminates between developers or not.

In their report, VisionMobile compares eight open-source projects: Android, Qt, Symbian, MeeGo, WebKit, Linux and Eclipse.

In the report, Android has been given an OGI of just 23% because of decisions like not releasing the source code of Android 3.x Honeycomb to developers, not clarifying what lies ahead for the platform, encouraging developers to add to Android codebase but not actually committing most of these to the actual codebase (the process of including external contributions aren’t even documented!). Lastly, the consortium of 84 firms backing Android itself – The Open Handset Alliance – now, according to the report, “serves little purpose”.

Despite its closed nature, Android is the most popular open source project. VisionMobile believes this is more due to Google’s “financial muscle” and competition against Apple’s widely popular iPhone, than the nature of Android itself.

On the other end of the spectrum, popular open source software development environment Eclipse received an OGI of 84%. Eclipse is followed by open source operating system Linux (71%) and browser layout engine WebKit (68%).

VisionMobile has readied a infographic visualizing results of their research report which we’ve posted below:

open-source-rankings-infographic

To learn more about the Open Governance Index and scores given to other open source projects, check out VisionMobile’s complete here (you can download it after entering your email address).

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