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Samsung Hires Steve 'Cyanogen' Kondik

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the get-the-best dept.

Android 177

Some nameless reader noted a surprising twist in the tale of Cyanogen, an android modder once cease and desisted by Google. "Samsung Mobile has hired one of the homebrew market's most notorious and successful Android hackers, Steve 'Cyanogen' Kondik, best known as the creator of the CyanogenMod for Android."

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Just like MS (2)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106404)

They're doing exactly what MS did with the Chevron team. Hire the talent to keep them from doing things you don't support while making it look like they're going to do something special for the community

Re:Just like MS (2)

dokc (1562391) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106450)

They're doing exactly what MS did with the Chevron team. Hire the talent to keep them from doing things you don't support while making it look like they're going to do something special for the community

You forgot to mention creating a lot of money for the company and a stockpile of new patents.

Re:Just like MS (5, Informative)

TadMSTR (996071) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106530)

I don't think Steve Kondik is the type that would stop supporting what he started. Plus there are a bunch of other devs that also work on it. Samsung gave 5 of the CyanogenMod devs free Galaxy S2 phones and only asked that they make CyanogenMod work on it. Hiring Steve may allow for Samsung to ship their phones already running CyanogenMod. That gives them 1up on other vendors, hardware that officially supports CyanogenMod.

Re:Just like MS (0)

Calos (2281322) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106672)

Sending phone to the devs to support CM - that's awesome. Hadn't heard that previously... I'll have to take a good look at Samsung phones in the future.

Re:Just like MS (0)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106800)

Indeed, someone made a very smart move... they are on my list now as well! Perfect timing as my Palm Pre is well past it's expected lifetime (under my care at least lol) and it's time to get something else while this is still functional.

Re:Just like MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106838)

I bought a Droid Charge. The hardware is amazing. The stock software sucks, horribly.

If you feel comfortable ROMing it, it's a great pick. Here's hoping this hire means the future stock software won't be nearly as bad...

Re:Just like MS (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107594)

I bought a Droid Charge. The hardware is amazing. The stock software sucks, horribly.

Sounds like Motorola alright. Hopefully the Google takeover will change that second part in the future.

If you feel comfortable ROMing it, it's a great pick.

It's not locked down like almost every other Motorola phone?

Re:Just like MS (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107664)

It is. Hopefully that's the first thing google fixes. I still have no idea why they lock down the boot loader. They should at least give people the ability to disable it with a physical switch of some sort if they're worried about remote exploits.

Re:Just like MS (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106778)

Samsung has been anything but hostile towards the CM team. I think this will make Samsung phones more codeable, but unfortunately take Chris away from the CM team, or at least decrease the time he has for them. They still have tons of talent with them. I gotta agree, using the "our phones are even more customizable" is a good angle, if only they'd let you get rid of the crap they bundle, and forcing you to use Bing. That's why I'm swaying away from the S2 phones, and looking at the Bionic.

Re:Just like MS (-1, Redundant)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106822)

Uh, samsung *gave* people the phones - to the devs, and said "hack away". That's not hostility towards CM. It's a small step, but a significant one. As noted, the CM mod would not be likely to accept a job from samsung without the freedom to do what he wants.

As noted, there is no "I'm leaving the CM team" announcement. That part is significant.

Re:Just like MS (2)

psm321 (450181) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106870)

The parent was saying the same thing...

Re:Just like MS (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107112)

Who is forcing you to use Bing? I know Verizon had a contract with MS to put it on all their phones, but that appears to have expired, My Droid Charge doesn't have a trace of Bing on it.

Re:Just like MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37107292)

I was just handed a LG Revolution on Verizon (for part of a beta program of some software that runs on Android). This phone had Bing all over it and didn't even have Google Search installed. I deleted all the Bing widgets and voice search and loaded the Google stuff onto the phone - but this was a new phone in the original box (it went to the vendor first to load their beta product on it). I don't know which phones Verizon does this to, but the LG Revolution (which I don't recommend) is certainly one of them.

Re:Just like MS (1)

Drathos (1092) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107324)

Verizon's left the Droid-branded phones alone, but have replaced many of Google's standard apps with Bing versions on others like the LG Revolution, Samsung Fascinate and Continuum, and Sony Xperia Play. They've also been pushing their VCAST apps more and more.

Re:Just like MS (0)

gmack (197796) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107214)

The good news is that a cyanogenmod install obliterates any forced Bing settings as well as any bundled apps, although you don't have to go that far a simple rooting (easier with Samsung phones than most others) and a Titanium Backup install will kill any preloaded apps.

Re:Just like MS (1)

sleepy_weasel (839947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106990)

This is great news, if Samsung doesn't screw it up. I'm up for a new phone in a few months, and my OG Droid is looking long in the tooth, even with CM7 on it.

If I can get a Samsung phone, with cyanogenmod on it, or even better, the option to put AOSP on it, that would be great.

I made my wife get the Droid Charge, and it's loaded with a bunch of sh8t that I would love to get off the phone, but I don't want to root my wife's phone, and then have her complain every time something FCs

Re:Just like MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37107252)

wow you mean samsung "only" hired the talents of each of those developers for only the wholesale cost of one of their phones? Deal!

Re:Just like MS (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107666)

It's still a whole phone more than most other manufacturers pay for this excellent service of making their phones more useful and therefore more valuable.

Re:Just like MS (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107550)

I don't think Steve Kondik is the type that would stop supporting what he started.

Well that depends on whether he likes his job or not... and if he didn't - he wouldn't have taken up the offer. So from this point on, he is the type that does what his employer tells him to do.

Hiring Steve Kondik gives Samsung ability to copyright CyanogenMod and sell it for money.

Re:Just like MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37107768)

I don't think Steve Kondik is the type that would stop supporting what he started.

Well that depends on whether he likes his job or not... and if he didn't - he wouldn't have taken up the offer. So from this point on, he is the type that does what his employer tells him to do.

Hiring Steve Kondik gives Samsung ability to copyright CyanogenMod and sell it for money.

Well that depends on the license...

Re:Just like MS (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107570)

Samsung gave 5 of the CyanogenMod devs free Galaxy S2 phones and only asked that they make CyanogenMod work on it.

Awesome. Samsung gets it. Now if only they made a steel phone with a keyboard, and I'll happily give them my money.

Re:Just like MS (1)

Grave (8234) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107738)

With the Motorola Mobility acquisition yesterday, it was looking like my next phone would almost certainly be a Motorola, despite my preference for Samsung hardware. This could potentially keep me a Samsung customer. We'll see.

Re:Just like MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106548)

Actually, Samsung sent devices to the CyanogenMod team to port CyanogenMod to it a few weeks ago.... :)

Re:Just like MS (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106730)

Except that I don't think MS donated hardware to the Chevron team... Samsung has donated multiple GSIIs to Cyanogenmod devs.

Re:Just like MS (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106808)

Cyanogenmod is a great ROM but, I assure you, it isn't the only one. Samsung would go broke before they could hire all of the Android modders out there. Not to mention the fact that the cellphone version of Android is available in its entirety in source form from AOSP so they'd have to buy Google while they were at it. Ha. Last but not least, they gave a Galaxy S 2 to the Cyanogenmod team a couple of months back explicitely condoning the porting of cyanogenmod to it. It looks to me like they are searching for a competitive advantage and with Steve Kondik, they've got it.

Re:Just like MS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106880)

Or they can do what Valve is doing.

Hire talented modders and give them the resources they need to take it to the next level.

The devil isn't running every company.

Re:Just like MS (1)

dokc (1562391) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107064)

The devil isn't running every company.

Every company is there to earn money && money is root of all evil => Devil is running every company

Re:Just like MS (1)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107454)

....money is root of all evil....

Um, no. It's "....the _love of_ money is the root of all evil." Using the proper concept changes the meaning and the equation, yes?

Re:Just like MS (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107574)

Or maybe it's just the lack of it.

Re:Just like MS (1)

tycoex (1832784) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107836)

Actually, "money is the root of all evil" is a misquote. The true quote is "the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil."

Money is a neccessity, everyone needs to make money. The "evil" part comes in when you love money. Meaning you're greedy.

Valve makes plenty of money, but they aren't really "greedy" imo.

Ack! (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106412)

I hope this doesn't mean he is no longer developing Cyanogen.
I use it.

Re:Ack! (3, Interesting)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106598)

I'm going to cautiously take this as a Good Thing(tm). Samsung makes decent enough hardware, equipped with awe-UNinspiring software, so they could certainly use the help. While we might be looking at the end of his involvement in Cyanogen, we could be looking at the beginning of the first real Android fork/distro. Meanwhile, had he let Google hire him, we never would have heard of him again - he'd have disappeared into Google's Android development team.

Re:Ack! (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106738)

A fine optimistic outlook; that would in fact, be awesome.

Re:Ack! (2)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107130)

Steve, if you happen to read this, just one request for future Samsung kernels: Bluetooth HID and SPP. Please. You can even skip the downstream implementation for now. Just get the damn kernel-level stuff in there, so anybody with a rooted Samsung phone and stock Kondik-era kernel can take it from there and make it work later. It's the kernel that kills us dead in our tracks every single time, because rolling a custom kernel from scratch inevitably seems to mean giving up Sprint 4G, working network-accelerated GPS, or some other combination of basic hardware capabilities whose loss profoundly compromises the phone's worth and usability.

Now that Steve's with Samsung, I *might* actually consider buying an .*Epic.*Touch.*$ in 2 months if it ships with a dual-core processor and doesn't have some fatal, stupid last-minute cost-shaving hardware deficiency that ruins it just to reduce the manufacturing cost by 23 cents. The fact that Motorola might shift from Lawful Evil to Chaotic Neutral under Google definitely complicates matters a bit, since Tegra2 has Google's "Honeycomb Hometown" Advantage. Up to now, the Evo3D was a slam-dunk just because it was the most likely to end up with fully-functional Cyanogenmod. If every future Moto phone ends up being a de-facto Nexus-* and Samsung phones have Steve getting paid to make them the best-of-breed reference implementation for Cyanogen, HTC doesn't look quite as appealing.

Re:Ack! (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107822)

Isn't Bluetooth HID something that can be implemented with a kernel module? If so, you should be able to get around rolling your own kernel.

Re:Ack! (1)

Vorpix (60341) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107708)

the concern I have is that CyanogenMod is so good because it lacks the crap that handset manufacturers force onto users. I doubt that a phone running a Samsung branded CyanogenMod will be able to escape having (for example) unremoveable Verizon junk forced into it.

Does this mean (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106424)

i get a decent software for updating the galaxy tab?

Cease and Decist = Resume Bonus? (1)

AvderTheTerrible (1960234) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106428)

So does that mean that if a company tells you to stop hacking its products, you should put it on your resume? Seems like it should lend some kind of credibility.

Re:Cease and Decist = Resume Bonus? (3, Informative)

Cougar Town (1669754) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106720)

Google didn't tell him to stop "hacking its products". They asked him to stop distributing their proprietary Google applications (gmail, etc), because he wasn't authorized to do so.

Re:Cease and Decist = Resume Bonus? (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107744)

After that, I believe he just backed up the already installed version of those apps, and put them back on the phone after installing CyanogenMod, and Google seemed to be perfectly fine with that.

That's good news for consumers. I hope (1)

NuclearCat (899738) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106432)

I guess my next mobile will be from Samsung.
Sure if "corporation policy and rules" will not kill his best intentions and innovations.

Re:That's good news for consumers. I hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106466)

It will be good for Samsung customers (assuming you like Cyanogen). I doubt it will be good for Android consumers using hardware from other manufacturers...

Re:That's good news for consumers. I hope (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106746)

Maybe not for LG and HTC (and the other fringe companies) but it could potentially create an arms race between Motorola(Google) and Samsung to release better ROMs now that Google owns Moto. That would, at least in theory, benefit all Android users as it would push the overall quality of the OS higher even at the most basic levels.

Re:That's good news for consumers. I hope (1)

after.fallout.34t98e (1908288) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106846)

Try looking at the bigger picture.

If you can get a bunch of people to prefer using a particular piece of software on any hardware, and at the same time you make that software better on specific hardware (say a premium line of samsung phones), you are likely to get some people to buy said hardware.

It would be in Samsung's best interest to get Cyanogen to work (in a basic sense; perhaps require rooting and not to be actually optimized for given hardware) on as many phones as possible.

Re:That's good news for consumers. I hope (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107282)

Exactly. For the most part, Samsung has always been plagued by good (if not great) hardware, crippled by last year's software. Bringing Steve on board means they can now give him the keys to the candy store and let him directly play with the deepest secrets of Samsung's hardware without having to go all the way and make those same closely-guarded secrets public. Think about real-world Linux. How many Ubuntu, Debian, or Fedora users actually build their own kernels? Statistically, none. Between reasonably intelligent decisions at build-time, a half-dozen or so kernels optimized for mainstream bundles of real-world needs to choose from, and loadable kernel modules, there are few reasons for anyone not in academia to roll a kernel from scratch. With a little luck, Samsung users will BE in that position within a few months. Samsung has generally gotten the .ko LKM part right, they've just screwed up the rest of the Kernel. With Steve in there to ensure that there's a signed (if officially unsupported) alternate kernel or two to download from Samsung's website that does everything Cyanogen needs it to do, we'll be happy campers.

Why couldnt you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106442)

Why on earth would you mention the CyanogenMod but not link to info about it? I mean really wtf is the mod? I guess ill have to google thanks for not supporting my laziness!

Re:Why couldnt you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106470)

Slashdot editors prefer to have 500 people search for something instead of searching it themselves. Yes, it's backwards.

Re:Why couldnt you (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106532)

crowdsourcing is already obsolete?

Re:Why couldnt you (1)

Calos (2281322) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106682)

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Re:Why couldnt you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37107302)

No kidding. It's a buzzword with no real meaning. Kinda like "cloud" and "web 2.0".

Re:Why couldnt you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106750)

Why should editors post a link when Cyanogen has already been covered on Slashdot. http://slashdot.org/index2.pl?fhfilter=cyanogen [slashdot.org]

Re:Why couldnt you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106774)

Why should slashdot editors post news that have already been covered everywhere else on the internet.

Re:Why couldnt you (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107780)

So we can discuss it here. If you come only for the news, Slashdot is a crappy site.

Re:Why couldnt you (3, Informative)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106476)

For the rest of the lazy ppls... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CyanogenMod [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why couldnt you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106776)

Why not just link to Cyanogen's home page [cyanogenmod.com] ?

I hope they hire him for the right reasons ... (3, Insightful)

phoxix (161744) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106456)

.... and have him help them optimize their ROM images and the experience presented. Lets hope they don't hire him to help them lock down their ROMs, bootloaders, etc some more ....

Think about it, who else would be better at locking things down than the guy who defeats such locks all the time?

Re:I hope they hire him for the right reasons ... (2)

stiggle (649614) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106666)

Seeing as Samsung said that any versions of Android above 1.6 wouldn't work on the original Galaxy (i7500) and the community got Froyo working on it nicely - I'd hope they're bringing him in to show the other developers in house how to work with Android properly rather than the less than optimal code they put out now.

As for locking bootloaders, etc - others have been just as capable of breaking them :-)

Re:I hope they hire him for the right reasons ... (1)

Catnaps (2044938) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106700)

"wouldn't work" == "EOLing it, not going to bother, buy a new one".

Re:I hope they hire him for the right reasons ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106762)

Seeing as Samsung said that any versions of Android above 1.6 wouldn't work on the original Galaxy (i7500) and the community got Froyo working on it nicely

You seem to be unable to translate marketing speak. That didn't literally mean it wouldn't work. It was them saying that it would cost them more in time and effort than it would be worth it to port since they would see little to no money from it.

Re:I hope they hire him for the right reasons ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37107038)

They're hiring him for both reasons.

Re:I hope they hire him for the right reasons ... (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107338)

Humm, as far as I know, he doesn't unlock stuff. Actually, based on his statements regarding the Motorola Milestone, he doesn't and won't support phones with locked bootloaders.

As surprising as security firms employ "crackers" (0)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106488)

As surprising as security firms employ "crackers", sometimes known as "hackers".

They probably "just" hired someone who had competence in the area, with a CV to speak of.

Re:As surprising as security firms employ "cracker (4, Informative)

aglider (2435074) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106516)

Cracker? Hacker?
Do you have an idea on what CyanogenMod [cyanogenmod.com] actually is?

Re:As surprising as security firms employ "cracker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106600)

Bwaaaack! Polly wanna cracker?

Re:As surprising as security firms employ "cracker (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106708)

I think he does since all he said was that Samsung hiring Kondik is as surprising as a software security firm hiring people who know how to compromise software... That is to say not at all.

Re:As surprising as security firms employ "cracker (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106802)

I am sure he has a much better idea of what CyanogenMod is than you have of reading comprehension. Of course, that's damning him with the faintest of praise.

Re:As surprising as security firms employ "cracker (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107180)

Cracker? Hacker? Do you have an idea on what CyanogenMod actually is?

I don't. Would be nice if the summary actually gave some background details. maybe, you know, an editor could like edit the summary and add some.

So long, CyanogenMod (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106502)

And thanks for all the mods.

I fear that we'll losethe best Android mod even in a few weeks.

And that Samsung will finally get a real Android mod^H^H^Hdistribution!

Re:So long, CyanogenMod (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106696)

Maybe it is a good thing. With Motorola in capable hands, HTC offering a mechanism for unlocking bootloaders, and Samsung possibly having CyanogenMod support, we might see this effort become something as an option right off the top for Android users.

It at least would get a consistent interface and tools across handsets.

What would be awesome in the future would be to be able to have devices ship with their default ROM, but with a few mouse clicks, be able to download CM and switch to it.

Even nicer would be companies licensing their UIs to CM, so if someone wants MotoBlur (which is pretty nice), or SenseUI, they can be present.

I'm crossing fingers -- it looks like some of the things that have hamstrung the Android community are being taken care of.

Re:So long, CyanogenMod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106784)

If it's any indication, the he's removed the video: [youtube.com]

Grab the mods while you can

If you can't beat them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106572)

Hire them.

Just another move on the board (4, Interesting)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106686)

This is just another move on the chess board. Google bought Motorola which will invariably give Motorola the inside track on Android to some extent. Samsung realized that while their hardware has been quite good their software has been severely lacking in both quality and updates. This hire makes perfect sense, it allows them to produce higher quality software (the goal being to improve upon Google's not just dress it up pretty) with a better update policy. If they actually allow their software to be run like CM has been (and force it through the providers) then it puts LG and HTC in poor positions long term.

Re:Just another move on the board (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37107222)

Your analysis makes sense and I think matches the impact that Google had initially stated was their rationale behind purchasing Moto Mobility: that it would improve the strength and quality of the ecosystem.

Cyanogen IS Android if you are a geek (4, Informative)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106698)

I own a lowly HTC Desire, unlocked and rooted, and I've used it with the stock HTC Sense as well as many other custom firmwares. I have also seen HTC Sense, Motorola Blur and stock Android on other phones

Cyanogen is by far the most advanced of all. If you really are interested in unlocking your phone's true potential, it's the only choice. My HTC Desire running Cyanogen is about twice faster than when running Sense, both in benchmarks and real world use. Maybe if HTC were to update their OS to 2.3.5 like Cyanogen, the performance differences would be reduced, but that hasn't happened yet AFAIK.

As the article states, tethering is enabled by default. And it also allows the user to select per app permissions, something even the stock Android will not do. And if you're adventurous, running the Nightlies guarantees the latest technology. It's actually not as dangerous as it sounds, because in almost 100 Nightlies only 2 or 3 were duds and restoring from backups took 15 minutes.

Whichever phone I purchase next, the main requirement is that Cyanogen supports it. For me it's even more important than camera resolution, screen size or storage space. I mean with a fast SD card and a few tweaks I can fit 100 apps on my HTC Desire.

Re:Cyanogen IS Android if you are a geek (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106956)

Absolutely. My OG Droid with less RAM and a decidedly aging chipset but running Cyanogenmod 7 is faster than my girlfriend's stock Galaxy S. It stuns me that a rag-tag group of enthusiasts can so thoroughly spank a billion dollar corporation's highly funded professional developer group. I wish Steve the best as I have enjoyed his work starting with my old G1 and now with my OG Droid that, honestly, without cyanogen, I would have chucked in the trash long ago. Hmm... Maybe that's why the hardware makers put crap like motoblur and touchwiz on their handsets. People upgrade out of frustration. Android's future is has never looked better what with GoMo, SamgenMod and HTC unlocking their bootloaders. If MS and Apple were worried about the Android train before they're probably shitting their pants now!

Re:Cyanogen IS Android if you are a geek (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107868)

>It stuns me that a rag-tag group of enthusiasts can so thoroughly spank a
> billion dollar corporation's highly funded professional developer group.

A developer group that, like any, is thinly-spread across dozens of individual projects at any moment in time, and never has enough time to do more than make it work well enough to satisfy Marketing & Management. Companies like HTC and Samsung are starting to realize that a dozen guys porting CMx to their hardware is roughly equivalent to quadrupling the size of their in-house development staff. It's cheaper to hire a coach or two to manage an army of unpaid volunteers than it is to hire an equivalent number of full-time real employees.

As for forced obsolescence driving upgrades, let's be real -- these phones have an average best-case life expectancy of a year or two, max, before somebody drops them, smashes the screen, and ends up with a repair bill that exceeds the cost of a new phone if the user can manage to keep it from happening before his next upgrade is available. They don't HAVE to make them prematurely obsolete. Isaac Newton, slippery plastic, asphalt/concrete, and glass will do the job of removing them from use within a year or two anyway.

Phone manufacturers can be like GM, piss off & arbitrarily punish customers for the sin of owning last year's model, and guarantee that your next phone will be made by ANYBODY besides them, or they can be like Honda or Lexus, thoroughly *delight* customers with their phones up until the last day they own them, and practically assure that your next ten phones will be made by them as well. In this respect, Samsung kind of falls in the middle (like Hyundai) -- historically, not trying all that hard to delight, but not trying to *antagonize* customers (like GM) either. Like Hyundai, Samsung eventually seems to have realized the direction it wants to go in the future (delighted customers purchasing "affordable luxury" -- not really *cheap*, but shooting for a high feature-per-dollar ratio that puts them 98% of the way to the top for half the price of the next genuine step up)

Re:Cyanogen IS Android if you are a geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37107024)

I'm wondering if we will ever see a phone with no OS installed so that you could install whatever OS you want, just like PC's... (i know, drivers would be the big problem)

Re:Cyanogen IS Android if you are a geek (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107100)

tethering is enabled by default

Is that a US thing? My wife has an Incredible S (purchased in Taiwan) and I have a Galaxy S2 (purchased in Germany). Both allow tethering. Or am I missing something?

Thanks for making me aware of the per app permission thingy, sounds like I should give Cyanogen a try.

Re:Cyanogen IS Android if you are a geek (1)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107416)

Is that a US thing? My wife has an Incredible S (purchased in Taiwan) and I have a Galaxy S2 (purchased in Germany). Both allow tethering. Or am I missing something?

Thanks for making me aware of the per app permission thingy, sounds like I should give Cyanogen a try.

Yes, it is a US and Canadian thing. Basically when the major carriers purchase a phone from the manufacturer, they intentionally have some functionality removed that competes with their paid options. This is justified (in their eyes) by the fact that most people get these phones for free in exchange for signing a lengthy contract. I always buy my phones outright from alternate sources, so I feel no obligation to live with the crippled firmware provided by the carriers

Today tethering is the first to go, because the carriers also sell laptop plans (that require a separate USB stick) . A few years ago BlackBerries and other phones had wireless disabled at the request of the carriers.

There's also another issue with carrier locked phones. A couple of people I know have the Nexus S from Canada's Fido (subsidiary of Rogers). While my HTC Desire is running Cyanogen with the latest Market app and Android 2.3.5, their Google phone is still stuck with the old Market app and Android 2.3.4. Why? Because Fido hasn't pushed the 2.3.5 update yet.

Re:Cyanogen IS Android if you are a geek (1)

Formorian (1111751) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107266)

It is? I use the Overcome Mod on my Galaxy Tab and love it. Many others also use this mod. To me Android isn't stock per say, but a collection of different Mod's that give owners of phones/tablets the best choice for themselves.

Re:Cyanogen IS Android if you are a geek (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107504)

I mean with a fast SD card and a few tweaks I can fit 100 apps on my HTC Desire.

What does this mean? Do other Android phones or stock OS versions have some kind of App limit?

Re:Cyanogen IS Android if you are a geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37107646)

Most stock ROM's won't let you install apps on the SD card. Some of them can and will use data on the SD card but the app itself generally can't be installed on the SD card.

CyanogenMod lets you easily install pretty much any app on the SD card. Of course you can do this with pretty much any rooted phone with the problem software but Cyanogen makes it easy by having everything built in.

Re:Cyanogen IS Android if you are a geek (1)

sirlatrom (1162081) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107654)

The Desire has a rather small internal storage memory, meaning that unless you change the partition layout you will quickly run out of storage space.

Re:Cyanogen IS Android if you are a geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37107870)

In a way they do. It's called "internal memory". Internal memory for many phones tends to be on the order of 512MB to 2GB, and on older phones it's even less. By default apps can only install to internal memory, so you're pretty limited in how much you can install. Recent versions of Android allow developers to give users the option of installing to an SD card instead, but not all developers have allowed that. If you root your phone, you have the option to use what is called App2SD. This lets you install any application to the SD card. With that, you're pretty much only limited by how big your SD card is. Cyanogenmod includes App2SD built in. The only caveat is that SD cards tend to be slower than internal flash, so getting a fast one is a really good idea for a good experience.

Huh? (1)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106850)

I thought Google was committed to keeping Android "open".

Where's the sense in offering an open platform and then sending out cease-and-desist letters to people who modify it?

Re:Huh? (2)

nateand (1487549) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107060)

The only thing they wanted stopped was the inclusion of the Google Apps on cyanogenmod by default. Now the ROM comes without google apps, but you can easily download an installer that adds them back in.

Re:Huh? (2)

ahow628 (1290052) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107068)

They asked him in the cease and desist to remove the proprietary Google apps (Gmail, Reader, or whatever) from the package. They are available as a separate flashable zip.

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

damnbunni (1215350) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107096)

As I understand it the C&D wasn't for modifying Android, it was for bundling the Google Apps in with the modified Android. (You can still get them with Cyanogenmod, but now they're a separate download.)

Re:Huh? (2)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107158)

Where's the sense in offering an open platform and then sending out cease-and-desist letters to people who modify it?

And that, my lost-carrier friend, is the existential question. Why would Google do that?

Consensus is that Google has a slightly different meaning for the word "open". They support AOSP, which means that the Android core OS is open in the more-or-less conventional sense. AOSP is, after all the beginning of awesome mod roms like Cyanogenmod. But Google's sense of openness ends where their own service software (like Maps, or Market) starts. Those are almost as closed as Office for Microsoft. That's what the C&D was about: distributing Google Apps with the Cyanogenmod package. So GApps have been unbundled from the mod rom and you download those as a separate rom from heaven-only-knows-where. But it works. Certainly having a tool like ROM Manager [android.com] helps locate and install all the pieces.

I would never have spent my money and mindshare on an Android phone if the architecture and most of the culture weren't modding-friendly. I don't need a mobile phone, but if I'm buying an ultraportable computer I'm buying one I can hack around on.

Signed,
idontgno, a happy CM-7.1.0RC1-BravoC user.

Re:Huh? (1)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107698)

Thanks everyone for the replies. I should have read further, but didn't have the time.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37107186)

They haven't sent cease-and-desist letters to anyone for modding android. They did only to stop someone from using their proprietary applications, which is their right. Otherwise, they have been quite supportive of the modding community.

Re:Huh? (1)

beanpoppa (1305757) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107392)

The C&D had nothing to do with modifying the phones or OS, but why let facts get in the way of rhetoric.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37107534)

AOSP is dual BSD/GPL. Now ask yourself, what legal claims would Google have to pursue action against third-party modification. Obviously the C&D wasn't about code, unless the person failed to abide by the software license. Hmm... maybe the complaint was about illegal distribution of binaries?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37107580)

Make that Apache/GPL. Dunno what I was thinking of... maybe WebKit.

And more to come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37106930)

He's not the only one samsung is hiring... :) I can't say more at the moment but stay tuned :)

Namaste :)

Interesting, I'd like to try it out (1)

bkk_diesel (812298) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107280)

I went to the website after reading about this to see if it was available for the Motorola Defy.
It seems like it's no longer available though.
Anyone have any insight?

http://www.cyanogenmod.com/devices/motorola-defy [cyanogenmod.com]

So what mod? (1)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107356)

I installed DarkyROM 9.3 (froyo) a couple of weeks ago and have been pretty happy, particularly with battery life. How does it compare to Cyanogen? Any good reason to switch?

Re:So what mod? (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107536)

CyanogenMod tends to try to target the sweet spot between performance and battery life. You may not get as good of battery life (then again, you may) but likely you'll have a faster, lower latency experience with CyanogenMod.

Defensive move? (1)

Spykk (823586) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107480)

Could this be Samsung's way of hedging its bets against Google closing Android now that it is buying Motorola? Cyanogen Mod doesn't rely on any of the Google code that isn't open source so it could be forked to cut Google out all together if need be.
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