Tag Archives: microsoft

Waving Goodbye?

The Cyanogenmod mascot guy, I’m talking about here. Previously his waving was considered a welcome sign, but now we have to ask – is he waving goodbye? Because Cyanogenmod is over. Kaput, gone.

& it was over quickly too. Building the organisation took 7 years, dismantling the fractured corporation – just 7 days. The beginning of the end came back in 2013 when Cyangen Inc. was formed as a commercial provider of Android OS to independent phone manufacturers. What seemed like a natural fit – OS specialist providing software only, thereby enabling hot new hardware providers – notably OnePlus – to sidestep the substantial overhead brought about by having an in-house development team, was a failure, and it seems, mainly due to pinhead politics.

The evolution from hobbyist project to corporate provider of OEM Android OS was a difficult one, the founders attempting to create monetary value out of an open-source project that had really caught on worldwide. Their central goal – uncoupling Android from it’s owner/sponsor Google – was eagerly supported by none other than Microsoft, which took up a cornerstone shareholding. That in itself was enough to turn me off, I trust Google a hell of a lot more than I do Microsoft.

Microsoft, with their less than stellar history in the mobile phone market, burning untold billions on failed acquisitions through inept attempts to penetrate the most lucrative online marketplace would seem to be cursed choice of partner. Why, when you’ve not only seen them repeatedly fail on their own but also partner companies (most notably Nokia) tumble from lofty corporate positions to quickly become mere notes in history books, would you welcome their presence at your boardroom table? Why??

{Imagine, just quickly, where Nokia could be today had they chosen to adopt Android instead of Windows Mobile as their platform of choice.)  Anyway, I digress. This is not a coroners inquest for former Finnish market darlings. Back to the topic at hand.

Christmas Eve a Cyanogenmod spokeperson posted to their blog:

As part of the ongoing consolidation of Cyanogen, all services and Cyanogen-supported nightly builds will be discontinued no later than 12/31/16. The open source project and source code will remain available for anyone who wants to build CyanogenMod personally.

So, the most popular of all the custom Android ROMs was to vanish with barely a weeks notice. This following the departure of the original project founder, Steve Kondik, & the horrible legal mess that untangling the original open source Cyanogenmod project from their ambitious but doomed Cyanogen Inc company would involve seems to have been the final chapter in the story of a now-former internet sensation.

I remember the frustrating months between Galaxy S5 launch (with that horrible, invasive Touchwizz UI that Samsung insisted on laying over the top of AOSP Android) & the release of Cyanogenmod for klte, the Samsung internal code name for the international-spec Galaxy S5. When it finally arrived, I had Cyanogenmod installed within an hour of release.

What a breath of fresh air it was too, my phone was free of Samsung shitware and could now pick up more WiFi stations & from further away. Same with Bluetooth, and for phone calls my evidence of improved performance came from a first hand experience where my friend Charlie & I were checking out the vacant property he’d just purchased. Both of us had late model S5’s, mine on CM, his on standard Touchwizz ‘Droid. He needed to make a call, but couldn’t, no reception. My Cyanogenmod-powered S5 had 4 out of 5 reception bars showing.

Cyanogenmod breathed new life into tired old devices, it provided an upgrade path for the typically-abandoned devices of the Android ecosphere. Example – Samsung never upgraded the Galaxy S3 beyond Jellybean, Android 4.4 was where support ended as far as Samsung was concerned. Cyanogenmod however kept pushing out new releases, all the way through to the latest Nougat OS.

If Samsung ever did support a device through a full version upgrade, like they did for the S5 from version 4 to version 5, Cyanogenmod beat them to it by months & months.

Cyanogenmod also gave Signal its first mass-acceptance push, adopting the WhisperPush protocol as their optional standard messaging app, putting private messaging in the hands of millions of Android users in one fell move.

The open-source community of developers that the Cyanogenmod project comprised of didn’t take the news lying down & quickly migrated their talents to a replacement project with the same ideals as the original CM.  Lineage OS is the new home for clean, stripped-back pure Android OS downloads that leave it to you to decide what you want on your device – not what your manufacturer decides they want.

I’ll miss Cyanogenmod, that mascot man above is waving goodbye. Hopefully Lineage can learn from the mistakes made by Cyanogen Inc & reproduce the good work that Cyanogenmod at its peak did.