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Google's Jean-Baptiste Queru reflects on AOSP in 2011

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Google's custodian of AOSP, Jean-Baptiste Queru, has recently posted a 'state of the union' post reflecting on AOSP in 2011.

He notes that while 2011 has been a trying year due to the controversy surrounding the Honeycomb non-release, thanks to his efforts 2011 has finished with some considerable advancements in AOSP and a very positive outlook for 2012.

You can read the full piece over on his Google+ stream, but i've pulled out some particular high (and low) lights for me after the break.


I finally managed to distribute some proprietary hardware-related binaries for the very first time. This is an issue that I had been working on since before the G1 even shipped, and it finally became reality. For me personally, that's really a huge deal, because it really makes it practical to take the AOSP code, modify it, install it on a phone in a way that actually works, and to distribute the resulting image. This enables community builds of AOSP in ways that were not possible before, thanks to a license that allows redistribution.

-I also finally managed to distribute some factory images for the very first time. Just like for the proprietary binaries, this is the result of 3 years of work. The main benefit is obvious: play with an AOSP build for while, and then get your device back to its factory state, over and over and over. It also has some other nice advantages, e.g. it allows AOSP users to stay up-to-date with the latest bootloader and baseband firmware.


-Not releasing the Honeycomb source code was catastrophic for the AOSP community. I had never before received so many angry emails, so many threats, to the point where I had to take several weeks off at some point to get away from it. Even today, there's a lot of bitterness left on all sides. From start to finish, Honeycomb probably cost AOSP anywhere from 6 to 12 months.


-In spite of a lot of progress, there are still far too many proprietary binaries and factory images that I'm not allowed to distribute, and I'm still wasting far too much time trying to convince those many companies that they should be helping AOSP run on their hardware (well, I've given up on HTC, Motorola and Qualcomm, as it's clear at this point that they're not going to help in that area).

It is great to see AOSP being a genuinely usable resource for creating images that are 100% usable on real devices, but the fact that HTC, Motorola and Qualcomm don't want to play ball (ESPECIALLY HTC - I'll be hitting up HTCdev on this point), is a shame. And with regards to angry emails / threats etc. directed to Jean-Baptiste affecting his work in this way? A disgrace (but sadly so much of it goes on).

Here's to 2012 and Jean-Baptiste - keep up the good work, we really appreciate it! :)

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