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21 October 20131 Comment by Jon M

The next step for CyanogenMod

If you haven’t tried out CyanogenMod yet or even heard of it before and want to see what all the fuss is about, go check out our detailed tutorial to installing it on your phone.


CyanogenMod has been at the forefront of open source ROM development for many years now since Steve Kondik first started messing around with Android. He initially published his first version of the CyanogenMod ROM way back in May 2009 and since then the software has grown to an unprecedented level.

Nowadays we are on the tenth major release CyanogenMod and it has grown the easily one of the biggest mobile operating systems in use today. It is estimated that there are over 10 million people using CyanogenMod on their Android phone and taking advantage of its powerful feature list and lack of bloat. And all the work done for free by committed team of developers who have contributed thousands of commits to the source code over the years.

Only recently, we published our first walkthroughs and guides to the world of smartphone customisation. We started off by showing you how to root your phone and install custom ROMs such as CyanogenMod, how to update your custom ROMs and then last week we looked at how to install specialised English ROMs on Chinese smartphones such as the Lenovo A820.

For those who don’t know, CyanogenMod is a custom ROM that can replaces the default operating system on some models of Android mobile phone. It is a heavily modified and improved version of Android Jellybean and, for those in the know, it is the best version of firmware available and massively enhances the smartphone experience. It’s often heralded as a better version of Android than Android itself but so far, its use has been limited to small subculture of tweakers and hackers and it hasn’t seen the light of day on mainstream phones.

That may well change soon as massive changes are afoot at CyanogenMod. It was recently announced that the organisation has incorporated itself and has also raised over $7 million of venture capital to fund a full-time staff of fifteen into the future. They have also struck a deal with hardware manufacturer Oppo to feature CyanogenMod as the default operating system on its new phones.

This news is pretty unprecedented in the mobile industry and are excited to see what the future might bring. CyanogenMod have declared that they intend to become the third platform in the smartphone arena behind Apple’s iOS and Google’s official Android builds. However, there are already some very pressing questions from the community about how CyanogenMod will be able to ever return on such significant investment.

Already, one of the major developers on the team has left the project and withdrawn his code because of changes to the license that CyanogenMod wanted to introduce. Effectively, it is being alleged that they want to be able to sell contributors’ code in order to provide income for the company. Other developers have expressed satisfaction with the fact that all the lines of code they have written for free to further the CyanogenMod project may now be been included in a commercial product in which they won’t benefit at all.

Hundreds of individuals have contributed to the CyanogenMod source code over the years but only a select few are going to be getting a salary out of the corporation. And many who have worked on the project over the years have done so in on the assumption that it was an open source project done for free and dumped the love of it. Before the incorporation and the millions of dollars worth of investments, CyanogenMod branded itself as an open and not-for-profit alternative.

Criticisms that have been raised at the changes that are being introduced to CyanogenMod since this news broke. For example, it seems that it’s being dumbed down a little bit with advanced settings being removed from newer versions. There are also attempts to lock down the platform by removing root access by default. It has been claimed that these changes are being introduced to make the software more commercially viable and that the result is more and more developers will be leaving the project.

At the same time, others have expressed how proud they that the team has managed to get this level of recognition. The level of investments shows that big business has faith in open source projects. Some contributors have reacted to the news by saying that the haters are merely jealous of those have been taken on board to work as paid staff members. They have argued that the devs never contributed their commits for recognition or money and that CyanogenMod now has a chance to be really big and to improve the experience of millions of end users used to dodgy firmware supplied by handset manufacturers.

What’s your take on this news? Have you used CyanogenMod before and if so would this change your opinion anyway? You think is a wonderful step forward open source software or has Steve Kondik sold-out everyone’s hard work? Will they ditch the ethos of free and open source software in pursuit of the almighty dollar will this be fantastic new way to promote its ideals? Give us your thoughts below.

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