• Cyanogen OS: Been There, Done That



    All I can say is wow, the execs at Cyanogen, Inc. are really blowing their brains out.

    Flush with some $80 million in fresh funding from the likes of Qualcomm, Twitter and Rupert Murdoch, Cyanogen's CEO had this to say in a recent interview with Forbes:

    We’re putting a bullet through Google’s head.
    Uh-huh...

    A bombastic statement like this makes for a great headline but honestly, I've seen this sort of thing before. In fact, if you'll indulge me I'll compare Cyanogen with another technology company to give you an idea of where arrogance like this ultimately leads.

    So there's this desktop Linux distribution called Ubuntu. In the same way that Cyanogen is a version of Android with customizations, so too is Ubuntu a version of Linux with customizations. As operating systems go, both have very good reputations: CyanogenMod was the first custom firmware for Android and at this stage in its development is arguably the most slick; Ubuntu's big claim to fame (as I remember it) was the Live CD, allowing the user to test drive Ubuntu before making the commitment to install it on their boot drive. And both companies have rather outspoken leaders—Steve Kondik for Cyanogen and Mark Shuttleworth for Ubuntu.

    In early 2010 the sudden and seemingly arbritrary decision was made to move window controls in Ubuntu from the right to left-hand side. There may or may not have been technical merits behind the move, but the resulting furor from the Linux community (Ubuntu users and otherwise) boiled down to a simple but significant slight: users were not consulted in this decision.

    Ditto for Cyanogen, Inc. The hyperbole from Kondik et al would suggest that Google is a cancer and Cyanogen OS is the cure. Is it? Google apps haven't been bundled with CyanogenMod since 2009, yet I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of Android modders—myself included—also flash some sort of gapps zip with their favourite Android ROM. The one thing missing in all of Cyanogen's bluster is any indication from users that they really want Google apps out of the picture.

    So what became of Ubuntu? It's still around, of course... The focus these days seems to be on the company's nascent mobile OS. But the result of the window button debacle was a mass exodus of users to greener pastures. Ubuntu still ranks near the very top of the rankings at DistroWatch.com, but it no longer has a lock on first place.

    Cyanogen, Inc. is in a bit of a different situation; unlike Ubuntu it's making deals with hardware OEMs left and right to run its software out of the box. So in the near term it will likely enjoy more popularity, not less. But for the small and savvy minority of modders out there this is just one more reason to move on.

    I'm pretty happy with SlimKat.

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    This article was originally published in forum thread: Cyanogen OS: Been There, Done That started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Ten Four's Avatar
      Ten Four -
      I'm using an ancient desktop running Ubuntu as I type this, so some of us still do love it. I think you need some bombast to make it in the tech world. Didn't seem to hurt Steve Jobs. I know a lot of people would like to move away from Google, but they are just too wedded to "free" as a price point. The thing is it isn't really free, because you are granting Google the rights to mine your personal information for their gain in exchange for being able to use lots of stuff without paying actual dollars--it's a barter economy.
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ten Four View Post
      The thing is it isn't really free, because you are granting Google the rights to mine your personal information for their gain in exchange for being able to use lots of stuff without paying actual dollars--it's a barter economy.
      ... Unless, again, you flash the very free Android (Apache License) without the proprietary Google apps—which Google has mandated since CM 4.1.99.

      If what you're saying is that nobody wants to use Android without the Google stuff then yeah, I definitely agree.
    1. fruvous's Avatar
      fruvous -
      Another reason to avoid them is that they are stabbing their partners by signing exclusivity agreements with other OEMs and carriers. On one hand they say that they want to open up Android, and on the other hand they're putting up walls to their flavour of Android.
    1. schultzter's Avatar
      schultzter -
      There's two more issues with going Google-free,

      1. A lot of apps assume Google's apps will be there, particularly true for maps but others too. So you might end-up breaking functionality if the app doesn't degrade gracefully; and

      2. No one really matches the quality and features that Google offers. There are alternatives for every single Google app but few come close, and none are as good or better (this may be subjective, but Google gives away a lot of awesome siht).

      So going completely Google-free requires a lot more work and sacrifice than you might anticipate.
    1. bjacks12's Avatar
      bjacks12 -
      No Google, no Android, IMO.
    1. TadMorose's Avatar
      TadMorose -
      Quote Originally Posted by bjacks12 View Post
      No Google, no Android, IMO.
      This!

      10 char
    1. ivaz's Avatar
      ivaz -
      You can definitely go Google free and not suffer. I love Cyanogen cause you can put a very healthy Microsoft a stack on it. Outlook for Android is simply superior. Nextgen lock screen is amazing, and none of this has Google prying into my internet habits.

      And before you cry about YouTube, that is a choice not a necessity. I post to Dailymotion and it does the same thing.
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