Disturbing news to the developer community yesterday was the development that Cyanogenmod will cease to exist come January 1. Unsurprisingly given their turn in recent months, Cyanogen Inc. (cyngn) will pull all support for the server and builds for Cyanogenmod at the end of December 2016.
Sometimes I get a head of steam up and write a post full of rage and occasionally a bit of thought, and it falls by the wayside as the rant loses its relevance. This happened to me back at the beginning of December, when Steve Kondik posted on a private Google+ site for Cyanogenmod developers regarding the happenings at Cyanogen Inc.
Android Police somehow managed to get a hold of the original post, neglected to get the full story behind it, and didn’t report the greater than 100 positive comments supporting Steve. They posted what many Cyanogenmod developers thought was a hatchet job on someone who has possibly done more as an individual for the developer community (and Android community as a whole) than anyone else. As expected, Internet butthurt and rage followed in the comments of said article from keyboard warriors espousing their entitlement to Cyanogenmod.
After speaking on the phone to a well-connected Cyanogenmod developer for close to an hour, I had the full story, and it was an epic. I put quite a bit of effort into it, and came up with four pages worth of Pulitzer-prize-winning material, only to set it aside. My inside scoop to the downfall of Cyanogen Inc and it “selling its soul” in shunning the open source community for other “opportunities” was no more. Part of the scoop mentioned how Steve Kondik was looking to start up again and this time do it right (no one is perfect and we all learn from our mistakes). Yes, the OS was going to be called LineageOS. Yesterday, that became official with a few social media posts (which one site decided to report on with full snark and very little actual researching or accuracy — “RIP, Cyanogen. That bullet, it ricocheted off Google’s armor and came back straight into your heart.”).
Your Lineage will finish what you started, Cid
— LineageOS (@LineageAndroid) December 24, 2016
I’m sure you get the picture. Their new web page has a small blog post discussing it.
LineageOS will be a continuation of what CyanogenMod was. To quote Andy Rubin, this is the definition of open. A company pulling their support out of an open source project does not mean it has to die.
In other words, the fact that Cyanogen Inc. are pulling their support will mean very little to the overall ROM experience for the end user. The LineageOS developers (formerly Cyanogenmod developers) have already forked Cyanogenmod and development has begun on the rebranding. Unfortunately, I cannot link directly to the full post by the Cyanogenmod developers due to someone pulling the pin on them six days early but here it is thanks to someone who had the forethought to archive it and other CM-related material hosted by Cyanogen Inc:
A fork in the road
Last week, we released the final CM-13.0 releases, updated to the latest security patches, in anticipation of what follows.
Yesterday, Cyanogen Inc (Cyngn) announced that they were shutting down the infrastructure behind CyanogenMod (CM). This is an action that was not unpredictable given the public departure of Kondik (cyanogen himself) from the company, and with him our last remaining advocate inside Cyngn’s leadership.
In addition to infrastructure being retired, we in the CM community have lost our voice in the future direction of CM – the brand could be sold to a third party entity as it was an asset that Kondik risked to start his business and dream. Even if we were to regroup and rebuild our own infrastructure, continuing development of CM would mean to operate with the threat of sale of the brand looming over our heads. Then there is the stigma that has grown to be attached to anything named ‘Cyanogen’. Many of you reading this have been champions of clarifying that the CM product and CyngnOS were distinct, yet the stain of many PR actions from Cyngn is a hard one to remove from CM. Given CM’s reliance on Cyngn for monetary support and the shared source base, it’s not hard to understand why the confusion remains.
It will come as no surprise that this most recent action from Cyngn is definitely a death blow for CyanogenMod.
However, CM has always been more than the name and more than the infrastructure. CM has been a success based on the spirit, ingenuity and effort of its individual contributors – back when it was Kondik in his home, to the now thousands of contributors past and present.
Embracing that spirit, we the community of developers, designers, device maintainers and translators have taken the steps necessary to produce a fork of the CM source code and pending patches. This is more than just a ‘rebrand’. This fork will return to the grassroots community effort that used to define CM while maintaining the professional quality and reliability you have come to expect more recently.
CM has served the community well over its 8 long years. It has been our home, bringing together friends from all over the world to celebrate our joy of building and giving. Its apt then that on this Eve of a holiday we pay our respects. We will take pride in our Lineage as we move forward and continue to build on its legacy.
Thank you & Goodbye,
The CyanogenMod Team
What does this mean from here?
Those who use Cyanogenmod can find the latest snapshot build for their device at this archive but if you already have a stable build, sit back and be patient while the LineageOS developers get working on bringing their ROM to your device. Long term it will be difficult for LineageOS to continue at the same rate that Cynaogenmod did, without the monetary support that they received from Cyanogen Inc.
Hopefully the community steps up and helps out here. With millions of users who were using Cyanogenmod it would be nice if everyone using it (or a related offshoot — and there are a truckload of those) thought about donating a few bucks. Less than the cost of that coffee. Think about that next time you download their ROM. Servers cost money, test devices cost money and their time is donated free.
As for all the sites signing off about the bullet that was meant for Google’s head coming back to hit them, it was NOT Cyanogenmod that said that, nor was it Cyanogen himself. It was the tool himself that started the downfall that said that, to Forbes, one Kirk McMaster. Better still, Steve Kondik had no idea he was going to say that, and had to spend days putting out the bushfire started by Kirk and his thoughtless comment.
To say otherwise would be false, disingenuous and counterproductive to what they are trying to accomplish with the new free and open sourced LineageOS. Instead, I’m going to sign off wishing the developers and support staff at LineageOS all the best and promising to do all I can to help and I suggest you do too. Farewell Cyanogenmod. Welcome LineageOS.
Stay tuned as we will have more information regarding LineageOS on Wednesday our time.