egzthunder1 · Aug 19, 2010 at 06:00 am

Developer Interview: dzo

Some of you may know an Android developer by the username dzo. In case you don’t know who he is, if you are using an Android port on a WM device, more than likely, you are using his work. Basically, there would be no kernels at this point in time for WM devices if it wasn’t for him. So, in order to learn more from him and what motivates him, we have asked him for an interview… and he granted it.

egzthunder1: First of all, thank you for agreeing with this interview. I know that
you are a very busy individual, so I will try to not take too much of your
time. How did you decide to go into Android development? What pushed you
into this?

dzo: Well, when I started on Android it was early 2008 and there were no real
devices available, only an early version of the emulator. I thought an open
source mobile OS sounded like a good idea and I’d just bought a windows mobile
phone which I didn’t really like so I thought I’d try to port the kernel and
emulator to it.

egzthunder1: I can see that your work has spread across the Android dev projects
throughout XDA. Do you have any particular preference for a project? In
other words, which one would you consider your favorite project and why?

dzo: I’ve only really being doing one thing, the linux kernel for msm devices but
this covers quite a few different phones. I started with vogue and then people
sent me some other devices so I played with them. I never had as much time to
work with the other devices, so Vogue is much more stable and mature. It has
to be my favorite, it has a great form factor and you can get them used for
$50 now.

egzthunder1: Why did you decide to work on ports for older devices like the Vogue?
Has it been hard from a development stand point?

dzo: When I started on Vogue it was state of the art! Obviously it’s hard when
there is very little documentation but some time in 2008 the msm7x00 software
interface manual was leaked so that helped a lot. I also had some great tools
to work with like Haret and the Google ram console driver. Most of the kernel
work was already done by the folk at Google I just made it work with an older
version of the SoC they were using.

egzthunder1: In your latest installments, you were able to fully port Froyo, even
before many actual Android devices got ports for them. How did you manage
that? How many hours did you have to put in? Did you get help from other
XDA members as well?

dzo: The Froyo port was relatively simple, We’d already written the drivers for
Donut and Eclair so it wasn’t hard to get them working on Froyo. The reason it
was working ahead of other devices is that we didn’t have any proprietary code
to deal with. Most other devices have proprietary libraries for audio, gps and
the camera. We had that stuff sorted since Cupcake so it wasn’t a problem.The
only proprietary library we use is the hardware OpenGL library and that didn’t
change between eclair and froyo. I’ve put in more hours than I care to think
about and had help from lots of other XDA members especially with GPS and the
install system.

egzthunder1: Has your time here on XDA been a positive experience? Has it changed
your life in any way? What other projects are you working on/planning on
getting into?

dzo: It’s definitely been a positive experience and has helped with my work. As part
of my job I teach operating systems and now I feel I can stand up and tell
people I do know how a real OS works instead of just having read the books!
It certainly led to a lot of late nights but it’s just a hobby, I do plenty of
other things, I have 2 delightful children, a full time job and relax by going
windsurfing whenever I can. I have other work related projects, I’m in charge
of the Centre for Parallel Computing here and do some reasearch in Computer
Vision and High Performance Computing.

egzthunder1: I would like to thank you for your time on this and I wish you the very
best in all your future endeavors.

dzo: Thanks.

That is it. You can view some of the developer’s work in the Vogue Android Kernel Development thread.

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egzthunder1 is an editor on XDA-Developers, the largest community for Android users. I have been an active member of xda-developers since 2005 and have gone through various roles in my time here. I am Former Portal Administrator, and currently part of the administrator team while maintaining my writer status for the portal. In real life, I am a Chemical Engineer turned Realtor in the Miami area. View egzthunder1's posts and articles here.
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