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Posts Tagged: open source

xl_nexus-7-2013-624

Now that’s a doozy, isn’t it? Before proceeding, let’s take a moment for that to better sink in. In addition to support from the AOSP, one of the hallmarks of the Nexus program has traditionally been the availability of factory restore images. This is more than a simple convenience for Nexus device owners. Rather, it allows for users to safely and reliably restore their devices to their factory state.

As a result of the availability of factory restore images, Nexus device owners always had a safety net available for when (not “if” here at XDA) they decide to leave the confines of stock software and venture into the realm of aftermarket development. And the loading of unsupported firmware was always a relatively supported task, as evidenced by the availability of the simple command fastboot oem unlock.

There have been minor inconveniences along the way, however, as exemplified by the Nexus One and Nexus 4 factory images. Ultimately, these issues were all resolved in some way or another. For the Nexus One, HTC was able to release factory images. And for the Nexus 4, Google released the images after some time had passed. However one thing links these devices, along with the new Nexus 7 (2013): Qualcomm.

As a quick refresher, the Nexus One used the original Snapdragon system-on-a-chip with a single core Scorpion CPU mated to an Adreno 200 GPU. The Nexus 4 uses the Snapdragon S4 Pro, which features four Krait CPUs and an Adreno 320 GPU. Finally, the Nexus 7 uses a potentially lower-binned Snapdragon 600, which has been relabeled as an S4 Pro. And coincidentally, all of these devices have faced significant setbacks in their factory image availability.

The suspicions of Qualcomm’s intrusion into the procedure were then confirmed by the former technical lead of the AOSP, Jean-Baptiste Queru, when he wrote the following on Google+:

 Well, I see that people have figured out why I’m quitting AOSP.

There’s no point being the maintainer of an Operating System that can’t boot to the home screen on its flagship device for lack of GPU support, especially when I’m getting the blame for something that I don’t have authority to fix myself and that I had anticipated and escalated more than 6 months ahead.

While this was the most clearly the issue has thus far been stated, his followers knew something was amiss ever since JBQ tweeted on the matter back on July 30th:

That feeling when lawyers sabotage the launch you spent 6 months working on? I haz it. Sad sad sad sad sad sad.

The bottom line of the factory image drama is simple: We currently have no officially supported way to factory restore our Nexus devices. We don’t know if this will be solved by Google and Qualcomm like it was for the Nexus 4, or if this will remain a longer-standing issue requiring the intervention of an OEM partner, as was the case with the Nexus One. And finally, this forced the man ultimately in charge of the technical side of the Android Open Source Project to resign.

Luckily, there are options available for users looking to restore their factory firmware, thanks to XDA Senior Member ATGAdmin who released a factory restore package for users in need. In fact, a certain editor-in-chief of a certain mobile development forum’s news site already had to make use of such accommodations after some late-night flashing without adequate precautions left him with an unusable slab. However, these images are unsupported, and it would ultimately be better if they were to come from Google themselves.

Because of this issue, and past issues like it, the future direction of the Android Open Source Project is unfortunately all too nebulous. It’s times like these that we’re grateful that other open source options are beginning to emerge.

[Via Android Police]

replicant-4-0

Android is already open source though, right? Well technically yes, but also no. While it’s possible to compile AOSP from the readily available source code and get it running on a wide array of devices with relative ease, getting complete functionality is often impossible without some amount of proprietary, device, or OEM specific code. This is not to mention that many of the applications that make the core of the Android experience are closed source. While this may not pose a huge problem to the average user and can be worked around with a little time and effort, it’s simply not good enough for the folks over at the FSF. Thus, they have decided to set about creating a truly open sourced Android experience.

The project, named Replicant, is hoping to provide a distribution of Android that is free from both proprietary code within the OS itself and core applications. This, however, requires devices and devices cost. With support for ten devices currently achieved, including numerous Galaxy devices and the Nexus S, it’s fair to say that a lot of work has already gone into this project and it’s definitely something that appeals to many people. The project is pretty aptly summed up by one of its own developers, Paul Kocialkowski;

“For a long time, it wasn’t possible to operate a mobile phone using free software, even though that is one of the areas of computing where the most important issues are at stake. Replicant is a free Android derivative, while other Android versions usually require nonfree components to actually run on phones. We expect that having our project supported by the Free Software Foundation’s fundraising program will greatly help the project, particularly by enabling us to build support for more phones.”

Being able to offer a donation is far from the only way to help the project along. Any developers who might be interested in this can join the project’s IRC channel if they wish to contribute to discussions. And the average user with a compatible device can simply install Replicant and submit bug reports. Head on over to the FSF site for more information on Replicant and how you can help out.

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Capture

Coinciding with the release of Android 4.3 and and an updated stock camera, stage one of the CyanogenMod team’s top secret “Project Nemesis” was finally unveiled on July 26.  According to the development group’s weekly wrap-up on www.cyanogenmod.org, the goal of this project is to bring users the best custom operating experience possible. As such, Focal, a feature-packed camera application, was announced as the first component geared towards reaching that goal. CyanogenMod developer Guillaume Lesniak (XDA Recognized Developer XpLoDWilD) posted details about the new camera on Google +, explaining almost a dozen new and improved features that were integrated into the Open Source app.

Focal Features

Included in the announcement was a video showing Focal in action. It’s no doubt that you have all heard the expression, “being in the right place at the right time.” CyanogenMod has expanded on that by claiming Focal will provide you with “the right pixel, look, path, spark, and feeling at the right time.” There are two key components at work within the UI that help backup that claim: a side bar and personable widgets within the sidebar. With a simple swipe, widgets can be reordered and hidden depending on your preference. When the screen is rotated, all widgets and the sidebar stay in place to avoid cluttered distractions while trying to take a picture. “It just feels natural,” said Lesniak. Doubling tapping on the viewfinder will turn it into a Quick Capture mode that allows you to take pics no matter where you tap on the screen. By use of a “rule of thirds” grid that helps frame your shots, you can achieve a more professional looking photo with Focal.

Those who have a tendency to take “selfies” will love the timer and burst mode features, which are sorely lacking in the stock camera. Not only does the timer allow you to set up a delay after pressing the shutter button, but it also has a built-in voice trigger that snaps your mug as soon as you say, “cheese,” “cid,” or “whiskey.” The burst mode takes a series of shots in increments of 5, 10, 15, or more without the need to press the shutter button multiple times.

Light metering is a major component to getting the proper exposure of your subject. With the addition of a meter ring alongside the standard focus ring, your subjects will be less likely to turn out too bright or too dark. Depending on your device, different metering modes are available including frame average, spot metering, and weighted point.

A swipe-enabled review drawer has been implemented for quick reference to your recent photos. Wherever you are in the app, swiping down in portrait mode of left in landscape will allow for easy access to your pics. When shooting in burst mode, a mini review drawer is available in real time. You can also take a picture while the drawer is open and it will slowly fade out of view. Like stock, swiping gestures also allow you to instantly delete unwanted photos; and tapping on a photo will automatically open it up in gallery.

The ability to take video snapshots while recording is now available to all devices by simply double-tapping the screen or pressing the volume up key. By using the volume down key or tapping the screen, Focal also allows you to refocus your video. Different effects can be added/changed while shooting by keeping the corresponding widget open while recording.

Google’s new “auto-awesome” feature has been extended to Focal by adding an automatic picture enhancement system. Within five seconds of taking a picture, Focal will automatically enhance all new pictures you take. Panorama mode has also been enhanced so your pictures come out better than ever! Rather than the previous 160 degree panoramic, the new app allows you up to 360 degrees of landscape.

The CM team has also created a better software HDR algorithm that according to Lesniak, first matches the shots before blending them together and then applies them as a real tone-mapping. “It takes a little bit more time to process than our previous implementation, so you might not want to use it on all your pictures, but it’s definitely worth it on your special occasions,” he said.

One of the great new features added to the Android 4.2 stock camera was Photo Sphere. Unfortunately, not every device is compatible with it, and those who really wanted to use it had to exchange all CM enhancements in order to use it. With Focal, a similar feature called PicSphere has been introduced. PicSphere is an opensource replacement for Google’s PhotoSphere, and allows for complete 360 degree panoramas.

What next?

While Focal is not available quite yet, the team promises to publish the source along with its official repositories as soon as the last few bugs are worked out. Once the source has been released, you can expect to find it in subsequent CM nightlies. The source code is split into two different repositities: android_packages_apps_Focal and android_external_Focal. As an open source app written under version two of the General Public Licence, the android community is being strongly encourage to contribute to the success of Focal by adding new widgets and settings. Lesniak said that this is to “achieve the final goal of the app” which is to “have a complete camera software, opensource, that is both powerful and compatible with every device.”

As this is only the first phase of the Nemesis project, Steve Kondik said in a Google + post that there will be much more to follow. “My goal for CM has always been to break open these mostly proprietary mobile devices so we can turn them into the product we really want…What’s most important to me is that anyone can get the code, hack on it and change whatever you want, build it, and flash it to your device.” he said. “Nemesis is our plan to improve the user experience in the right places. The new camera app, Focal, is just the start. Without giving too much away, invoking teaser videos, or giving ETAs, I can confidently say that awesome things are going to keep coming.”

xprivacy

There’s no denying that privacy is a huge concern for a large number of mobile users across all operating systems. Short of smashing your wireless router and trading down to a 3310 that’s kept in a lead-lined box until you need to make a call, it can be incredibly difficult to keep track of where, when, and to whom your personal information is divulged.

Android applications require various permissions, which you are no doubt familiar with by now. Most require these for valid reasons. Some, however, may take advantage of a particular permission and use it to do something you might not be aware of or have expected. Apart from installing only applications that you absolutely need and trust, the best way to try and eliminate the possibility of permissions being abused is to use something like OpenPDroid to adjust these permissions on a per-app basis. The only downside to such a modification is that it can be difficult to put in place for the average user. XDA Senior Member M66B has taken a step towards making permissions management a whole lot easier with a little help from the Xposed Framework.

XPrivacy is an Xposed module that allows the user to view all the currently installed applications on their device and then adjust the individual permissions that app is able to use. Instead of simply preventing the application from collecting the data it is looking for, which can lead to force closes, XPrivacy will provide false data such as an empty contact list or spoofed location. A full list of the possible restrictions and any other information you could possibly want is available from M66B’s Github. The module is also open source, which is nice.

If privacy is a concern for you, take a look at the original thread for more information.

paranoid-android-halo

We applaud new and interesting open source developments that look to find novel ways to solve a problem—things like the Xposed framework and OpenPDroid. It is these sort of projects that exemplify what open source is, and why we at XDA embrace it. It is also for that very same reason why we’re excited about a new open source project, HALO from the creators of the Paranoid Android ROM.

HALO, as previously discussed, brings notifications (conceptually derived from Facebook’s Chat Heads feature) from applications into a floating window and allows you to interact with that application. While this is similar to the Samsung Multi-window functionality, it differs in one key point: It is now open source! Any source-based ROM is able to make use of what the Paranoid Android team has done and bring this functionality to their users with minimal changes. From PA’s Google+ post, the developer of the ROM needs to look at these two commits:

1:

https://github.com/ParanoidAndroid/android_frameworks_base/commit/518c329e8c67fa96b8a8fc22e1962ddb8497c333
2:

https://github.com/ParanoidAndroid/android_packages_apps_Settings/commit/7c739a86e7a02451a63615d71f1b6c846caacdc6

HALO extends Android as it is based on the AOSP source, while also granting app developers the ability to bring the visual aspect to their application. Below is a nice overview of the project and if you like what you see, definitely head on over to the github commits and get involved.

cpu spy reborn

In addition to developer support, the processor is probably the only other major device specification that your average technological ‘nerd’ cares about. With every release of a major smartphone, comes a marketing campaign that more often than not, boasts about processing power. So what do we really know about about a device’s processor and its ‘mysterious technological rhythms‘?

Well for those who may have heard about CPU Spy, it’s a simple little app that displays data about your device’s SoC—more specifically, the frequencies it runs at and the duration they run for. Given that it is a useful tool for diagnosis of a wide range of issues such as battery or overheating, XDA Recognized Developer Mirko ddd, with the permission of the original developer, decided to give the app a total makeover in the form of CPU Spy Reborn.

Preserving its core function of CPU frequency data, CPU Spy Reborn also comes packed with a couple of other useful perks. The CPU Spy was given a major aesthetic overhaul, now presenting itself with a pleasant grey and orange Holo-themed UI. Mirko_ddd took the initiative to add layout support for Tablets, particularly those with 7-inch screens. He also added cards and grid layout displaying frequency data. There’s also a new Action bar, showing the total duration the CPU has been running, with the option of refreshing and resetting.

And you know what’s the greatest part of this? It’s Open Source, meaning that you guys can observe and change the code as much as you please without getting a nice bitter letter from the original developer for illegally reverse engineering a closed source app (if they found out).

CPU Spy Reborn is compatible with any device running Android version 4.0 and is free and ad-free from the Play store. So if this sounds interesting to you, make sure to check out the application thread for more information.

hackingglass

For most of us, Google I/O is probably beginning to feel like a distant memory—perhaps less so for those lucky enough to be browsing on your shiny new Chromebook Pixels. We’re all aware by now of the big stories from this years conference, but among all that was something that was of great interest to us here on the Portal, which you might not have noticed.

One of the sessions put on by Google was titled Voiding Your Warranty: Hacking Glass, the purpose of which was to show those in the Glass Explorer program how to root the device and run their own applications. During the session, the capabilities of Glass were demoed by showing not only how to gain root access but how to run a full desktop operating system, in this case Ubuntu. One of the tools used to achieve this was an application called The Complete Linux Installer that we featured here on the Portal just under a year ago. Considering that the application was written by our very own Recognized Developer and Forum Moderator zacthespack, we decided to track him down and get his opinion on the use of his application to help hack Glass and a few other things as well.

Well Zac, why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

“Hello, I’m Zachary Powell (zacthespack on XDA) and I am a second year BcS Computer Games student at the University of Essex (UK). I have been on XDA since 2009, becoming a Recognised Developer in 2012 and a Forum Moderator earlier this year. My passion for both Android and FOSS has encouraged me to work on multiple projects, including Slap OS on Android, my newest joint-venture: XML Games, and of course; LinuxonAndroid.  My other interest include computer games and computer game design. Virtual Worlds are a particular interest of mine because I enjoy seeing what a community can create within them.”

It must have been a bit of a shock to see your app being used by Googlers at IO. What was your initial reaction?

“Yes, it was quite a shock. It had never crossed my mind that the employees of Google could be using my app, never mind it being featured at their biggest event. I see it as a serious milestone in the project’s life to be included amongst Google’s work.” 

Do you think that running a full desktop OS on a device such as Glass will become commonplace, or will users prefer to stick with a lightweight and minimal interface?

“I think that both have their places. Clearly for day-to-day use a desktop operating system isn’t practical, but it does have it’s uses – particularly when you are talking about using a command line and command line tools. Clearly, with the limited size of the glass’ screen, the use of a desktop GUI is prevented; it’s certainly not going to be able to run a web browser. However, when resolutions improve, this could become more possible. As it is, the screen is large enough for a command line and I like the idea of being able to develop and compile code from a HUD on the move. 

I do feel that in general it won’t become commonplace for the average user to run a full desktop OS on the glass because for most people, a desktop operating system is a word processor and an web browser. There is no general need for them to have access to developmental tools. The minimal, easy to use system is preferred by the average user.
However for advance users and developers who want to tinker with their glass and unlock the full power of the device, running a desktop OS on the glass would make a big difference.”

What are your thoughts on Glass in general?

“I believe that the Glass is a fantastic product, and is something that I am itching to get my hands on. Obviously the idea of a HUD is nothing new, but I think that Google have taken the idea in such a way that the result is second-to-none. There is no other device like this and although there is still a lot of room for improvement, by the time Google release to the general public I think it will be a well polished and usable device. The fact it runs Android is great because you are able to run a far better range of apps, including my own. This also makes the process of ensuring apps are Glass compatible much easier. I am looking forward to getting my own Glass and discovering it’s full potential.”

What originally motivated you to begin the Linux On Android Project and is the project still going?

“The project originated from a desire to get Linux running on my HTC Desire S. The idea and method used in the project is nothing new, but we seek to make it a universally accessible platform (as long as you are rooted). After developing the project and creating a tutorial in XDA, there was a clear demand for the project as people started asking me to help them get it running on their devices. It was at this point that we started creating the universal method, and from there the project really took off.
Yes, we are very much still going. We are working on new improvements constantly, including new Linux Distros and making the app more universally accessible in terms of the languages it has been translated in to and the number of devices it can now run on.”

Considering our recent focus on helping those new to app development, could you tell us a little bit about your methodology, process, and perhaps any tips you might have for aspiring developers?

“Trial and error is definitely the key here. There is a great range of Open Source apps available which you can study the source code for and learn from. This is something I strongly recommend anyone to do. Although the phrase is “don’t fix something that isn’t broken”, I can’t help myself but to continue improving the app and adding new features. 

My biggest tip would be to never stop learning. Always look to better your knowledge. The Android platform is always changing, and you have to change with it.”

Tell us a little more about the new projects you mentioned earlier.

SlapOS on Android is a branch of LinuxonAndroid using our Ubuntu install as a base to then install the SlapOS software, allowing your android device to integrate with your SlapOS cloud, with this every Android device can become a cloud node!

XML games is a new project A friend of mine and myself have just set up and launched on kickstarter. XML Games aims to allow the players themselves to easily and quickly create new game levels using a predefined set of XML tags. Coupled with an XML web platform, players can view and share each other’s levels online, unlocking the possibility of endless new and unique gameplay!
Using XML to design levels allows for us as the developers to make the levels and games completely cross platform. This opens players to an ever growing range of different levels all of which can be designed by anyone on any platform.
Once you have made your levels, they can be shared on the XML Games website community. Allowing anyone to browse and download to play. The hope here is that users can head onto their PC, code their own levels with the help of our handy guide, and then head onto their phone, and download their own level!
We plan to start out on Android creating a few open source games, but with enough funding hope to expand onto other platforms and more games!”

Given the Linux theme here I have to ask, what is your personal distro of choice?

“Primarily I use Ubuntu for work as I like its stability, however I do enjoy playing with Arch Linux because of its customisability.”

Thanks Zac.

If you’d like to follow up on anything mentioned by Zac, check out the links below.

bluedroid

bluedroidEvery so often, an OEM will do things right. Well, nearly right anyway—right enough at least for their stock ROMS to only need some minor tweaks before they are almost perfect. More often than not though, these tweaks are things that can be tricky to implement for the average user—a user who will often find himself looking to install a custom ROM that is pretty close to stock with these desired tweaks added in. Usually that means downloading a pretty large file and then following the obligatory backup/flash/restore process that many of us now have down to a fine art. It shouldn’t have to be this way though, and luckily it isn’t. You just might not know it yet.

You may or may not have heard of the Xposed Framework, the brainchild of XDA Recognized Developer rovo89. If you’re already familiar with this particular mod, there’s really no need for me to tell you how awesome it is. You’re excused and can go play outside. If you aren’t already familiar with the framework, take a seat and listen up. While the Xposed Framework certainly isn’t a new thing, it doesn’t get nearly as much recognition as it deserves, and it’s time to do something about that.

According to the developer, Xposed works as follows:

“Some technical details:
I extended the /system/bin/app_process executable to load a JAR file on startup. The classes of this file will sit in every process (including the one for system services) and can act with their powers. And even more: I have implemented something that allows developers to replace any method in any class (may it be in the framework, systemui or a custom app). This makes Xposed very powerful. You can change parameters for the method call, modify the return value or skip the call to the method completely – it’s all up to you! Also replacing or adding resources is easy.”

What that means is that modifications (known as Xposed modules) can be made to any app or element of the OS itself by simply coding the desired change, packing it into its own APK, and installing to the device. The Xposed Framework takes care  making sure it gets to where it needs to go and stays there. This eliminates the need to decompile the specific item you’re modifying or creating different versions for different ROMs and devices. There may be a need to alter an Xposed module after a major change in Android itself, for example 4.1 to 4.2, but let’s face it: That’s a fairly infrequent occurrence. No files on the device itself are modified, and this means that in the event something does go wrong, returning the device to a stable state is no more complicated than flashing a zip to disable the framework. That’s right, no more lengthy and storage consuming nandroid backup process every time something goes wrong.

xposedinstaller

Installation is incredibly quick and painless, considering the scope of this utility. Simply grab the Xposed Installer from the forum thread and sideload to your device, open up the app once it’s installed and click on “Install/Update,” reboot the device, and you’re good to go. No seriously, it’s that simple.

Installing each individual module is as easy as sideloading the APK, installing, activating it via the Xposed application and rebooting. Some mods will offer a user interface depending on how much functionality they are capable of, others just have one specific purpose and need no attention at all.

So what kind of modifications are we talking about here? Well, if you can think of tweak then chances are it can be packed into an Xposed module. Think of the added little extras that make your favourite custom ROM so appealing. Those are the sort of things that Xposed was created for.

xposedmodules

A perfect example is Smart Alarm Icon, created by XDA Forum Member Mantelinho. This mod will configure the alarm icon in your status bar to only be displayed at a predetermined period before the alarm is due to sound. Let’s say you have your alarm set Monday through Friday. You can leave the alarm set all week but won’t have to see that little clock shaped reminder of Monday morning hanging around in your status bar over the weekend.

There a multitude of mods out there for various purposes, and you can bet that we’ll be highlighting as many as we can in the future. In the meantime, you can check out a repository for various modifications that was put together by Developer Admin pulser_g2. There is also a development tutorial aimed at getting people to create their own modules and making this the single most powerful tool for customisation there is.

Just when you thought this whole thing couldn’t possibly get any more awesome, it’s all open source. Be sure to check out the original forum thread on the Xposed Framework for more information.

Class dismissed.

IDEA

Most of the tutorials out there to get you started in developing Android applications will recommend using Eclipse as an IDE (integrated development  environment) and not without good reason. It’s a solid and dependable program that is intuitive and particularly friendly to those with minimal experience. You could almost be forgiven for thinking it was the only viable option given its popularity, but this is far from the truth and there are alternatives.

XDA Senior Member ramdroid77 has taken to the newly launched App Development Forums to talk about his choice of IDE, IntelliJ IDEA. After running into some issues with Eclipse failing to load certain projects on both Windows and Linux, he sought out an alternative and settled with IDEA. One of the reasons for his preference is as follows:

“One big difference (and it seems many people have troubles with it) is IDEA’s handling of library projects. Unfortunately I think this is done in a very logical way, as each “project” is handled as a model. Means you create a project (“My app”), add a module for your main app project, and add new modules for each library project you would add. For each modules you can set the dependencies and say on which modules it depends.” 

IDEA itself supports Windows, OSX and Linux, another notable feature is the inclusion of an inbuilt Android UI designer. It also happens to be open source and is available from the JetBrains site as a free download (there is also a paid version with increased functionality). This definitely looks like it might be worth a spin for all of you app developers out there. Be sure to head over to the relevant forum thread and share your experiences as well.

android-open-source-apps-list

Working with a team of developers can be great because you have someone to talk to when you hit the coding wall. If you don’t have that luxury, you can still learn how other programmers do things in order to sharpen your skills. That’s what XDA Recognized Contributor coolsandie had in mind when he started his list of all open source Android apps.

The list is huge, spanning several posts in the original thread, so there are many examples to learn from. All of the apps listed are available in the Play Store, which should equate to them being less buggy than random code snippets found in the wild. You can install them to see what features they include, then follow the list’s links to the source code to see how the original developers did everything.

Just reading through the source code is a great way to improve your own work and decrease the time you spend developing, but this is also a great resource to turn to when faced with a very specific problem. Want to know how to detect movement? Check out Pedometer which keeps tracks of how many steps you take each day. Need an example of how to add Widgets as part of your App? You’ll have no problem finding one in this list.

 

xda-cm-pa-oppo-collab.fw

Here at XDA, you’ve probably seen us talk about collaboration. The dictionary defines collaborating as “to work with another or others on a joint project.” We take collaboration seriously, so much so that we actually frown when we see members of the community not take it as seriously. What makes us even more upset is when manufacturers don’t take it seriously, though that rant is for another day.

There have been numerous instances of OEMs that have claimed to be “developer-friendly,” but whose actions spoke louder than their words. On the other hand, there are only a few instances of OEMs actually having their actions match their words, with one of those being Sony over the last 12-18 months and another being a relatively new entry to the Android world, Chinese manufacturer Oppo. If you recall we’ve spent some time discussing Oppo’s recent wins in the Android space, not the least of which is their GPLv2-required release of kernel source for the Find 5. On the surface this is not that noteworthy given it should already be done by default, however with Chinese manufacturers that is not a given. Given the negative track record of Chinese manufacturers adhering to licensing, Oppo is doing something extraordinarily rare by signaling a desire to position themselves in the Western market. Unlike other Chinese companies (Huawei comes to mind), Oppo is showing they have some understanding of, or are attempting to learn, what it takes to succeed.

As OEM Relations Manager for XDA, it is my job to contact OEMs and build a dialog with them. This usually starts with establishing a relationship where XDA, with its 5 million users and tremendous independent developers, and the respective OEM can begin to discuss ways to collaborate (there’s that word again) on win/win opportunities. Sometimes it is met with open arms, as has been the case with Oppo. When approached with the idea to work together with XDA in growing development, we immediately began to discuss ways to facilitate collaboration (!) to bring about a good relationship with the developer community.  We also knew that in order to make any collaboration a win/win for both parties, there would have to be value for the OEM.

After those initial discussions, I spoke with some veteran CyanogenMod maintainers (and members of the now-defunct Team Hacksung) XDA Elite Recognized Developer Entropy512, and Recognized Developers XpLodWILD and nebkat, about their interest in taking on a new device and bringing CM to it. All three were definitely interested, and I began working together with them and Oppo to make it happen. After a few weeks, CM10.1 was brought to Nightly status by the team.

Oppo was ecstatic, and so recently I reached out to XDA Recognized Developers, and Paranoid Android developers, molesarecoming and aaronpoweruser, about their interest in such a project. As was expected, their answer was in the affirmative. And after just a few days, aaronpoweruser posted on G+ that he was close to having an alpha build of PA soon.

All of this hasn’t come easily though, given the state of Oppo’s kernel source. The kernel source that was released was not fully GPLv2 compliant as it was released late (though better than some other companies we could name), had different config files (debug worked, release didn’t), and the kernel source has not been updated even after they’ve made kernel updates on recent firmware updates. With all that being said, the teams have done a great job bringing their respective projects to where they are today. And with language and cultural barriers between our developers and theirs being what they are, Oppo does appear to be trying to overcome those issues.

We know you look forward to seeing the great things that are bound to come out of this collaboration. And to the other OEMs out there, take this as a suggestion: It doesn’t hurt to embrace the developer community, and only makes your stock rise in the eyes of that community. When that happens, the word will spread, and consumers (who incidentally are highly influenced by what members of that developer community have to say about your products) will follow with their currency. It’s a cycle which can, and should, be repeated. If you’re interested, contact me and XDA.

Android-Devices

It used to be the case that whenever you wanted to use ADB or FastBoot with a device, you were required to install a specific driver for each device. For anyone regularly flashing several devices or developers who test on numerous different phones and tablets, this could prove to be something of an inconvenience, especially when setting up for the first time and having to hunt around in a dingy corner of an OEM website looking for the correct driver. Thankfully, things are somewhat simpler nowadays thanks to several different solutions to this old issue.

You may remember us previously talking about the Universal Naked Driver by XDA Senior Member 1wayjonny. This is a Windows based tool (compatible with XP, Vista, 7 and 8) that allows you to make use of ADB, Fastboot, and (for ASUS devices) APX on over 250 different devices with minimal effort. Check out the link above and the forum thread for more information on this one.

Continuing on from the success of the Universal Naked Driver, Koush has taken the device/vendor ids collected within the UND thread and used them to create an alternative solution, which claims to work on all Android phones and all versions of Windows, presumably XP and above. You can find Koush’s Universal ADB Driver and the source for it from the G+ post linked to above.

Last but certainly not least is a project entitled Casual Android Driver Installer, or CADI for short. This is the brainchild of XDA Senior Member jrloper, and like the two already mentioned options, it attempts to alleviate the frustration of device-specific drivers. The difference with CADI though is that it is fully integrated into the CASUAL by XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler and takes a somewhat different approach to the problem. It uses elements of an open source USB device driver installer called libwdi by Pete Batard and essentially determines which devices are connected via USB before generating drivers on the fly and automatically taking care of the installation process. That’s a pretty good example of three open source projects coming together in a glorious trinity of non-proprietary loveliness if ever I saw one.

So if you are still plagued by the problem of individual drivers for each of your devices, it’s definitely in your best interests to look into one, or indeed all of these options. Let us know your preferred method of driver avoidance in the comments below.

 

 

playview

If you have been to the new App Development forums, you may have come across a project called ‘Playview for CardsUI’. Started by XDA Recognized Developer GadgetCheck, it’s an open source project that aims to replicate the aesthetic philosophy and design of the new Google Play store, and in particular, the card-like lists.

How do you think we can achieve a list view like the new Play store…Can anyone help me out?” GadgetCheck, 10th April, 2013

Within days, GadgetCheck, XDA Senior Member Androguide.fr, and other XDA community members managed to achieve strides of progress in this proposal. Presented with a simple question and an initial prototype  the XDA community, with a bit of coding and open-source libraries, further refined the product into what is known today as PlayView for CardsUI. Every aspect of PlayView’s development is documented in the forum thread, with points of major progress uploaded to Github for the community to check out and contribute to. The libraries are open-sourced, allowing anyone to incorporate the UI into their works.

What’s so great about this project is that it epitomizes what XDA-Developers is about: social contribution from the community towards development, helping one another out, and sharing and enjoying the end result. It’s something we all can see in CyanogenMod, FreeXperia, AOKP, and the many other teams and developers who dedicate their time and effort to get Android development to where it is  in the present day.

PlayView for CardsUI is still a work in progress, so if you would like to check it or or chip in, make sure to head over to the development thread for more details.

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