Xiaomi’s 2019 goal is to release kernel source code more quickly for all its devices
Just before MWC 2019, Xiaomi took to the stage at an event in China to launch the new Xiaomi Mi 9 and Mi 9 SE. Both the devices represent the best of what OEM has to offer, bringing in a high value device at a fraction of the cost of a premium flagship. While this approach lets them appeal to the average consumer, Xiaomi has also been quite developer-friendly, which makes them a good purchase even for those who are looking for a device with a very good third party development community. Xiaomi does not void the warranty of devices (in India at least) if you unlock the bootloader, and they have worked on significantly bringing down the waiting times for bootloader unlock requests too.
Shortly after yesterday’s event, and much to everyone’s surprise, Xiaomi released the kernel sources for the Mi 9. This is very pleasant change from Xiaomi’s past attitude towards releasing kernel sources, when devices wouldn’t get any releases at all. Over the past couple of years, the Chinese OEM has worked to ensure that kernel sources of newer devices are released while they are still relevant, and older devices also receive their sources in order to honor Xiaomi’s obligations towards the GPL. Xiaomi also had an internal target of 3 months for releasing sources, so seeing the Mi 9 receive its sources on day 1 was a very pleasant surprise indeed.
Xiaomi engineer Ivan, through his personal Weibo account, mentioned that Xiaomi’s goal for 2019 is to release kernel sources for its devices as soon as possible. This applies to new releases as well as to older devices. The Chinese OEM also plans to release the kernel sources for the Mi 9 SE very soon. The Mi Box and Mi TV will also receive the same love, as the company representative is making a commitment to release the kernel sources for these devices as well. Mr. Ivan signs the kernel releases on Xiaomi’s Github, so his word carries a lot of weight. My own past interactions with senior Xiaomi India executives have indicated that the company desires to be punctual and correct with kernel source releases, and is diligently working towards the same. Hopefully, Xiaomi keeps up with the good work.