Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 7th Aug 2013 19:14 UTC
Google Jean-Baptiste Queru, or JBQ for short, maintainer of the Android Open Source Project at Google, has announced that he's quitting his job.

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.

By the way, in this context, 'to escalate' means handing something over to your superiors so they can handle it. I believe this definition of the word is uncommon outside of the US.

The issue here is exactly what it sounds like: there are currently no factory images/binaries available for the latest Nexus device, the new Nexus 7. The problem is that the GPU in the new Nexus 7 is made by Qualcomm, a company which is incredibly hostile towards the open source community. This isn't the first time Qualcomm has sabotaged an AOSP launch - all Nexus devices with Qualcomm chips, the Nexus 1, 4, and the new 7, faced these problems.

Because he is apparently very good at pattern recognition, JBQ states that he already anticipated this issue six months ago, but that it hasn't been solved. A recent tweet from him is quite telling:

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

This is bad news for Google, and bad news for Android. JBQ has done an amazing job on AOSP, and I'm very sad to see him leaving his post. As of this moment, it's not yet known whether he will leave Google entirely or not.

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Google's problem
by jared_wilkes on Wed 7th Aug 2013 19:20 UTC
Member since:

I don't see how this is Qualcomm's problem. They have no allegiance to open source, haven't made any promises about being open, etc.

Google didn't have to choose to use Qualcomm when they have pledged allegiance and have made promises... that they knew they couldn't keep if they went with Qualcomm.

Reply Score: 11

RE: Google's problem
by gilboa on Thu 8th Aug 2013 04:38 in reply to "Google's problem"
gilboa Member since:

AFAIK, the issue is not open source, but the lack of *binary* distribution rights.

I do agree that Google should have booted Qualcomm from the next Nexus device in return.

- Gilboa

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Google's problem
by jared_wilkes on Thu 8th Aug 2013 11:40 in reply to "RE: Google's problem"
jared_wilkes Member since:

Sure, but it doesn't change the problem. I was just stating it as simply as possible -- but in some audiences that just leads to problems.

Qualcomm has never pledged the the same things that Google has and it has no obligation to.

It's Google's obligation to use vendors who do support the same goals or who can be contractually persuaded or coerced into complying with their goals or risk looking like stupid hypocrites. (Of course, people like Thom will Cover Google's Ass for them, for free, and blame it on someone else).

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Google's problem
by Soulbender on Thu 8th Aug 2013 05:22 in reply to "Google's problem"
Soulbender Member since:

Indeed, I must agree (for once?). If a company always causes problems and is being difficult to the point of causing problems for your products then you DON'T do any business with them again, UNLESS you have a very well designed contract that details everyone's responsibilities and commitments. Why Google didn't learn this the first couple of times around is anyone's guess.
Qualcomm may very well be assholes but if you knowingly do business with assholes it's no-ones fault but your own when you get screwed.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Google's problem
by lucas_maximus on Thu 8th Aug 2013 07:26 in reply to "RE: Google's problem"
lucas_maximus Member since:

In a lot of orgs tend to never learn their lesson and normally the choice as we both know is rarely made by those that write the software as to whether to go with a particular company/tech.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Google's problem
by dsmogor on Thu 8th Aug 2013 09:30 in reply to "Google's problem"
dsmogor Member since:

A guess they didn't have much of a choice as QM is dominating integrated LTE soc market with the other alternative being ... Samsung, which they don't really want to support. Tegra 3 could be used but it probably has too much power demands for the form factor and would cost too much as well. And Nvidia hasn't very good OSS record either.
The fact is that S4 has the best power / performance rati on the market.
I guess Arm needs to develop something between A7 and A15 fast.

Edited 2013-08-08 09:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Google's problem
by jared_wilkes on Thu 8th Aug 2013 11:35 in reply to "RE: Google's problem"
jared_wilkes Member since:

The trade-off is technology, design, channel, cost, etc... versus values. Google is the one choosing the former over the latter. That is only Google's problem (that they actually have an audience of users who think ideological values can, do, or should outweigh the former values).

Instead, JBQ should be quitting Google entirely and stamping his feet at them for comprising their values, not Qualcomm for producing the best technology option.

Edited 2013-08-08 11:41 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Google's problem
by tidux on Thu 8th Aug 2013 13:54 in reply to "RE: Google's problem"
tidux Member since:

The previous N7 had a Tegra 3.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Google's problem
by jared_wilkes on Thu 8th Aug 2013 15:03 in reply to "RE: Google's problem"
jared_wilkes Member since:

"I guess Arm needs to develop something between A7 and A15 fast."

Seriously? How 'bout Google needs to realize that they can't accomplish ideological goals based on their suppliers which have completely independent goals of their own, suck it up, take some accountability, and make it clear that they will compromise ideological values based on technical needs... or they need to start producing the types of chips they want with the values they want... rather than proclaiming the rest of the industry which is going about pursuing its own goals as best it sees fit regardless of what Google would want or hope for?

The idea that ARM needs to produce a new ARM design so that some other SOC developer can build a chip which may or may not have the values as Google or that some other SOC manufacturer is going to spring up with Google's values in mind and also deliver the best chip for the purpose in high volumes, with a rapid upgrade cycle such that it becomes the OEMs go to choice for smartphone development is hysterically laughable.

Reply Parent Score: 3