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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by kurkosdr on Thu 8th Aug 2013 09:48 UTC
Member since:

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

Exactly. Androids may use open standards mostly (like OpenGL ES) but the implementations are not necessarily open source. Qualcomm just doesn't want to open source their OpenGL ES implementation, because they have paid lots of money in R&D to build those drivers and don't want to spill the beans to competitors. The closest thing that could happen is to keep the implementation hidden and just expose the "glue" connecting the driver with the OS, like Broadcomm did with the Raspberry Pi chip. But most companies don't care.

The real problem is you can't download the binaries for the drivers and that there is no End-Of-Life plan for OS support.

Edited 2013-08-08 10:05 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Re:
by Kochise on Sat 10th Aug 2013 06:53 in reply to "Re:"
Kochise Member since:

They'd used an open source Open GL ES stack as starting point they wouldn't have had to invest so much money into R&D. And BTW, Open GL is pretty old and known technology that shouldn't cost that much to develop a stack.

Yet, a FOSS OGLES stack, beside Vincent (full software rendering) I don't know any. Where are the happy FOSS developers ? Uuuups, actually busy suing companies that doesn't open up their works to the community.


Reply Parent Score: 2