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.
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.