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back to article Open source Android fork Cyanogen becomes $7m company

Independent Android firmware project CyanogenMod has become a company, thanks to a $7m Series A financing round led by Silicon Valley venture firms Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures. The new company, Cyanogen, will be based in Seattle and led by chief exec Kirt McMaster, described as "a Canadian-Californian technology …

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Mixed Emotions

CM is by far the best alternative Android build (of course most ROM's are built from either CM or AOSP) so this announcement brings mixed emotions. Hopefully the team will bring some great new advances in future CM versions. On the flip side, starting to charge for the OS, bundling it with crapware or other corporate interests would ruin the project and betray the community. Another worry is that now there is a pot of money, the lawyers may take notice and start calling for patent fee's and ancillary charges.

Tread carefully CyanogenMod, for there be dragons ahead.

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Re: Mixed Emotions

>by far the best alternative Android build

What about MIUI? Hey why are you laughing at me (just kidding of course)? Oh well both beat the abomination that is HTC Sense (especially older versions). Also here's to also hoping CM didn't just whore itself out.

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Re: Mixed Emotions

"Tread carefully CyanogenMod, for there be dragons ahead."

And that dragon is called Google..........

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Khaptain: Mixed Emotions

And that dragon is called _______*.

MS

Oracle

RIM

Nokia

Intellectual Vultures

...

*Pick 1 or more

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mixed Emotions

Sell Out?

Perhaps?

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Re: Khaptain: Mixed Emotions

Those other Dragons are small and becoming smaller...... Google is now the really ugly, bad breathed, big boy of the dragons world.... On top of that Google "kind of" owns the code, it's not really OpenSource n'est- ce pas.....

I digress though, even the small dragons can still be a pain....

Cyanogen have been great, let's hope they don't sell out to the corporate world... although I doubt it, if someone started flashing me some millions I presume that I too would follow the carrot.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mixed Emotions

Patent fee's?

Presumably you meant Fee's, or fees.

If the first, then; who is Fee? I'm confused. If fees, then message understood.

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h3
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Re: Mixed Emotions

Depends on the device.

Some are maintained by people who know what they are doing others aren't.

(And there are also people who can commit directly who can and do break other devices at will).

The 2 features I wanted them to add (Feeding fake data to apps and Cornerstone) they didn't add.

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Devil

I would gladly pay for a truly Secure Mobile OS

FWIW, I would gladly pay GOOD MONEY for a secure mobile OS that did not try to sell off everything about me. I don't want subcriptions for the OS, just a single payment. Have to figure out how to deal with updates/upgrades as this stuff changes so often

I might consider a reasonable monthly subscription for email/calender/task/voicemail/cloud server space that was not part of the Google NSA Borg collective.

If you let me buy in to the company directly like a crowdsourced shareholder I might take the risk, Cyanogen seems worth it.

Only thing is that you would have to make a product that I only need to click once to unlock and install to my phone and have a complete roll back and backup system so I could still get warranty if I needed it.

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Re: I would gladly pay for a truly Secure Mobile OS

count me in on that too.. I'd be happy to pay, even a subscription is fine. Just maintain privacy.

with my own colo'd server I plan to at least attempt do it all myself with owncloud or some other platform when I move to android(soon)

currently a webOS user - sad that the platform is dead

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h3
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Re: I would gladly pay for a truly Secure Mobile OS

Depends whether they can get the radio firmware source and the rest of the closed source parts.

Anything undesirable is either going to be in the binary blobs or in the baseband.

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Re: I would gladly pay for a truly Secure Mobile OS

Don't be ridiculous. It is a networked device that connects directly to someone else's network. It is not going to be secure for more than a few seconds at best. Now if the only data it could pass through that channel were through a VPN to your own secure datacenter, then maybe. Probably not.

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Re: I would gladly pay for a truly Secure Mobile OS

Well Cyanogen won't be your truly secure mobile OS because as it's a US-based company so they'll have to give up any data on their server that the NSA Borg Collective ask for and maybe also even include their suggestions for improving the code.

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Re: I would gladly pay for a truly Secure Mobile OS

Sign me up to that! Even if the had 1m subscribers paying £1 a month that would surely be enough.for timely updates and possibly andother £2 a month for non ad supported data slurping cloud like services, preferably not based ni the US however...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I would gladly pay for a truly Secure Mobile OS

Only thing is that you would have to make a product that I only need to click once to unlock and install to my phone and have a complete roll back and backup system so I could still get warranty if I needed it.

You can't have your cake and eat it....

As for people hoping that they haven't 'sold out' you need to wake up and smell the coffee. This is now a $7m company. Investors will want to make that money back some how. Subscription model? Possibly... but then the beauty of Cyanogen to me always seemed to be the fact you could get extra updates out of no longer supported hardware. Can't see many people paying for that especially if another community driven project steps up to the plate to do that for free... No I can see them making their money by mining your data and selling it to the highest bidder (Facebook?) rather than Google just slurping it directly

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Re: I would gladly pay for a truly Secure Mobile OS

I understand they are actually Canadian owned? Depends on where they actually operate from but I don't think that Canada just rolls over for everything the NSA asks for.

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Re: I would gladly pay for a truly Secure Mobile OS

I can only hope not and to prevent that would pay a reasonable price for the software. Hope they are smart enough to see that not selling out and data mining is the real attraction.

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Re: I would gladly pay for a truly Secure Mobile OS

But there's one already, BlackBerry's new BB10 - all you need is a BES10 server running on a VM at home/somewhere and make sure you only communicate through this server (default AES256 cipher)...

...oh wait, you cannot migrate the entire *world* to your server.

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Didn't see that coming

Might have been reported before, but I missed it.

I suppose in many - if not all important - respects, CM is mature and stable enough these days where it can be said to be truly 'out of beta' - when I've used it, it's typically been as solid (if not more so) than the OEM builds, even if it has lacked full acceleration on some hardware from a few years ago, etc.

I expect there would be free community editions and 'pro' editions, community editions having less features but still being a nice, nexus-y sort of clean build for with useful features added (governers, SMB mounting etc) with pro builds being fully fledged, fully accelerated, maxed out geekfests.

And much as though people malign the humble geek (or, for a less weildy and less arsey phrase, the actively interested technologist - what can I say, I am one as are most readers on here), if you want to sell them something that suits their needs at a price they like, there's money there - look at the funding the Ubuntu Edge got. Alright, not as much as it needed, but eight figure donations is real proof of a hardcore geek market who were happy to throw money at it. RasPi is also the same sort of thing. Right price for the featureset.

Best of luck to them, I say - they've done a sweet job of making CM a proper platform, if they can get some money out of it without messing it up, all power to 'em and I look forward to seeing what they can do.

Steven R

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Also...

Any takers on a wager for how long before this overtakes WinMob and BBOS in the worldwide mobile uptake/usage stats? :D

Steven 'Ooh, burn!' R

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Re: Also...

I won't take your bet, because it is too difficult to referee:

"CyanogenMod, the company’s free open-source replacement firmware, has more than 8 million users, CEO Kirt McMaster says. But that counts only users who have elected to share data with Cyanogen, he says, estimating that the true number is two to three times that amount. "

-http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/18/4742828/cyanogen-raises-7-million-to-build-the-best-version-of-android

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Re: Also...

That's true - I never submitted to share data when I was running it. Mainly because I'm a massive prick like that.

There must be a way of putting a manufacturer string in there - even if it's something like SAMSUNG-CM rather than SAMSUNG (or however else it could be done).

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Re: manufacturer string

> There must be a way of putting a manufacturer string in there

There is but it often has to masquerade as something else, to access the play store and run netflix our ainol novo elf II has to pretend to be a samsung device

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Anonymous Coward

hmm

Since a lot of ROMS are based on CM, I guess THAT burgeoning market will dry up. CM just took up ownership - they have become the establishment. I'm not putting them down, they've done a great job, just PLAY NICE!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hmm

Haven't looked at CM recently .... used to have a TMobile Pulse and used various "unofficial" ROMs to get Froyo on that but since I moved to an Xperia Play ~2 years ago stuck to its stock Gingerbread. But from what I recall from when I had the Pulse then there eventually was a CM ROM for that .... but its development (along with ROMs for several other phones that weren't in the main set CM supported) was done by volunteers (ie not main CM developers) - wonder how keen people like that will be to support CM now that its moved onto a commercial footing,

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hmm

Well, there are still I believe significant numbers of unpaid contributors to Fedora/Red Hat so if CM play it well I don't think there's going to be all that much of an issue.

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If CM is such a great idea why would google not simply have purchased it and rolled the option out for customers if it is so popular? Real question...

To me this has fail written on it for a number of reasons, none less than you have to overwrite your device for it to work in the first place which voids your warranty in case of any software failure.

Somewhat of a comparison would be rainmeter skins on a PC, they look good at first but then you realize they are actually not that great the good news is they do not void warranty and it is much harder to "brick" your PC than your phone when you are flashing it.

The secure part made me laugh too, so wait, you want me to fully root and hack my phone, install custom software on it and then take it to my job and use it on my corporate secure network......rightttttt.......

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Anonymous Coward

@the_regulator

You are assuming Cyanogenmod corporate sales hasn't just sold its secure corporate OS to your senior management, as a BlackBerry replacement that gives a wide choice of hardware?

I can see a business here.

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Yes, only looking at this from a consumer perspective not corporate.

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"The secure part made me laugh too, so wait, you want me to fully root and hack my phone, install custom software on it and then take it to my job and use it on my corporate secure network......rightttttt......."

Methinks your vision is a bit narrow. Consider this alternative: Your company's IT department buys you a phone, flashes it CM with the additional security features which they then control and drops it off at your desk. One environment with some transparency for all the company phones.

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Anonymous Coward

"If CM is such a great idea why would google not simply have purchased it and rolled the option out for customers if it is so popular? Real question.."

Because it's open source and Google can just incorporate any parts they want without paying for it.

"The secure part made me laugh too, so wait, you want me to fully root and hack my phone, install custom software on it and then take it to my job and use it on my corporate secure network......rightttttt......."

As opposed to say, using the stock software which stopped receiving updates months if not years ago? CyanogenMod keeps a lot more devices up to date than the manufacturers of those devices do.

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Anonymous Coward

Love It

Upgraded 2 android tablets and a phone to Cyanogenmod in the past week as the tablets had started to slow and churn after around a year of bloat. Absolutely love it.

Plus no more Samsung crapware stealing my bandwidth, disk, cpu, memory and privacy.

There were a few hairy moments on the install when I thought I'd bricked one of my devices, but all ended well.

Added bonus for the paranoid is that you can build it yourself from source code so in theory you've got full control of your device. However if you want the main google android apps (Mail, Maps, Currents, Google+ etc) you still need the google binaries (easily obtainable).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: (Mail, Maps, Currents, Google+ etc)

No, maybe, no, oh f##k no.

It always strikes me at a tad facepalm that CM is promoted as helping to keep Google out of your private data yet CM is distributed through the Play store thus requiring a Google account. What's wrong with a good old fashioned web download?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: (Mail, Maps, Currents, Google+ etc)

"It always strikes me at a tad facepalm that CM is promoted as helping to keep Google out of your private data yet CM is distributed through the Play store thus requiring a Google account. What's wrong with a good old fashioned web download?"

What makes me facepalm is posters posting rubbish without bothering to check what they're saying.

Yes, there is a downloader for CM in the Play Store, but CM does not require a Google account at all. In fact, after installing CM, you will not have any Google stuff in the OS unless you install it separately.

If you want to install CM manually, go to cyanogenmod.com and click 'Get CyanogenMod', it'll take you to the download page for each device: http://get.cm/

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Re: (Mail, Maps, Currents, Google+ etc)

I flashed the ROM on my old phone a few weeks ago. Somehow you need to get the code on the phone to do that, and going through Google Play seems to be the easiest way. The utility I used has other uses.

It has made a big difference to what my phone can do.

There's a lot of grey area hacking in these revised ROMs. Cyanogen going corporate might give them the respectability needed to make money, but they will have to pay for access to the Play store. I don't feel I have cheated anyone upgrading my Play-store-enabled phone to get a Play-store-enabled phone, but a lawyer can disagree.

There are a couple of very useful utilities I have which need root access. Making them part of the OS toolset might be a better answer. For instance, there is nothing obviously wrong with an ntp-app having the clocksetting permissions needed for sub-second time-setting precision but a user-app doesn't have those permissions available.

So going through Play looks a good option, and there are extras that could be added to Cyanogen which might be worth paying for.

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CyanogenMod & G(oogle) Apps

"Kondik said that one of Cyanogen's goals will be to obtain a license for Google Play Services,"

I don't get why Google wants them to get a license. Google should be sending the CyanogenMod crew a gold-plated GApps licence along with candy and some strippers too.

Look at it this way around. How many people are, thanks to CM, still happily pouring their usage/location/browsing data into google servers and buying from the google store rather than contemplating replacing their obsolete* android phone with an iPhone?

* which the vendor forgot about the second it was released, and the carrier can't be arsed pushing updates for, even if they do exist.

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Whelp

CM WAS first out the gate as a complete and actually feasibly working alternative. I've used CM since my first Android Donut device, (G1) and still use a build of it on my (admittedly dated) SGS3 . To this day I check to see if a CM build is available for any device that I root either for myself or others before rooting them. If CM can't do it, I tend to not even try. (Exception being the original Nook, which was quite a while ago). To this day, my Motorola Xoom runs CM and runs like a champ even if it is one of the early, early, EARLY tablets.

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Non-plussed

I've installed CM twice on my admittedly ancient and dusty Nexus S. Both times it was quickly removed when I ran into odd crashes and downright nasty battery life. YMMV.

Ultimately though what really gets my goat is that (aside from random curiosity) I installed it because I wanted a couple of "obvious to anyone who actually uses the damned thing" features: Lock Screen, so I don't keep randomly losing icons from my home screen; and the freedom to send a text message to a group of 44 people at one time without being harassed by Android.

And of course that bloody obvious to anyone that isn't brain dead thing: a quick and easy way to turn WIFI, BlueTooth etc on and off.

I haven't had a chance to play with KitKat yet, but I fear that Android is going the way of so many Google projects - losing features that people actually use, and adding strange restrictions that really have no place.

Who knows - maybe this will be the year of the Firefox and Ubuntu phones.....

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Re: Non-plussed

Um, what?

A very quick check on my SGS3 running CM10.2 shows that it has a lock screen, and it has the ability to turn off WiFi and Bluetooth from the notifications bar, or to enable flight mode if you want to kill everything.

Battery life can be variable, but is normally good with the stable builds (as opposed to the nightlies).

I think your problem might be the age of the phone rather than the capabilities of CM.

GJC

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Re: Non-plussed

No, my point was that Android jelly bean lacked these stupendously obvious features, which is why I was trying CM.

Battery life still sucked...

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Re: Non-plussed

<Shrug>

Every Jellybean phone and tablet I've tried has all of those features, and good battery life. I've no idea what you were doing.

GJC

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JDX
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Oh Jeez

So a creating a new mobile OS is the new bandwagon? Is the actuality that this is a bit like how there are many Linux distros but it's still the same underlying OS?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh Jeez

Cyanogenmod has been around for about 4 years. It's not a new OS, it's a modified version of Android. It 's been around longer than Windows Phone, and the recent newcomers Firefox OS & Ubuntu Phone would have been but a twinkle in the eyes of their creators when people were already happily installing and using CM.

There's an old adage on t'internet: "Google is your friend". May not be strictly true these days but DuckDuckGo should suffice instead. Try doing 10 seconds of research before you (repeatedly in your case) allow uninformed crap to spew forth from your fingertips.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanogenmod

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JDX
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Re: Oh Jeez

You might have failed to notice, but the big curvy things at the end of those sentences denote a question is being asked, rather than an idiotic statement being uttered - that's apparently something best left to you.

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Holmes

Re: Oh Jeez

JDX, are you seriously attempting to say that

So a creating a new mobile OS is the new bandwagon? Is the actuality that this is a bit like how there are many Linux distros but it's still the same underlying OS?

was not meant to imply derision? If so, you may want to consider rephrasing your questions, especially on this site.

In either case, AC's suggestion that you do a little research yourself rather than asking questions for which the answer is readily available online retains its merit.

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the cyan in it

inspired name choice, such an 8bit color (sic) Texas and Commodore are kicking themselves in their complex shared with the Golden Girls http://youtu.be/xnkhzBfnW8Y

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the cyan in it

Cyanogen is in fact a thoroughly nasty gas, consisting of two carbon atoms with a nitrogen on each end, NCCN. It's basically two cyanide radicals joined together.

This could go metaphorical on many levels.

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Good.

Good. I'll happily pay an annual licence fee to CM touse their OS on my phone, as long as it's not spying, mining, and selling all of fucking data.

If it comes with absolutely NO Google software on whatsoever, so much the better. Sold.

If it comes with NO Facebook and Twitter, EVEN BETTER.

Even if it comes with FaceTwat and Twatsuck, as long as they're un-installable, I'm STILL sold.

Will be watching this with interest. I really hope they go to a paid subscription model. Why? Because if they give the OS away for free, then it means advertising - which means spying, mining, and selling my data on. I'd rather just pay for an OS for my phone the way I do for my PC.

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Microsoft Android ©

How will this relate to the Microsoft Android (©) sales tax?

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