Is Ubuntu Touch Just CyanogenMod With Unity On Top?

Canonical took the entire IT world by storm with the back-to-back announcements of Ubuntu Phone and then Tablet OS. It’s looks really impressive in the video (since most of it is in developer preview stage and non working, we can’t comment how it will shape up). It was really impressive to see how Canonical managed to do develop Ubuntu Touch from ‘ground-up’.

People were excited about the technologies being used in the back-end. We were all surprised how Canonical managed to pull all of this together for devices which were launched just 3 months ago (Nexus 7 and Nexus 10) whereas official partners take a whole year to upgrade.

Now we have some answers. As we dug into the Ubuntu Touch code and development page this is what we found:

The Ubuntu Touch wiki page clearly states:

As Ubuntu is running in a separated container on top of an Android kernel and services, the communication between them happens via Binder, Sockets and libhybris.

When we hear about the way Ubuntu Touch can ‘support’ other Android devices, we all get excited so what made that possible, how many resources Canonical put in to achieve this?

As we’re using CyanogenMod, we can easily take advantage of all the devices that are officially supported there. You can find codenames and devices by looking at http://wiki.cyanogenmod.org/w/Devices

You will further find on this wiki page:

“You can find all the needed Android git repositories at http://phablet.ubuntu.com/gitweb. This is basically a mirror of CyanogenMod 10.1, but containing only the needed low level services used by Android (e.g. no Dalvik at all).”

It’s more Android than Ubuntu
So, in a nutshell Ubuntu Phone or Tablet is simply Android and CyangenMod with Unity slapped on it and one would assume that it was developed from the ground up. No one told me so I did not know.

That’s fair enough. The soul of open source is learning from each other, adding value to each others work and giving credit to those who do the real work.

What surprised me was the fact that Android and CyangenMod was missing from Canonical’s marketing material. We kept hearing of Qt, QML and convergence but no word was said about Android or CyangenMod. I was surprised and saddened to see no mention of Steve Kondik and the entire CyanogenMod team in any of the marketing or promotional material

Mutual acknowledgement is the driver of open source. That spirit of open source dies when the due credit is not given. How does an open source developer feel when someone takes his work to build his own empire and doesn’t even mention his name. Even Linux Mint says on its ‘About’ page “Based on Debian and Ubuntu, it provides about 30,000 packages and one of the best software managers.

I am a developer too. So what do I think? It’s legal, no doubt; but is it ethical? I wouldn’t do it that is for sure. Yes, there is no harm in not acknowledging those whose work you use, but is this the trend we want to set for the larger open source community? Is this what we want the open source community to become?

Ungrateful? Uncredited?

Well that’s what Apple already does.

I feel bad, the question is how do you feel?

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