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CyanogenMod is a customized, aftermarket firmware distribution for the HTC Dream (marketed as T-Mobile G1 in Europe and the US and Era G1 in Poland) and Magic (T-Mobile myTouch 3G in the US, Rogers HTC Magic in Canada, and DoCoMo HT-03A in Japan) cell phones.

CyanogenMod is notable as the first popular community-based distribution of the open-source Android operating system.

Designed to increase performance and reliability over official Android-based releases by vendors such as Google, T-Mobile, and HTC. CyanogenMod also offers features not found in these releases, including FLAC Lossless Audio, multi-touch, the ability to store downloaded apps on the microSD card, compcache, a large APN list, a reboot menu, support for wi-fi, bluetooth, and USB tethering, and other enhancements.[1]. CyanogenMod is also the first mobile OS to incorporate BFS as the scheduler, a change that it is now being adopted by Google officially.[2]

In late September 2009, CyanogenMod gained further attention when Google issued a cease-and-desist letter to its chief developer, Steve Kondik. This action, widely viewed as a challenge to the open source community Google had claimed to embrace, generated substantial press coverage in various major media outlets including PC World, The Register, The Inquirer, Ars Technica, The H, [2], Gigaom, and eWeek.[3]

Following negotiations between Kondik and Google, Google agreed to work with Kondik so that CyanogenMod development and distribution could continue.



Shortly after the introduction of the HTC Dream mobile phone in September 2008, a method similar to jailbreaking an iPhone was discovered by which one could attain privileged control (known as "root access") to the inner workings of the device.[4] This discovery, combined with the open source nature of the Android operating system, allowed the phone's stock firmware to be modified and re-installed onto the phone at will.

The CyanogenMod firmware is currently based on code released by the Android team including the standard 1.6 "Donut" release and portions of the 2.0 "Eclaire" branch such as new icons. CyanogenMod is primarily developed by Cyanogen (Steve Kondik) but includes contributions from thexda-developers community and other sources.

Cyanogen is also the maintainer of a "phone recovery image" used in conjunction with CyanogenMod. The recovery image is a specialboot mode which is used to back up or restore the entire phones contents, repair or upgrade the devices firmware, and access theshell.[5] Cyanogen's recovery image is integral to the "One-Click Root" method of rooting the majority of currently available Android devices.[6][7]

An application called CyanogenMod Updater allows CyanogenMod users to receive notifications when new updates are available, download them to their phone, and install them. It is available on the Android Market.

Licensing Controversy

Until version, CyanogenMod included several closed-source apps (Gmail, Maps, Market, Talk, and YouTube), which were included with the vendor distributions of Android but not licensed for free distribution. After Google sent a Cease and Desistletter to Cyanogen demanding he stop distributing these apps, development ceased for a few days.[8][9][10][11] The reaction from many CyanogenMod users towards Google was predictably hostile with some claiming that Google's legal threats hurt their own interests and violated their informal corporate motto to do no evil.[12][13][14]

Following a statement from Google clarifying its position[15] and a subsequent negotiation between Google and Cyanogen, it was resolved that it could be possible to continue the CyanogenMod project, albeit in a form that did not bundle in the proprietary "Google Experience" components.[16][17].

It was also determined that the proprietary Google apps may be backed-up from the Google-supplied firmware on the phone and then re-installed onto CyanogenMod releases without infringing copyright. However, due to the controversy, some Android developers have decided to create open-source apps to replace the Google-owned ones.[18]

Cyanogen has also warned that while issues no longer remain with Google, there are still potential licensing problems regarding proprietary, closed-source device drivers.[19]. However, he is rebuilding the source tree, and believes the licensing issues with the drivers can be worked out. He is also receiving assistance from Google employees.[20]

Cyanogen and other developers have also formed the Open Android Alliance (not to be confused with the Open Handset Alliance) an organization whose stated goal is to distribute "a *Flavor* of Android that is fully customizable and does not rely on Google or other copyrights. As of now the goal is a ROM (No google at all) that we can make calls from and text."[21].


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