CyanogenMod 12.1, based on Android 5.1 "Lollipop"
|Developer||Steve Kondik and CyanogenMod community (until 2013)
Cyanogen Inc. (2013–present)
|Written in||C (core), C++ (some third party libraries), Java (UI)|
|Source model||Open source|
|Initial release||3.1 (Dream & Magic)|
|Latest release||11.0 M12 / 13 November 2014|
|Latest preview||12.1 nightlies / 17 April 2015|
|Marketing target||Firmware replacement for Android Mobile Devices|
|Update method||Over-the-air (OTA)|
|Package manager||APK or Google Play Store (if installed)|
|Kernel type||Monolithic (Linux kernel)|
|Default user interface||Stock Android launcher (3.x, 4.x) / ADWLauncher (5.x, 6.x, 7.x) / Trebuchet Launcher (9.x, 10.x, 11, 12)|
|License||Apache License 2 and GNU GPL v2, with some proprietary libraries|
CyanogenMod (pronounced //), usually abbreviated to CM, is an open-source operating system for smartphones and tablet computers, based on the Android mobile platform. It is developed as free and open source software based on the official releases of Android by Google, with added original and third-party code. It is based on a rolling release development model.
CyanogenMod offers features and options not found in the official firmware distributed by mobile device vendors. Features supported by CyanogenMod include native theming support, FLAC audio codec support, a large Access Point Name list, an OpenVPN client, Privacy Guard (per-application permission management application), support for tethering over common interfaces, CPU overclocking and other performance enhancements, unlockable bootloader and root access, soft buttons and other "tablet tweaks", toggles in the notification pull-down (such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS), and other interface enhancements. CyanogenMod does not contain spyware or bloatware, according to its developers. CyanogenMod is also stated to increase performance and reliability compared with official firmware releases.
Although only a subset of total CyanogenMod users elect to report their use of the firmware, as of March 23, 2015, some reports indicate that over 50 million people run CyanogenMod on their phones.
In 2013, project founder Steve Kondik announced that venture funding had been obtained to establish Cyanogen Inc. as a commercial enterprise to develop and market the firmware more widely. This announcement has led to controversy within the community, with some developers asserting that rights and licensing issues, acknowledging/compensating past developers and honoring the original ethos of the community project, are not being adequately addressed. These claims were rejected by Kondik, who affirmed support for the community and stated that most CyanogenMod code, as with Android generally, is bound by a non-restrictive Apache license.
History and development
Soon after the introduction of the HTC Dream (named the "T-Mobile G1" in the United States) mobile phone in September 2008, a method was discovered to attain privileged control (termed "root access") within Android's Linux-based subsystem. Having root access, 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.
In the following year, modified firmwares for the Dream were developed and distributed by Android enthusiasts. One, maintained by a developer named JesusFreke, became popular among Dream owners. In August 2009, JesusFreke stopped work on his firmware, and suggested users switch to a version of his ROM that had been further enhanced by developer Cyanogen (Steve Kondik) called "CyanogenMod".
CyanogenMod grew in popularity, and a community of developers, called the CyanogenMod Team (and informally "Team Douche") made contributions. Within a few months, the number of devices and features supported by CyanogenMod blossomed, and CyanogenMod became one of the popular Android firmware distributions.
Similarly to many open source projects, CyanogenMod is developed using a distributed revision control system with the official repositories being hosted on GitHub. Contributors submit new features or bugfix changes using Gerrit. Contributions may be tested by anyone, voted up or down by registered users, and ultimately accepted into the code by one of a handful of CyanogenMod developers.
A version of ADW.Launcher, an alternative launcher (home screen) for the Android operating system, became the default launcher on CyanogenMod 5.0.8. The launcher provides additional features not provided by the default Android launcher, including more customization abilities (including icon themes, effects, and behavior), the ability to backup and restore configuration settings, and other features. As of version 9, CyanogenMod's own launcher, Trebuchet, is included with the firmware.
Initially, CyanogenMod releases were provided on a nightly, milestone, and "stable version" schedule; as of CyanogenMod 11 M6, the "stable" label will no longer be used, having been supplanted by "milestone" M-builds that are part of the CyanogenMod's rolling release development model.
Some unofficial builds for supported devices are listed in CyanogenMod Wiki.
CyanogenMod 7 firmware is based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread with additional custom code contributed by the CyanogenMod Team. The custom portions of CyanogenMod are primarily written by Cyanogen (Steve Kondik) but include contributions from the xda-developers community (such as an improved launcher tray, dialer, and browser) and code from established open source projects (such as BusyBox in the shell).
CyanogenMod 7 development began when Google released Android 2.3's source code. On 15 February 2011, the first release candidates of CyanogenMod 7 were rolled out on several of the supported devices. The fourth release candidate was released on 30 March 2011 and brought increased support for the Nook Color and similar devices as well as many bug fixes. On 11 April 2011, the public version of CyanogenMod 7.0 was released, based on Android 2.3.3. CyanogenMod 7.1 was released on 10 October 2011, based on Android 2.3.4. The latest stable version, CyanogenMod 7.2 was released on 16 June 2012, based on Android 2.3.7, bringing a predictive phone dialer, lock-screen updates, ICS animation backports and many bug fixes.
CyanogenMod version 8 was planned to be based on Android 3.x Honeycomb. However, no source code for Honeycomb was provided by Google until it appeared in the tree history of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich source release. Since Honeycomb was superseded by Ice Cream Sandwich, the release schedule advanced from CyanogenMod 7 directly to CyanogenMod 9.
CyanogenMod 9 is based on Google's Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and the first version of CyanogenMod to use the Trebuchet launcher. Steve Kondik and his team have announced that they had begun work on the new release after Google released the source code of Android 4.0.1. Development on this release took longer than with previous releases due to the significance of the changes between Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" and 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich", and the team took this opportunity to clarify their vision for the ROM and rethink any modifications which were no longer necessary due to improvements within Android.
By the last days of November 2011, some alpha versions had been distributed, in particular for the Samsung mobile phones Nexus S and Galaxy S. On 9 August 2012, after various betas and release candidates, CyanogenMod released the finished version of CyanogenMod 9. Given that the next version of Android, 4.1 "Jelly Bean", had already been released by that point, development moved swiftly on to CyanogenMod 10. On 29 August 2012, CyanogenMod released a minor update, version 9.1.0, bringing bugfixes and an app called SimplyTapp for NFC payments.
On 4 April 2012, during development, CyanogenMod unveiled "Cid" (pronounced /sɪd/), the new CyanogenMod mascot, which replaced the previous mascot, Andy the skateboarding "bugdroid". Designed by user Ciao, Cid (C.I.D.) is an abbreviation of "Cyanogenmod ID".
- CyanogenMod 10.0
- In early July 2012, the CyanogenMod team announced, via its Google+ account, that CyanogenMod 10 would be based on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Nightly builds of CyanogenMod 10 were made available for many devices supported by CyanogenMod 9. Starting with the September 2012 M1 build, the CyanogenMod team began monthly "M-series" releases. At the beginning of each month, a soft freeze of the CyanogenMod codebase is put into effect; once the team deems a build stable enough for daily use, it is released under the milestone or "M" series.
- On 13 November 2012, final stable builds were released for several devices.
- CyanogenMod 10.1
- CyanogenMod 10.1 is based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Nightly versions are currently being released for an array of devices, along with M Snapshots (Monthly Snapshots) which are being released for select devices.
- On 24 June 2013, the CyanogenMod 10.1.0 codebase (based on Android version 4.2.2) was moved to "stable" status, with a majority of currently-supported devices receiving stable builds on the same day. CyanogenMod's developers have indicated that they will continue the Monthly Snapshot schedule to incorporate new features until the next Cyanogenmod release. Unfortunately, many devices utilizing Samsung Exynos and Nvidia Tegra 2 SoC's were not part of the initial release.
- CyanogenMod 10.2
- The first nightly release of CyanogenMod 10.2, which is based on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, began rolling out for a selected number of devices on 14 August 2013. It brings in some new enhancements to the system, such as Bluetooth Low Energy and OpenGL ES 3.0 support, a renewed Phone app, 4K resolution support as well as many security and stability improvements.
On 6 November 2013 the CyanogenMod team started pushing the code of CyanogenMod 11, based on Android 4.4 KitKat, to GitHub. The first nightly release of CyanogenMod 11.0 began rolling out for a selected number of devices on 5 December 2013. Since then, M-builds have been released every month for supported devices, offering a more stable experience than nightlies. With build M6 it was clarified that CyanogenMod would no longer be releasing final builds specially tagged "stable", but instead would utilize the rolling release model with M-builds representing a stable channel.
The global OnePlus One is shipped with a variant of CyanogenMod 11 M9 known as "CyanogenMod 11S". The latest version of CyanogenMod 11S for the One is 11.0-XNPH05Q, based on CyanogenMod 11 M11 and Android 4.4.4 "KitKat", and was released as an over-the-air (OTA) update in February 2015.
CyanogenMod 12S, a variant of CyanogenMod 12 for the OnePlus One, was released on April 14, 2015.
Rumors of plans to commercialize CyanogenMod as well as the subsequent announcement of Cyanogen Inc. has led to a certain level of discord within the CyanogenMod community. Several CyanogenMod developers have asserted concerns regarding rights and licensing issues, appropriately acknowledging/compensating past developers for their work, and concerns of undermining the original ethos of the community project are being inadequately addressed. Examples include "Focal" camera app developer Guillaume Lesniak ("'xplodwild') whose app was withdrawn from CyanogenMod allegedly following demands by the new company to adopt closed-source modifications and licensing.
In response, Steve Kondik affirmed commitment to the community, stating that the majority of CyanogenMod historically did not use GPL but the Apache licence (the same license used by Google for Android), and dual licensing was being proposed in order to offer "a stronger degree of protection for contributors... while still offering CM some of the freedoms that the Apache license offers":
|“||Google has gone to great lengths to avoid the GPL by building their own low level components such as Dalvik and Bionic. In CM, the only GPL component that currently comes to mind that we’ve added is our Torch app (originally called Nexus One Torch) [...] The Apache license specifically ALLOWS precisely what you suggest it doesn’t. A dual-license would do the same, but also protect contributors by forcing unaffiliated entities to contribute back if they use the software in a commercial context. It’s not so that CM can close the source and still ship it to our users. Again, we don’t have any plans to change licenses.
Focal is a special case- it has to be GPL because [...] Focal uses a number of GPL components under the hood [...] I proposed the dual-license extension as a way to work around some of the inherent problems with the GPL and give a greater degree of freedom to both him and CM as an organization. This is a very common licensing model in the open-source world.
But none of this matters. We’re not closing the source or changing the license of any code that has been contributed to the project.
Developer Entropy512 also observed that CyanogenMod was legally bound by its position to make some of the firmware changes, because of the Android license and marketing conditions ("CTS terms") which specify what apps may and may not do, and these were raised in part by Android developers at Google informally speculatively as a result of perceptions of CyanogenMod's high profile in the market.
|“||Benchmark has a long history of supporting open source projects intent on becoming successful enterprises. Our open source history includes Red Hat, MySQL, SpringSource, JBoss, Eucalyptus, Zimbra, Elasticsearch, HortonWorks, and now Cyanogen. We’ve been behind many of the most successful open source software companies in the world. We have a deep respect for the special needs of these businesses, and how to build companies while preserving the transparency and vigor of the open source communities.||”|
Early responses of tablet and smartphone manufacturers and mobile carriers were typically unsupportive of third-party firmware development such as CyanogenMod. Manufacturers expressed concern about improper functioning of devices running unofficial software and the related support costs. Moreover, modified firmwares such as CyanogenMod sometimes offer features for which carriers would otherwise charge a premium (e.g., tethering). As a result, technical obstacles including locked bootloaders and restricted access to root permissions were common in many devices.
However, as community-developed software has grown more popular and following a statement by the U.S. Library of Congress that permits "jailbreaking" mobile devices, manufacturers and carriers have softened their position regarding CyanogenMod and other unofficial firmware distributions, with some, including HTC, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, providing support and encouraging development. As a result of this, in 2011 the need to circumvent hardware restrictions to install unofficial firmware lessened as an increasing number of devices shipped with unlocked or unlockable bootloaders, similar to the Nexus series of phones. Device manufacturers HTC and Motorola announced that they would support aftermarket software developers by making the bootloaders of all new devices unlockable, although this still violates a device's warranty. Samsung sent several Galaxy S II phones to the CyanogenMod team with the express purpose of bringing CyanogenMod to the device, and mobile carrier T-Mobile USA voiced its support for the CyanogenMod project, tweeting "CM7 is great!".
Phone manufacturers have also taken to releasing "developer editions" of phones that are unlocked.
Until version 220.127.116.11, CyanogenMod included proprietary software applications provided by Google, such as Gmail, Maps, Android Market (now known as Play Store), Talk (now Hangouts), and YouTube, as well as proprietary hardware drivers. These packages were included with the vendor distributions of Android, but not licensed for free distribution. After Google sent a cease and desist letter to CyanogenMod's chief developer, Steve Kondik, in late September 2009 demanding he stop distributing the aforementioned applications, development ceased for a few days. The reaction from many CyanogenMod users towards Google was hostile, with some claiming that Google's legal threats hurt their own interests, violated their informal corporate motto "Don't be evil" and was a challenge to the open-source community Google claimed to embrace.
Following a statement from Google clarifying its position and a subsequent negotiation between Google and Cyanogen, it was resolved that the CyanogenMod project would continue, in a form that did not directly bundle in the proprietary "Google Experience" components. It was 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.
On 28 September 2009, Cyanogen warned that while issues no longer remain with Google, there were still potential licensing problems regarding proprietary, closed-source device drivers. On 30 September 2009, Cyanogen posted an update on the matter. Kondik wrote he was rebuilding the source tree, and that he believed the licensing issues with drivers could be worked out. He added that he was also receiving assistance from Google employees. On 16 June 2012, the CyanogenMod 7.2 release announcement stated, "CyanogenMod does still include various hardware-specific code, which is also slowly being open-sourced anyway."
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2015)|
|Last or major
|Recommended Build release
|Old version, no longer supported: 3||Android 1.5
|Old version, no longer supported: 18.104.22.168||1 July 2009||3.6.8 onwards based on Android 1.5r3|
|Old version, no longer supported: 3.9.3||22 July 2009||3.9.3 onwards has FLAC support|
|Old version, no longer supported: 4||Android 1.5/1.6
|Old version, no longer supported: 4.1.4||30 August 2009||4.1.4 onwards based on Android 1.6 (Donut); QuickOffice removed from 4.1.4 onwards; Google proprietary software separated due to cease and desist from 4.1.99 onwards|
|Old version, no longer supported: 22.214.171.124||24 October 2009||4.2.3 onwards has USB tethering support; 4.2.6 onwards based on Android 1.6r2; 4.2.11 onwards added pinch zoom for Browser, pinch zoom and swipe for Gallery.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 5||Android 2.0/2.1
|Old version, no longer supported: 5.0.8||19 July 2010||Introduced ADW.Launcher as the default launcher.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 6||Android 2.2.x
|Old version, no longer supported: 6.0.0||28 August 2010||Introduced dual camera and ad hoc Wi-Fi support, Just-in-time (JIT) compiler for more performance|
|Old version, no longer supported: 6.1.3||6 December 2010||6.1.0 onwards based on Android 2.2.1.|
|Older version, yet still supported: 7||Android 2.3.x
|Old version, no longer supported: 7.0.3||10 April 2011||7.0.0 onwards based on Android 2.3.3|
|Old version, no longer supported: 7.1.0||10 October 2011||Based on Android 2.3.7|
|Older version, yet still supported: 7.2.0||16 June 2012||New devices, updated translations, predictive phone dialer, ability to control haptic feedback in quiet hours, lockscreen updates, ICS animation backports, ability to configure the battery status bar icon, many bug fixes|
|N/A||N/A||Skipped due to Google not releasing Android 3.0 Honeycomb source code.|
|Older version, yet still supported: 9||Android 4.0.x
(Ice Cream Sandwich)
|Older version, yet still supported: 9.1||29 August 2012||Advanced security: deactivated root usage by default. Added support for SimplyTapp.|
|Older version, yet still supported: 10||Android 4.1.x
|Older version, yet still supported: 10.0.0||13 November 2012||Expandable desktop mode. Built-in, root-enabled file manager.|
|Older version, yet still supported: 10.1.3||24 June 2013|
|Older version, yet still supported: 10.2.1||31 January 2014||Phone: Blacklist-Feature added.|
|Current stable version: 11||Android 4.4.x
|Current stable version: 11.0 M12||13 November 2014||WhisperPush: Integration of TextSecure's secure messaging protocol as an opt-in feature. Enables sending encrypted SMS messages to other users of CM or TextSecure.|
|Latest preview version of a future release: 12||Android 5.0.x
|Older version, yet still supported: 12.0 (Nightly)||N/A|
|Latest preview version of a future release: 12.1||N/A|
- Android rooting
- Comparison of mobile operating systems
- List of custom Android firmwares
- List of devices supported by CyanogenMod
- List of free and open source Android applications
- Open-source software
- Replicant (operating system) – a free and open source operating system based on CyanogenMod, which aims to replace all proprietary Android components with their free software counterparts.
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- More on What’s Going on at CyanogenMod, 2013-08-20 - by developer John MacKenzie
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- One of many forum discussions on the Google C&D.
- Reaction to C&D on Google's own discussion forum.
- Another thread on Google's Android forum.
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- Cyanogen's tweet about the driver issue.
- Quick Update from Cyanogen.
- "Changelog 3.0 -7.2". Cyanogen Mod Team. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to CyanogenMod.|
- Official website (see also the official wiki and list of supported devices)
- Android Source Code Project
- Steve Kondik on the CyanogenMod Project on YouTube
- Cyanogen Confirms Distinction Between Commercial Cyanogen OS and CyanogenMod, November 13, 2014