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Community Android support. What would be needed?

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by Terry, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. Terry

    Terry Newbie
    Thread Starter

    If Samsung don't ever provide updated firmware, what would be needed for the community to take on the job of keeping up to date with Android releases?
    I'm mostly happy with my Galaxy as it is. Yer, there's a few gripes here and there, but in general it's good enough.

    I did however buy into the whole Android thing thinking the firmware would be kept up to date. I mean I thought that was the whole point with this stuff. Google do the heavy lifting and Samsung roll it up and ship out a new ROM.
    What's the sense in an open OS, that gets crippled if the manufacturer won't support it. Grrrrrrrrr :thinking:

    What would be required to let the community keep up to date with Android releases? Is it just hardware drivers, or is there more to it than that?
    What are the chances that if Samsung won't step up and support their device, that they would release any code required for the community to take it on?

    Lack of support/updates, is more annoying to me than the actual gripes I have with the phone. Even if the phone was perfect, I'd still be pissed at no updates, as that was the reason for me buying an Android handset. I wanted a gadget to mess with as much as to use it as a phone. I guess there is still a chance that Samsung will update the firmware, but the lack of communication from them isn't filling me with much confidence. It's a poor show from such a large company.

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  2. adriann

    adriann Newbie

    I heard on the grapevine that Samsung are developing a new update mechanism for Android phones as NPS is a steaming pile of manure. It'll be a great relief to everyone if and when it is released. Clearly something needs to be done before the i5700 is released in the new year, hopefully with 2.0.

    There are lots of threads dissing Samsung for delaying these updates, but they do exist and are all developed etc so you have to ask why they aren't getting out there - could it possibly be part to do with the operators? I mean, the O2 site still lists II4 as the latest official firmware with the following comment: At this time, O2 have not accredited any further software releases for this handset.

    Maybe Samsung have an agreement with O2 that they have to approve all updates first?

    Personally though, I think community support is a great idea but I wonder what it would be - I mean, in addition to what's already available? Custom ROMs, unofficial releases etc.
  3. Terry

    Terry Newbie
    Thread Starter

    For me it would mean being able to have Android 1.6, 2.0 or 2.1 on our devices.
    If it were possible, surely someone would have 1.6 or 2.0 running on it by now, and if it's not possible, why not? Android is an open platform. Why are we reliant on Samsung to do something when the whole point of android was it being open source?

    I'm not a developer, so I don't really know what's what when it comes to this stuff, but I can't see the point in an open platform that we can't update unless the manufacturer says so.

    Don't get me wrong. I really appreciate all the work that the community does put in, and I'm willing to donate to those people to keep things moving. I know Drakaz was looking at getting 1.6 running, but last time I read anything, it wasn't looking like it was going so well. :(
  4. matrix200

    matrix200 Newbie

    I think the main issue is the drivers for various hardware devices inside the phone .
    They are closed source and therefore can't be easily merged with a new OS.
  5. Terry

    Terry Newbie
    Thread Starter

    So I guess there's not much chance of Samsung releasing their driver sources?
    So much for open and free...... :(
  6. sado1

    sado1 Well-Known Member

    There is some kernel source [drivers included] and there is custom-compiled kernel in Galaxo(Hero) 1.1. Drakaz tried to port 1.6 to Galaxy and he even did manage to run 1.6 on it and there was that overexcitement all over the Android forums. But then he wrote here on some topic that the thing that's stopping him from making a functional 1.6 ROM is [as far as I remember] Samsung's custom baseband or something. By "functional" he meant the ROM which'd be able to make phone calls for example. Drakaz, sry & plz correct me if I'm wrong.

    Hope there really are some Samsung developers that are secretly making an app to manage Android phones and cooking 2.1 for their phones. BTW, there was a rumor somewhere on the net that somebody had Galaxy 2 in hand and it was running 2.1.
  7. adriann

    adriann Newbie

    Yeah, they really need to :( the rumour is from a reliable source so you never know, here's to hoping.

    Is that the i6500? Saturn I think? I've heard of it but also heard it was as yet a mythical beast in Europe (running 2.0)!
  8. Terry

    Terry Newbie
    Thread Starter

    If Samsung can't/won't support Galaxy 1, there's no chance I'd buy their next model however all singing, all dancing it was.
  9. Rastaman-FB

    Rastaman-FB Extreme Android User

    lol rumours
    absolute balls
    there is likely to be a galaxy II, its natural progression as samsung generally supersede there phones with a second generation. infact most phones do lol
  10. matrix200

    matrix200 Newbie

    The guy mentioned there is actually very known in mobile scene in Russia.
    He is a chief editor of mobile-review.com which is a pretty known russian website about gadgets and phones.
    If indeed it comes from him (depending where he got it from) I would at least take it as a possibility.
  11. Rastaman-FB

    Rastaman-FB Extreme Android User

    russians say theres 1gigabyte of ram when its completely incorrect
    on top of that when you state "rumours" its just that "rumours"
    its obvious there will be a predecessor to the galaxy, its only a matter of time.
    all someone has done is made a calculated guess on something that is obvious

    but this 1gb ram is absolute lol
  12. Cougar

    Cougar Android Enthusiast

    What, all of them? I've only seen that comment once.
  13. Rastaman-FB

    Rastaman-FB Extreme Android User

    i was referring to the russian website not all russians
    my bad, didnt want to come off as being ignorant

  14. Andronix

    Andronix Android Enthusiast

    O2 received galaxy long after france,italy and germany, what about those operators? Will you also blame them for Samsung poor support?

    Very likely. IK4 still has some very old bugs and imo brought some new ones. Fix them already.

    If your baseband wasn't secured and you open sourced drivers for gps/bt/... we would already have workable 2.0 roms. Without it very likely never if we're to believe official Samsung statements regarding updates. Look at HTC and Motorola, don't blame operators that are flooded with complaints because it's just silly.
  15. qwerty100

    qwerty100 Member

  16. informale

    informale Android Enthusiast

    Is it a requirement for the companies using Android to publish sources, or is it a voluntary act?

    If it's the latter, then Samsung should probably seek for cooperation with open source developers - something like what HTC has with xda-devs. If the source is already open why not make good use of it. Considering the current state of Samsung's achievements with Android, such alliance wouldn't hurt )
  17. sado1

    sado1 Well-Known Member

    It's a requirenment - they must publish parts of their modified Android sources that exist under GPL license. Kernel, for example.
  18. qwerty100

    qwerty100 Member

    Since Samsung are not releasing the fixes to me, I'd thought I'd have a look at what work they "have" done. I'm no expert so please check the source(s) yourselves for a better understanding.

    After having a quick look, The zip files contain
    /BSP = kernel code(2.6.27)
    /Middle = seems to be a version of the BlueZ bluetooth stack

    Dumb question, but having never worked on android, does it run as a userspace app on top of the kernel? Having now got the kernel source, does this give any more scope as to what the community can do to support the phone???? (also apologies if this is not new news, please point me to the relevent thread discussing this.

    The V1 V2 files indicate version II5 and IK1 respectively, and if you diff the changes, (PM me if you just want the patch) against the original release, we have of interest...
    (What I dont have is a patch against a stock kernel...)

    Looks like the reported percentage compared with the ADC reading has been rescaled, such that the reported battery voltage would drop quicker after 50% drain, but would then appear to last longer at a lower value say 10%. Also tweeked the "compensation_val" applied when charging.


    Additional kernel config option supported (CONFIG_KEYPAD_SLEEP_INTERRUPT) changes in gpio_keypad_irq_handler() to look for an on_call flag and changes to the keypad handling. (Wonder if this is anything to do with the dialpad problem, may look further...)

    Looks like updated Broadcom Wireless driver - some fixes in this

    And others...
    Handful of tweeks/fixes in other files
  19. harlequin

    harlequin Lurker

    Linux normally has the several users, each of which can run several applications. What android has done is remove the multiple users part (how many users of a single device can there be?), and migrated the applications to be sand-boxed by the different user accounts. Have a look at some of the Google IO lectures here: http://source.android.com/documentation

    Presumably the stock kernel is one that can be d/led from the android dev site. The only thing I think that would be missing is the drivers for the different hardware bits and pieces.
  20. screaminbug

    screaminbug Well-Known Member

    Just to say, I'm far for being an expert on the field, and this post is only my (limited :) ) understanding of how things work, so I do encourage you to please correct me if I've got something wrong. I'd appreciate that.

    Android app framework and apps are dex bytecodes (translated jvm bytecodes) which are run by a vm called Dalvik. Android runtime is composed of Dalvik and core libs which, together with native libs sit on top of the kernel. So I guess you could say that the whole Android as we know it :) in fact lives in userland.

    However, different versions of the Android platform run on a different versions of kernel (for example 1.5 is on 2.6.27 and 1.6 is on 2.6.29). If you try to put 1.6 on top of 2.6.27 kernel, it just wouldn't work. You would have to have a new kernel with appropriate drivers.

    Although manufacturers are obliged to release their kernel source, they are not under any obligation to release the proprietary drivers and firmware source, and, as I understand, this is where our problem arises.

    We have 2 options: Either wait for samsung to upgrade or get the problematic components' specs and write our own open source drivers/firmware. :)
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