Android, Devices- Cellphones, Devices- Embedded, Devices- Handheld, Devices- iPhone, OS- Embedded linux, Operating Systems February 8th, 2010
Google’s Android kernel will no longer be part of Linux kernel tree. What this means is that updates from Android will not be intergrated into Linux kernel and vice versa. Linux kernel is an open community and the developers are often posting fixes for security, new device drivers and utilities. The decision seems to have come from Linux community. Linux developer blog suggest that problem seems is with Android’s security model, and framebuffer driver infrastructure. This prevents several Android drivers and platform code from merging into the main kernel tree. The blogger also points that ‘no one seems to care about the Android tree’.
Whereas everyone is entitled to their own opinion on this, I think that Android is better off being part of the Linux kernel tree as the new patches and drivers will then be available for Android. For example, driver to a new WiMAX chipset could be made compatible with Android if Android is part of the main Linux tree. Having said that, several manufacturers also choose not to make their driver compatible with Linux main kernel branch and tie it to only one release. Some bloggers are even going to the extent of suggesting that Google stole their code, and won’t give their modifications back to them.
I have yet to come across Linux developers doing serious stuff with Android. May be the Android OS expert community is small, but for the time being, Android and Linux are two different things to OEM community. When Android reaches popularity and Linux developers start working on Android, this issue will become big.