Individual CyanogenMod Maintainers Passing on the Galaxy S4; Due to Exynos? [Updated with CM’s Response]

March 19, 2013 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Here’s something interesting. When I woke up this morning, I checked Google+ like usual and found a few interesting articles that CyanogenMod won’t be coming to the Galaxy S4. Well Sam Mobile‘s original article didn’t tell the entire story. After doing a bit of research, mostly thanks to a few people on Google+, it looks like Team Hacksung won’t be developing for the Galaxy S4 when it launches next month. Here’s what XpLoDWilD had to say:

Nobody at team hacksung (the team behind galaxy s2, note, s3, note2, gtabs… official CM ports) plans to buy it, neither develop for it. There are two variants which will be a pain to maintain, the bugs we have on the s3 will probably be there on s4 too (camera), and we all know Samsung ability to release sources while staying in line with mainline. Yes qualcomm release sources, but exynos sources we had were far from actual galaxy products. I’m pretty sure the same will happen for this one.

That’s a uniform “no” from us.

Now he isn’t the only CM maintainer for Samsung devices, there are a few others. Which include Codeworkx, Entropy512 and then there’s Xplodwild. Codeworkx and Entropy512 have vowed not to waste their time with exynos because the source code isn’t there. Here’s what on of the users wrote on XDA:

Generally there were 3 developers who maintained samsung devices
1. Codeworkx
2. Entropy512 and
3. Xplodwild
Of them the first 2 have vowed to never waste their time on exynos
Xplodwild is still there but how much time he will have I have no idea..
It will be very difficult to get competent and experienced developers so quickly ..
So initially S4 will definitely be behind in AOSP development IMO

So it’s definitely looking like the Galaxy S4 won’t have a ton of AOSP ROMs at least in the beginning. In fact here’s what Andrew Dodd (Entroypy 512) had to say on Google+, this post is from November 28th:

So, after all that has happened – I am mentally exhausted and pretty much burned out. Since BABBQ I’ve barely had the motivation to touch my CM source trees, because I’ve gotten tired of constantly bashing my head against the devices I own to make them more attractive to a given subset of users, when the manufacturer of said devices has done almost nothing to help answer technical questions or solve other issues. […]

I’m a volunteer. I do this in my spare time, and receive very little financial compensation (XDA donations are a pittance, and honestly, I don’t care. I do this because some of the work I do keeps my mind sharp and until I started getting heavily involved with Samsung devices, it was work I could take pride in.) At this point, I no longer enjoy the work I’m doing, and it’s gotten to the point where the distraction of all this bullshit is starting to impact my ability to concentrate properly at my day job, which is absolutely unacceptable. A major change is needed or I’m going to totally burn out and lose what little passion I have for what I’ve been doing the past year.

Also kernel developer Gokhan Moral have refused to develop for the Galaxy S4. So the development community for the S4 is looking kinda bleak right now. At least for the Exynos (International) Galaxy S4.

This is some pretty bad news for those of you that were looking to pick up the Galaxy S4 and throw CyanogenMod on it. But that doesn’t mean we won’t get any AOSP ROMs for the Galaxy S4. We’ll definitely see some, probably from less experienced developers, and they may not be as stable. So now those that doubted that Samsung is becoming less developer friendly. Here’s a prime example. It’s tough to develop for Exynos devices.

For the general population that’ll be buying the Galaxy S4, this probably won’t matter much. But for those of us that are hardcore users, like the entire Android Headlines team, this is a bad thing. Most of us run Custom ROMs on our devices.

Sources: XDA 1, 2; Android Central; Android Authority

Update: After all this news started hitting various Android blogs, the official CyanogenMod Google+ page put out a post clarifying it all:

Setting Device Expectations

Let’s start with the simplest form of this: CyanogenMod does not pre-announce support or lack of support for devices. Ever. Even for the Nexus 4, we did not announce support until a nightly build was available. Further, any announcement regarding the ‘dropping’ of device support will be communicated via this Google+ page, Twitter, Facebook, our blog, or a combination of those; it will not be something buried in a forum post.

This morning, a comment from a CM collaborator on XDA was taken to be as an ‘absolute’ in regards to support of the S4. He offered the opinion of four TeamHacksung maintainers, their frustrations and lack of interest in supporting the S4. What’s seemingly lost on those reading this is that his comments as anindividual do not speak for CyanogenMod as an organization.

As for the team’s stance on the S4, there isn’t one at this time, and most definitely won’t be one before the device is sold at retail.

-The CyanogenMod Team