There is not a lot that makes me more excited than to see companies promote community and open source, and that is what Sony did today. Sony took a positive step in hiring Cyanogenmod's FreeXperia developer Alin Jerpelea who has been helping to bring the Cyanogenmod firmware to Sony's Xperia devices since 2010. Beyond the fact that Alin will be able to help Sony contribute back to the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) in a meaningful way, his hire signals a greater message from Sony. The message?
"I am very happy that Alin is joining us, as this is a great way for us to increase our activity on Android Open Source Project and other open source initiatives. It will also make it possible for us to work even closer with the community in this area," said Karl-Johan, Head of Developer Relations at Sony
Translation: Hack on our hardware all you want, we'll help. I think Alin's hire is a bid to attract those interested in custom firmware, a smart move from a company that hopes to catch up to some of its competitors in the mobile space. Beyond that, anything that comes out of the community ultimately can benefit Sony in one way or another.
Finally Alin can be Sony's trojan horse when trying to attract talented developers to join their team and develop for their platforms. Having this inside man will allow Sony to approach a group of people that might otherwise not respond to the corporate type that shows up in their communities from time to time. Oftentimes community outreach can come from someone who knows less about the company's own products and platforms than the community they are trying to interact with and impress. With Alin on board, that isn't a problem.
Alin seems eager to get started at Sony as well saying: "I am really excited to join Sony, and to get this chance to work full time with Xperia devices and ASOP is amazing. I look forward to utilizing my knowledge and experience to help Sony further open source initiatives." Keep it up Sony, and you may make a fan out of me. This news really made my day despite all the WWDC Android bashing.