Dev-Blog: The Long Goodnight…

Hi All!

It’s been a while since the developer’s blog has been updated, with one thing or another taking precedence over the immediate need to  use this space.

This, overall, is a good thing.  Nothing to post about usually means nothing to lament over.

We’ll have to see how this one goes.

OctOs has seen many changes and iterations over the past few years.  We’ve had false starts and failures in some things, success and triumph in others, but we’ve always been forward looking and adamant in sticking to the core values we established when we started.

And what a journey it has been!  We’ve seen 3 new major revisions of Android, numerous minor revisions, changes to the codebase we use, and an explosion in users who enjoy OctOs.

We’ve opened the code to the community builders and those builders have shown that the concept of open, and freely shared, code can be successful in ways we couldn’t have imagined when we started.

The OctOs code has reached outside the neighborhood we started with and will continue to grow, evolve, and with small luck, prosper.

But, even the good times have to end.   The sun sets no matter how much we prop up the sky or fervently wish and hope otherwise.  Time passes, and sometimes, that long darkness has to be acknowledged, addressed, and endured.  Conditions and situations force our hands in life, and it is never easy or pleasant – just the way it is.

OctOs started out as a ROM for the Galaxy S4 platform.  Everyone had one, that beautiful flagship for the Galaxy line.  We quickly expanded to the Galaxy S3, because that little device was so ubiquitous it would have been silly not to.  Indeed, so widespread was the reach of the Galaxy S3 it is still being sold today.

Problem: People wonder why some devices get all the love, while others do not.  The Galaxy S3 for Straight-Talk/TracFone, for example, is identical to the Galaxy S3 for Verizon, except for the SIM card, but no one developed a working recovery or ROM for it.  Why?

Short answer?  Developer’s want to develop for devices they have.  The advantages of being able to have the device in-hand means being able to troubleshoot issues without waiting or relying on the knowledge and capabilities of an outside tester.  We feel we can work around this by selecting testers who fit our criteria – we have faith in them, they have faith in us – and its worked so far.

However, it means having those testers to test.  As time passes, devices change, testers move on, and the ability to do the full-flight testing we require before releasing anything to the public falls off.  Simply put, no testers = no ROM releases.

There are a few devices that are failing to meet our testing needs, and we are considering dropping those devices from our build list.  As in life, everything has to end.  There will come a time where the device has to be put on the the shelf, like many of our other toys, and remembered fondly and with good cheer; but only as a relic of the past.

Some of the devices simply do not have the userbase they once had.  The Galaxy S4 VZW and AT&T models had their bootloaders and kernels locked by the carriers, making it impossible to enjoy custom ROMs after a certain baseband.  The XDA threads for those devices are full of custom TouchWiz ROMs, but not much else.  The desire hasn’t dwindled, just the ability to fulfill the need.

Other devices have the userbase,  just not the exposure.  The Galaxy S4 in the International, T-Mobile, and Sprint editions come to mind.  Those devices have the ability to continue using custom ROMs; but  the lack of testers prevent us from releasing ROMs.  There is only so much time and effort that can be split among the devices, and these devices are ones the team no longer have.

We are calling on those who enjoy OctOs to get the word out for finding potential testers for the Galaxy S4 devices.  We can give it a little more time, but we are willing to close the entry on that chapter of the OctOs history.

Unfortunately, those chapters of OctOs history aren’t limited to devices.  This will, in all likelihood, be my last post to the Dev Blog, or indeed, to the Team OctOs community.  I will try to finish up some projects I have in process, but I can’t promise anything.  Circumstances change, and the long goodnight applies to all.  The entropy of life is inescapable and is applied evenly across all demographics.  If you’ve read this far (tl;dr), you already know such a decision isn’t made lightly and without cause.  It isn’t a team thing.  It isn’t a tester thing.  It’s simply a life thing.  Just know I’d be here if I could 🙂

For those in the US, I hope you had a safe and happy 4th of July.  Anytime we get to handle explosives en-mass, it can’t be all bad!

As always,

– Grommish