RealTime IT News

Android Set to Return to the Linux Mainline. Will it Succeed?

From the 'We Can All Get Along' files:

One of the more surprising Linux controversies of 2010 (for me at least) was the removal of the Android drivers from the mainline of Linux.

The 2.6.33 kernel released in February of 2010, dropped Android and it has not been part of the mainline of Linux ever since.

At LinuxCon Boston 2010, there were some really heated debates about why Android devs didn't mesh as well as they could/should with their upstream peers. It has a lot to do with power management (Wakelocks). There also seemed to be some organizational challenges within the kernel community and Google for resolving their differences.

Now almost two years later, a new effort that seems to have the backing of the Linux Foundation is aiming to bring Android back to the mainline. The project is officially titled the 'Android Mainlining Project' and was announced at the end of 2011 by Tim Bird Architecture Group Chair, CE Workgroup of the Linux Foundation and Senior Staff Engineer, Sony Network Entertainment.

While I personally think it's a good idea - initially (and sure I know it has been the holidays..) the initial interest on the project's mailing list doesn't seem to be all that impressive. Even more surprising to me is that I personally have not seen a high-profile Google person on the mailing list, or in fact any Google people stand up and say this is something they support too.

Reality is that Google doesn't need to be part of the mainline, they've existed outside of it for a year and done quite well on their own. Of course, the benefits of being in the mainline are tremendous,improving maintenance for Android (and Linux too).

Back when Android was split from the mainline, nearly everyone I spoke with, thought that the day would come when the two come back together. That day is now nearly here.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

Comment and Contribute