If you were following the news at all yesterday regarding anything to do with ROMs and the Android dev community, then you might have heard or read about what has been going on between Cyanogen and DroidForums.net (and The BlackAndroid who developed the Ultimate Droid ROM).

In short, Cyanogen, a well respected, if not the most respected, Android ROM developer, called out another developer by the name of The BlackAndroid for ripping part of his code without giving credit. Instead of a peaceful resolution and an apology, harsh words were thrown around and Cyanogen ended up getting banned from DroidForums.net where this ordeal had originally started.

One of the moderators over at DroidForums, Sam, eventually stated that they would be stripping down all the ROMs to find out the truth about Ultimate Droid. An answer was supposed to be posted yesterday evening in regards to this and as of this morning there still has not been a word either way. Until now…

Cyanogen’s Blog

Cyanogen tweeted yesterday that DroidForums' moderators were trying to do the right thing which led me to believe they were talking and trying to settle what had transpired. Just a few minutes ago, Cyanogen released an update on his blog and to make a long story short, here is DroidForums' stance:

“Today, they are demanding a formal apology from me.”

In my previous article from yesterday I mentioned that it appeared as if DroidForums condoned the actions of The BlackAndroid. Cyanogen's update seems to prove my statement was correct. They have forum and IP banned him and many other people who rushed in to defend Cyanogen and other CyanogenMod contributors.

Cyanogen has posted the whole back story to how this all came about in his blog post and I would like to post two more quotes from it:

“Here’s where I get annoyed. Not only did this guy rant on our forums and others about Koush, he doesn’t even acknowledge our hard work in his release notes. Not a single mention. He doesn’t have to do this, but dissing us and then doing it? I see that as highly unethical. There are a lot of people behind CyanogenMod who write code, handle bug reports, make graphics, maintain the forums, etc etc.”

He goes on to say…

“I do this Android stuff for a few reasons.. it’s a lot of fun, there’s a zillion things to work on, it’s open source, and the community is awesome. There’s also the matter of “geek cred”, you could say. CM has an *extensive* CHANGELOG with due credits, and all authorship information is also retained in our git repositories. So for me, this was kind of like getting spit on, then kicked in the nuts.”

Open Source

In a community based around open source it is inevitable that some people will take other developers' work and call it their own. This goes against the ideology of what open source stands for. It is meant to help other developers by giving them access to code to either

a) improve a current product

b) contribute new features to a current product or

c) make a new product using the code with credits to the original author(s), if the license permits but honoring the license terms

Since CyanogenMod uses an Apache 2.0 license, developers are free to use the code in their own project, but only with proper attribution (or, rather, keeping the original attribution), as specified in part 4c of the Apache 2.0 license terms:

You must retain, in the Source form of any Derivative Works that You distribute, all copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices from the Source form of the Work, excluding those notices that do not pertain to any part of the Derivative Works

It is twice as bad when you turn around and down talk those developers whose code you are using. Top that off with DroidForums defending it by demanding a public formal apology, and we cross into the realm of ridiculous.

During the time of writing this update, there has yet to be any official word one way or another about the Ultimate Droid ROM and I think that is even worse. This should have been a priority for DroidForums instead of worrying about an apology. DroidForums has already received a massive amount of backlash from the Android community and now with this new information, I don't expect the public opinion of them to improve much.

I encourage everyone to read Cyanogen’s Blog Post to get the whole back story as well as comment/twitter your support for him and all the other developers behind the CyanogenMod.