08
Sep
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Since HP made its decision to -ahem- streamline their inventory of Touchpads via fire sale, Android users have been clamoring for the ability to run Google's mobile OS on the inexpensive (yet powerful) tablet.

This, of course, led to fierce competition between developers to be the first to get Android running on the Touchpad. The competition really heated up after Hack N Mod offered a bounty to the first developers able to get Android working on HP's previously doomed device.

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In the beginning, there were two primary teams working on developing a touchpad-friendly version of Android: Touchdroid and CyanogenMod. When the first video of CM7 successfully booting on the Touchpad surfaced, it was big news, despite the fact that next to nothing worked (not even the touch screen). This came on the heels of the discovery of Touchpads running Android 2.2 out of the box and the subsequent release of the system dump.

About a week later, team Touchdroid released a video of multi-touch working on the Touchpad, causing a huge stir. Shortly after that, the CyanogenMod team showed off an almost fully functional port (minus Wi-Fi) It was around this point that things started to turn sour.

Evidently the team at CyanogenMod had multi-touch running in their port before Touchdroid's announcement. Touchdroid was then accused of having stolen code from CM without giving proper credit and in fact passing it off as their own creation. Touchdroid countered that the code they had used was largely re-written from code found in a public and anonymous Pastebin.

This raises the interesting question of just how much of a case there is for the claim that Touchdroid plagiarized code, as it is hard to know definitively who the source of the public Pastebin was. Although it became obvious very quickly that it was CM code, the issue of whether CM has a legitimate recourse becomes a bit sticky. For the moment, CyanogenMod seems more concerned with actually getting a decent port to the Touchpad rather than dallying too much in the soap opera that unfolded.

The drama continued to escalate as someone released a chat log to Pastebin allegedly detailing conversations among members of Touchdroid in which they mention having code from CM, having inside connections with HP, and even suggestions of claiming CM stole the code from Touchdroid or claiming that one of their members wrote it himself. A shortened version was also released to highlight some of the more illicit statements.

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Needless to say, this triggered multiple strong reactions. First of all, something of a war developed on Twitter, and Rootzwiki banned members of the project. Members of Touchdroid attempted to defend statements pulled from the chat log, as well as warding off the flurry of angry tweets headed their way.

The final reaction from Touchdroid was the decision to disband, officially announced at their blog, along with several members announcing via Twitter that they were out of the Touchpad development game. More importantly, however, the team also posted a dump of the code they had been running for the Touchpad for anyone who wanted to start development where they left off.

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The average user may be wondering what the big deal is, considering that many developers use CyanogenMod code to develop their own ROMs. Essentially what the situation boils down to is the fact that Touchdroid did not give credit where credit was due, and after the release of the chat log, it became apparent that doing so was no accident. While CyanogenMod has expressed no interest in keeping the bounty for themselves if they win, Touchdroid's [former] motives remain unclear.

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While this story has been somewhat fascinating to follow, the real news is that Android is still in the pipeline for the HP Touchpad, and I think that everyone involved would agree that that's what really matters. It will be interesting to see how development continues for the Touchpad and whether more developers will arise to face the task and provide alternatives to CM. With the release of Ice Cream Sandwich all but imminent, I'm guessing the Touchpad development scene will be alive for some time to come.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    I ran out of popcorn halfway through this drama. But seriously, every original member of TouchDroid ended up being an immature kindergarten dweller seemingly in it more for publicity and fame than anything else. CM continued to be exactly what it is - solid devs focused on the product rather than publicity. Kudos to them.

  • flamesbladeflcl

    certainly sad for it to go down this way but at least they opened up their code. the best thing would be to just work together

  • http://gthing.net sam

    HP emailed me and said I wouldn't be getting my touchpad for 4-6 weeks. Should be just in time for a full CM7 rom.

  • https://plus.google.com/115382340101689912917/posts?hl=en wicked

    I knew RHCP was a douche from the get go. Glad he got exposed. Karma is a bitch.

  • Franco

    This sort of saga will always happen on the web.It will come to a a time where there is an underground patent company,lol

    That"s if Apple aint created one already ;-)

    All this does is slow the process up while the claims and false claims gets verified,but its good too see it resolved fairly quickly and the game is back on too conquer tabs one and all.

  • sgtguthrie

    I don't know about everyone else, but I reallly enjoyed the whole soap opera! It's kind of sad that It's over :-( Hopefully cm will release a ROM to replace my shitty webos soon though. I'm quite stoked about it!

  • STiK

    People use cm source w/out giving credit and cm cries about it constantly. I gave up caring long ago. The Android community as a whole needs to do a little growing up.

    • Droidaholic

      @STiK - Why don't you spend weeks working on a project and then let someone blatantly steal it and claim it as their own? Yes It's open source but it was obvious from the chat log that they wanted to say they did it all and then blame CM for stealing it from them if they said something.

      I wouldn't call that "crying about it." I would call it asking for the respect and credit you deserve.

      • STiK

        Are you going to start crying about it also?
        *Shakes Head*

        • Gunther

          I think I found me a troll!

        • sgtguthrie

          Are you going to keep being a dick about it? Try reading the chat logs! Anyone who has, with a little common sense, couldn't possibly see it the way you do!

        • Buratski

          @STik - Obviously you're just an ignorant POS!

    • Buratski

      @ STiK - I hope you're not a part of the Android community! Coz people like you should be left alone in an island! Stupid POS!

  • John J

    I feel like I'm watching TNT. (USA TV reference right there)

    • Simon Belmont

      WE KNOW DRAMA! Haha, nice pun.

      Also, very accurate in the grand scheme of things. I just want dual bootable webOS and Android!

  • L boogie

    A while ago, i gave kudos to touchdroid for working on android then got a Twitter link from ap blog member Blah about plagiarism and theft by this very team while the real deal, Cm was taking care of business. Respect & praises to Cyanogenmod for their work

  • Mastermind26

    I think the competition could have been healthy, as it would have seriously sped up development. But immaturity broke all of it down.

    I'm glad the CM team is still going on here.

  • Simon Belmont

    Heh. Their IRC channel is still full of people.

    It's too bad it ended up this way. Just give credit where it's due.

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