At the end of today's Ice Cream Sandwich unveiling, we found out that the ICS SDK (API 14) was available immediately, but a much more important bit - the source code - was not mentioned at all. It didn't really come as a surprise - historically the source was released about a month after the SDK (with the exception of Honeycomb), but I'd like to clarify something right away for those confused between the SDK and the source code.
The SDK (software development kit), which includes the Android emulator, does not contain any source code whatsoever, which means any ROMs built from source, like CyanogenMod, will be waiting for said source to be released before we see any ICS releases. What the SDK does allow us to have is essentially an emulator port to existing devices, which is pretty much guaranteed to have partial functionality in many areas. We've seen it done to Honeycomb and other Android releases, but remember - without source code, anything you will see will be borderline unusable as a daily driver. Source is king.
Supporting this notion, Steve Kondik and Keyan Mobli on behalf of the CyanogenMod development team (with the exception of Koush who I'm pretty sure is either trolling or not talking about an official CM release), announced the following PSA:
Public service announcement: There will be no SDK port of Ice Cream Sandwich to any device by the Cyanogenmod team directly. We only dabble in source. Period.
So there you have it - as expected, CM9 (8 is reserved for Honeycomb for posterity) will come out when Google drops ICS source. I realize it may not happen next week, but all we're asking for is a timeline - would you clarify it to us, Google?
Source: Steve Kondik Google+