If there is one major downside to the custom development community, it's that the sheer volume of minor variations in custom ROMs and largely-borrowed development makes it difficult, if not impossible to find real, quality development. XDA aims to change this by creating Original Development forums. These special forums will be reserved for projects that adhere to a set of rules, not the least of which is being largely original work.

Other criteria for the Original Development forums, from XDA:

  • Official releases of highly original and upstream custom ROMs (built from the ground up with significant original development within them
  • Official releases/development of such original ROMs, perhaps posted by the maintainer or their nominated person.
  • A significant “first” in development for a device. Significant is subjective, but it is likely something which took considerable time/effort, and is generally accepted by developers to be significant and non-trivial.
  • Kernels which are built with beneficial changes that are not simply pulled from other kernels already available. Some element of original work is expected.
  • Tools and utilities with a clear purpose, and which are well-made, and useful to users. They should have an element of originality, either in purpose or through significant improvement in the means of operation.
  • Significant port of a ROM from one device to another, giving enhanced features or functionality to users of the target device. The port should be beneficial (a port from two virtually identical devices isn’t original development, it’s winzipping, and nobody really benefits from this, as it’s not development)

The separation aims to remove much of the clutter that comes from "developers" taking already custom ROMs, tweaking a couple of things or adding a custom icon pack and repackaging it. Serious development will now have its own tier, free of a lot of clutter. As David has pointed out in the past, this clutter can make it very difficult to find good ROMs.

For more info on what is and is not allowed in the new forums, head over to XDA's post on the subject. Hopefully this will make the community more accessible to newcomers who want to explore what their phones can do without extra confusion.

Source: XDA

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • Ahmad Nadeem

    FINALLY!!!!! I was damn tired of the number of roms that have very minor differences in them

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

      I have similar emotions regarding this.

  • http://profiles.google.com/grremlin Konstantin Vishnevsky

    Finally! I have to sift through 10 "custom" ROMs to find a good one that actually has anything added/fixed except a theme or status bar icons!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Bl4ckpheniX aaron nyquist

    I thought Rootzwiki already had been doing something like this? I would like to see the device list more organized at XDA. scroll, scroll, scroll.... Oh there is my device.

    • Craig Rachel

      You have several filtering options to avoid this: compact view, newest devices, top devices, or "Other Filter" to get it down to just manufacturer/OS. I prefer Compact View

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      Just today they announced the change in default 'theme', which definitely cut out a huge number of devices from the main forum page. It's down to about 15 or so, the rest of which are easily accessible, but not immediately in the way.

  • lordmerovingian

    I just think that XDA is just getting to big for them to manage/handle properly. Kind of like the Roman empire, just got too huge to effectively manage.
    Also doesn't help that we get a bajillion CM ROMS that all look the same. I might be in the minority with this opinion, but i don't like or get the CM based roms at all. Either half the useful features are broken (WiMax etc) or don't work, or battery life is non-existent.

  • Craig Rachel

    XDA has been doing this in the Galaxy S II section for probably just under a year, and it worked really well.

  • http://twitter.com/homncruse Aaron Burke

    YES. Every time I search the forums for a ROM for any given device, there's so much crap to sift through (i.e., what IS this ROM?) that it's unmanageable.

  • Chips & Dip

    I found a great ROM for my HTC Amaze.. RMS_Quicksense [7.0]

  • Simon Belmont

    This is fantastic news. Thank you, xda-developers.

    This is a great idea. So many ROMs just cut and paste features and it gets old.

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ncr MHazell

    This is good for them.

  • Jon Garrett

    all Id want to see is a section for OFFICIAL (unaltered) STOCK ROMS. so we can downgrade if we want to cause right now my GS II is garbage with ICS and I will NOT make the same mistake with my Note!!

    • Steve Freeman

      ...you really think it's necessary to have a whole secton for stock ROM's? Which, by definition, there should only be one per Android version? Anything else, debloated, deodexed, etc, are not stock.

      • Jon Garrett

        I don't know., just a thought. there are many Android phones but do they all use the same exact ROM? for example the GS2 which is the same phone but still different. and now the GS3 same phone 4 carriers and each carrier has its own "bloatware"

  • sky stanojevic

    nice.. i'm down with this :)-

  • Jcopernicus

    Just what XDA needs, more sub forums.

  • sansenoy


  • Ádám Vincze

    Should do the same in ROM Manager as well. The situation there is getting out of control, especially at popular devices. (Like, by the way)

  • Daniel McDermott

    Less cooks in the kitchen is a good thing. I always want to find the original ROM's, not the cut & paste remixes, but on busy phone pages the mess gets too busy. Glad that they will begin to make it more manageable.

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

    Since there appears to be a bit of hate regarding "copy/paste roms", maybe I can offer a slight bit of perspective. The goal isn't to shut out non-original work, it's to separate development of brand new features and developments from the fine-tuning and merging of those features into something that is hopefully a little closer to a final product.

    I can't count how many roms I've seen that were purely for testing and never intended for daily use, especially on devices with known issues. I've seen so many rom threads spun up to test GPS Lock issues that I almost think they deserve an entire group to themselves. The copy/paste type of roms may not be highly valuable to the community, but they tend to be made up of roms that will have more attention paid to producing a slightly more stable, better looking, and feature complete rom than a lot of the threads that are aimed at being original.

    Hey, I'm just saying, it shouldn't be seen as a way to separate the good from the bad, it should be seen as a way to keep the newbs out of the real development threads and to give the copy/paste people a way to clearly identify what things they should look to incorporate into their roms.