It looks like Cyanogen Inc., the company formed to further develop and promote the CyanogenMod custom Android ROM, is on a bit of a hiring spree. Just this morning we heard that the creator of the popular AOKP ROM has joined the company. Now Clark Cheff, better known online as 0xD34D, has also joined forces with Steve & Co. as a software engineer. Scheff is known for founding the ChameleonOS ROM, among other various projects. 

2013-06-29 13.46.20

Clark Scheff, a.k.a. 0xD34D. Photo via Google+

ChameleonOS, often abbreviated to ChaOS, is another offshoot of the open source CyanogenMod that focuses on customization and theming. The ROM began publishing public beta builds in March of last year, and though it hasn't had the time to gain as big a foothold as some of the other ROM families, its users have been quite happy with the extra features crammed into the various builds. That said, it looks like the project has stalled somewhat - the last official blog post from "0xD34D" was in September, and nightly builds for the Nexus 4 stop in early November. There are no 4.4 ROMs on the official page, and later devices like the Nexus 5 and Galaxy Note 3 have no official builds.

Cyanogen Inc. has been bolstering its already impressive stable of software engineers, and it looks like they're using some of the best talent from the custom ROM community as a sort of corporate farm league. That makes a lot of sense for CyanogenMod's culture and history, and this far sticking to their roots seems to be working - see partnerships with Oppo and One Plus. I'm sure Mr. Scheff won't be the last custom ROM developer to join their ranks.

Update: It looks like there are newer builds that aren't on the main ChameleonOS site - check here for the latest nightlies, with 4.4 ROMs for Nexus devices including the N4 and N5.

Source: Google+ via Phandroid

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Wesley Modderkolk

    This makes me think, is Cyanogen trying to "buy out" the competition by hiring leading figures of other ROMs?

    Would be a smart way to get a foothold in the custom ROM market and protect themselves from other groups doing a similar thing. It wouldn't be good for the community though, but that would be less of Cyanogens concern.

    • silver_arrow

      Both Android and Cyanogenmod are open source so theres always someone else who can come. And with CM this can bee their day job instead of their hobby. If CM taking up some smaller ROMS but that means the devs get paid then I am okay with it as they deserve it.

      • Ryan

        In essence, yeah, CM is open-source. But I've seen from other articles that there will be their own proprietary bits that will not be open-source. I don't know for sure if it'll be related to certain hardware OEM's like Oppo or OnePlus, but that remains to be seen far as I know. I have zero intentions of getting either device myself, so I don't have much say.

    • Matt

      I dunno if they're trying to buy out the competition so much as find the best talent in the ROM community. I guess they're able to kill two birds with one stone (to an extent), but Roman even said he'd keep working on AOKP so it doesn't seem like they're actively forbidding work on other projects.

      • tanknspank

        And now people in the community get to do what they love as their day job. I see it as a wonderful opportunity.

        • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

          That's a great way to look at it. It's a lot like what your friendly neighborhood tech bloggers do - we aren't any more intelligent or skilled than all the other technology enthusiasts on the Internet, we just combined our passion with a decent faculty for writing and found someone to pay us for it. (Suckers.)

      • Wesley Modderkolk

        Yes it is a bit of killing two birds with one stone.

        But do you think Cyanogen would want one of their employees custom ROM to overtake their own? I think not.

        • Matt

          That's a valid point, but they only have so much control. Even though Roman, for instance, was the founder of AOKP, he only accounts for a fraction of the recent commits. Take a look at Roman's commits http://gerrit.aokp.co/#/q/status:merged+owner:roman,n,z compared to overall merged commits in AOKP for instance http://gerrit.aokp.co/#/q/status:merged,n,z to give you a sense of the difference.

          There are 9 other official team developers and even more if you count device maintainers, designers, hobbyists, etc. The same is likely true of ChameleonOS, though I'm less familiar with how much of a "team effort" is involved in that one. Even if Cyanogenmod were to say "we really don't want AOKP to overtake CM", they don't have total control of the project; they have one member working for them.

    • Roman

      It's not a competition. Never was.

      • Wesley Modderkolk

        It is, now that Cyanogen has to make money.

        For the others it might not be, it is just a hobby. For Cyanogen it is, they'll have to make money.

        • Ryan Yakus

          they're not making money off of individual installs; they're business model is to partner with phone manufacturers and have cm ship as the stock OS.

          third party developers are no more competition for them than they are for any other android skin.

          • Wesley Modderkolk

            Yes I know that.

            But just like Google, they get their earnings indirectly from usage of their ROM. I don't think Oppo or One Plus would have gone with Cyanogen if no one ever knew about them.

            So indirectly, their ROM and popularity of their ROM are the way to make money.

        • Cuvis

          They don't make money off of hobbyist installs. They make money off of the OEM partnerships.

          • Wesley Modderkolk

            I know they are. But they aren't going to sell it when no one outside of the OEM uses it.

      • deeznutz1977

        Romanbb Congratulations on the new job. been rocking your work since the vibrant and {EDT} whitehawxx, jellette & Romanbb

        Its amazing how much things have progressed from the sgs1 :) congrats

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      CyanogenMod was already one of the leading ROM developers before they incorporated and few if any other ROM developers are following the same model (Xiaomi being the only one that even sort of comes close). There's a much simpler explanation for this: people who are developing ROMs for free in their spare time see that maybe they can actually do so as a job and they'd kind of like to get paid for it.

      And hey, I can't blame them. Which would you rather have as compensation for your work: a pay check, or the incessant, angry demands from entitled users who have little appreciation for what you do and only a fraction of whom every voluntarily contribute back?

      • Kit Tihonovich

        The users. I'm weird though. Once it becomes a "job" it stops being fun for me.

        • Great Offender

          Are they really developers if they are just using Google's code? Are they really developers when users submit fixes to their gerrit and they incorporate those changes while assuming full ownership? There are people who do it better and cleaner than CM but seem to get chased by legal action when they don't provide CM with the code.

          • squiddy20

            And yet, I still see occasional changes on BBQLog and other such sources bearing Steve Kondik's, Koush's, and other "high profile" names in the toroplus changelogs. They aren't "just using Google's code".

      • Captain Canada

        Why would anyone give this a thumbs down? Let them make the money they deserve.

      • Wesley Modderkolk

        True, I agree on that. Those people would love to make money with what they do as a hobby. Which makes it the perfect thing to start hiring.

        Cyanogen going incorporated has left quite a few people unhappy, people who have likely switched ROMs. Which just brings the ROMs closer together in terms of usage.

        And now knowing Cyanogen has to make money off of what they do, which will be much harder to do and get it out there when everyone is running other custom ROMs.

  • ddowner001

    Very Interesting...

  • david coffey

    Hopefully cyanogenmod will integrate some of the things these AOKP and chaOS developers have achieved in their respective roms. If they do that, I'll gladly support cyanogenmod.


    N4 has 4.4.2 nightly for ChaOS last updated January 15.

  • http://pixelsw.im/ Steve Heinrich

    I helped create the ChaOS logo. Crazy to see it on Android police. I feel so connected to the Android world... OK I'm done. Just got excited. Carry on.

  • Carlos

    These two recent hires seem to fit the new themeing vision CM wants to bring to market

  • Ashish Kumar

    Its Nice to see Cynaogen getting better by the day ! Good going CM-Devs


  • Roger Blah

    Do we need to continue publishing nerdy face photos on news websites? i don't care how he looks like. even he would be looking like an orc or frodo. or a tomato.

  • http://flavors.me/sabret00the sabret00the

    They're still in need of some UX/UI designers and probably some app developers and some audio/visual guys.

  • Josh Phillips

    Am I the only one that thinks the endgame for Cyanogen is to be purchased by a major OEM to replace their own skin? It isn't a great fit for the smaller OEM's, especially if several of them are using it because it takes away one of their only meaningful points of differentiation. That leads me to believe that Cyanogen has to go exclusive or be purchased at some point. (Also, an exit like this would be the ideal scenario for their investors as well...)

    I personally would like to see Sony or LG purchase them in a year or so after some proof of concept work on the smaller OEM's. HTC's skin is modern and pretty decent. Samsung appears to be updating theirs and taking it in a pretty unique direction. Moto will continue to be stock Android with minor usability improvements. That leaves Sony with their boring UI and LG with their even crappier version of TouchWiz. Of course Asus or Huawei could also scoop them up.

    Just speculating...

  • Great Offender

    Even though most roms use CM as a base it appears they are trying to buy up all the local talent. I'm still amazed that Google allows them to exist. MOST of their code is straight up Google with little to no changes except the copyright header.

    • Cuvis

      Why do you think Google has a say in whether Cyanogen exists or not? As long as they obey the license agreement, they're in the clear. That's what open-source is for.

  • ElTimo

    Is that the Opensuse logo?

  • πνευμα αντιλογιας

    Who cares even if they hired Einstein himself, there are no maintainers for many devices. Exynos support sucks and Steve doesn't give a shiat. He just wants to be another Xiaomi.

  • Booger Nose

    Such a pretty face. If only he'd smile.