Alberto Embedded & Open experience

Notes on my experience on Open Source Embedded Systems

Android subsystem is gonna die

with 3 comments

As you can see on linux webgit log the Android subsystem resident on mainline kernel developing tree is gonna die:

Staging: android: mark subsystem as broken

It’s causing lots of build errors, so just mark it as broken.  It is
scheduled to be removed in 2.6.33 anyway.

Signed-off-by: Greg Kroah-Hartman <>

A BROKEN subsystem is a piece of kernel code that the build system do not visit in the build process.

The true problem is that Google has stopped to support mainline code leaving it at an embryonic state: no Coding Style corrections and no update on new kernel API changes.

Another important thing is that the android subsystem that live now in mainline kernel is incomplete: many parts of Google layer were not merged with mainline linux, producing an eternal incomplete subsystem.

What the mess with this? Why the mainline part of Android is important? There is always the android branch hosted by Google no?

Yes is true, but what about the next device porting? what about quality on device porting? A mainline architecture support code is controlled and accepted by a number of Community Developers that know better than a lot of people how this things must be done, and sure, also the better developer make mistakes!

Developing a new hardware platform in the Google android branch make this job harder and full of traps.

The aim of my job now is to recover this situation, taking the present mainline android subsystem on the right way in terms of quality and readability and then completing it with the missing things!

So, good Job Alberto!


Written by Alberto!

23/11/2009 at 6:11 pm

3 Responses

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  1. After reading this post I think that the future of Android will be harder.
    Anyway, if Google restarts supporting it in the mainline I think there will be a possibility, because a lot of work is needed to stay in the kernel.
    If a good work will be done in the mainline for at least two cpus, and well integrated with the rest, I think the will be possible that Android becomes an official way to work of the kernel with particular, but stable, interfaces, and so on.
    On the contrary, if Android goes out starting from 2.6.33, it means that Android will be a set of patches that need to be rebased for updating for example an HTC phone. In this second case it will not be in the mailine, but only a set of patches.
    I’d like to know now what will be Android in the next three years.


    28/12/2009 at 5:09 pm

    • Google, since about second quarter of 2009, focuses the development of Android most only on the user-space stack part.
      It means that they had built a working kernel and they was satisfied. They could make more effort to merge the Android subsystem in mainline kernel, but with source opening, they continuously left the kernel alone.
      Sure, this do not means that big phone companies do not have the man power to build the leaking layers to support their new phones, but means that all the developments now are off-community: off linux standards control.
      Lot of companies normally work on private linux branches supporting their own hardware, and merges with new version of linux are much difficult much subversions passes from the base one. But the bad part of Android is that from the state it is it encourage off-community development.
      What must be done is a complete porting of Android functionalities to a unique staging directory in the mainline kernel.
      This is the only way to re-put Android in the right path: return to a in-community development.
      Vantages: Maintainability and Easy-porting to new hardware.


      30/12/2009 at 4:27 pm

  2. my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at true end there, not leave it with ‘we leave it to you to decide’.

    seo darmstadt

    22/04/2010 at 9:29 pm

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