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Android Person of the Year Nominee: Cyanogen

December 23, 2010 | by Chris Smith

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cyanogen-steve-kondik

Cyanogen
Developer of popular custom ROM.
Nominated because: He leads one of the most prolific custom ROM development teams

From the Android BBQ (dammit, why didn’t I go?), to CyanogenMod 6 and 6.1, to any other custom kernel or open source fun that most Android fanboys enjoy, the name “Cyanogen” is somewhere in the mix. Steve “Cyanogen” Kondik seems to be a figurehead for user-driven, open source Android development, and with his Team Douche band of developers helping build CyanogenMod for almost every Android handset that you can think of, Kondik is a major cog in the Android machine.

Most Androinica.com readers know Cyanogen, but for the two guys/gals out there that don’t have a clue, here is what you are missing. Cyanogen is an Android developer that found that hacking and modifying the HTC Dream’s firmware back in 2008 was an awesome thing to do. His idea was to develop and “hack” custom ROMs that used the open source Android operating system as a base, making the device run smoother and have the ability to gain newer features more often and faster. What he developed was the now infamous CyanogenMod that breathed new life into the G1 and other first-gen Android devices.

The goal of Cyanogen and CyanogenMod is to bring the standard-issue version of Android (Android Open Source Project) with essential fixes and tweaks that really enhance a phone’s use. The ROM requires users to root (gain root file system access) their phones and then flash the custom CyanogenMod firmware. The team has helped make this process even easier with the addition of the ‘ROM Manager’ app into the Android Market, essentially making installing, modding, fixing, and backing up of ROMs easy for almost anyone.

One of the greatest things about CyanogenMod is that as soon as the open source version of the latest build of Android is released, Team Douche is off to work porting it to a host of devices. Most times, the modified, stable versions of CyanogenMod are released before the large manufacturers and carriers can push out the update. While hordes of G1, myTouch, and other users spent much of 2010 waiting for updates, the wait for CM has typically been a few weeks (or nightly for the more adventurous). This shows the devotion (some may say obsession) that Cyanogen and his team possess when it comes to developing, creating, and making things work. With the release of the newest Android treat Gingerbread it will only be a matter of time before we see a custom build brought to supported devices.

Even after the debacle of late 2009 where Google sent a cease and desist to Cyanogen to not bundle the “Google Experience” apps with the custom CyanogenMod firmware, CyanogenMod is alive more than ever with support for around 17 devices, including the most popular Android devices in the U.S. There are literally tens of thousands of people running his modification, and many of those people are doing it on devices that would otherwise see limited development if left up to carriers and phone makers. When it comes to impact in 2010, thousands of people can vouch for Cyanogen.

You can get all of the information and features of the CyanogenMod firmware from the official website.

[Image credit: via AndroidAuthority]
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This article is part of a series of profiles on the people who most-impacted Android in 2010. Read more about the Android Person of the Year series here.