Post Soft Launch Update
First, thank you to everyone that has tried the soft relaunch of Console OS. We appreciate the feedback, and it’s going into what we consider the hard launch.
Since launching, we’ve revamped nearly every page on our Wiki. Before we get to Console OS itself, we wanted to point that out so you can benefit from the updated documentation. Furthermore, we're going to begin going over our entire web presence and revising - making it easier to obtain Console OS and spread the word.
Extending Lollipop, Assimilating Remix OS
In our last release, we asked people what they wanted us to do - race to Marshmallow or focus on Lollipop. This time around, the feedback we got was substantially different… people said we should focus on Lollipop. Since we a stable bake of Lollipop already, most people said we should keep a good thing going.
Sticking with Lollipop makes sense for several reasons. One, it is by far the most used version of Android today. Most developers target it first, and all other versions of Android second. Two, it's the first release of the Android Runtime in final form. Future versions of Android (both Marshmallow and Android N) have to stay tied to it, much more than older Dalvik-based versions of Android (Android 1.0 - 4.4.4).
While some were critical of our decision to fork Android-x86, we’re proud of it. We are delivering on our commitment to keep Console OS alive in the wake of Android-IA for PC being discontinued.
On a related note, we’re happy to report that our competitors at Jide has recently begun complying with the GNU GPL.
During that whole time, we complied with the GNU General Public License, and Jide’s Remix OS did not. There’s no question on that. We still can’t find their repository for source code related to Jide’s Remix Mini, either, so we can’t say right now that they are in full compliance with the GPL.
One thing that we can do, however, is continue to be the corporate force for good that we’ve always intended to. So starting next week, we’ll begin a code audit that will infuse open-source code from Remix OS, into Console OS. Our GitHub repository will refresh with that, following the completion of that code audit... the whole process will take a couple of weeks.
By doing so, we’re carving out an entirely new space in Android for PC, as the member of the community that is fully open-source, with commercial components. Kinda like some popular Android distribution for phones…
The benefit to this, is that you get the best of all worlds with Console OS. You get the stability of a corporate-managed Android kernel for PC, with the security of knowing every line of our source code can be vetted (and you can build it yourself). You can’t do that with Remix OS, but with Console OS, you’ll still benefit from improvements they are required to release to the community.
On Windows, Linux, and Astoria
Last week you may have heard that Microsoft has announced something that we have to admit, is pretty darn cool: Windows 10 will soon allow you to run select Linux applications. Without virtualization of any kind.
We hate to pour ice water on what may be running wild in your mind, but it’s not exactly the game-changer it sounds.
For years, people have been running Linux and Linux-recompiled apps inside Windows. Apps like Cygwin have even allowed you to compile Linux applications - using Linux apps - from inside Windows. To understand what Microsoft is doing, you need an understanding of what makes up a Linux distribution.
The Linux kernel is all that’s needed to run basic Linux apps. Even web serving apps, databases, etc, pretty much typically run with the kernel, and some dependencies that (typically) also only require a working Linux kernel. To run a traditional Linux desktop (GUI, etc), you need things like an X-Windows interface, graphics drivers, and other subsystems. Each on their own may work with Linux, but require finely-tuned dependencies, all that talk to one-another.
This, is where Microsoft apparently failed. The work being launched today appears to track back to Project Astoria, where Microsoft planned to allow Android apps to natively run on Windows 10 Mobile. Getting important things like the Android Runtime (ARC), NDK, SurfaceFlinger, and a lot (lot) more to work together, inside of a Windows kernel, is even harder than getting Android apps to run inside Chrome OS… which it too, didn’t pan out too well.
Recently Microsoft inferred that Project Astoria wasn’t going to happen. The Windows Subsystem for Linux appears to be the functional survivor of that project, but an Android Runtime it most certainly is not.
So yes, you can now run command-line tools (as native Linux apps), without virtualization of any kind. That’s awesome and cool. But that was the easy part, and that is where Microsoft stopped. We’re sure some enterprising open-source hackers will create an alternate graphics system, and even a working Linux desktop… but it doesn’t change our mission statement.
To recap, our mission statement is native Android apps work best in cutting-edge, high performance Android devices… which run Android. Nothing last week dents our competitive advantages.
As we mentioned in our last update (April Fools day jokes aside), Console OS has become a long-tail play. We can't really generate revenue off of it until Android N settles in, and Google clearly defines where it will play in the Android-on-PC space. The PC makers (OEMs) are waiting, and we have to wait too.
As a result, and as we explained in our last update, we're pivoting back to hardware. Real devices that you won't have to back on Kickstarter to buy. In fact, your credit card won't be charged until some industrious individual in China is building a production version of your device. And we promise the devices we make will be both unique, and compelling.
While we won't be doing a crowdfunding campaign for that upcoming project, we do promise to reward our loyal backers with a special offer related to it when it launches.
Overall, work continues on several other fronts. We hope to have an update soon on physical perks, and we just began photography for our upcoming product. It's a new space for us, one we're revving up to be playing in. We hope to announce it some time within the next month.