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Samsung

Kernel source now available for Verizon Galaxy S4, Galaxy Tab 3, Galaxy Mega devices

Code for VZW GS4, Tab 3, Mega 5.8 Duos and Mega 6.3 added to Samsung Open Source Repository As required under the open-source rules, Samsung has published the Linux kernel source code for a slew of new, high-profile Galaxy devices, including the Verizon Galaxy S4. Alongside Big Red's GS4,...
Kernel version

Google working on experimental 3.8 Linux kernel for Android

Google has opened a public kernel repository, marked as experimental, for the Linux 3.8 kernel. The kernel repo is built from the standard Linux kernel, with Android modifications added by the folks in Mountain View working on the Android project.  The reason this is good news? 3.8 includes three...
Linux on the Pixel

The Chromebook Pixel might be the new Linux ultrabook you're waiting for

After the announcement of the Chromebook Pixel yesterday, a lot of people were in love with the hardware, but thought the price tag was a bit high for a machine running Chrome OS. I'm in that camp as well. I think the hardware is mostly worth the price tag (a 256GB SSD would affirm that in a big...

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Android SDK

Installing the Android SDK for Windows, Mac and Linux: A tutorial

Everything you need to get started with the Android SDK, and everything you need to know about installing it Installing the Android SDK is far easier than it used to be, thanks to a new package from Google. One download not only gives you a complete and working Android SDK, but it also has...
Tesla

Tesla CEO mulls in-car Android emulator, Chrome browser upgrade

Tesla 'considering adding a pure Android emulator' to vehicles, says Elon Musk At a recent event in Munich, Germany, Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted at the possibility that his company's cars may one day be able to run Android apps. Fielding a question on app development for the Tesla Model S, Musk...

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Android SDK

Everything you need to get started with the Android SDK, and everything you need to know about installing it

Installing the Android SDK is far easier than it used to be, thanks to a new package from Google. One download not only gives you a complete and working Android SDK, but it also has everything you would need to develop application in Eclipse should you ever want to dabble in it. That's not required, though, and for anyone looking for an easy way to begin using tools like adb, it's the best way to get started.

For sure, this is not the only way. All the tools are still there for an install without any IDE bundled in, and if you're an advanced user you'll probably want to go that route. This little tutorial wasn't written with you in mind, it's geared towards users who are computer-literate but haven't yet dipped into the world of Android from the command line.

Let's begin.

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Tesla 'considering adding a pure Android emulator' to vehicles, says Elon Musk

At a recent event in Munich, Germany, Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted at the possibility that his company's cars may one day be able to run Android apps. Fielding a question on app development for the Tesla Model S, Musk said the company was "considering adding a pure Android emulator," allowing users to run an Android app in a window on the car's Linux-based front-end.

The Android emulator is one of a few app development avenues being considered for the vehicle, which Musk expects to be opened up to developers "towards the end of next year." Musk also outlined several software additions that had to be made before this could take place, including adding local language and navigation data, and upgrading the cars' built-in browser to Google Chrome.

If these plans come to fruition, the Android emulator could give Tesla's vehicles access to a large library of mobile apps in a relatively short space of time. And it also begs the question: how long until we see an Android-powered car?

Source: 9to5Google; YouTube

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Kernel source published —​ but no update for devices just yet

HTC has released the kernel source code and related platform support files for the Google Play edition HTC One, as required under the GPL. The code drop comes ahead of the Google Play HTC One's Android 4.3 update — officially, the phone's still on 4.2.2, and we've not seen any updates on our own devices just yet.

The kernel source code is from software version 3.06.1700.10 (up from 2.14.1700.15) and Linux kernel version 3.4.10 (unchanged from the 4.2 firmware.)

We've checked Samsung's open source release center and there's no Android 4.3 code on there just yet, so it looks like HTC's first out the gate with its kernel release. In any case, hopefully this means the 4.3 update for Google Play edition phones is just around the corner. We'll let you know as soon as the updates start rolling out.

Source: HTCDev

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All Android code is available for public review, and plenty of people are reviewing it

It came to light today (though it was never a secret) that the NSA (the National Security Agency), a U.S. intelligence service that's been in the news as of late for things nobody likes, is contributing code to Google's Android project. Of course, the Internet's first reaction was predictably "OMG PRISM! They're building in PRISM!!11one!"

You can relax folks. While the NSA has no official statement about what they call their Security Enhancements for Android project's link to the PRISM project, this isn't something new. They've been working on this Android code since 2011, which is an offshoot of their SE (Security-Enhanced) Linux project before that. Their SELinux code was peer reviewed by anyone and everyone, and the commits were generally accepted as being great additions that make a secure operating system even more safe.

While Android isn't developed in the open, upon release the code is all available. There are all manner of very smart and god-like code nerds pouring through it, and any shenanigans would be quickly uncovered. Let's just take a deep breath, and realize that the NSA could be very helpful writing code to keep systems secure. 

More: Bloomberg

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Code for VZW GS4, Tab 3, Mega 5.8 Duos and Mega 6.3 added to Samsung Open Source Repository

As required under the open-source rules, Samsung has published the Linux kernel source code for a slew of new, high-profile Galaxy devices, including the Verizon Galaxy S4. Alongside Big Red's GS4, Samsung Open Source Repository also saw kernel source code for the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0, Galaxy Mega 5.8 Duos (dual-SIM) and Galaxy Mega 6.3.

As always, the code itself won't be of any use to regular smartphone owners, even those who hack their phones and install custom ROMs. However it should help custom firmware-makers come up with better ROMs for these devices. If that's you, you can grab the fresh batch of Samsung code at the source links below.

Source: Samsung (VZW GS4, Tab 3, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3); via: AndroidPolice

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Google has opened a public kernel repository, marked as experimental, for the Linux 3.8 kernel. The kernel repo is built from the standard Linux kernel, with Android modifications added by the folks in Mountain View working on the Android project. 

The reason this is good news? 3.8 includes three important and interesting changes for mobile devices -- support for open source NVIDIA Tegra and Samsung Exynos DRM drivers, support for the Flash-Friendly File-System, and a lower memory footprint -- in some cases much lower. Having native support means less development time by Google or anyone else building the kernel for Android, and everyone loves more memory for apps instead of the system.

It's important to realize that this is by no means official support. Currently, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean ships with the 3.4 kernel on the Nexus 4, but versions 3.0 and 3.3 are supported as well for other Jelly Bean devices. Maybe we'll see 3.8 in the next version of Android.

Source: Phoronix

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After the announcement of the Chromebook Pixel yesterday, a lot of people were in love with the hardware, but thought the price tag was a bit high for a machine running Chrome OS. I'm in that camp as well. I think the hardware is mostly worth the price tag (a 256GB SSD would affirm that in a big way), but can't justify the price for a machine running Chrome OS the way things are now. 

We're pretty sure the Pixel is a portent of big things to come for Chrome OS, but just in case, here's a full blown version of Linux Mint running on the sexy thing. Bill Richardson, Chrome OS software engineer at Google, shows it off and gives fairly easy to understand instructions to do it yourself in his Google+ feed.

With devices shipping out today, things might get pretty interesting next week if you've been looking for a high-end Linux ultrabook. 

Source: +Bill Richardson

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LagFix is an app (rooted phones only) with an unimaginative name that uses a standard Linux tool to help fix "lag" on Android devices. Lag is a term that gets thrown around pretty liberally, without any real definition attached to it. In this case, I'm familiar with the tool being used so I know what this app attempts to address -- times when your system is stopped, waiting on the memory controller to be told which storage blocks are free and which are in use, so it knows where it can write data to the device storage. While this is happening, the system is halted until the memory controller gets the answer it needs. This is a standard process in every operating system, and in reality is a lot more complicated than I've explained here. For our purposes today, this covers the important things to know.

This can be done on the fly (and this is how stock Android does things) or it can be done using a Linux utility called Fstrim. When a stock Android system does it on the fly while data is being written, sometimes some folks (this is important, and we'll talk more about it later) see their device slow down while the memory controller is waiting to know which storage blocks are in use, and which are free. People call this a form of lag, and lag is universally hated. 

A solution, one often used on Linux desktops, is to use the Fstrim utility. It goes through the storage and tells the memory controller which blocks are really free, and which are in use. The memory controller doesn't have to ask, because it has just been told. Eventually, this all changes and the memory controller needs told again. On the desktop, people set up Fstrim to run at a specific interval to keep things in sync. 

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The fine people at the Linux Foundation have started a little project that deserves some attention -- some tutorials teaching beginning Android programming. So far things are pretty basic, but the beginning is always the best place to start. They have the basics of setting up a development environment covered, and will get you on your way to writing your first Android app.

Android is Linux after all, and it's great to see the traditional desktop users excited about Android and jumping in to make it better. While you won't learn how to build the next Angry Birds game, you will get some pointers and basic information that leads you on the road to building something of your very own. Remember, everyone started at the beginning. If you've got the inclination, hit the source link to get started.

Source: The Linux Foundation

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In its infancy for quite a long time now, software maker Cononical today is taking the wraps off of the smartphone variation of its Linux operating system Ubuntu. The interface will be distinctly in the Ubuntu style, and have many features of other modern smartphone operating systems. There are edge gestures, disappearing controls, global search, voice commands and support for both native and HTML5 web apps.

But Ubuntu for smartphones is more than just a phone OS, as it also provides a full desktop experience when the phone is docked to a mouse, keyboard and monitor. With the current specs of phones, its not unreasonable to expect a single device to be able to handle both a phone and desktop operating system when in each situation. Ubuntu is generally pretty lightweight, so it should run nicely while still remaining feature rich (unlike Motorola Webtop before it.)

Let's not forget that Ubuntu is also open source, giving plenty of options to later customization and tweaking by users as well as quick and free updates in the future. Canonical is holding an informational conference call to provide more details on the launch of its smartphone OS today, which should answer some burning questions. Canonical will also be showing off Ubuntu for smartphones at CES in under a week. In the meantime, take a look at the quick press release after the break.

More: Canonical

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Android is essentially Linux. There are a lot of qualifiers there, and Linux devotees will argue the semantics, but it is generally accepted to be a Linux distribution in the same vein as Debian or Ubuntu. This is why we pay special attention to what the contributors and maintainers of the Linux kernel are up to.

With version 3 of Linux comes better ARM processor support. With version 3.7, that support is almost complete -- which is great news for anyone interested in building a reusable ARM kernel. People like Samsung, or LG, or your favorite Android hacker.

As things stand now, it's fairly easy to build a modular kernel that runs on an X86 device. Those are traditional desktops and laptop computers, ATOM netbooks, and a few smart appliances. But folks working on Linux for ARM devices have had to build and port a kernel for each type of ARM processor, like the Exynos or OMAP SoCs. With a generic ARM kernel, those days will be a thing of the past.

We're not quite there yet, as the 3.7 release only supports a handful of chips from companies like Marvell or Picohip. These are the chips you will generally find on development boards, but Linux founder and guru Linus Torvalds has said that support for many more chips is coming in the next few releases. Once this is accomplished, and Android gets up to speed (Google and their OEM partners usually run about 3 versions behind the current stable), we should see a much more fluid way to support newer devices, and newer software on older devices. 

Source: LKML; via Ars Technica

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While trawling through the Internet today I came across the Linux Foundation's page, and my eyes were pulled to their top story. Now this is nothing new, I often find plenty of great articles and news to read there, but this was different. This was a post that was about Android. 

It got me thinking (sometimes I do that) -- is Android Linux? The folks at the Linux Foundation seem to think so (and seem awfully happy about it), and I'm going to have to agree with them. Now before you purists come to West Virginia to beat some sense into me, I'm not saying that Android is unadulterated GNU Linux. Clearly it's not, there's far too many differences and psudeo-open source licensing at play to call it pure. But for all intents and purposes, it's close enough.

Android now runs on top of a standard Linux kernel, and uses many of the same kernelspace utilities and code that my desktop does. Essentially, that's what Linux is -- the heart of many different systems. Google, and the Android partners like Samsung, HTC, and CyanogenMod, then build things out to present the user with an interface to interact with the kernel. The kernel does stuff, all our taps and swipes and presses are telling it the stuff we want it to do. Just like any of the popular Linux distributions that you can install on your computer at home or work.

Android looks and acts a little different because it needs to look and act a little different to be useful on a small touch screen device. Of course, this is the simplified version of things, but if you're the type who understands how the kernelspace and userspace interact, you see where I'm coming from. Too much nerd is often too much.

So the next time you grab your Android-powered phone or tablet, just remember that you're part of the long standing tradition that is Linux. It's a good place to be.

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Samsung has released the Linux kernel source code, and other open-source bits, for the recently-launched international version of its Galaxy Note 2 handset (model number GT-N7100). These files won't be of any use to regular Note 2 owners, but they may help out custom ROM developers looking to develop Jelly Bean-based firmware for the device, meaning better and more stable ROMs for all of us. The files are available from the Samsung Open Source Release Center, linked below. Just plug the model number -- GT-N7100 -- into the search box, and you'll be good to go.

If you're still on the fence about the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, be sure to check out our full review.

Source: Samsung Open-Source Release Center; via: SamMobile

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Android is a Linux OS -- just like countless other Linux OSs you use without knowing it every day with "not-smart" consumer electronic devices. Because it's easily scalable and simple to modify, Android is a no-brainer way to make these not-so-smart devices a little smarter and add a network-aware user interface to them. This means televisions, Blu-ray players, stereos, and cameras.

Samsung is going about it in a big way with their Galaxy Camera, which looks to be a pretty impressive personal media player with a quality point and shoot camera attached. Nikon is also at the bat, but they look to have built a point and shoot camera first, then added the Android operating system to it rather than build the camera around the OS. There's good to be said about either method, and as always it means a choice for you and me. We love choices.

But are you interested? Is there going to be a market for this type of camera? That's where the poll comes into play. You'll find our polls in the sidebar now, where they won't get lost in the onslaught of Android news and end up buried before you get time to vote. We'll let them run about a week, then come back with the results when we post a new one.

Speaking of results, last week's poll was "Has the patent-infringement lawsuit changed your view of Samsung"? Here's your results --

  • I'm a bigger fan than before (51.05%; 1428 votes)
  • Nope. It's still the same (41.51%; 1161 votes)
  • I now think less of Samsung (3.79%; 106 votes)
  • Didn't like Samsung before, don't like 'em now (3.65%; 102 votes)

Clearly, most people aren't too affected by the verdict. Be sure vote in this week's poll, which you can find after the break or in the sidebar to the right.

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If today's Galaxy Note 10.1 announcements have inspired you to get working on custom ROMs for the upcoming tablet, you're in luck. Samsung has uploaded the Linux kernel source code for the Korean versions of the Note 10.1 to its Open Source Release Center.

The code won't be of much use to regular consumers, but it should kick-start the custom ROM community surrounding the stylus-wielding slate, which is due to go on sale globally later this month.

To grab the bits for yourself, head to the source link below, then type either of the Korean Note 10.1 model numbers -- "SHW-M480K" or "SHW-M480S" -- into the search box.

Source: Samsung Open Source; via: SamMobile 

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Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin sat down with the Wall Street Journal to talk about Android and the enterprise market, and needless to say he's pretty confident about the future. Zemlin may be a bit biased towards Android, as are most of us here, but he does have a history with large corporate environments, having worked previously with companies like Western Wireless (now T-Mobile) and Covalent Technologies. 

Zemlin seems confident that as HTML 5 application deployment moves forward, Android and the diverse group of OEMs that bring a selection of hardware at all price points are uniquely situated to provide "a better way to provision, manage and deploy their application infrastructure." In short, choice equals strength here, too. We'll have to agree, and throw in that the ability to customize the system to better suit the needs of your company has to sound awfully good to those CIO's who are thinking of the future of mobile enterprise. We heard yesterday during Google's quarterly earnings report that G is eyeing the enterprise market, so we expect to see more features roll out across Google's services -- including Android.

He also has a few words to say about the Google buyout of Motorola Mobility, and the idea that the Nexus 7 is a service, not a product. It's a great read from someone held in high regard in the open-source community, and paints a pretty bright future for our favorite mobile OS. Hit the source link below and take a gander.

Source: WSJ

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Good news for custom ROM developers, as Sony Mobile has just released the kernel source code for its recent Xperia S Android 4.0.4 update, as it's required to do under the open source rules. The open source archive, based on the just-launched v6.1.A.0.452 ICS firmware, weighs in at around 132MB, and will be an essential download for anyone preparing aftermarket firmware for Sony's international flagship phone. Regular users and ROM-flashers won't find much of interest here for the moment. Instead, the benefit of this code should show itself in the weeks ahead, in the form of stable, more functional ICS ROMs for the Xperia S.

Developers can grab the 132MB archive from Sony over at the source link.

Source: Sony Developer World; via: XperiaBlog

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As required under the open source rules, Samsung has released its Linux kernel source code -- and other open-source bits -- for the recently-released Android 4.0 firmware for the international Galaxy Note. While the source code itself isn't much for regular users (or even power users) to get excited about, ROM developers will undoubtedly be pouring over this code in the weeks ahead with the aim of bringing better, faster custom firmware to the international Note. Not that this code is for the international Galaxy Note (GT-N7000), not the North American version that goes by a different name -- GT-i717.

To grab the Ice Cream Sandwich code for the Note, head over to the source link, then enter "N7000" in the search box.

Source: Samsung Open Source Release Center

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The folks at Canonical (the masterminds behind the Ubuntu Linux project) have been kicking around the idea of a mobile version of Ubuntu for about four years now. First hearing about it back in 2008, many a nerdly smartphone user (guilty) just couldn't wait to get Linux on their handset, but it never really came to light.

That could be changing, as a job listing at Canonical for a "Business Development Manager (Ubuntu Phone OS)" has popped up, and it mentions the "launch of Ubuntu as a smartphone operating system" in the description. Now we're not privy to the inner chambers at Canonical where all the secrets are kept, but this has to mean one of two things -- either a big push for Ubuntu for Android, or a full fledged Ubuntu Mobile OS following in the tracks of Kubuntu Mobile 11.04. Either one makes me get all warm and fuzzy inside.

But here's the thing -- we have a Linux-based smartphone OS, and it also happens to be the market leader. Of course we're talking Android. With Google behind the project, Android was able to succeed when others, like Maemo, simply tanked. I'm not so sure the average user is ready for a new Linux based smartphone OS, no matter how bad some of us want it to happen. It's going to have to have polish, be easy to use, and have a couple hundred-thousand apps to succeed. A multi-purpose device that runs a celebrated and successful OS while mobile (Android), and a fuller, desktop style OS (Ubuntu) while docked is the right way to go here I think. We'll just have to wait and see.

Source: Canonical; via PhoneRPTEngadget

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HTC has made the Ice Cream Sandwich kernel sources for the Vivid, the Sensation, and the Sensation XE available for download on their HTC Developer Center website. It's been about a week since HTC began rolling out ICS for the three devices, and per the license, these were to have been published when the software was released. Developers have been getting a little antsy waiting, but now have what they need to build custom kernels and Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs for the newly-updated phones.

As usual, for normal users like you and I the source itself means little. But the magic that developers can make happen with it certainly has some appeal, and we're ready to see what folks can come up with. If you're one of those developers, or if you're just curious what a hundred MB or so of Linux kernel sources looks like, hit the link and have a peek.

Source: HTC dev

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