Console OS is supposed to be a version of Android Lollipop running on various Intel platforms, and optimized for desktop use with new features like DVR support for digital TV tuners, a desktop friendly file manager, and so on. The project launched on Kickstarter and was successful enough to raise $78,497 from 5,695 backers. But according to Chih-Wei Huang, Android-x86 project leader, and Console OS users, the Console OS developer simply forked Console OS, with some minor modifications like changing the project name, and under-delivering on the promised features.
The first part is fine, as that’s the beauty of open source code, you can fork somebody else work, and add your own improvement, and long as you keep the license and credits, that’s what open source is all about.
Now the project raised funds specifically for development, and as promised the source code is available on github. Here what has been allegedly changed against Android-x86:
- Android-x86 renamed to ConsoleOS
- Some Makefile modifications for Console OS
- Trebuchet home screen from CyanogenMod
- Some Intel drivers (but all of which are apparently disabled right now)
Console OS did keep the Android-x86 copyright and previous developers names, so they did not just steal the code from Android-x86, and claimed it their own, at least in the source code:
+# Copyright (C) 2015 Console, Inc.
# Copyright (C) 2014 The Android-x86 Open Source Project
This was also posted on ConsoleOS facebook page, which adds that not all code is on github right with more coming soon including:
- Support for systems other than BayTrail-T (Core, etc)
- A few bug fixes (rotation issues, etc)
- Enabling Intel drivers (we’ll explain what’s up on that shortly)
- Windows installer (so we recommend only installing on systems dedicated to Console OS)
- Anything we can’t post on GitHub (stuff we can only ship in finished/compiled builds) – things like additional live wallpapers, ARM translation support, additional codecs, etc.
Console OS also provided an update on December 8, answering to Android-x86 project rip-off accusations, claiming that only about 70% of our code is on GitHub for now with more to come as shown above.
That might be true, but after one year and a half, backers are really unhappy with the images provided so far, and a far cry of what was promised as shown in the table, even comparing its superiority to Android-x86, and other Android in Intel/AMD solutions, which in hindsights is rather ironic.While I don’t think the project was a planned scam from the start, because Mobile Media Ventures (MMV) is at least being active in replying to backers on Kickstarter, and did not simply take the money and run, the developers may have under-estimated the work to be accomplished, and development did not go according to plans, with the backers having likely thrown their money into a project that won’t deliver all promised features, if any at all. So it’s likely more incompetence than an outright scam.
But Android-x86 project leader has quite a different opinion:
If he does make some improvements based on the android-x86 code, I’m glad to see so.
However, cheating the world that he is developing something amazing on Kickstart in 2014 but finally just copied an open source project that he degraded at first (see the competitive chart on his site) is very immoral.
When Kickstart campaign began in 2014, he promised you “A” (a much better stuff) and accept your money, but now he just deliver you “B” (a totally different stuff). If you are a backer, can you accept? If this is not a scam, what is a scam?
IMO, Christopher Price and his Console OS is *a cancer* that lives by the nutrient of android-x86.If we can’t cut it immediately, he will continue absorbing the effort of android-x86 and finally choke this project.
[Update: See Console OS answer in comments:
We wish we had been contacted prior to this article. There were and are clear reasons why we had to delay things after out Kickstarter ended. Most notably, after our Kickstarter ended, Intel decided to abandon Android-IA for the PC. While we tried, and spent far more than raised via Kickstarter, to take on maintaining Android-IA… we realized Intel had simply cut back support too much. After many meetings with Intel, we decided the best path forward for Console OS was to rebase on Android-x86, and resume our original goals by fusing and integrating Android-IA drivers from Intel mobile devices. We’re proud and committed to that path.
P.S. And by the way – our GitHub, as it notes on the main Console OS GitHub repo, is not yet fully live. Much of this criticism of our stack, and how it forks Android-x86 (with full attribution), is premature.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.