I usually don't respond to comments regarding derivative OS's but I figure 1 response for this topic is at least warranted. Sorry up front for the length, but your comment deserved a more fledged out response. CM encourages others to step up and fork our work.
Period. This is what we like to see, its why the source repos are open. Hopefully all who do and make cool enhancements or improvements push it back upstream, that is all we ask.
So, up front, yes, AOKP is a strong entry with a good team. Having a secondary team push the OS forward is a good thing.
Now, obviously AOKP has an advantage in their vision, the 'kang' aspect grants them the ability to bring together our work, their work, and work from other projects. This saves them time in device bringup and the 'backbone' of their builds. This isn't a negative or a jab at them, it is merely a logical move to be made. Why create a device tree from start when ours is just as good? Android was meant to be remixed, and they are doing just that.
That said, they are still new, and figuring out things that we learned the hard way (eg they dropped Evo, Inc, and Bravo for ICS today, and are starting "fresh" for their JB efforts). While they are gaining popularity in the community, their adoption rate is still well below ours (quick math has them at 4% of our user base), so we aren't quite feeling the pressure if you know what I mean. Will they increase in usage? Of course, and we hope that they do. With 400mil+ Android users in the world, providing more options is always a plus. There is no animosity between the teams, just a shared interest in having fun and sharing the results. Our opinion is as long as the sharing happens in both directions, its for the better.
As for our continued support of Gingerbread, there is a commonly perceived idea that CM 'diverts' resources that would otherwise be devoted to ICS/JB. This is incorrect. We are massive not in our core team, but in the submissions from outside
the team; and the growth of our GB branch post 7.2 is less so to do with our core team as it has to do with increased submissions from the Community. 7.2 is stable, that was the point in its release, but with that same token, there is a large class of devices that (for performance reasons alone) should not receive anything beyond GB. Our stable branch allows for outside devs to target that same branch of code and have a fully fledged CM rom. Shunning these devices as 'unofficial' just because the version is older would be a disrespect to those who put in the time. In addition, we have the resources (thanks to the community) to tie those same devices into our source, our infrastructure and our build system. So, we mainline these devices and incorporate fixes and features to devices that otherwise would stay stagnate.Edit: One of the coolest parts of CM being so recognizable is that our source makes its way into other custom ROMs. I think this is an often overlooked incentive to submitting enhancements and submissions directly to CM. If the feature is incorporated, it will be propagated to a much larger audience. It may be me being idealistic, but if CM becomes a tool to showcase developer talent and increase the usage of these submitted features, then I'm all for it.
We are also not fans of leaving things incomplete. JB source won't be out for 3 weeks at the earliest. So why should we stop CM9 development (reaching stable) for that period? As the post mentioned, all the groundwork with the rewrites we did for CM9 make the CM10 jump minimal. Time spent (on CM9) in the period between now and JB release directly assists in CM10.
tl;dr We aren't changing our stance here