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Damian O'Sullivan
Works at Hewlett-Packard
Attended University of Limerick
Lived in Sydney
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Damian O'Sullivan

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A step forward for the Android Open Source world

There's a hidden gem in Nexus 9, which was announced by a short sentence in the middle of a reply in a long mailing-list thread:

"No proprietary binaries are needed for Volantis. The proprietary vendor binaries are on a separate 'vendor' partition."

Until now, in Android devices, the proprietary device-specific files that live underneath Android itself were stored in the same /system partition as the Android files.

This made sense from the point of view of software architecture, but it had a major drawback in the Open Source world: in order to distribute a functional system image of Android, it was necessary to also distribute those proprietary device-specific files, since those files were aggregated into the same distribution medium.

Starting with Nexus S, those files had been somewhat available, with two caveats: not all files were available for all devices, and the files that were available were controlled by licenses that allowed the most common use cases but didn't give the same freedom that can be expected for Open Source components.

On Nexus 9, things are different: those proprietary device-specific files are stored in a separate partition. As a result, it is now practical to distribute functional versions of the Android system without having to distribute or copy those proprietary files. Therefore it becomes possible to enjoy the freedoms associated with Open Source in a broader range of situations, including (e.g.) commercial distribution.

While Android has always been distributed under Open Source licenses (i.e. in the world of lawyers), this brings it closer to the spirit of the Free Software definition in the real world (i.e. in the world of hackers).

This makes me happy, as this is the conclusion of a task that had been started 3 1/2 years ago with Galaxy Nexus, and in which I had been closely involved when I worked on AOSP. Chances are, this is probably also the last aspect of Android to get released in which I've been closely involved while at Google.

https://groups.google.com/d/msg/android-building/bm3iwCrjO2s/wvtma5pYEEsJ

As usual, I'm not speaking on behalf of any past, present or future employer. Also, I'm not a lawyer, and this is therefore obviously not legal advice.
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Damian O'Sullivan

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Hive is a free, unlimited cloud storage space to share your media, photos and files with friends.
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Hmmmmm
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Damian O'Sullivan

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Very interesting. Been debating buying smoke alarm and thermostats for a bit..
 
We've just announced an agreement to acquire +Nest: http://goo.gl/xnA6CB
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – JANUARY 13, 2014 — Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to buy Nest Labs, Inc. for $3.2 billion in cash. Nest's mission is to reinvent unloved but important devices in the home such as thermostats and smoke alarms.
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Damian O'Sullivan

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+Dave Airlie So you should  be able to help me here :-). Looking to build a new mini-itx XBMC box using mesa drivers. What combo motherboard/CPU recommend? AMD / Intel / nvidia etc? Just want good linux support and enough grunt for h265 1080p in future I guess. Or maybe just what to avoid!

Thanks muchly. Get you a scoop when I see you next!
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If you could afford it, a Haswell NUC i3 is easy to setup. Arm computers like CUBOX is another cheap alternative and way much lower power consumption.
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In his circles
176 people
Have him in circles
100 people
Nicholas Randon's profile photo
Nathan Aponte's profile photo
peter gavin's profile photo
john brooker's profile photo
Niall McGreal's profile photo
Chris Delaney's profile photo
james taylor's profile photo
Colm Daly's profile photo
Bryan Kroger (krogebry)'s profile photo
Work
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  • Hewlett-Packard
    Engineer, 2005 - present
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Sydney - Brisbane - Galway - Limerick - Cork - Dublin - Clifden - Cairns
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Nerdy sport fan..
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  • University of Limerick
    Computer Science, 1996 - 2000
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