Reply to post: Re: Why not fork Android + make it a shell

UBports community delivers 'second-largest release of Ubuntu Touch ever'

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: Why not fork Android + make it a shell

Primarily, because they want a more controllable thing. If they fork Android, they can do a port without changing much, like the various semipopular custom distributions, which wouldn't make you happy since the Android UI hasn't been changed. That is the option which keeps most app compatibility, but you have to live with Android's UI.

Or they could do what you ask, keep some of Android, but do a bunch of work to make the UI different. Result: some Android apps wouldn't work because the UI's too different, so now they have to do extra work to emulate the old structure so things aren't broken. In the meantime, they have to work with other problems in Android which they might want to fix. For example, Android's handling of external storage devices which isn't the clearest or easiest to manage. People who are used to the old Android interface may not recognize this one either, meaning more complaints about how they don't like the UI choices made. Meanwhile, Google keeps developing new Android things and, if this fork is to stay up to date, the devs have to keep backporting the Google updates which are important. That's a full-time job for several developers even when few changes have been made; doing it with a very different fork is intensive.

For people willing to do some of this work, they're probably not that happy with half-measures. If you're going to change a lot of things in Android, why not give a full Linux-style interface a go? If you want to solve Android's storage thing, you could do a bunch of work on Android itself or just run more typical Linux userland software which already knows how to manage that. This also lets you develop things without having to worry about Google changing Android in such a way that it's hard to integrate again.

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