Cyngn, OnePlus, Micromax - The Legal Battle (Portal thread comments)

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Arrjaan

Senior Member
May 5, 2014
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Thanks for the extensive read! Too bad that a community project like CyanogenMod will be harmed through the company that controls it.. I am waiting for a move from OnePlus, they should be able to build a good case.
 

munchy_cool

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Apr 6, 2008
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it's a clear case of back biting by Cyanogen Inc. They have done this to a lot of developers when Cyanogen Inc was formed, and now they do this do their partner.

The emails sent by Kirt clearly show they were aware of what the agreement was, and that they had already decided to end the relationship with OnePlus. Those emails are rude as hell and I guess Kirt needs a rap for that.

Micromax is nothing but an Indian company who has put a brand name on Chinese phones. Yeps Chinese phones were very popular in India and with Android all they needed was to put a name on phones. Yes, they do sell like hot cakes because of the pricing but yes they are no-where close in terms of quality to HTC or Sony.

All in all, a bad move by Cyanogen and it's not the first time. Yes, they may be pioneers in the Android custom rom world but right now it's the success getting to them and they are going to fall hard.

What can I do about it, well ever since the incident with xplodwild I have stopped using CyanogenMod or any roms based of it. Yes, I want the latest Android version running on my device but not from someone who cheats and stabs people behind the back.

It's time for PA, Omni, Slimkat and others to rise to the occasion. Yes, building a rom as popular as CM will take time but patience is the key.

Over and Out.

Edit
One thing I forgot to mention, I am from India and trust me I would never buy a MicroMax device even if it's running CM. I wanted to buy a OnePlus One but after all the lies they had in the basket I had to pass. Yes, I want the latest hardware at the cheapest price but not from peeps who lie.

PS:- This is my personal opinion :)

Peace.
 
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guille26

Senior Member
Jun 29, 2010
217
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Madrid
I'm an OnePlus and CM customer (not only a user, I've paid for their products) and I'm worried. I though OPO was going to be CM flagship and they were going to make an effort to show they can produce and deliver good software, I'm afraid I can't confirm that.
Of course Micromax is a more lucrative project but they have customers.
I chose OPO because of the hardware and because of CM, I've been using CM for years. I didn't chose this phone for the money, I could have paid $600 for another phone, I just didn't like any other phone, I trust Nexus line mostly because of the software but I don't like Nexus 6 so CM software was a nice solution at the time.
So my next phone won't come with CM since I can't trust this company anymore. For me the most important point to choose a phone is software support and CM is no different than Samsung or LG updating their products.
 
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DrNinjaa

Senior Member
Dec 21, 2013
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Thats Ridiculously Buggy

I don't understand how childish The cyanogen team's action to send an email and just cut off a tie with legally well documented contract with oneplus.by the way,its us...the users will suffer the most.Maybe oneplus will move on with the launch of their own ROM for their devices but I doubt cyanogenmod's future and reputation in the Dev forums...:confused::confused::confused:
 

wajahebat

Senior Member
Jan 27, 2013
758
186
Kuala Lumpur
Kirt deserved my piss.

They (Cyanogen Inc) have dropped the development dreams since back then when Cyanogen Inc was up and running. And since then too so many good dev's noticed it and left Cyanogen Inc to start a better one like Omni's/PA's.

It is sad to see a super-great phone development, aimed for the enthusiasts, went this way. Cyanogen = Bad for business. They were like stupid cartels in Mexico downtown. Their rom is not that excellent anyway, i am more interested on AOSP-based team nowadays.
 

Entropy512

Senior Recognized Developer
Aug 31, 2007
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I'm an OnePlus and CM customer (not only a user, I've paid for their products) and I'm worried. I though OPO was going to be CM flagship and they were going to make an effort to show they can produce and deliver good software, I'm afraid I can't confirm that.
Of course Micromax is a more lucrative project but they have customers.
I chose OPO because of the hardware and because of CM, I've been using CM for years. I didn't chose this phone for the money, I could have paid $600 for another phone, I just didn't like any other phone, I trust Nexus line mostly because of the software but I don't like Nexus 6 so CM software was a nice solution at the time.
So my next phone won't come with CM since I can't trust this company anymore. For me the most important point to choose a phone is software support and CM is no different than Samsung or LG updating their products.

One thing I have to say is - I've spoken to one member of OnePlus' new internal software team. If the rest of the team as as competent as he is (as in: I know his work and he's smart), they'll do well.

You make a good point - Cyngn is doing a lot of things that people used to go to CyanogenMod to get away from. What is interesting is that OEMs are also noticing this market trend, which is why you're seeing Motorola put forth minimal skinning (a massive difference from the disaster that was Blur), and Sony's skins are fairly light and minimal. (In my opinion, they are done with enough care that they're almost always a positive improvement. Sony devices are the only ones where I've frequently found no desire to unlock the bootloader to flash something else or even to root. My Xperia Z3 is STILL, after more than a month, bone-stock. I'll eventually work on Omni for it, but right now... It's nice and solid as it is, it would be hard to improve upon that.)

Similarly, OnePlus' new team are intelligent enough to realize that just by doing a base Qualcomm CAF bringup with a few minor tweaks, you can actually do far better than the OEMs that go overboard with ricing.

As to Kirt - of interest is his past work. He was the founder of Boost Mobile.

Also of interest is that Cyngn has signed a pretty juicy exclusivity deal with an OEM that is universally hated in those areas where Cyanogen has brand recognition.
 
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munchy_cool

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Apr 6, 2008
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Also of interest is that Cyngn has signed a pretty juicy exclusivity deal with an OEM that is universally hated in those areas where Cyanogen has brand recognition.

We Indians change our phones a lot. The reason for that is we are not tied to any carrier contracts with our devices, we buy them at full price. We loose our phones, break them, they get stolen whatever be the reason but we change phones whether it's by choice or by force.

That's one the reasons we cannot spend 50,000 INR on a device every time we buy one, we have to look for cheap options and that's where Micromax cashed in. Touchscreen phones from a brand for less than 15,000 INR is good enough.

Very rarely do people care about the quality, all they want is a touch screen phone. Now the nerds and techies like us know the truth about Mediatek devices and that's why we prefer OEM's like HTC, Samsung, Sony etc.

But Micromax, No way! I was even surprised when Google tied up Micromax, karbonn and Spice. All of these supposed OEM's have just rebranded Chinese phones and put Android on them.

The only truly Indian OEM which I had hope from was Notion Ink, but they couldn't compete with the big guns.
 
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vvarma1

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Sep 15, 2013
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"as long as OnePlus didn’t breach the agreement in the first 30 days, Cyanogen “shall not engage in the integration of CyanogenMod with any other mobile device manufacturer for the purpose of distributing such device in the permitted territory”."

This part of the article is incorrect as if you look at what was actually written in the report it states:

"Provided OnePlus is not in breach of this Agreement, for a period of thirty (30) days after the Launch Date, Cyanogen shall not engage in the integration of CyanogenMod with any other mobile device manufacturer..."


If you look at the position of the comma in the actual statement in the report, you can see that these conditions are only applicable for the first 30 days after launch
 
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WA_Bob

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Jun 13, 2011
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OnePlus 8T
How disheartening that Cyanogen has gone so corporate so fast. I wonder if it's just the new faces they have for the company and Steve Kondik & Co. were as surprised by what happened as OnePlus was. I can't imagine the actual devs have changed that much, but they definitely let the new corporate "suits" they hired run them into the ground fast....... :eek:
 
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Hetalk

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Sep 30, 2011
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How disheartening that Cyanogen has gone so corporate so fast. I wonder if it's just the new faces they have for the company and Steve Kondik & Co. were as surprised by what happened as OnePlus was. I can't imagine the actual devs have changed that much, but they definitely let the new corporate "suits" they hired run them into the ground fast....... :eek:

This isn't even corporate. This is like kids playing monopoly.
How can you terminate a contract, by just a one line email?
Sadly, I'm running CM on 4 of my devices(including the 1+1). I think I'll go and find alternatives now.
 

Primokorn

Senior Member
Nov 17, 2012
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I guess we can almost sum up all these disputes through this sentence: "... choosing to not issue updates to a device for political [and economic] reasons". Business is business. We do not care about users.
Political & economic purposes against faith & community.
 

pulser_g2

Admin Emeritus / Senior Recognized Developer
Nov 27, 2009
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"as long as OnePlus didn’t breach the agreement in the first 30 days, Cyanogen “shall not engage in the integration of CyanogenMod with any other mobile device manufacturer for the purpose of distributing such device in the permitted territory”."

This part of the article is incorrect as if you look at what was actually written in the report it states:

"Provided OnePlus is not in breach of this Agreement, for a period of thirty (30) days after the Launch Date, Cyanogen shall not engage in the integration of CyanogenMod with any other mobile device manufacturer..."


If you look at the position of the comma in the actual statement in the report, you can see that these conditions are only applicable for the first 30 days after launch

Well spotted, I had already rectified this in the article and marked it as a correction, then I saw this comment. You are correct in that the exclusivity on integration assistance was a 30 day deal.
 

dibblebill

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Jun 3, 2012
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So my question is, will this mean that CM is going to stop updating international OPO's in the future? That's going to piss a lot of people off, and I'm going to have to be the one to explain to my fiance why my phone advice to her turned bad.

Might be time for me to convince her to let me replace it with Omni or something else.
 
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pulser_g2

Admin Emeritus / Senior Recognized Developer
Nov 27, 2009
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So my question is, will this mean that CM is going to stop updating international OPO's in the future? That's going to piss a lot of people off, and I'm going to have to be the one to explain to my fiance why my phone advice to her turned bad.

Might be time for me to convince her to let me replace it with Omni or something else.

From what Kirk said ("Carl. We will be terminating our relationship with one plus. I will get back to you with more details shortly."), there might well be issues. Nobody knows, but that kind of message seems rather like CM are ending working with 1+.

It is rather unusual though - you don't "break" a contract by telling the other party you will do it, and send details later. That's just not how you do business. You negotiate the specifics, and try to have a clean, quiet, and drama-free break-up, without headlines or press releases. Both sides would discuss the terms and settlements, and legal would sign off on it. That's how it usually works. In this case, this is highly unusual.
 

dibblebill

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From what Kirk said ("Carl. We will be terminating our relationship with one plus. I will get back to you with more details shortly."), there might well be issues. Nobody knows, but that kind of message seems rather like CM are ending working with 1+.

It is rather unusual though - you don't "break" a contract by telling the other party you will do it, and send details later. That's just not how you do business. You negotiate the specifics, and try to have a clean, quiet, and drama-free break-up, without headlines or press releases. Both sides would discuss the terms and settlements, and legal would sign off on it. That's how it usually works. In this case, this is highly unusual.

Yeah, that struck me as REALLY strange and more than a little bit off-putting. I agree, it is certainly not "usual behavior", even among backstabbing companies out there.

I'm wondering if I shouldn't root her device for her, TiBackup everything, and migrate her to another ROM or something.
 

vasili_defy

Senior Member
Feb 10, 2011
548
89
Well spotted, I had already rectified this in the article and marked it as a correction, then I saw this comment. You are correct in that the exclusivity on integration assistance was a 30 day deal.
So that means One plus One broke their side of contracts , since Cyno' went ahead and entered into agreement with Micromax.
It will be pretty nice to keep tabs on this topic as it enters into Californian Courts,
As I am pretty much sure that this will be having much (bad?) effect on the whole Licensing ecosystem of Android modding (say like Slimkat, PA etc whoever decides in future to go Cyano way.)
ps : It seems the funny part that " Sent from Ipad "sig was not noticed by Kirk while sending the email.
 
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Pko66

Member
Nov 27, 2008
7
6
So, CM has become something to avoid... very, very sad.

As previously said, all this clearly shows that unfortunately CM (the company) has no interest in the benefit of its users, and they only intention is in lining their pockets as soon as possible, by any means and forgetting any ethics. So, that also means that as users we should avoid CM and any device or system that depends on it, and so reccomend to NOT BUY devices as those form OnePlus and MicroMax that uses it: CM has become a stain that corrupts the devices on which it resides. Lets hope OnePlus develops as soon as possible an alternate OS ***AND RELEASES IT IN AN OPEN ENOUGH LICENSE*** so we can reccomend its devices again to our friends. Also, lets hope that, if CM (the company) has any legal responsabilities as it appears to be, they become clear soon enough in a judgement and if so, any repairement measures are made available to OnePlus because they seem to be, after end users, the most wronged party in this sad development.

In my opinion, the truly back guys in this story are clearly those running the company CM.
 

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    it's a clear case of back biting by Cyanogen Inc. They have done this to a lot of developers when Cyanogen Inc was formed, and now they do this do their partner.

    The emails sent by Kirt clearly show they were aware of what the agreement was, and that they had already decided to end the relationship with OnePlus. Those emails are rude as hell and I guess Kirt needs a rap for that.

    Micromax is nothing but an Indian company who has put a brand name on Chinese phones. Yeps Chinese phones were very popular in India and with Android all they needed was to put a name on phones. Yes, they do sell like hot cakes because of the pricing but yes they are no-where close in terms of quality to HTC or Sony.

    All in all, a bad move by Cyanogen and it's not the first time. Yes, they may be pioneers in the Android custom rom world but right now it's the success getting to them and they are going to fall hard.

    What can I do about it, well ever since the incident with xplodwild I have stopped using CyanogenMod or any roms based of it. Yes, I want the latest Android version running on my device but not from someone who cheats and stabs people behind the back.

    It's time for PA, Omni, Slimkat and others to rise to the occasion. Yes, building a rom as popular as CM will take time but patience is the key.

    Over and Out.

    Edit
    One thing I forgot to mention, I am from India and trust me I would never buy a MicroMax device even if it's running CM. I wanted to buy a OnePlus One but after all the lies they had in the basket I had to pass. Yes, I want the latest hardware at the cheapest price but not from peeps who lie.

    PS:- This is my personal opinion :)

    Peace.
    14
    I'm an OnePlus and CM customer (not only a user, I've paid for their products) and I'm worried. I though OPO was going to be CM flagship and they were going to make an effort to show they can produce and deliver good software, I'm afraid I can't confirm that.
    Of course Micromax is a more lucrative project but they have customers.
    I chose OPO because of the hardware and because of CM, I've been using CM for years. I didn't chose this phone for the money, I could have paid $600 for another phone, I just didn't like any other phone, I trust Nexus line mostly because of the software but I don't like Nexus 6 so CM software was a nice solution at the time.
    So my next phone won't come with CM since I can't trust this company anymore. For me the most important point to choose a phone is software support and CM is no different than Samsung or LG updating their products.

    One thing I have to say is - I've spoken to one member of OnePlus' new internal software team. If the rest of the team as as competent as he is (as in: I know his work and he's smart), they'll do well.

    You make a good point - Cyngn is doing a lot of things that people used to go to CyanogenMod to get away from. What is interesting is that OEMs are also noticing this market trend, which is why you're seeing Motorola put forth minimal skinning (a massive difference from the disaster that was Blur), and Sony's skins are fairly light and minimal. (In my opinion, they are done with enough care that they're almost always a positive improvement. Sony devices are the only ones where I've frequently found no desire to unlock the bootloader to flash something else or even to root. My Xperia Z3 is STILL, after more than a month, bone-stock. I'll eventually work on Omni for it, but right now... It's nice and solid as it is, it would be hard to improve upon that.)

    Similarly, OnePlus' new team are intelligent enough to realize that just by doing a base Qualcomm CAF bringup with a few minor tweaks, you can actually do far better than the OEMs that go overboard with ricing.

    As to Kirt - of interest is his past work. He was the founder of Boost Mobile.

    Also of interest is that Cyngn has signed a pretty juicy exclusivity deal with an OEM that is universally hated in those areas where Cyanogen has brand recognition.
    14
    How disheartening that Cyanogen has gone so corporate so fast. I wonder if it's just the new faces they have for the company and Steve Kondik & Co. were as surprised by what happened as OnePlus was. I can't imagine the actual devs have changed that much, but they definitely let the new corporate "suits" they hired run them into the ground fast....... :eek:
    No, as someone who dealt with Steve, Arcee, Koush, and many of the other Cyngn leads (as a contributor to CyanogenMod) prior to the Focal fiasco - Kirt's personality is VERY compatible with the personalities of Steve, Arcee, Koush, etc. Koush is gone, but his legacy lives on in terms of setting the "attitude" of the company. This **** is nothing that is surprising to people like Steve and Arcee, since in their point of view, there's nothing wrong with any of the crap that Cyngn has pulled.

    Yeah, that struck me as REALLY strange and more than a little bit off-putting. I agree, it is certainly not "usual behavior", even among backstabbing companies out there.

    I'm wondering if I shouldn't root her device for her, TiBackup everything, and migrate her to another ROM or something.
    It's not like your device is going to suddenly stop working. If Cyngn were to push out an OTA that sabotaged the device without warning, it would be the end of the company. Maybe not immediately, but it would ensure that they were unable to establish any partnerships needed to pay back their investors.

    So this does show something fishy on the part of (not sure) Cyano, but I think seeing from the latest development 1+ has decided to go their own way of making custom Android Rom. Atleast the end user wont suffer bcoz of corporate hulla-ballo!!:silly:
    OnePlus was already going in that direction for their future devices (which is NOT a violation of their Cyngn agreement)

    As a new company to the market I would be much more concerned with getting a reputation as professionals who worked closely with partners and were honest and upfront in my dealings with everyone.

    Small companies become big by working well with their first customers and letting the good word spread.

    I have a fair amount of experience in organising technology companies and projects, and the golden rule is to always treat everyone in good faith. Don't try to pull contracts out - do everything with good faith and involve legal as a last resort.

    If you get a reputation as a very professional and good company to deal with, you'll soon be reaping the benefits. Sending out one line emails to end contracts which are entered into, and then involving legal later, isn't a good idea... Now other customers will rightly be reluctant to work with them, as their word has been found to mean little.

    When you have good relationships with customers, you'll find contracts are a formality for the lawyers to work with. That's how good, ethical business is done.
    That's the big thing here - Cyngn are establishing themselves consistently, time and time again, as partners you simply cannot rely upon or trust.

    Their first hardware partner was Oppo - Cyngn didn't issue an update for that device for on the order of 10 months (their last OTA was February I believe, prior to the KitKat update), with KitKat not arriving until 11 months after launch and more than a year after KitKat release. Cyngn screwed over Oppo there, and it's clear that Oppo wants no involvement with Cyngn on future projects. (From a personal observation, made by putting together various rumors I've heard, it seems that Oppo is so nervous about relying on outside partnerships that they're being very conservative about committing to any further ones even in cases where they obviously could use a bit of help, as evidenced by the near-revolt that's happening on their forums right now...)

    Their second hardware partner was OnePlus. I've kind of gotten the impression from various rumors that OnePlus was never entirely happy with some of the terms of their Cyngn contract (Of interest - that "exclusivity" part of the OnePlus contract is in direct contradiction with Cyngn's claims that they were founded on the belief that users should have their choice of software on their hardware. Clearly that's not the case - Cyngn wants users to have only one choice, Cyanogen OS. They're no different than any other OEM here.), and while OnePlus has done a lot of shady stuff over the past year, Cyngn hasn't exactly done the best job either. OTAing untested experimental kernel/blob changes to graphics (the infamous "black bar" bug that started in nightlies around September 20 and made it into an OTA not long after) was a big freaking derp. That led to OnePlus obviously making the decision, like Oppo, not to involve Cyngn on future phones. If Cyngn were ethical, they would've taken the moral high road and done their best to deliver what is best for their users, both for the sake of their users and to show future hardware partners that they could be relied upon even when the going gets tough. Instead, they royally ****ed over that partner.

    Now, Cyngn's third hardware partner has named them as a defendant in a lawsuit before the hardware even launched.

    Cyngn can't provide their product to end users without hardware partners. Potential hardware partners can, however, survive without them. Oppo has, OnePlus will, and there are lots of other OEMs out there who have healthy businesses without Cyngn, or if they don't have healthy businesses, it's for reasons they don't need Cyngn to solve. Cyngn wants their hardware partners to treat them as a "gotta have", while the reality is that they're a "nice to have". Their track record so far with hardware partners proves that they're not even a "nice to have".
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    8
    Although Cyanogen communication has been very childish and unprofessional and will bite them, I am sure more to this story.
    We also know 1+ are a bunch of liers with false promises and terrible support. It is the kind of company which doesnt answer your tickets until you dispute your payment. Just check their own forum.
    I think they have hurt Cyanogen so badly to provoke such unprofessional reactions. but at the end it will be the loss of Cyanogen. they have lost their credibility and image now. I will be surprised if any other OEM wants to work with them anymore. 1+ can always make their own ROM.
    Yeah. OnePlus have done a lot of shady crap that I don't like. That is one of the reasons I have not purchased one of their devices.

    However: It's a proven fact that OEMs can live without Cyngn, every OEM in the Android industry except OnePlus is currently doing so. However, I get the sense (and some of the wording in that original OnePlus contract goes along with this) that Cyngn wants their OEMs to treat them as their saviors, and then gets butthurt when their partners don't worship them and throw a hissy-fit instead. I've heard from some reliable sources that many of the Cyngn leadership have stated that the Oppo N1 is "dead to them". I don't know why, but OnePlus isn't the first OEM partner Cyngn has screwed. The N1 took 11 months from launch to receive KitKat.
    It can also quite easily be proven that Cyngn cannot make a commitment to users without making a committment to their OEM partners.

    If one could just select the rom they wanted from the factory, PA, omni, aokp, or another, then it wouldn't be exclusive to one software choice. In a way, having the option to run a certain rom without having to root and flash might put some of the "custom" roms more into the mainstream.

    Why should a piece of hardware have to come from the factory with just a single software option? If the consumer could select exactly which rom and apps it runs, etc., it would only bespeak of the customization possibilities which keep so many using Android.
    Cyngn has stated that this sort of consumer selection is their mission, but their actual actions in terms of contracts (There were a lot of provisions in Cyngn's contract that prevented OnePlus from working with anyone else for a certain period of time) and such make it clear that they have no intent on actually working on that stated mission. Their actual actions have been no different than the OEMs that users have historically gone to projects like CM to escape.

    You would want to sell more devices, but you would also want to be truthful to your partners, forget the end user. If the end user comes to know you are not faithful to your partner, I am guessing the end user's trust is lost.
    Yeah. A company like Cyngn whose path to the end user is through their hardware partner cannot have a committment to their users unless they have a committment to their hardware partners.

    Since their track record after less than a year of hardware coming from Cyngn partnerships is that they've burned two OEMs (neither of which appear to want to have anything further to do with them) and their third partner has named them as a defendant in a lawsuit immediately after launch.

    Just to re-assure you that omni doesn't have any plans to become a company. One of the safeguards against that is to have 2 of the key people from the Focal situation on the core team. I don't understand the point in taking a community project, and turning it into a VC-funded start-up like this...

    In any case though, a community project forming a company should be including its contributors in anything it did. That means if Omni was to somehow have money to be in a position to use for development (bear in mind since it isn't a company, it doesn't!), that money would be to pay the existing contributors.

    That's the only ethical way to behave in that situation. One of the problems with Omni is many of the key contributors are already in their high-powered and high-intensity jobs from 9 to 5 (and longer, in cases). Thus they have limited time available to spend on it. But that's what happens in small community projects, I guess.
    As to this, I wouldn't be entirely opposed to Omni being provided to a commercial partner in the future, BUT - it HAS to be done the RIGHT way. One of the things that the CM guys said is "oh these guys are just anti-commercial". Which is wrong. We're "anti-unethical-douchebags". It IS possible to have a community project that has commercial involvement (Linux itself is a great example of this) but it has to be done RIGHT.

    I believe a number of Omni guys have done various contract work where Omni was effectively their resume. I can however promise anyone that, as of this date, Omni has NEVER been a deliverable to any commercial entity.

    If it were to ever be a deliverable, the community would HAVE to be properly involved at an early stage. A healthy community-based project depends on openness and transparency. One of the biggest things with the Cyngn mess is that the leadership continually deceived the community throughout the whole process. When all of the evidence of Cyngn started coming to light, Steve denied that any of it was true - right at the same time Koush was trying to forcefully negotiate commercial dual-licensing of Focal using CM's CLA as a weapon (fortunately, that weapon was pretty much a nerf bat for this particular usage...).

    Cyngn's business model has been openly stated by Steve as being inspired by MySQL - where the code is dual-licensed and only MySQL can offer it under commercial licensing as a product. In short, Cyngn wants to provide a special closed-source product to their customers that is based on the community work. This is fundamentally incompatible with a healthy community. Even MySQL's founder, after forking MariaDB, has said that the elimination of commercial dual-licensing has led to MariaDB having a FAR more active and healthier community than when it was MySQL. This is despite a company being involved with MariaDB - https://mariadb.com/ - Do note that what the company provides is service and support (including "certified tested" binaries).

    If an OEM were to approach us, and ask a member of the team to do something along the lines of:
    1) Bring up Omni on the device
    2) Provide testing, bugfixes, and pass Google's GMS approvals process (in essence, providing "certified binaries")

    I would have no issue with this, although staffing it might be an issue, since as pulser stated, most of us already have jobs. It would require an OEM to commit to a fulltime engineer for at least a year for many of those I know to actually consider leaving their positions to do this. (Although, I will admit, I'm getting quite unhappy with my job to the point where I'm close to resigning for a variety of reasons.)

    Something that would actually work quite well and I would have ZERO objection to, is if an OEM were to hire an engineer to support Omni on their hardware.

    While this is similar to what Cyngn's first efforts to bring in income have been, here's the critical difference:
    7 million dollars in investment, followed by around 35mill more, leading to a headcount of 71 employees, many of whom are high-priced execs, leads to massive pressure from VC investors to do whatever it takes to get as much money rolling in as soon as possible. It also means that CM's leadership and Cyngn's leadership are one and the same. It's also been stated pretty clearly by many of the Cyngn leadership (including, again, Steve himself with his MySQL-worship) that their vision of a business model is for Cyanogen OS as a product, not as Cyngn as a "service and support" company.
    Whereas if you only have 2-3 people with a particular customer to answer to, the rest of the project leadership are still independent. Even if everyone in the project were to represent commercial interests, if they were all representing *different* interests, it would probably be OK. (See Linux as a perfect example of this. The vast majority of contributors to the Linux kernel are being paid to do it - but they represent a wide variety of companies, and those companies have all sorts of different interests - which is pretty similar to a healthy community project where everyone involved has a diversity of interests/stake in the project. Also of note, Linus has made a point of never working for a company that provided Linux as a product, because of the fundamental conflict of interest this would provide. He is currently employed by the Linux Foundation - which is a nonprofit organization that has multiple sponsors, ensuring his neutrality.)

    I'm somehow confused; aren't early adoption of CM for Moto G (2013) or Moto E based on CAF too?
    Huh? What does CM have to do with it? Moto G and E are indeed derived from Qualcomm CAF, as are all other HALs for non-Nexus Qualcomm devices. They are a perfect example of how the "less is more" approach can be better for users than excessive ricing. Their devices only add a few apps and small customizations on top of what CAF provides - and the end result for the user is excellent. If you want an idea of how OnePlus can deliver a great user experience with a small team - The Moto G and E (and to a lesser degree the X) are perfect examples of this concept.