Google Moves Android Toward Linux Kernel

Linux LogoGoogle’s nudge of Android back toward the Linux kernel should be a good thing for developers.

Android developers: What’s your reaction? Tell us by posting a comment below.

The effort stems in part from the frustrations born of working with code Google produced after tinkering with the native language. Now the company’s developers are building some of Android’s features along with the mainline kernel. Says Sony Programmer Tim Bird:

This makes it easier for developers to do two things: 1) use Android features in non-Android systems, and 2) experiment with Android user space with a vanilla [mainline] kernel. The first of these is useful to analyze how the Android-specific features might integrate with or leverage other related features in the kernel. There have already been some good discussions on the kernel mailing list and on the Android mainline mailing list with ideas about moving forward.

Bird, who’s been heavily involved in bringing together Google’s Android Linux with the Linux kernel, told CNET he’s already seen high-level Android components running atop the mainline kernel with “a very small number of patches.” That, CNET’s Stephen Shankland observes, “bodes well for those trying to see what Android can do without clinging to Google’s skirts. ”

In particular, it should be useful for those working on other Linux-based mobile devices. Writes Shankland: “(G)iven that Google’s browser programmers also have been working more closely with the WebKit browser engine project from which Google Chrome got its start, perhaps the company is convinced it’s now missing out on benefits to sharing its code more constructively. ”

Image: L. Ewing

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