Aug 7th, 2013

asus nexus 7 front landscape

It’s a huge loss for Android and one that could be seen as the 2nd highest profile exit since Android-founder Andy Rubin bid farewell back in March. The man known ’round the world as Jean-Baptiste Quéru (aka JBQ), one of the Android Open Source Project’s premier engineers, is finally ready to call it quits. While JBQ hasn’t come out and revealed the exact reasons for his departure, he’s definitely alluded to it in a variety of social media posts. The reasons? Well, they might surprise you.

From the looks of things, legal troubles involving Qualcomm and the semi-conductor giant not being forthcoming with the source code to the Nexus 7’s Snapdragon processor have delayed Google from publishing the factory images/driver binaries onto Google Developers. Apparently, JBQ isn’t having it and after expressing his concerns (actually anticipating the situation 6 months in advance), he is finally ready to hang up his coat and move to greener pastures.

On July 30th, JBQ posted to Twitter:

“That feeling when lawyers sabotage the launch you spent 6 months working on? I haz it. Sad sad sad sad sad sad.”

On August 4th, things became grim after posting to Twitter:

“I don’t want to go to work tomorrow. I don’t want to be doing that job any more.”

Finally, the JBQ reached his boiling point on August 7th, posting to Google+:

“Well, I see that people have figured out why I’m quitting AOSP.

There’s no point being the maintainer of an Operating System that can’t boot to the home screen on its flagship device for lack of GPU support, especially when I’m getting the blame for something that I don’t have authority to fix myself and that I had anticipated and escalated more than 6 months ahead.”

You may remember a similar situation involving the Nexus 4 and the delayed release of its factory images. Judging from the processor it’s running, we now have a better idea as to why. We can only hope JBQ’s departure isn’t a sign of bad things to come for Android. Where Android’s engineers (the men and women working closest to the project) initially had complete freedom, it seems Google might have gotten themselves caught in a tangled web where the situation is a lot more complicated than the original open source nature Android was founded upon.

No matter the reasons motivating JBQ’s move away from AOSP, I think I speak for everyone here at Phandroid in wishing Quéru the best of luck, and fond farewell. Thanks for all your hard work, JBQ, and best of luck in your future endeavors (whether with Google or elsewhere). Cheers.

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