I managed to get Steve (who most know as Cyanogen) to do a Interview & it’s been a whole 3 months in the making but I finally have his blessing and co-operation & I wanted to share this unedited interview with you.
This is a complete, unedited interview to give you a insight into the guy that most know as Cyanogen.
OK Steve (or Cyanogen as most know you) firstly I just want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to give us your time to run through a small series of questions to give your supporters & even those rivals (if any) insight about who you are, what you do & why you do what you do.
Now if at anytime you find the questions are too personal please say so & I will mark it down as “Too Personal” on the site.
Also I would like to point out what you say won’t be edited or changed in anyway in the published article so what you say will be what’s seen.
I (Troy or FHL09 as most know me) want to say personally a huge thanks again for offering to do this & you know I idolize you and I’m sure I ain’t the only one.
Ok so now the meet and greet is out of the way lets get this interview underway.
Question 1: If you were born before computers were invented, what type of job and/or hobbies do you think you would have?
I got into computers at 8 years old, so thats tough. I’ve always been into different kinds of science, so I’d have to guess a chemist or something.
Question 2: Most of us don’t have coding skills (I know cause I‘m one), In fact, as you’ve noticed on XDA many of us struggle just upgrading our phones with your ROMs, but for those inspired by your work, how would you recommend someone get their start? Through college classes only, or is this something that you can teach yourself?
I taught myself to code when I was really young but I realize most aren’t like that. I didn’t finish college. It’s pretty easy to get started in a language like Java with all the great tools available these days. I see a lot of people wanting to learn to “cook ROMs” without knowing how to code. I don’t know why anyone would ever want to do this 🙂
Question 3: Have you ever bricked a device? How many? How many times did you THINK you bricked a phone?
Yeah, I bricked a G1 after it had only been out of the box for 10 minutes because I forgot to reboot before installing the DangerSPL 🙂 It was a replacement for my first G1 that had it’s touchscreen go bad after leaving it in a hot tent while camping.
These devices are pretty hard to brick unless you are messing around with the bootloader or trying to push the hardware too hard like overlocking. I’ve never been too concerned about experimenting.
Question 4: You’re understandably an inspiration to lots of people. You truly have revolutionized Android, but we know so little about you. Many people believe you breath, eat and speak nothing but “geek”, so our questions here are, were you a high school geek or jock? & have you ever woke up with “nerd or geek” written on your forehead?
I’m definitely self-identify as a geek, but that not a bad thing at all. But yeah, highschool pretty much sucked, mostly because I grew up in a small town and it was tough to find people with similar interests as for the question have you ever woke up with “nerd or geek” written on your forehead no fortunately, I scared most people away.
Question 5: So as I said before most know “Cyanogen” but not many know Steve, so I want to give you a chance to tell people about “Steve” in 250 words or less.
Come have a beer with be sometime. I have no idea how to answer this 🙂
Question 6: Most know your wife has an Android phone. Would you be mad or jealous if she ever decided she no longer wanted to use Cyanogen & decided to use Super D instead?
Both (mad & jealous)
Question 7: I personally have been interested in your name “Cyanogen” and I know I say it wrong to friends given my accent being a little different to the American accent. Why did you choose the name “Cyanogen” to start with?
I used to use the handle “shade”, but that was kind of boring and it’s never available. I’m a bit of a chemistry nerd so it just popped into my head I guess.
Question 8: Most know it is really hard to develop ROMs and it can be stressful even more when you are the one people use most. So have you ever even remotely consider calling it quits? And if yes, what made the thoughts of quitting come to mind?
The C&D from Google was pretty upsetting, but I just took a break for a week and thought it over. Also, people with this huge sense of entitlement who attack me over trivial stuff. My Twitter feed tends to alternate between flames and normal conversation rapidly so I tend to just tune it out.
Question 9: There was true community outrage when Cyanogate broke. Initially, some people didn’t like the two layered approach to installing your roms, now that it’s all died down and the community development continues, do you see the C&D letter as possibly a good step in all of this? And do you think what you did prior to that infringed on any copyright?
I’m not a stranger to C&D letters 🙂 I ran an internet radio station in the early days before any of the regulations were passed. I also ran an OpenNap server. I think there are a lot of legal gray areas for sure.
I think Google was in the right doing what they did, and they didn’t use any kind of heavy-handed tactics. I’ve always tried to keep it on the up-and-up with them. Android needs hackers and evangelists just like any other technology. They clearly drew a line between what was OK and what was not after some conversation and it motivated a lot of people to get more involved in the community. I’d like to think that the “fastboot oem unlock” feature on the N1 is a result of all this 🙂
Question 10: With all the notoriety that came from the C&D, many of us expected Google to hire you & if they didn’t, someone would. With that i ask if Apple was to offer you a job making buckets of money but it came with the stipulation that you could use nothing but an iPhone, would you consider it?
Question 11: When you’re up late at night doing your magic with new code, what music do you have playing in the background?
Electronic all the way. I’m big into psychedelic trance, dubstep, techno, EBM, industrial, etc. You can find me at http://last.fm/user/cyanogen if you’re really interested.
Question 12: You started the tradition of “Buy Me A Beer” for developers & modders … So tell us about your 1st time getting drunk?
Obviously, I don’t remember it.
Question 13: Boys like toys, or so they say. We know about your phones. Do you have a supercomputer in your basement? Tell us about your main computer.
Nothing special, it’s a quad-core AMD Phenom system with 8 gigs of RAM running Ubuntu Karmic right now.
Question 14: Tell us the truth here Steve, do you do your coding wearing nothing but a Snuggie?
Question 15: With the tons of bug fixes on ROMs, I have to know, Has any doctor ever diagnosed you with obsessive compulsive disorder ;)?
Question 16 : If tomorrow you got served with a C&D letter telling you that “Cyanogen” was copyrighted and you couldn’t use it, what would you pick as a codename & why?
I don’t think you can copyright a name like that so I haven’t given it much thought.
Question 17: Have you ever had to buy your wife a really expensive gift to make up for all the time you’ve spent with your phone?
Question 18: To the best of your recollection, what is the longest you’ve ever stayed up coding one of your roms?
Hard to say, but I’ve definitely been so into coding something that I forgot to eat for awhile.
Question 19: Faced with this dilemma, what would you do?
Here’s the scenario:
You just released one of your roms when you realize there’s a really nasty bug in it that could brick everyone’s phone and will take a few hours to fix. So you sit down at your computer desk to fix the bug when you’re wife yells “Steve, I’m in labor and we have to get to the hospital NOW”.
Do you tell your wife to “hold on” and fix the code, or do you take your wife immediately.
Forget the damn rom.
When asked why he responded:
My wife is awesome
Question 20: Ok I know you’re a busy man so let’s wrap this up. Final question for you.
You pretend you’re the interviewer and could only ask yourself one question, what would you ask yourself & what’s your answer?
Why did you name the ROM after yourself? That seems kind of arrogant.
Yes it was a bad choice, and I’ve thought about renaming it many times since there are so many people who contribute to it now, but someone always manages to talk me out of it.
End of interview.
I personally want to thank Steve for taking part in this interview & if you want to see what Steve & TeamDouche have been up to be sure to check out http://www.cyanogenmod.com & follow Steve on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/Cyanogen