CVPCS: A Letter to My Followers

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I remember the first time I flashed Sapphire on my DROID. I at that point had basically tried everything out there. I could name them all but you get my point. I ran Sapphire for five minutes and immediately messaged my colleagues (Kellex and Picolas) and just started ranting on how I knew I had found the next big thing. Since then a lot has happened to my friend, cvpcs.

His popularity in the community has grown immensely, and his reputation as a ROM Developer has become unbeatable. A class act, he is always friendly and approachable. One of the coolest guys I’ve had the honor of even interviewing for Droid-Life. So it’s with honor that we can bring you this special message from Austen about the end of GEM ROMs, and the beginning of his new work with the CyanogenMod Team. Read cvpcs’ letter after the jump.  

As one era comes to a close another is just beginning!

So many of you have probably heard by now through twitter or the grapevine that I will be halting my work on GEM in order to pursue a new position as a developer for CyanogenMod. Since I first told this to people I have gotten mixed reviews as to whether or not people feel this is for the better, and I just wanted to clear the air, give my reasons, and just lay down everything that brought this about.

First of all, I wanted to address my reasoning for moving to CM. It was a hard decision and as much as I know people think it came out of the blue, I was honestly thinking about it for about a month now. At present I was developing for five devices (Droid1, DroidX, Droid2, Incredible, and Evo), one of which I didn’t even have. Most developers will tell you that they don’t like to maintain more than two devices, as it becomes quite a chore. It was becoming so much work that I wasn’t even getting time to visit with my friends and family anymore, as every moment I took off from developing meant that everything ground to a halt. The problem being that after almost a year at the helm of GEM, I was still (for all intents and purposes) a solitary developer. This put an immense amount of stress on me to make things work in a timely manner, as well as to add new features. Every day I would go to the bug tracker, and for every bug/feature I fixed or implemented five more would pop up in its place. It was becoming so daunting that I didn’t even look forward to doing it anymore, and that was when the red flag shot up.

I have always said that Android Development is a hobby, and as a hobby it should be fun. If it’s not fun then you shouldn’t do it. For anyone out there who thinks that it is for the money (as far as donations are concerned) it is a lie. To give an example, I began working on GEM in March of 2010, and from then to now we have made approximately $1600 in donations. If you consider that I spent roughly three hours a day every week within that time period, with the exception of my three month hiatus from September to November 2010, that totals roughly 33 weeks, which comes to 693 hours, and therefore approximately $2.30/hr. But add into the mix that all of the donations went to purchase devices for development as well as web hosting (there were never any actual payouts to team members in the form of cash), and it becomes easy to see why this is a job that you need to have a passion for to keep working on it. It is for that reason that I decided that I needed to find a way to bring the “fun” back into the equation.

After thinking long and hard about it I decided that I wanted to join the CM team so that I could not only add my skills to the mix to further improve their OS, but as part of their team I no longer would be under the immense amount of stress that I was under with GEM, and will have comrades to assist me if I need it. The whole prospect is very exciting for me and I hope that people will continue to like the work that I do.

I also wanted to clear up something. I have gotten some feedback that people are upset that CM “swallowed up” another independent developer. It should be noted that not once when I was working on GEM did CM contact me about joining them. This was entirely my decision and they simply welcomed me into the fold, which I appreciate immensely. They are an awesome team and I can’t wait to add to that.

So I know that many of you will be sad that GEM is no more, and a part of me is as well. But I don’t like to see it as GEM dying, so much as the best parts of GEM assimilating into the best of CM and producing a truly epic result that will help the vendors out there take notice of what an amazing product this community can turn out.

Now that all of the explanation of my reasons is out of the way, what can you expect moving forward? Well, I have officially signed on to maintain CM7 on the Droid (OG Droid for some, though I prefer just Droid). I will also be doing general work within the CM repo tree, one of the first of which will be to add the scrollable Notification Power Widget from GEM into CM. I also will be looking into porting CM7 over to the DX/D2, but I don’t want to lay down anything concrete on those fronts yet, since I haven’t even begun working on it and therefore don’t know exactly what to expect, but just know that it’ll be looked at in the coming weeks.

The existing GEM source will remain online at my github (, and the wiki will remain online as well but will eventually be moved back to my private server at All of my work was open source so people are free to take it and build upon it if they wish. I will also be maintaining my IRC chat on freenode at #cvpcs, so if you have any questions you can usually find me there. I thank everyone who supported my work and am extremely appreciative of all of the positive feedback I received.

I hope everyone is as excited about this as I am, and for those who aren’t, I hope I can change your mind!


I speak for the entire Droid-Life community in wishing cvpcs the best of luck for 2011 and his continued work on the Android platform. Without the hard work and dedication of Developers like him, I have no idea where this community would be. A big “Thank You” and congratulations are in order! We’ll be seeing you around cvpcs!

And please believe, we’ll continue to cover his work and be sure to have the heads up on releases!


Be sure to stay up to date with everything he is doing on his Twitter!



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