Android 5.0.1 was released for the Google Play Editions of the HTC One and the HTC One M8 last week, and HTC has very quickly turned around and pushed the source code out to developers via HTCDev over the weekend.
This is a marked departure from what we’ve come to expect (release date of 90 days, or whenever the next update has been out for a week), and hopefully is a sign that HTC might be working toward the greater good, but we’ll have to see when they release a Sense-based phone update whether this carries through.
In the past, Sense kernels were released with no rhyme nor reason, but generally past the date that releasing the source would have been useful. One theory was that kernel source was released so slowly because HTC was practicing security through obscurity (you can’t exploit what you can’t read,) but the sentiment was that HTC was doing it just to delay enhancements by third parties.
Now if they could just honor their prior commitments to EVO users, which are about a year late now…
Kernel source allows developers to build new kernels that function properly with certain applications or desired goals. It also allows them to discover when an application has been slid behind the OS/public’s view for the carriers to make use of (like CarrierIQ, or itson.) With the GPE versions it’s much more likely that not much of that nonsense has been packed into the phone though.
Whatever the case, it’s out there for people to comb over and decide whether the HTC developers have done something silly with it.
It feels weird that simply complying with GPL in a timely fashion warrants a “good job HTC,” but it does.