JBQ – maintainer of all things holy at AOSP, is quitting

by: Darcy LaCouveeAugust 7, 2013

AOSP has given us so many custom ROM's, and has extended the lifespan of many an Android.

AOSP has given us so many custom ROM’s, and has extended the lifespan of many an Android.

Today is a sad day for Android, folks.

Technical Lead, Android Open Source Project maintainer, and revered Android personality at Google, Jean Baptiste Queru, has announced he is leaving the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) at Google. And JBQ wasn’t just a mere employee at Android / Google, but really went the extra mile to help independent developers and keep things ‘open.’ As you’ll see from the quote below, JBQ was well known for his keenness to help developers:

So many of your posts on the forums have helped me with issues and I've learned so much from just reading.

JBQ is best known for his constant answering of questions from eager developers on Google Groups, and for ensuring that Android, at its core, was still open source. A very helpful character, JBQ is loved and respected by millions for the good work he has done.

While it’s highly unlikely that JBQ is leaving Google entirely, it does beg several questions as to how something like this could happen. How could JBQ –someone so committed to open source, to Android, and to Google be made to want to walk away?

jbq gplus aosp

The answer is simple – lawyers, IP, and the desire to keep things closed. Among the actors involved is Qualcomm. While JBQ isn’t allowed to comment on such matters because he is, for all intents and purposes, on the legal hook – the writing is on the wall.

Qualcomm is a notoriously quiet company that believes in vigorously defending its ‘proprietary’ intellectual property. And, they’ve a commanding lead in the SoC industry, and currently sell and make more SoC’s than any one single company.

And so, here we are today. We’ve lost arguably one of the largest proponents and champions of Android and open source because of the way lawyers and big business work. A sad day for Android, and a sad day for open source.

In order to understand, from the larger picture, why this problem is likely arising, let’s look at the SoC’s used in the Nexus line of devices:

It’s that second-to-last comment which points the [middle] finger at Qualcomm. And it’s pretty easy to figure out why, looking at the chipset supplier for each Nexus device.

  • Nexus One: Qualcomm
  • Nexus S: Samsung
  • Galaxy Nexus: TI
  • XOOM: Tegra
  • Nexus 7: Tegra
  • Nexus 4: Qualcomm
  • Nexus 10: Samsung
  • Nexus Q: TI
  • Nexus 7 (2013):Qualcomm

Based off the fact that we know all Qualcomm powered Nexus devices have run into substantial difficulties relating to publishing factory images and binaries, we’d say it’s a very easy conclusion to come to that Qualcomm is responsible here. Kudos to AndroidPolice for putting the dots together.

JBQ isn’t delving into specifics, and we understand why. Is this all because of Qualcomm’s willingness to play ball? Is there something bigger at work here?  My apologies that the above read like an obituary, but it truly is a sad day for Android and for open source.

Here’s to hoping everything works out. Any thoughts?

  • Dorisimoe

    Who’s going to fight for android and open source now? It’s like letting Qualcomm and the likes thereof win. Please say it isn’t true! It is like a death and not just his.

  • MasterMuffin

    I thought Qualcomm was open. They all grow up and get evil D:

    • n900mixalot

      Nope, Qualcomm has been at the very heart of every massive patent dispute since the beginning modern mobile times.

      They are a terrible match for Android.

    • OMGgary

      Who woulda thought?
      Mediatek might turn out to be the great white hope for now – at least until they start making the big bucks. Making too much money completely fúx up companies’ attitudes.
      Look at Apple. Back in the 90’s they were Luke Skywalker, now they’re the fricking Empire.

      • MasterMuffin

        I think Apple is Anakin Skywalker. Good at the start, slowly turned and became evil and soon they’ll die :)

        • OMGgary

          Good point.
          Maybe they’ll renounce iOS and overpriced shiny iCrap, moments before they die.

          • MasterMuffin

            Moments before they die, they’ll be a moment when they’re good again. They’ll drop all lawsuits and they’ll make a public apology. Follow the script man :D

          • OMGgary

            Okay, but then afterwards in my adaptation they appear as spirits alongside Charles Babbage and Alan Turing. (a la Yoda and Obi Wan and Anakin in the the SW universe) :)

          • MasterMuffin

            We’ll see Jobs again :O

          • Jillxz

            They’ll never die. With Android in serious trouble , Apple will revive again.

          • MasterMuffin

            Android in serious trouble? WUT

          • OMGgary

            Ya wut? Android in serious…???

          • satin596

            That hardly makes any sense….

  • Joshua Hill

    Time to boycott Qualcomm chips if they’re destroying the openness of our beloved Android. Qualcomm you are not Apple so F Off and leave Android alone.

    • Joshua Hill

      Samsung and Nvidias chipsets look a whole lot more enticing to me now :)

      • n900mixalot

        I’m sure you will be welcomed with open arms!

        • Joshua Hill


        • Joshua Hill

          I’m waiting for somebody with 64 bit arms to welcome me ;)

      • freedomspopular

        They’re no better. Might even be worse. Looks like it’s back to dumbphones for you.

        • Joshua Hill

          If you say so, the Exynos in my SGS2 has had amazing support. More custom ROMs than are available for Nexus devices.

          • PopeJamal

            Congrats! The Exynos in my GN2 has shit support, all thanks to Samsung wanting to protect their IP.

            I guess it’s not such a black and white situation after all, huh? But don’t let that stop you from oversimplifying things.Please, continue on.

          • Joshua Hill

            Just because you got screwed over by Samsung there’s no need to take it out on me. But please keep over simplifying things and carry on :p

      • madquack

        You must know know enough about the Exnyos Saga.. I encourage you to stay away from Exynos based platforms if you’re looking for a stable development platform which are way more closed source and private than anything Qualcomm dishes out.

        • Joshua Hill

          I’m aware of a few Exynos issues. As I said above I’ve had excellent support for The Exynos in my SGS2. If you’re going to offer criticism you should be a bit more specific or people will disregard what you’re saying.

        • Joshua Hill

          Haha so @madquack edited his post after my criticism and then down votes ppl. What a champ u are sir.

      • Joshua Parnell

        You and me both. I wont buy another Qualcomm device

  • Jack Parker

    No Qualacom.. Dont you put that on me, Dont you put that evil on me!

    • n900mixalot


  • Ramaven

    Many Years before, Motorola bought Qualcomm… thus…

  • John Bailey

    Say it ain’t so!

  • gommer strike

    We can’t boycott something just because there’s a chip from Qualcomm in it. You know how massive Qualcomm is?

    “can’t boot to the home screen”…what exactly is he saying? I’m guessing that the “home screen” I’m presented with, upon booting the device, has nothing to do with what he’s talking about? Is it something that’s buried away, that only devs had access to, but no more?

    • E. Tasche

      I’m guessing its yet another issue with Qualcomm not giving sufficient specs on the chip itself to be able to write drivers for certain kernel features, or something along those lines…

      • OMGgary

        Yes, very likely I’d say. Another example was seen when Sony announced AOSP support for Xperia Z. But to get it working on the Z, Sony had to provide some additional bits that were closed source for kanging into the rom built from the open code.

    • Failaser

      Qualcomm does not want google to redistribute the binary drivers for their CPU. This means that when JBQ tries to release the source you’re still missing the binary driver and thus nothing will happen.

      To fix this JBQ simply has to add the binary driver (which can be ripped from the device itself)… But he can’t, because of Qualcomm’s legal team.

      Google probably hoped it could arrange something like they could with the nexus 4 last year but alas. This is quite the pickle we’re in…

  • APai

    fuck qualcomm. I’m pretty happy mediatek/ exynos/ nvidia, etc chips are eating their lunch. screw this wannabe monopoly

  • Bjajjull

    Exynos, no! Tegra, maybe… Qualcomm, thought you were a good company, I was wrong.

    What’s left? Intel, Mediatek and TI, or even better, Google start making their own SoCs.

    • Satin453

      Unfortunately, TI left the market (oh noes) so we wont be seeing any TI powered phones anymore

  • linux_ftw

    Who cares. Qualcomm still makes the best chips.

    • PhoenixSide

      Not really, Qualcomm Chips may be powerful but they have no real hardware level power saving features (big.LITTLE for exynos and stealth core for Nvidia)

  • Joshua Hill

    And people were asking for Moto to provide their optimisations to Qualcomm and others. I thought it was a bit odd at the time. Stories like this are exactly why it would be silly to give their anti competitive competitors a leg up.

  • Riablo

    You can google for ”issue 42993”, follow the first link and see, how JBQ couldn’t fix Tegra3-related extremely battery draining bug for Nexus7 3G, which makes the majority of these devices totally useful. I can not imagine, how any other SOC could be worse.

    • Joshua Hill

      You haven’t provided much info. Googling what you suggests gives a number of different results not relevant to the issue. The first result I think is pertinent, https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=42993.
      However, this effects Wifi only devices as well as 3G ones. So I find it hard to believe what you say given you didn’t know or express the knowledge that it effected both devices. Also this issue was unique to Android 4.2. It did not cause problems in Android 4.1 and was fixed with Android 4.3. I know this first hand as I have had all 3 versions installed on my 16gb Nexus 7 Wifi only.

      The issue was that the device would not go into deep sleep mode. I still don’t know the actual cause of the problem but it certainly wasn’t something unique to the 3G model.

    • Joshua Hill

      Oh yeah and it also effected Nexus 4 owners although there weren’t as many complaints as there was from Nexus 7 owners. Given the Nexus 4 is a Qualcomm chip there’s no way you can blame Nvidia for this and try to defend Qualcomm.

    • Joshua Hill

      A quote from JBQ ‘I suspect that this is related to an Intel cell radio’. Your right it’s all Nvidia’s fault, except the source you provide contradicts you.

  • scb1898


  • dfs
    • Joshua Hill

      Somebody want to remove this and ban the user?

  • Abbas Mustafa Bhaiji

    JBQ, Welcome to XDA Developers