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LineageOS's April Fools' Day gag was neither funny nor timely (Update: LineageOS team apologizes)

Update: The LineageOS team has issued an apology following its misjudged April Fools' joke from last week.

Published onApril 10, 2018


Update (04/10/2018): The LineageOS team has issued an apology following their April Fools' joke that made headlines last week.

The joke consisted of two parts — one relating to cryptocurrency and another, which attracted the most complaints, involved a persistent "validation error" notification (read more on the specifics in the original coverage below). 

In a message on its official blog (via Android Police), LineageOS's ciwrl said that, in hindsight, the notification "was in bad taste for a platform such as ours."

"While we did not set out to inflict harm to our users, its clear by the feedback that we’ve received that many saw [the notification] as not only unfunny, but as a degradation of the trust users and maintainers," wrote ciwrl.

"To our users, we apologize and promise to do better next year."

The post also laid out an apology to the LineageOS "maintainers and contributors" — whom much of the online hate was directed at — and it was explained that the joke wasn't made on "a teamwide or even Project Director-driven consensus." Which part of the team was responsible, we don't know.

Malicious or not, trust in the LineageOS group appears to have taken a beating as a result of the gag. How far this apology goes to repairing that faith remains to be seen. 

Original coverage (04/06/2018): The folks behind LineageOS included an April Fools’ Day joke in their most recent builds, but it apparently took until April 4 for the gag to be ready, and some people are not smiling.

The new builds include a “validation error” notification that, when tapped on, reveals LineaGenuine details. LineaGenuine is LineageOS’ tool that determines whether you are running a certified build of the Android fork.

In this case, the details state that your device is uncertified and that LOSCoins must be mined to avoid malicious use of your device’s resources. LOSCoins is the April Fools’ gag and a git-based blockchain that rewards folks for commits.

The longer they “marinate” — LineageOS’ term for failing to review submitted code — the more LOSCoins they are worth.

The joke is a topical one that takes a crack on Google’s recent move to block its apps on uncertified devices. Android Police also found that everyone gets 2,000 LOSCoins in a dedicated Wallet app and that the crypto assets were legit.

The problem is that you may not know this was a joke if you did not tap on “Learn more” in the LineaGenuine pop-up. This takes you to the latest changelog post, which details the April Fools’ joke at the bottom of the post.

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Some thought the joke was in poor taste, while others believed the “Validation error” warning was genuine and were concerned. A dedicated Reddit thread on the subject has more than 300 comments, many expressing anger or disappointment.

Making matters worse, the only way to get rid of the notification is by manually disabling it through a root shell.

The April Fools’ joke does not affect LineageOS’s usability otherwise — but even so, the somewhat grim warning, in the already sensitive area of flashing custom ROMS, has put a damper on a joke that could have raised a smirk.

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