Today we have with us a very talented developer who currently holds a senior position in the Resurrection Remix team, Varun Date. He happened to have some pretty interesting answers to my questions regarding Resurrection Remix, Substratum, and the downfall of CyanogenMod.
Hey, Varun! Can you please give our readers a formal introduction of who you are and what you do?
My name is Varun and I am from India. You may know me as varund7726 on GitHub and any other forum. I’m part of the Resurrection Remix team.
How and when did you start with development?
Well, back in 2012 I had my very first device. A Samsung Galaxy Ace. A friend of mine told me about rooting and other stuff which was quite impressive to me at the time.
I started my research and ended up in XDA-Developers which opened up a whole new world for me.
Browsing through XDA, flashing custom ROMs, also made me realise that I needed to get my hands on a better device to unlock more of its capabilities, so I upgraded to the Galaxy S2 and I was really impressed with what the XDA Portal has to offer for this device.
As years passed, changing/upgrading devices was an exciting thing.
A point came where I was so much into custom ROMs and learnt so much about Android development that I wanted to build a ROM myself instead of pestering the developers and asking them for ETA. So the first ROM I built was PAC from its source code.
As months fled by I discovered a bunch of ROMs out there to lay my hands on and I landed myself to RR (Resurrection Remix). I was given a position to maintain back during the early Lollipop days.
I had a few skills in Java and XML when I started . As months passed by, I decided to add my own stuff to the ROM and so I did.
I was then added to the team and have been a part of RR ever since then. Although that was 3 years from now, I have learnt a lot from my fellow developers and reached a whole new level of Android customisation.
You are seen as the person heading Resurrection Remix. How was your journey from a noob to heading RR?
Well actually, the reason why I have been given such a high position in the team is because of Altan also known as “westcrip”, on social forums. RR has always been his creation and he gave me a chance to be take part on the team.
We have worked together over the years of shaping RR into making it something different from other ROMs, basically a combination between AOSP and CM base.
So yeah I was a noob, catching up to this level wasn’t easy. Reading up stuff on StackOverflow, messing with codes, upgrading my computer just for Android development, all this has been an exciting journey for me as it was totally worth it.
What is your stand on the recent CyanogenMod downfall? You’re a CM fan boy for sure
I wouldn’t say that I would take a stand for CM but yeah I really miss the theme engine and other features that CM brought up.
CyanogenMod, may be messed up from the inside, but I still respect them for keeping such a huge list of devices alive, the list even includes my older devices like the Galaxy S2. CM had always been the source I can rely on.
But nevertheless, its downfall wasn’t discouraging at all as we knew Lineage was coming 🙂
What are your views on the CM/Substratum war?
Haha, that’s a good one. CMTE was always the developers favourite until marshmallow ended. CMTE had a lot of potential to be brought back to life for 7.0 release but unfortunately due to the CM/CyanogenOS circumstances, it didn’t happen.
Substratum is a beautiful theme engine and I really like the way all the developers and friends I know have come together to make it so perfect. I myself have run personal builds with oms support and I’m really enjoying it .
Although I don’t know why but my craving for CMTE still exists in high amounts 😀 So this “war” that’s happening, I think its high time has settled down as we just have to wait and see what Lineage has in store for us and what heights Substratum can take us because it has really been an impressive improvement.
Why aren’t you including OMS into RR, tho? Are you waiting for LOSTE, or is there some other theory behind it?
The thing is, we would be more than happy to merge OMS into RR, but basically our RR specific themes like the Pitch Black series, are totally CMTE/LOSTE dependent. So we do have plans to merge LOSTE if it makes progress. The thing is we appreciate what themers do and how much time they spend to theme one ROM.
If we go ahead and merge OMS, it won’t be fair to OMS themers once we merge CMTE/LOSTE as their themes won’t work anymore.
It will be even more unfair to the user who used/bought themes for Substratum, and suddenly can’t use them anymore. It’s basically a tough call to take. The decision is not mine, it is made by the entire team 🙂
So yeah in short, we are waiting for LOSTE and we do see that its making some progress.
Well, that’s great. What advice would you give to the people starting in ROM development right now?
Well I’d just say that you guys have a great exciting time ahead. Just stick to the rules, and don’t rebrand, rebase or kang other ROMs. Start from scratch and add your own stuff to it, and you’ll notice that is a lot more fun than rebranding 🙂
What do you think has changed over the years in development drastically?
New developers with new ideas have really created a huge lift in development. The substratum developers, the creator of DUI, etc have really made Android jump to a whole new level.
Why do you think RR gets a bad rap from some people (random reboots, too many features, instability) and how does it affect you?
RR is basically a combination of a lot of features. These features have been adapted and implemented and thoroughly tested before merging them in our main source.
However some developers believe that addition of too many features could break the system but as long as they are all well balanced, it won’t break a thing. As for these names that have been given to us, its clearly given by those guys who are upset for the fact that we won’t merge OMS just yet.
If you ask an end-user who won’t take sides and ask them to use the ROM, you’ll see the feedback 🙂 RR doesn’t get popular for no reason. But jealously and competition just goes around these days and people who put us down knows that very well.
What keeps you in Android?
Android is the most flexible platform I have ever come across, even more flexible than Windows and of course, iOS. iOS limits your device from doing so many things, so many security restrictions, you can’t play around with the hardware.
Android is open source and literally allows you to tweak the entire device right from scratch.
There are so many things that make an Android device the boss of all platforms but long story short, Android allows you to completely use your phone’s potential unlike the other platforms and that’s what makes it beautiful.