CyanogenMod has gone corporate. The alternative Android variant was backed by funding from Benchmark Captial and Redpoint Ventures in April, and 17 employees have been devoted to the project ever since. The transition, along with the project's history, is described in this blog post by CyanogenMod founder Steve Kondik. The post lauds the contributions made by the CyanogenMod community but notes that barriers prevented the OS from really scaling up. Having a full-time staff split between offices in Seattle and Palo Alto should allow Cyanogen Inc. to evolve the OS more quickly.
As Kondik says, "it's really serious now."
Apparently, the dedicated staff has already paid dividends. Kondik says the pace of development has accelerated since April, and he points to several new features as well as broader device support. He concedes that the "hideous installation process" remains the biggest hurdle facing would-be users, but it looks like that's about to change. An official, simplified installer will hit the Google Play store "in the coming weeks."
The CyanogenMod team regards Google as an "important partner," so it will be interesting to see how the two coexist moving forward. Kondik remains committed to keeping CyanogenMod true to its roots despite the change in structure. He wants to continue serving the needs of the community and outlines a few key goals, like constant updates and support for all devices. CyanogenMod will apparently remain free of "junk," as well. According to a Reddit AMA with Kondik and partner Koushik Dutta, "monetization isn't an immediate concern."
I've grappled with alternative Android ROMs on my first-gen Transformer tablet, and I may have to revisit CyanogenMod when the new installer is released. Maybe the GPS will work this time.