LineageOS is a free and open-source operating system for set-top boxes, smartphones and tablet computers, based on the Android mobile platform. It is the successor to the custom ROM CyanogenMod, from which it was forked in December 2016 when Cyanogen Inc. announced it was discontinuing development and shut down the infrastructure behind the project. Since Cyanogen Inc. retained the rights to the Cyanogen name, the project rebranded its fork as LineageOS.
|Developer||LineageOS open-source community|
|Written in||C (core), C++ (some third party libraries), Java (UI)|
|Source model||Open source|
|Latest preview||15.1 (February 26, 2018[±])|
|Marketing target||Firmware replacement for Android mobile devices|
|Update method||Over-the-air (OTA), ROM flashing|
|Package manager||APK based (optional Repositories like F-Droid, Amazon Appstore or Google Play Store) (if installed)|
|Platforms||ARM, ARM64, x86, x86-64|
|Kernel type||Monolithic (Linux)|
|License||Under multiple licenses; these can be viewed per repo on GitHub under NOTICE/LICENSE files|
|Preceded by||CyanogenMod CyanogenOS|
LineageOS was officially launched on December 24, 2016, with the source code available on GitHub. Since that time, LineageOS development builds now cover more than 185 phone models with over 1.9 million active installs, having doubled its user base in the month February–March 2017.
CyanogenMod (often abbreviated "CM") was a popular open-source operating system for smartphones and tablet computers, based on the Android mobile platform. Although only a subset of total CyanogenMod users elected to report their use of the firmware, as of 23 March 2015, some reports indicated over 50 million people running CyanogenMod on their phones. It was also frequently used as a starting point by developers of other ROMs.
In 2013, the founder, Steve Kondik, obtained venture funding under the name Cyanogen Inc. to allow commercialization of the project. In his view, the company did not capitalize on the project's success and in 2016 he either left or was forced out as part of a corporate restructure which involved a change of CEO, closure of offices and projects, and cessation of services. The code itself, being both open source and popular, was quickly forked under the new name LineageOS and efforts began to resume development as a community project.
CyanogenMod offered a number of features and options not available in the official firmware distributed by most mobile device vendors. Features supported by CyanogenMod included native theme support, FLAC audio codec support, a large Access Point Name list, Privacy Guard (per-application permission management application), support for tethering over common interfaces, CPU overclocking and other performance enhancements, root access, soft buttons and other "tablet tweaks," toggles in the notification pull-down (such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS), and other interface enhancements. Many of the features from CyanogenMod would later be integrated into the official Android code base. CyanogenMod did not contain spyware or bloatware, according to its developers. CyanogenMod was also said to increase performance and reliability compared with official firmware releases.
Similar to CyanogenMod, the project is developed by numerous device-specific maintainers and uses Gerrit for its code review process. It also retained the old versioning format (for example, Android 7.1 is LineageOS 14.1).
Prior to the official launch of LineageOS, many developers from XDA had already developed unofficial versions of LineageOS from the source code.
On January 22, 2017, the first 14.1 and 13.0 official builds start being rolled out, following the official announcement in a blog post.
On February 11, 2018, the 13.0 builds release have been stopped, while the source code remains available and security fixes are still accepted on Gerrit.
On February 26, 2018, the first 15.1 official builds started being rolled out, on select devices, following official announcement in a blog post. The 14.1 versions of Lineage OS will be in active development without feature advancements.
All the released builds are signed with LineageOS' private keys.
Builds were released on a weekly basis until November 12, 2018, when the release cycle for devices on LineageOS 15.1(running Android 8.1 Oreo) has been moved to daily with devices receiving a "nightly" OTA update. Devices on older version of LineageOS, which is 14.1(running Android 7.1 Nougat), have been moved to a monthly release cycle.
LineageOS allows the community to get involved with the development in various ways. Gerrit is used for the code review process of both the operating system and the infrastructure.
The wiki, containing information regarding installation, support, and development of LineageOS, is also open to contributions through Gerrit. Other Lineage platforms include Crowdin for managing translations, Gitlab Issues for bug tracking, and a stats page, which displays the number of active installations from users which opt-in to report this statistic. There is also an official subreddit, r/lineageos, and two IRC channels hosted on Freenode (#lineageos and #lineageos-dev).
During the month of August 2017, the LineageOS team held a Summer Survey in which they asked users for some feedback to improve the development of the operating system. The results were later published in the month of October and according to the team, they used the gathered data to improve the then-upcoming LineageOS 15 release. The second instalment of the Summer Survey was conducted the following year in August 2018.
As a response to one of the main suggestions received during their first public survey, LineageOS launched a section on their blog titled "LineageOS Engineering Blog" where Lineage maintainers and developers can contribute articles discussing advanced technical information pertaining to Android development.
LineageOS is also known for posting a "regularly irregular review" on their blog in which they discuss the active development of the work.
|LineageOS main version||Android version||Last or major release||First build release date||Last build release date||Changelog|
|Old version, no longer supported: 13||Android 6.0.1
|Old version, no longer supported: 13.0||22 January 2017||11 February 2018||LineageOS 13|
|Older version, yet still supported: 14||Android 7.1.2
|Older version, yet still supported: 14.1||22 January 2017||LineageOS 14.1|
|Current stable version: 15||Android 8.1.0
|Current stable version: 15.1||26 February 2018||LineageOS 15.1|
|Future release: 16||Android 9
|Future release: 16||To be announced|
The severe vulnerability of Android (and other) devices to the WiFi KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack) was addressed in the Lineage ROM as of 16 October 2017[update]. Many devices which will not receive a patch for the manufacturers' stock ROMs can be protected against KRACK by installing a LineageOS ROM.
- AudioFX – Audio optimizer with presets to alter the listening experience.
- Browser – A lightweight browser that relies on the System Webview, for low-end devices, also known as Jelly.
- Calculator – which resembles a four-function calculator and offers some more advanced functions.
- Calendar – Calendar functionality with Day, Week, Month, Year or Agenda views.
- Camera – Dependent on device specification will take video or photos, including panoramic. It can also be used to read QR codes. This app is also known as Snap.
- Clock – World clock, countdown timer, stopwatch and alarms.
- Contacts – Phonebook for numbers and email addresses.
- Email – Email client that handles POP3, IMAP and Exchange.
- Files – A simple file manager to move, copy and rename files on internal storage or SD card.
- FlipFlap – An app for smart flip covers, only included on select devices.
- FM Radio - An app for listening to FM radio broadcasts, included on devices with an FM tuner.
- Gallery – Organize photos and videos into a timeline or albums for easy viewing.
- Messaging – SMS messaging.
- Music – A simple music player, also known as Eleven.
- Phone – for making calls: includes speed dial, phone number lookups and call blocking.
- Recorder – A screen and/or sound recorder.
- Trebuchet – A customizable launcher.
Although they are not included by default due to legal issues, users can flash the normal Google apps, including the Google Play Store and Play Apps with a gapps zip package.
LineageOS offers several unique features that AOSP does not include. Some of these features are:
- Custom button placement – Set custom location for buttons on the navigation bar, or enable on-screen buttons for devices with hardware buttons.
- System Profiles – Enable or disable common settings based on the selected profile (For example, a "Home" profile and a "Work" profile). The profile can be selected either manually or through the use of a "trigger", such as upon connecting to a specific WiFi access point, connecting to a bluetooth device or tapping an NFC tag.
- Custom Quick-Setting tiles – Quick Setting Tiles such as "Caffeine" preventing the device from sleeping, enabling/disabling Heads Up notifications, "Ambient Display" and "ADB over network" are present to easily toggle frequently accessed settings.
- Expanded Desktop – Force "immersive mode" in apps that do not enable it initially.
- LiveDisplay – Adjust color temperature for the time of day.
- Trust - helps you keep your device secure and protects your privacy.
- Protected Apps – Hide specific apps behind a secure lock. This works hand-in-hand with Trebuchet; the respective app's icon is removed from the launcher, and "secure folders" can be created to easily access these applications. A pattern is used to lock these apps.
- PIN scramble – For users securing their device with a pin, the layout can be scrambled each time the device locks to make it difficult for people to figure out your lock by looking over your shoulder.
- Custom pattern sizes – In addition to Android's 3x3 pattern size, a 4x4, 5x5 or 6x6 size can be used.
- Lock screen customization – The lock screen allows all sorts of customizations, including media cover art, a music visualizer, displaying the weather (if a weather provider is installed), and double-tap to sleep.
- Weather providers – Display the weather in widgets or on the lock screen with a weather provider. This functionality is not included by default; a weather provider must be downloaded from the LineageOS Downloads website.
- Styles – Set a global dark or light theme mode and customize accent colors. This functionality can also be managed automatically by the system based on wallpaper or time of day (in line with LiveDisplay).
- (Optional) Root -- Permit apps to function with root access to perform advanced tasks. This requires either LineageOS's root add-on or a third-party implementation such as Magisk, both which must be flashed from Recovery.
- Call recorder, not available in all countries, due to legal restrictions.
- Some "sensitive numbers" (like women and children support numbers) won't appear in the call log.
As LineageOS evolved through development, the Trust interface was introduced for all the LineageOS 15.1 builds released Wed 12 June 2018. The interface can be found on supported devices under Security and Privacy tab under the Settings option, and enables the user to "get an overview of the status of core security features and explanations on how to act to make sure the device is secure and the data is private".
Additionally, while carrying out any action on the device the trust icon is displayed, notifying the user that action is safe.
As of 9 February 2018[update], LineageOS officially builds for 185 devices and counting, including OnePlus, Nexus, Google Pixel, LeEco devices, among others. Official builds on the current development branch are labeled as "nightly". For the first two months of the project, they also produced parallel experimental builds to allow in-place upgrades from previous CyanogenMod installations and ease migration to LineageOS.
Criticism and receptionEdit
Overall, LineageOS is a very popular custom Android firmware. It is also the go-to custom OS for many new users.
April Fools' prankEdit
In the week of April Fool's, LineageOS released new builds with the "LOSGenuine" prank that informed unaware users of the software possibly being counterfeit via a persistent notification (which could not be disabled unless the user typed in the following in a root shell):
setprop persist.lineage.nofool true
When the notification was tapped, the prank claimed that the device was "uncertified" and needed to mine "LOSCoins", which were a virtual currency and could not actually be spent. Affected builds also had a preinstalled "Wallet" app that showed the current balance of LOSCoins.
The refusal of support for signature spoofing in official builds for several reasons resulted in the creation of a LineageOS fork with microG services included, known as "LineageOS for microG". The project ships custom builds of LineageOS with the required patch and native F-Droid support, bundled with the MicroG project's free re-implementation of proprietary Gapps. In other respects it follows upstream, shipping OTA updates every seven days. It supports all devices officially supported by LineageOS.
- Anbox – a compatibility layer that allow mobile applications and games developed for Android to run on GNU/Linux
- Android rooting
- Comparison of mobile operating systems
- Google Fuchsia – a capability-based operating system currently being developed by Google
- Halium Project – Hardware Abstraction Layer for projects which run GNU/Linux on mobile devices with pre-installed Android
- List of custom Android firmware
- List of free and open-source Android applications
- Open-source software
- postmarketOS – replacement Linux-based OS for Android devices
- Replicant – a completely free software variant of LineageOS, with all kernel blobs and non-free drivers removed
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Kondik was removed from the company's board, allegedly
- CyanogenMod [@CyanogenMod] (25 December 2016). "UPDATE: As of this morning we have lost DNS and Gerrit is now offline — with little doubt as a reaction to our blog post yesterday. Goodbye" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 December 2016 – via Twitter.
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- "Changelog 21 - Nightlies Now, Improved Infrastructure and Precious Pie".
- LineageOS. "Summer Survey". Lineageos.org. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
- LineageOS. "Summer Survey - Results". Lineageos.org. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
- LineageOS. "Summer Survey 2 - Attack of the feedbacks". lineageos.org. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
- "Trust me, I'm an engineer". LineageOS. June 12, 2018. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- LineageOS. "Changelog 13 - Wonderful Webviews, Pedantic Permissions and Disappearing Dates". Lineageos.org. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
- "All official 14.1 builds built after this tweet have been patched for KRACK". Twitter. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- @LineageOS (16 October 2017). "LineageOS' tweet". Twitter. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
- Siddharth Chauhan (7 February 2017). "How to: Install Lineage OS on your smartphone". In.pcmag.com. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
As far as user interface goes, Lineage OS presents a clean and bloatware free stock Vanilla Android experience but still has some tricks up its sleeve.
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- "Don't freak out: LineageOS has a very bad and very late April Fools' joke in latest builds". Android Police. 2018-04-05. Retrieved 2018-09-22.
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- "LineageOS apologizes for late and 'bad taste' April Fools' joke". Android Police. 2018-04-10. Retrieved 2018-09-22.
- "Gerrit Code Review". review.lineageos.org. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
- microG provides a free version of the set of APIs equivalent to Google’s proprietary core libraries and applications.
- online, heise. "LineageOS-Ableger vermeidet Google-Code". heise online.
- "What is MicroG? How to Install MicroG?". 26 November 2017.
- "LineageOS for microG, FAQ".