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Updating Custom Versions of Android Easily

FSFE’s Phone Liberation Workshops (or Android Install Parties) are just taking off. People usually have to learn how to flash their devices because there’s no over the air update that easily updates the operating system. The Free Software initiative OTA Update Center is planning to change this. It will notify you of updates and allow you to apply the update with a click. No more manual flashing procedures necessary.

Even though their source code is on github and the app was added to F-Droid, you can still not use it with most ROMs, because the ROM needs to support OTA Update Center with three little lines in a text file. The developers are already in talks with the CyanogenMod developers. But OTA Update Center competes with the proprietary ROM Manager that ships with CyanogenMod.

So let’s see if or when OTA Update Center will be part of CyanogenMod.

Update: Turns out that we could even use OTA Update Center if CyanogenMod doesn’t cooperate. We would need a script or an app that lets you add the necessary values to /system/build.prop and we would need somebody who maintains the database at OTA Update Center for all CyanogenMod ROMs and devices.

Of course it is preferable that CyanogenMod adds native support for OTA Update Center. That’s why I supported an existing enhancement request in their tracker. Please express your support there, too!

Update2: Starting with CyanogenMod 10, there is now native support for updates built in. So this problem is solved.