Developers are able to run the new Linux kernel version 4.5 on the Nexus 7, 2013, with only 50 required patches. Very good news after a few days the announcement of Sony’s Linux mainline kernel support for its Sony Xperia Z, Z1, Z2, Z3. The advantage for the user is simple: to benefit all Linux kernels news faster and hopefully a shorter time between updates.
Android is based on a core (kernel) Linux. When a manufacturer wants to install Android on their device, it must provide bug fixes and add functionality to the core, in addition to a series of basic patches from Google to successfully run AOSP on the terminal. These patches can number in the tens of thousands when it comes to supporting a number of unknown components in the Linux world: a Qualcomm SoC, Wi-Fi chip, etc. If the manufacturer wants to use the latest version of the Linux kernel, it must apply itself many patches. This may be changing, thanks to Sony.
Sony is working to support mainline kernel
In February, Sony announced the Linux kernel support the mainline branch for some devices (Sony Xperia Z, Z1, Z2 and Z3). For your information, the mainline kernel is currently in version 4.5 while the Galaxy Samsung S7 is equipped with the 3.18 kernel that has more than a year. The idea for Sony, then propose to the Linux community the changes to the mainline kernel to support the Xperia devices without the need to deploy tens of thousands of patches. The objective is clear: to limit time spent by developers during a kernel update on the devices and give users more easily the Linux kernel latest.
Nexus 7: the 4.5 kernel is
Users of the Google Nexus 7 2013 also will take advantage of the latest kernels. Indeed, some developers have managed to turn the Nexus 7, 2013, with the 4.5 kernel on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with only 50 patches, using the graphics driver and freedeno mesa for OpenGL support. The curious can even follow this mini tutorial in English to try to install the kernel 4.5 on the Nexus 7.
Faster updates for users
For end users, support mainline kernel on Android devices will benefit from faster upgrades s when manufacturers will be forced, or wish to update the kernel. then hopefully the quicker arrival of new versions of Android on the devices even if for now, only Sony seems to want to go that route.