Summary: Why people should embrace, where possible, Replicant rather than CyanogenMod, despite the latter being better funded and more widely supported
CyanogenMod, which is now a company, recently got another 23 million dollars in financing [1-3], assuring the company’s short-term growth. Over 10 million devices are believed to be running CyanogenMod  and the first CyanogenMod Android smartphone is said to be on its way  (running CyanogenMod out of the box, hence no need to replace Android or other operating systems).
We have already explained why Replicant,not CyanogenMod, should be preferred. Replicant is focused on software freedom. It’s not a matter of prejudice based on envy; this preference has nothing to do with CyanogenMod’s business orientation (which may, in due course, take it further away from privacy and freedom). Even before CyanogenMod was a business it did not speak about freedom but about modification.
Last month when I met Richard Stallman he explained to me (off the record) why Replicant is the Android contender/counterpart to root for. As its own Web site states, “Replicant is a fully free Android distribution running on several devices. The software included in Replicant is free software [whereas CyanogenMod says "open source"] that is owned by various copyright holders and released under various free software licenses.”
Replicant’s site stresses that the project was founded by Bradley M. Kuhn (formerly FSF and SFLC), Aaron Williamson (SFLC), Graziano Sorbaioli, and Denis Carikli (Free software people). Contrariwise, CyanogenMod was created (by forking/branching) by Steve Kondik, who integrated proprietary applications like Gmail and Google back in 2009. These facilitate spying which cannot be studied properly because the source code is secret.
In order to move portable devices in the right direction we need to insist on software freedom at all levels, the applications level included. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Cyanogen, the company behind alternative Android distribution CyanogenMod, has banked $23m in series-B funding – and Google has given its blessing to allow a smartphone to ship with the team’s operating system installed.
If you’re a fan of the CyanogenMod family of custom Android ROMs, then you’re in extremely good company. According to CyanogenMod’s official statistics page, the ROM and its derivatives are now running on just over 10 million Android phones and tablets. Those statistics come from CyanogenMod users who voluntarily report activity via the built-in CMStats function, so the actual number of devices could be higher. CyanogenMod’s head honcho and Cyanogen Inc. CTO Steve Kondik announced the news on Google+.
CyanogenMod, the popular alternative Android operating system for smartphones, has always been for people who wanted a newer version of Android for their older smartphones. Now, for the first time, Cyanogen, CyanogenMod’s parent company, in partnership with Oppo, a high-end consumer electronics company, are about to release the first dedicated CyanogenMod smartphone: The OPPO N1.