NOTICE: This content was originally posted to Google+, then imported here. Some formatting may be lost, links may be dead, and images may be missing.
Hard to believe it has been that long, but today marks the 10 year anniversary of my very first app release: KaiserTweak. An app that let you tweak 50-ish Windows Mobile settings, written specifically for the HTC TyTN II (aka HTC Kaiser) and later ported to a few other popular devices. I had released other tweaks before, but this was the first release that ran as an actual app. If I recall correctly it was written in C# with the .NET Compact Framework 2.0 - an endless source of headaches.
Time for a trip through memory lane, a chance to reminisce... this is going to be a long story.
I came from database information systems and web development background (oh the excitement!) originally, though I spent my spare time creating game-related tools such as Project Entropia Assistant (a sort of Steam Overlay before those existed) and [AAE]PBSS (an cheater-catching/monitoring tool for FPS server admins). Around KaiserTweak's time, smartphones were new and exciting, I was quickly hooked, and soon decided to switch all of my spare attention there.
It wasn't long before the first version of WMWifiRouter was released, which (quite unexpectedly) became a massive success, won several prizes, and ultimately became one of the best selling apps on the entire Windows Mobile platform. While this is something nearly every phone can do today, back then it was the very first utility to turn a mobile phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot and share the cellular data connection that way.
There were dozens of other Windows Mobile apps and tweaks. Patched 3D drivers (with NuShrike) to expose HTC's alternative facts about the Kaiser, FPU hacks (again with NuShrike), data connection management tools, battery saving utilities, ROM porting and customization utilities, cleanup utilities, various graphics-related utilities, and even a device unlock tool. The latter was banned from the Marketplace, but only after it became clear that it (hilariously) was not actually against Microsoft's policies and those policies would need to be adjusted.
While some of those were commercial in nature and helped pay the bills, a lot of them were free, and certainly the most fun to develop were the hacks and patches. Windows Mobile didn't come with sources, so many days were spent in IDA Pro trying to figure out what code did what exactly, and coming up with how to manipulate that code. Since we couldn't recompile things (and I was generally against modifying system files) most of these tools employed in-memory patching of specific processes and sometimes system-wide call rerouting. A similar technique was also used to (with mere hours of work) create a proof-of-concept Marketplace copy protection bypass. I had previously warned their design was flawed, but... :)
Those days the apps that were commercial were managed by a company me and a friend had set up. We had some employees and also did various contract work in desktop, mobile, and web development. I closed that shop shortly after I personally switched to Android, but we certainly had some great times there.
While I imported the HTC Dream (the first Android phone) as soon as it was released and played around with it a lot, I didn't fully move over personally until Microsoft announced they were killing off Windows Mobile and re-doing Windows Phone from scratch with nigh zero portability of existing code. Nobody really understood why Microsoft believed existing Windows Mobile developers (whose incomes had now vaporized) would follow them for another round of punishment rather than jump ship to iPhone or Android, both of which were now well established platforms. And surprise surprise, pretty much nobody did.
In those days XDA was a Windows Mobile only site and I (and several others) lobbied relentlessly for them to start adding Android forums. We were repeatedly told Android wasn't going anywhere, we should go away and start our own forums instead, and continued commentary would be earning us bans. Luckily eventually they came around, imagine what XDA would look like today if there were no Android forums :)
A lot of my early time in Android was spent porting CWM to various Samsung devices/firmwares, with built-in Superuser (together called CF-Root), and releasing root-using tools. Chainfire3D for example manipulated graphics drivers, provided the first evening/nightmode (CF.lumen) implementation available for stock+rooted Android, and through plugins allowed games built exclusively for one model of GPU to be played on other phones. This earned me interest from (and some trips to HQs of) some big corps in the tech world. Didn't take any offers, though.
There were apps like live logcat and live dmesg (both reincarnated as LiveBoot for 4.3+), Triangle Away, Mobile ODIN (reincarnated as FlashFire for 4.2+), StickMount, Recently, and quite a few that never really made it beyond the 2.x days; Android was a very different beast in those days from what it is today. The look and feel, device capabilities, APIs, it's almost a different platform altogether.
DSLR Controller came along, which was the first app for any mobile phone that could remote control a DSLR. This one also became much more popular than I expected, and is still one of my personal favorites. Over the years I've done a lot of contract work alongside my public releases, but some of the most interesting ones were based around custom builds of this app. One example is a cell-growth monitoring system for medical use; another is the camera-controlling software for the SVII, which was used to capture the breathtaking imagery used in Google's Underwater Street View.
Somewhere along the line I wrote SuperSU as a work-around for some of the issues I kept running into with the existing Superuser. I could never have predicted just how big that would get. Just this past month Google reported it passed 100 million unique users! While several other apps I've made have had more than a million unique users over their lifetimes, this is something else entirely - I can still hardly believe that number.
Another one of my personal favorites is 500 Firepaper. Some features it debuted were quickly copied in other wallpaper apps, validating them as good ideas. Too bad that over the years it lost the support of 500px, and as a result I've had to dramatically reduce it's bandwidth usage and thus the amount of imagery it displays, but at least it's still around and prettying up my homescreen!
This should cover the bigger and better known apps, but there are still a bunch more. There's even a couple of apps I wrote but never got around to releasing...
There was a short excursion into mobile VR as well. Development never went beyond prototypes, but when they worked right the image quality was amazing, and buttery smooth. We also had some interesting display manipulation code that let you run any app in the headset; lots of hours spent with GTA :) This never went anywhere (or hasn't yet?), but it was a fun project to work on, and it gave me the chance to visit several of the Silicon Valley giants' HQs.
It's hard to recap 10 years in a single post. There has been so much code. There have been so many apps, tweaks, and hacks. I've had the opportunity to go to a lot of great conferences and meet a lot of even greater people. I've had the luck to be able to work on fun and interesting projects with skilled people and great companies from all over the world. I've had the amazing good fortune of a large group of followers who have always supported me and the things I made. And of course I've also had some amazing luck in timing the right apps at the right time.
This has certainly been a good decade!
PS. While writing this I did Google a few things, and I was surprised to find that some of the older things are pretty much gone. Almost like they never existed, though I know they did. I guess not everything lives forever on the internet after all!
Wow, thanks for the root man.
Thank you for your hard work!
Dammit, im stuck with the Note 8, however ive been a chainfire user on my Nexus 7 '13 for YEARS
I used to tweak the inside out of my windows mobile 2003 PDA ? good times
I had actually completely forgotten that KaiserTweak and WMWifiRouter were your projects. Thanks man! Those two made my AT&T Tilt significantly more useful!
My experience with Android would have been quite lacking if it had not been for you, sir!! Thank you!
Thank you for your contribution to the mobile world. Highly respected!
Thanks for all that you've done for us!
SuperSU is not just a tool like others your works. Means freedom for the users. In a tech world where companies like Google and Apple wants the total control of users and informations, should be rewarded with a Nobel Prize.
Cheers to 10 years bro, you're the best! ?
I used to have an HTC Tilt 8925. I believe i used your imported Kaiser tweaks for that device? +Chainfire
You sir, are a legend. Posts, forums, and links may die but we will never forget you and your hard work brother. I too, came from WinMo and subsequently spent alot of time building kernels & porting ROMS for the HD2. We called it AmericanAndroid ?.
+John Bowdre yeah, i figured it Chainfire...i used those tweaks, too
You root my life for power..thanks man..
I had the honour of meeting you a few years ago in Manchester (you even bought me a beer ?) genuinely nice guy ??.
Here's to 10 more years!
Congrats and thank you.
I've used so many of your apps and didn't realize they were all you. Thanks for the help and products.
I'm sure you have a high paying Dev job somewhere. But if you ever want to change check out the link. You could easily get a job there. https://www.sas.com/en_us/home.html
Chainfire... you rock, dude... instead of showing all of my phones on my sig on xda, i will just show the CF apps and that history... carry on, dude, carry on...
crazy - I clearly remember using WMWifiRouter
This post brought back so many memories - thanks!
Thank you very much for your all support…
Nice, you're a great developer
Thanks a lot for all the good things you have made in the last years, compliments
Excellent! Your contribution has been incredible and unforgettable! Thank YOU!
Without you the Android and other community would be at a loss. You have done so much for us all, I have purchased every donated version of your apps when possible for my devices. Now currently on the Note 8 SM-N950F/DS where Samsung decided to ad a reset OEM option when using Odin for custom recovery causing soft bricks. Then waiting another 7 days for OEM to reappear. Everyone is at a loss, seems to point to efs somehow.
Love your works, talent and skills
Awesome summary and history. This should be a Wikipedia entry for posterity. The man, the myth, the legend!
I still have my TyTN II :-)
Congratulations Chainfire, you have made history in Android's community!
No SU, fake root tbh.
Thanks for all the great work!
You already have a place in the history of Android! For sure.
Thanks +Chainfire Android wouldn't be the same without your contribuition!
Cheers to ten years and all of your amazing work. ?
I am still keeping all my windows mobile stuff on my file server. Kaiser Tweak is there even if I don't remember any more what tweaks offered. Thanks for all the hard work for the community +Chainfire
You made Android great with your work, thank you
Thanks for all your great apps! I followed you since the Kaiser age (it's a wonderful phone) and time fly by....
Congratulations and good luck for another ten ???
Congratulations, thanks to you so much fun, congratulations !!
Long live chainfire. Always a fan.
I am admiring before so much kindness and the desire to make others benefit from his knowledge. Great!!! ?
Dslr lead me to this, its work in some way but it sad cause you gonna leave it hang somewere, and its so weird did not notice binary that flip that 'flawed' ?. Btw i love your job instead.
A true ICON in the Android community!! Appreciate everything you have brought to this wonderful world of Android!!
Da best of the best!
Thanks a lot, no root no Fun.
thanks chanfire for everything you've done for Android
Much respect +Chainfire I've been using your apps for the entire 10 years. I remember downloading your stuff from ppcgeeks and XDA way back when on my ppc6700 and 6800. My memory fails to think of anything specific, did you make kitchens for wm? I remember using no2chems kernel on my 6800 to disable the camera hardware since it only had 64mb of ram lol. And when the HTC touch pro came out with either 128mb or 512mb and Manila/touchflo it was a godsend. Simpler times of kitchens and cab files.
Cuddos from an original G1 user you have been much appreciated.
DsrlController is one of my primary business tools. Thank you for continuing your development for this unique quality tool
Good god man you are now my hero, well one of them, but that's amazing. Damn well played sir ✋clapping
Thank you for all your great tools. Used most of them for years.
Thanks a lot for all your wonderful apps. Go on this way!
Can't say thank you enough for all you have done! You have helped people like me who have no clue when it comes to development unlock and root our phones to experience a new world of customization to our devices! Thanks for helping us get our learn on!!! You the best you have always made yourself available to all of us and it is very much appreciated!!!
There's a handful of websites (i mean decent ones) that have articles, from yesterday and today, regarding Chainfire's Retirement from SuperSU.
It's funny on what most of the information being written is reflecting...
Chainfire's still around and there's so much mentality reflecting the "R.I.P." state of mind.
He's not dead... LMAO!!!
I look at it as a moving on point for Chainfire and placing more of his attention to current and future projects.
I'm a little excited to see what the future holds for the Creative Genius (in his own right and category) named Chainfire!
When it comes to SuperSU... I'm still faithful to the development and will keep an open mind but, if the future of it turns grim, then there are plenty of other (very good) developers out there to turn to.
This is just my one and only, personal, thoughts and opinions regarding, what i feel, is a "Blown out of Proportion" mindset of so many (not all) individuals.
Thank you all very much +Chainfire! :)
Thanks for that CF, interesting read. I've often wondered about the man behind the code.
Your talents are undeniable and I'm glad they've brought you good fortune, but you've also shone as a developer with your free apps and also your personality. It must have been hell dealing with all the countless questions and quite frankly nonsense sometimes.
You always handled everything in a polite approachable manner even when assisting me personally.
For that I applaud you sir.
No matter what have done before you will be historique, as our Chainfire ????
Thanks a lot for your hard work all this years
+Adam Gibbons What, he came to Manchester in the UK? Damn, did you get his autograph lol? I'm only a short distance from Manchester.
+Mark Ashworth Yes it was xda devcon in September 2014. A few people went out for drinks afterwards. No autograph but a few funny pictures.
That was a great one.
Thanks for your great contribution on SuperSU of which I am acquainted and some other apps for a long time.
However, no one could support one thing forever, it is the right time for you to allow others to continue the task.
Besides your great works, I think you are a lucky man who could do a happy job as you wish. Please continue pursuing your dreams.
Thank you very much.
how to update binary
Sad news for XDA..
I have Comeback here from Magisk as Magisk giving issue while SuperSU is always savior..
Thank for all this +Chainfire ?
Please support my gogle+ email support
Good to know
What a story! and very well written...anyway whatever you've done have helped many people. And for all that, you deserved "THANK YOU". So...thank you and keep up all those good stuffs you have achieved. Sorry for my bad English as it's not my native language.
Thank you bro for all your effort and kindness... ?
Для Леново щось є
Проблема з радіо модулем
If not for you so many of us would probably be using iPhones. Thanks for everything you've done.
How is installation of phone samsung SPH-L520
Thank you ? you are an Android hero, for sure ?
Thanks so much for supporting me
SuperSU v2.82-SR5 and suhide v1.09 released
Two very minor bugfix releases.
A new TWRP was released for the Google Pixel series, now with proper Oreo support. Unfortunately, flashing both TWRP and SuperSU broke TWRP (booting TWRP and flashing SuperSU was fine). This has been corrected with this update.
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Be able to login to the account
You Sir, are an Android God ? Thank you, for all your hard & valuable work ?
I miss SuperSU
Wow that is amazing. Really like how you recognized everyone around u that supported you. So happy your reality became your dream,fire upon you boooyyyyy.
i like'how update simple