XobotOS running on a Linux workstation
The team over at Xamarin has worked hard to port the Java part of Android to C#, setting way for a new OS called “XobotOS.” The team announced the news in a blog post this evening and uploaded the code onto Github to be used and modified by fellow developers. The team explained the technical aspects:
Android’s core codebase contains over a million lines of Java code, and we knew we wanted to be able to stay up to date with new releases of Android — in fact, we started with the Android 2.x source code back in 2011, and then upgraded XobotOS to Android 4.0 when Google open sourced Ice Cream Sandwich earlier this year. So for us, the only reasonable option was to do a machine translation of Java to C#, building and maintaining any necessary tools along the way.
XobotOS offers a version of Android without any Java whatsoever, and it was achieved through a machine translation to C#. You can read the team’s full post for more details, and check out the project on Github.
Interestingly, during the Oracle vs. Google trial that has been playing over the last few weeks, it was brought up that Google at one time considered C# as the language of choice for Android. Wired reported:
In another 2005 e-mail admitted as evidence by Oracle, Rubin tells Google co-founder Larry Page: “If Sun doesn’t want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language, or 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way.”