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On the Nexus 5X/6P and some other new phones, there's a separate /vendor partition for proprietary blobs that can be updated separately from your Android distro (which is at /system). Granted, the Nexus is Google-related and I'm not sure if that's the case on other devices…

By the way, the upstream Linux kernel supports the Nexus 5X! http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-4.9...

And the bootloaders are based on fastboot pretty much everywhere I think? At least that was the case with the non-Google-related HTC phone I've had.

Samsung's Odin bootloaders are not based on fastboot (or at least I don't think they are). And whatever they are based on, the problem is that they can be locked, depriving end-users of their right-to-modify. And that Google went out of their way at every turn in Android's development to reimplement GPL components with permissive licenses (like Bionic) that would enable hardware vendors to engage in this sort of dickery.

Android is the emblem and sigil of Tivo-ization. And Google was the key enabler of this. I get that this was successful - after all, "Android overtakes Windows as the blah, blah," is very successful. And maybe if Google had behaved ethically Android wouldn't have been the success that it is. Just don't give me any of the "don't be evil" BS. When threatened, Google was every bit as evil as Microsoft was at the height of the browser wars.

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