Maybe you’ve heard of him, his notoriety precedes him. He’s a big deal on the Android scene and has been banned from three different forums either for calling Mods out or simply by his notoriety alone. He’s worked on countless devices and is the leader of Team Evil. I’m writing of course about the brilliant, hilarious, witty, and oftentimes misunderstood, Evil_DevNull. He’s a hacker, dev, and all around badass; let’s just say you don’t want to be on the wrong side of a dispute with him or his team, you will lose.
I spent some time getting to know what Evil_DevNull is all about. Prior to our chat I only knew a little about his work. I got a glimpse into his background, his previous projects, what he does, and what his team does. Most importantly I learned that he really knows what he’s doing and he’s always thinking of the end user.
zAcHcOmA: When did you start dev’ing for Android and did you do anything similar before Android to other OSs?
Evil_DevNull: I started developing on Linux before Android, so I guess you can say I’ve been a penguin for a long time. I started hacking CentOS and Fedora core when I worked for AOL. I went from Server OS, to Motorola Nextel, to Android, to Windows Mobile, and then back to Android.
zAcHcOmA: What languages are you proficient in?
Evil_DevNull: Spoken: English, German, Russian, Ojibway and Programming: PHP, ASP, CSS, Java, Java Script, XML, HTML, MySQL, MsSQL, Dalvik Virtual Machine, Optimized Graphics, NEON, SQLite, OpenGL, SGL, libc, SSL, and core libraries.
Here’s an interesting side note, I learned that he’s three quarters Native American Chippewa, a quarter German, and “damn proud of it”. I asked him because of his language comments when we were closing the interview, but didn’t include them in this. Anyway . . .
zAcHcOmA: What device did you start dev’ing on and what have you done since?
Evil_DevNull: Motorola i95cl, Motorola T720, HTC Touch, HTC Touch Pro, HTC Dream, HTC Hero, Samsung Epic 4G, HTC EVO 4G, HTC EVO 3D, HTC EVO Shift, HTC Sensation, HTC Rezound/Vigor, and Motorola Xoom Family Edition.
zAcHcOmA: What do you do with them? Do you make ROMs, kernels, or do you work at cracking them?
Evil_DevNull: I crack them/hack them, try to figure out where Nvidia and HTC went wrong, like what part of their hardware could be exploited the most and then run with it.
zAcHcOmA: So with HTCs, have you been able to crack any hboots?
EvilDevNull: I cracked the EVO Shift, EVO 4G, and 1.3 EVO 3D, but Alpha Rev did that with the EVO and EVO 3D so I never pursued it outside my own development. I didn’t like my phone having their “Revolutionary” watermark on my hboot screen.
zAcHcOmA: That’s understandable. So after you cracked them, what kind of development did you do?
Evil_DevNull: S-OFF, per root, and radio creation, I just tried to customize them as I wanted them. The Shift development was actually inspired by my wife complaining about dropped signals and being slow.
zAcHcOmA: There wasn’t much development on that phone, I’m sure owners were grateful.
Evil_DevNull: Yeah well, you can polish a turd, but it’s still a turd ha ha.
zAcHcOmA: Yeah, HTC dropped the ball with that one.
Evil_DevNull: They dropped the ball on a lot of devices, the Speedy (EVO Shift) was just the one which was their crowning glory, though it was the first decent Android device with a pull out keyboard. HTC is all about pumping out newer units all the time trying to make people forget their mistakes “buy a new phone sorry we screwed the last one up”. But, Sprint has done a great job of keeping the Speedy around.
zAcHcOmA: The 3D comes to mind.
Evil_DevNull: Yeah, the Shooter (EVO 3D) should have been renamed “the sh*tty”, not much improvement on the Supersonic (EVO 4G), just fatter and more $$.
zAcHcOmA: That was a disappointing sequel.
Evil_DevNull: Well, the EVO 4G was and still is their best model.
zAcHcOmA: Anyway, I know you’ve recently been doing some work on the Xoom FE, ACS featured some preview videos of your work, can you expand on what you’re doing with that?
Evil_DevNull: I’m trying to give the Family Edition some love, but Motorola isn’t the one blocking development, Best Buy is. It was a Best Buy exclusive model, $100 less than the OG Xoom, made for kids. There’s no fastboot access and no way (yet) to push custom ROMs. It’s the only Moto model outside the 600 series, MZ-505, all other Xooms are 600′s. It was released on Oct 17th 2011 and discontinued Jan 4th 2012, crap for a life span. Fastest turn around ever! Best Buy lost their rights to it and Motorola didn’t want to support them any further. It was a Christmas marketing ploy that went wrong.
zAcHcOmA: I know you have a reputation as well as many naysayers, would you like to expand on that?
Evil_DevNull: People follow developers all the time, Jcase has his followers, Agrabren has his. We all have loyal users which hate on each other for liking something they do not. I have haters because I call a lot of BS. I start a lot of BS and I pick fights when needed as well as STFU when needed, kind of.
zAcHcOmA: You call it as you see it.
Evil_DevNull: Pretty much, I try to fight for the end users as much as I can, some people dislike that fact. It is what it is.
zAcHcOmA: I know you have a team as well, what do they do differently than you?
Evil_DevNull: Team Evil has areas of specialties, which make us a good team. We feed off each other. If there is something I don’t know, then someone else will. Team Evil is as follows Evil Devnull, Evil Midget, Evil Ape, Evil Tw33k, Evil Twitch, and Alpha Omega. Oh and because of Midget and Ape, we have their daughter now, Evil baby Cortana, ha ha.
zAcHcOmA: What type of development does the team do as a whole?
Evil_DevNull: We do brain storming on hboot manipulation, radios, kernels, ROMs, and recoveries. We get 50 emails a day for some kind of project which other developers seem to either feel too good for or just plain out don’t give a damn. For example, a user named Randy came to me about the Xoom FE, he approached me through email about the Family Edition not having any love. No one else had an interest in trying to root it. He sent me his Xoom in November and I had it rooted in five days. Fifteen days later we had white listing and Super User asking permission. In the end, all a developer is is a person wanting a challenge.
zAcHcOmA: Where do you see you and your team headed?
Evil_DevNull: Jail? Ha ha. Large companies like HTC, Sprint, and Verizon don’t like us. We make their engineers looks stupid. But as an honest answer, we go where we are needed. It might not always be Android.
zAcHcOmA: We covered a lot, is there anything else you’d like to cover?
Evil_DevNull: Favorite apps, the five apps which help with a lot of my development are Root explorer by Speed Software, Root Uninstaller Pro, Screencast by Media Solutions, Build Prop Editor by JoeyKrim, & Titanium Backup Pro.
zAcHcOmA: While we’re on top five lists, what are your top five favorite devices?
Evil_DevNull: So from best to worst: EVO 4G, Asus Transformer, EVO 3D, Xoom FE, and EVO Shift. I love them all, but each has their moments where a blender would look nice.
zAcHcOmA: Ok, is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
Evil_DevNull: Female developers, don’t underestimate them. I have seen some female devs pull ideas out of the sky that made my jaw drop, yet they pulled it off.
zAcHcOmA: It’s too bad they’re such a minority.
Evil_DevNull: You would be very very surprised how many there are. Many just don’t tell you they’re female due to the lack of respect and people not taking them seriously. There is a lot of sexism in the the Android world.
There you have it folks, that’s the mind of an evil genius who’s actually a nice guy when you get to know him. For all you naysayers and haters out there, he’s the real deal, just ask one of the thousands that Evil_DevNull or Team Evil have helped. If you’re interested in seeing what Team Evil has under development, head on over to Evil_DevNull’s site >>>HERE<<< or check out Team Evil’s forums at the Evil Think Tank.
ACS Writer: zAcHcOmA
Sources info: Images
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