Lawnchair, a well-known Android launcher, uses code from Pixel Launcher in addition to other features.

Due to worries that the popular third-party Android launcher, Lawnchair, was using code from Google’s own Pixel Launcher, a portion of its development team was fired.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Pixel series is its launcher, which is praised by some for its minimalistic design and flawless syncing with Google Search, Assistant, and Discover. It can be simple to overlook having some of those Pixel Launcher features when using another Android phone.

Due to this, Lawnchair, a third-party Android launcher program, was created. It is based on the open-source Android Launcher3 foundation and incorporates several of Pixel Launcher’s key features. For instance, you can utilize the same At a Glance widget found on Pixel phones, replete with Android 12 capabilities and some Lawnchair team-created custom choices.

However, there are some questions over how precisely Lawnchair was able to imitate Google’s Pixel Launcher so closely. This week, a member of the Lawnchairs development team publicly expressed these worries in a Telegram announcement .

I just found out that one of the other core contributors has been adding to Lawnchair pieces of code from a private software whose source code they don’t own. The aforementioned acts have never been disclosed to me, and I vehemently disagree with them. Never have I promoted or participated in such behavior.

In light of the aforementioned and with sadness, I shall stop making contributions to Lawnchair. {}

The official Lawnchair account clarified on Twitter that the creator is referring to is really Google’s Pixel Launcher, not the private software.

Numerous references to nexuslauncher, Google’s internal name for the Pixel Launcher, can be found in Lawnchair’s publicly available source code. directly incorporated decompiled code from the Pixel Launcher is more specifically present in earlier iterations of Lawnchair. Even directly confirmed has been informed by another team member that Pixel Launcher code has been used throughout.

According to the notification from the developers, it seems that this practice has persisted in more recent years, albeit possibly in a less visible way. Some people would not be surprised by these features because Lawnchair has successfully imitated the appearance and feel of the Pixel Launcher. Reverse engineering was probably used in Lawnchair development, which has long been accepted wisdom in the Android community, but the worry is still legitimate.

Reverse engineering is illegal in several regions of the world, most notably in Europe, where its legality is sometimes not always clear. Although there are some legal exceptions, reverse engineering and decompiling for the aim of producing a rival product are almost probably not allowed in Europe, as nicely clarified by Gerrish Legal .

Lawnchair’s use of code that was directly reverse engineered or decompiled from the Pixel Launcher may be illegal given that some of its developers are located in Europe. The Lawnchair team has not yet released a statement to the public, however one developer justified the usage of Pixel Launcher code by emphasizing the app’s and its code’s open availability.

All we can say with certainty at this moment is that Lawnchair’s small crew has lost one of its essential members, casting doubt on the future of the well-known Android launcher.

The author of this article is Dylan Roussel .
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