ZXTeam Android 1.5 Hero ScreenShot
ZXTeam Android 1.5 Hero Screenshot

You may or may not have heard of the ZX Team, a duo of developers who have only recently hit the scene with such ROMs as ZX Donut. I caught up with Zach and Stefan and asked them some questions. This is the (heavily edited) result.

Dan/AndroidSpin: So Zach, can you introduce yourself briefly?

Zach: Hello, I am zachattack052, a new dev to the android community.

AS: And xillius, could you do the same?

Stefan: Yep, I’m Xillius200, full name Stefan Skarbinski, and I’m also a new dev to the community 🙂

AS: Would you prefer if i called you xillius or Stefan?

Stefan: Stefan 😛

AS: Do you both have ‘day-jobs’ as such? school, college, anything of the sorts?

Zach: Yup, I just started working at a local auto repair type deal (btw i am 16)

Me: Repairing cars before you can even drive them?

Zach: No, I don’t repair them, I wash them after they are repaired, etc.

AS: And Stefan? How about you?

Stefan: Yep, I go to school and am in a group of three in a special ICT group. However, I’ve got no job because I’m 15, and not 16 till the 28th of May, but I’m hoping to get a Saturday job at a computer place 🙂

AS: A special ICT group because of skill?

Stefan: Sorta, I got told off by the council for computer reasons but yeah group was due to that 😛

AS: I know that there’s some debate in the community as to whether people like you are actual developers. Would you guys be okay with me calling you devs?

Zach: No problem

Stefan: Yeah, because devs don’t have to be coders 🙂

AS: What were your first android phones?

Zach: I got a MyTouch 3G on the first day it was released.

Stefan: HTC Magic from Vodafone.

AS: Are those phones your current phones or have they changed?

Zach: Yup, I still have my Mt3G.

Stefan: Yep, still have the trusty Magic.

AS: But I presume they’ve been hacked beyond all belief, right?

Zach: Yes they have.

Stefan: Yep, pretty much anything you can think of has been done 😛

AS: Here’s an interesting one. How did you first get into Android development?

Zach: Well me and Stefan were chatting on the OpenEclair forum, and I sent him a message asking if he wanted to do a ROM together, which lead up to Z.X.D and to now.

AS: So for you it was a spontaneous sort of thing?

Zach: Pretty much, I always wanted to do it, but never acted upon it until then.

AS: and Stefan, I know you started as part of the OpenEclair team. How did you get into that and how far have you come since?

Stefan: The first rom I tried was wg-build 9, and from there I got chatting to wesgarner (the developer of the rom), and he taught me all about android. He was the only dev who spoke to me, and then he added me to one of the WG build things, then the OE team after that. I learned development and how to compile, I made an Open Remix rom, and then as Zach said he sent me a message and we made Z.X.D which lead to ZX.

AS: So Wes is a good guy?

Stefan: Yep, in my opinion the best dev going, except from Cyanogen in coding.

SHORT COMMERCIAL BREAK 🙂

ZXTeam ZX Donut ScreenShot
ZXTeam ZX Donut Screenshot

AS: So you guys are both reasonably new to the scene, as it were. What ROMs would you say you are most well-known for?

Zach: ZX Donut, 100%.

Stefan: ZX Donut it was a huge success 😛

AS: Zach, I remember a rom called ScienceTest that I helped test for you.

Zach: Yes, that was just a small mod i decided to do, but thanks to Stefan I have learned a lot more than just some theming.

AS: Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve currently got ZX Donut, Eclair, and 2 flavours of ZX Hero.

Zach: ZX Slide too.

AS: Duly noted. Which of those do you two use as your everyday roms?

Zach: My daily driver is ZX 1.5 Hero.

Stefan: ZX Eclair or now ZX hero decided earlier today.

AS: so you still run a Cupcake rom?

Zach: Yes, but its sense. I’m sure we will be moving on to ZX 2.1 hero soon.

Stefan: Yep if you want true speed (I like speed as you may have noticed) then you have to stay with the basics, but yeah, 2.1, I’m sure Zach and me could make it just as fast.

As: And of those 5 roms, which would you say you are most proud of/pleased with overall?

Zach: For me 3 of them are my most “proud of”, ZX 1.5 hero, ZX 2.1 Hero, and ZX donut.

Stefan: ZX Donut. Most of the hard work and fun was put into that rom, and it was the first time we found how to get a good rom so I pick that one.

AS: A lot of people in the Android community are put off a bit by the large numbers of ‘developers’, especially those who basically modify existing ROMs and release them as their own. What do you guys think about this?

Zach: I am put off by the “Rom cookers”, yet at the same time I have some respect for them, because that’s how i started out.

Stefan: Well, I thought about this for a long time a while ago and I think if the dev community was too small, they would be moaning that they haven’t got enough roms to test. I think having more roms and devs are better as we get a wider variety. That’s why I like Android, I like to test and experiment. I also agree with what Zach said about “ROM cookers”.

AS: I mean, let’s say someone took take ZX Donut, changed some graphics and tweaked it a bit, but basically kept it much the same. If they released that as their own work, how would you feel?

Zach: Well, I do recall an incident between us and Cyanogen. He was not so happy with us, because he thought we signed off of his rom and took the credit, but it turned out to be an honest mistake. And i have to say i agree with Cyanogen, and why he was mad, because he put all of that work in and got no credit. I would be happy if the person said that it was signed off of it, but you can’t just steal someone’s work and claim it for yourself.

AS: What do you mean by the phrase ‘signed off of his rom’?

Zach: Just to clear things up we didn’t sign off his rom. It was a repo sync combo between ZX Eclair and CM5. Signing is just changing a few things via test signing. It’s somewhat hard to explain.

AS: And Stefan, what’s your opinion?

Stefan: Well cyan never speaks to me so blah but yeah, we repo synced and we used part of cm5 in ZX Eclair and cyan got a bit uptight with the fact we were using his stuff.

AS: Would you feel the same if someone did something similar to your rom?

Stefan: Probably yeah so I don’t blame him.

AS: Okay, so let’s move away from development a bit now. The XDA Developers community has somewhat of a reputation. What is your general opinion of the XDA Developers community?

Zach: Well, some are cool, but 99.9% of them are huge newbs that are…I guess you can say stuck up. They will try to talk about something that they know nothing about, for example Stefan’s rom ‘The Inevitable Donut’ that no-one knows about was torn up on XDA, because they thought AOSP was ‘The Official Donut’ by enom.

AS: Did this actually happen, Stefan?

Stefan: Yep, they thought it was enom’s AOSP. It was actually compiled from official AOSP, and they didn’t know the difference, so they decided to flame it down.

AS: And your general opinion of the community?

Stefan: XDA Developers is an all right community, but a handful of the users sometimes don’t know what they are doing at all, or just flame the rom cause they don’t like it. Apart from that, it is a great community, but if XDA and AndroidSPIN combined it would be perfect, because all my Android news comes from AndroidSPIN, plus the AndroidSPIN community is nicer (no offence to XDA).

AS: I’m primarily an app reviewer (although it’s a bit hard to do that without a working phone right now). What are your favourite Android apps and games, and can you suggest any that we should review on AndroidSPIN?

Zach: My favourite app is taskiller primarily because even ZX Donut can be sped up by it. I hate to say it but I’m not a big gamer, so no favourite android games.

AS: Does that mean you disagree with the point of view put forward recently by Cyanogen and others that Task Managers don’t help much?

Zach: I do, I don’t see how a ROM could slow down because of a task manager. They do have reasonable arguments though.

AS: And you, Stefan?

Stefan: Most likely some more apps like cubed music player etc. and louder volume hack.

AS: We all know that Android 2.2 (Froyo) is coming at Google IO. The three biggest features known thus far are Flash 10.1, auto-updating apps, and official and proper Apps on SD Card. Which of these are you looking forward to the most?

Zach: Official and proper Apps on SD Card

Stefan: Flash 10.1, but that doesn’t mean that I think it’s better than html5.

AS: What would be your ideal Android device? Be realistic (don’t go over the top).

Zach: I do believe that HTC did a great job with the Droid Incredible. So, somewhat like that, but sexier, and with a bigger processor.

Stefan: An android device with the new OMAP4440 – 1+ GHz dual-core 😀

AS: Do you prefer a hardware or software keyboard?

Zach: I enjoy a thin phone so software

Stefan: Software XD

AS: So I guess the MyTouch 3G Slide doesn’t really do much for either of you then?

Zach: Espresso sucks.

Stefan: Nope, not good enough. Not the right specs, and yep Espresso sucks. Not much has changed to the UI, which is why Espresso sucks.

Zach: Don’t get me wrong, it’s a sexy phone! But Espresso sucks.

AS: Apart from each other, which developers would you say you respect/look up to?

Zach: I can’t say Wes, because I’ve hardly ever talked to him, and I can’t say king, for many reasons, and can’t say Stefan because I’m not allowed to. So I’m not going to answer this one, but if you hadn’t said ‘apart from each other’, I would say Stefan.

Stefan: WesGarner for the fact he makes awesome roms, he’s helped me a lot, and he makes code from scratch. Also, anderwebs for his launcher and the fact he’s just a code pusher. He does do code writing now and again 😛

AS: Let’s finish this off with one final question. If you could make any single change to the Android platform, what would you change? You can add a feature, remove a feature, or change an existing feature, but not all three.

Zach: I would keep it clean, and not have so many devices out. Look at apple with the iPhone. They do great, but they only have 3 phones. Android should just have a few devices like the incredible, and the Nexus.

AS: And Stefan?

Stefan: Make it all open source instead of part of it still being disallowed so we can have Gapps legally.

AS: Well thank you guys for agreeing to do this interview. Do you have twitter accounts you wish to plug?

Zach: @zachattack052

Stefan: @xillius200

ZXTeam ZX 2.1 HERO v1.1
ZXTeam ZX 2.1 HERO v1.1

We’d like to thank Zach and Stephan for taking time out from developing to talk to AndroidSPIN.

The work of the ZX Team can be found at their AndroidSPIN Developer Homepage.

58 Responses

  1. 386

    Sometimes people don’t know how to show some respect. I can’t believe this interview even got “published” after being “heavily edited.” These two show what open source and community development is NOT about.

    Reply
  2. 386

    Sometimes people don’t know how to show some respect. I can’t believe this interview even got “published” after being “heavily edited.” These two show what open source and community development is NOT about.

    Reply
  3. Simon Walker

    WOW, It amazes me how people want us to edit things and make things more P.C. which kind of defeats the purpose of an interview.
    What ever happened to Free Speech? Would you prefer we interview people and then cut out anything that we think people may not like or leave the interview as is and let the interviewee’s have their say and express their opinions.
    What’s the point of a personal interview if it’s not the interviewee’s response but instead a watered down version that is not in their words.
    Thanks for following AndroidSPIN 🙂

    Reply
  4. Simon Walker

    WOW, It amazes me how people want us to edit things and make things more P.C. which kind of defeats the purpose of an interview.
    What ever happened to Free Speech? Would you prefer we interview people and then cut out anything that we think people may not like or leave the interview as is and let the interviewee’s have their say and express their opinions.
    What’s the point of a personal interview if it’s not the interviewee’s response but instead a watered down version that is not in their words.
    Thanks for following AndroidSPIN 🙂

    Reply
  5. Kiyo Gallimore

    I enjoyed their donut ROM. Still hesitant to do the 2.1 Hero.

    Reply
    • xillius200

      0o it’s good v2.1 maybe not as fast as v1.5 but soon 😉

      Reply
  6. Kiyo Gallimore

    I enjoyed their donut ROM. Still hesitant to do the 2.1 Hero.

    Reply
    • xillius200

      0o it’s good v2.1 maybe not as fast as v1.5 but soon 😉

      Reply
  7. xillius200

    Freedom of Speech buddy so you can go screw yourself 😛 also thanks for the backup Simon 🙂

    Reply
  8. xillius200

    Freedom of Speech buddy so you can go screw yourself 😛 also thanks for the backup Simon 🙂

    Reply
    • xillius200

      lol yeah just found out why first comment was made sry for making this into a sorta hell thing :/

      Reply
    • xillius200

      lol yeah just found out why first comment was made sry for making this into a sorta hell thing :/

      Reply
  9. jovianmexi

    Im a HTCCLAYS ROMS kinda of guy mostly his FastTest but I might have to try the ZX teams stuff. Btw Always speak your mind and dont know let anyone keep you from expressing yourself even if it means they wont like what they see or hear. PEACE …

    Reply
  10. jovianmexi

    Im a HTCCLAYS ROMS kinda of guy mostly his FastTest but I might have to try the ZX teams stuff. Btw Always speak your mind and dont know let anyone keep you from expressing yourself even if it means they wont like what they see or hear. PEACE …

    Reply
  11. nick

    No offense to young ‘developers’, but at 15 an 16 I hardly think anyone in their right mind would consider using something put together by teenagers (I certainly don’t). I’m a software engineering masters student and know for a fact that they ultimately have no idea what they are really doing.

    Reply
    • xillius200

      LOL you can think like that if you want yet my 15yo friend who went up against college student’s and came second near close first for a new way to utilise shuttle fuel would completely disagree with you XD also one last comment I disagree that I don’t know what I am doing 😉

      Reply
    • Ethan Steckmann

      Ya I also disagree completely all of their roms are very well made dont look down on someone because of their age.

      Reply
      • Beanz0nToast

        Hey Master’s Student, can I get a link to your rom…oh…wait…

  12. nick

    No offense to young ‘developers’, but at 15 an 16 I hardly think anyone in their right mind would consider using something put together by teenagers (I certainly don’t). I’m a software engineering masters student and know for a fact that they ultimately have no idea what they are really doing.

    Reply
    • xillius200

      LOL you can think like that if you want yet my 15yo friend who went up against college student’s and came second near close first for a new way to utilise shuttle fuel would completely disagree with you XD also one last comment I disagree that I don’t know what I am doing 😉

      Reply
    • Ethan Steckmann

      Ya I also disagree completely all of their roms are very well made dont look down on someone because of their age.

      Reply
      • Beanz0nToast

        Hey Master’s Student, can I get a link to your rom…oh…wait…

  13. Joe

    I have to agree with the masters dude. I think the posts in these comments can verify his statements. I’ve tried all the roms out there and NONE of them are as stable or secure as those produced by real developers.

    Reply
  14. Joe

    I have to agree with the masters dude. I think the posts in these comments can verify his statements. I’ve tried all the roms out there and NONE of them are as stable or secure as those produced by real developers.

    Reply
  15. Chris

    Lol, I have to agree with Nick. These two haven’t got a clue. Real development goes on in code, not copy and pasting other peoples work. And adding scripts to a build init doesn’t count!

    Reply
    • zachattack052

      hahahahaha nice to see some recognition.. just a fyi hardly any is copped and pasted.. i bealive you belong at xda, with all of those other newbs

      Reply
    • xillius200

      lol dude did do some code editing you idiot XD anyway don’t get uptight a rom is a rom after we are gone everyone’s just going to move onto another one so idk what you think lol we use rom’s not because of how they are made whether they are made using file pushing, code pushing or code creating we use rom’s because they suit our tastes and that is what we try to do in anyway possible we try to make it suit the communities taste so you can stop having a go and screw yourself lol a rom is a rom it’s meant to be used not criticized 😉

      Reply
      • Ethan Steckmann

        These guys give credit where credit is due who cares how they make the rom if the rom is stable, fast and fits your needs who cares! You guys would whine if there was to few roms and you also complain when someone makes a rom. XDA needs to grow up!

  16. Chris

    Lol, I have to agree with Nick. These two haven’t got a clue. Real development goes on in code, not copy and pasting other peoples work. And adding scripts to a build init doesn’t count!

    Reply
    • zachattack052

      hahahahaha nice to see some recognition.. just a fyi hardly any is copped and pasted.. i bealive you belong at xda, with all of those other newbs

      Reply
    • xillius200

      lol dude did do some code editing you idiot XD anyway don’t get uptight a rom is a rom after we are gone everyone’s just going to move onto another one so idk what you think lol we use rom’s not because of how they are made whether they are made using file pushing, code pushing or code creating we use rom’s because they suit our tastes and that is what we try to do in anyway possible we try to make it suit the communities taste so you can stop having a go and screw yourself lol a rom is a rom it’s meant to be used not criticized 😉

      Reply
      • Ethan Steckmann

        These guys give credit where credit is due who cares how they make the rom if the rom is stable, fast and fits your needs who cares! You guys would whine if there was to few roms and you also complain when someone makes a rom. XDA needs to grow up!

  17. Jason Bowdach

    I appreciate the work you guys do, especially with as many build as you are pushing out, but there are reasons why a lot of developers wont take you seriously, and it doesn’t necessarily have to do w/ your age.

    Its the way you present yourselves, your builds, and your work in the forum, and in general.

    Not here to bad-mouth anyone, but wanted to give you some food for thought.

    Reply
  18. Jason Bowdach

    I appreciate the work you guys do, especially with as many build as you are pushing out, but there are reasons why a lot of developers wont take you seriously, and it doesn’t necessarily have to do w/ your age.

    Its the way you present yourselves, your builds, and your work in the forum, and in general.

    Not here to bad-mouth anyone, but wanted to give you some food for thought.

    Reply
  19. 386

    I think the comments from the two here show my point. This is a part of the community. Awesome.

    Reply
  20. 386

    I think the comments from the two here show my point. This is a part of the community. Awesome.

    Reply
  21. smellyfungus

    i have to disagree with these negative comments.
    just because theyre devs doesnt mean they have to act whatever way everyone deems acceptable. they are a lot more active in the forums than other devs and listen to everyones problems with the roms and try to fix them fast.
    i was actually suprised that they are so young and thought it was cool they spend their free time outside of school/work to put out something free and awesome for us.
    and honestly, people expecting 16 year olds to be courteous about everything are ridiculous. i can remember how i was when i was younger dont judge cause im sure you arent perfect either.

    Reply
  22. smellyfungus

    i have to disagree with these negative comments.
    just because theyre devs doesnt mean they have to act whatever way everyone deems acceptable. they are a lot more active in the forums than other devs and listen to everyones problems with the roms and try to fix them fast.
    i was actually suprised that they are so young and thought it was cool they spend their free time outside of school/work to put out something free and awesome for us.
    and honestly, people expecting 16 year olds to be courteous about everything are ridiculous. i can remember how i was when i was younger dont judge cause im sure you arent perfect either.

    Reply
  23. Don

    Of course they are more active than other devs, they’re teenagers with no real life responsibility. Most of the other devs appear to be in their 20s and 30s. A lot more other things are going on in the adult devs lives. This isn’t meant as a negative comment on the devs age. Having taught myself HTML when I was 14, I know the knowledge is accessible to a younger audience. I am tired of seeing people whine, mostly in XDA, about something taking too long, or never hearing from a dev. Most devs are extremely busy outside of the Android universe, please understand this and learn to be patient with all of these great devs volunteering their FREE time to bring us great ROMs!

    Reply
  24. Don

    Of course they are more active than other devs, they’re teenagers with no real life responsibility. Most of the other devs appear to be in their 20s and 30s. A lot more other things are going on in the adult devs lives. This isn’t meant as a negative comment on the devs age. Having taught myself HTML when I was 14, I know the knowledge is accessible to a younger audience. I am tired of seeing people whine, mostly in XDA, about something taking too long, or never hearing from a dev. Most devs are extremely busy outside of the Android universe, please understand this and learn to be patient with all of these great devs volunteering their FREE time to bring us great ROMs!

    Reply
  25. clos

    man im 17 n i wish i could do what they do lol people shouldnt judge em n if they do wana judge then just dont use their roms is as easy as that but jux think that they are using up their time to make our phones better so thannks.

    Reply
  26. clos

    man im 17 n i wish i could do what they do lol people shouldnt judge em n if they do wana judge then just dont use their roms is as easy as that but jux think that they are using up their time to make our phones better so thannks.

    Reply
  27. kingkurry

    I love their Donut ROM :D. Do you need to know any programming languages to be a dev?

    Reply
    • Simon Walker

      There are many terms used to describe people who create ROMs for the community and many people don’t like it when many of them are called Developers. A lot of the people take existing ROMs from other people and try to enhance them in some way without actually doing any programming.

      Here’s a definition from the web:

      “A software developer is a person or organization concerned with facets of the software development process wider than design and coding, a somewhat broader scope of computer programming or a specialty of project managing including some aspects of software product management”

      So if you don’t actually do any programming are you considered a developer. I guess not, but it’s really just semantics.

      Someone who downloads the AOSP, compiles it, tweaks some of the scripts and generally makes it better, in my book, I’d call them a developer. But it’s a fine line with many people.

      So, for the short answer I would say that YES you need to know how to program to be considered a developer.

      Reply
  28. kingkurry

    I love their Donut ROM :D. Do you need to know any programming languages to be a dev?

    Reply
    • Simon Walker

      There are many terms used to describe people who create ROMs for the community and many people don’t like it when many of them are called Developers. A lot of the people take existing ROMs from other people and try to enhance them in some way without actually doing any programming.

      Here’s a definition from the web:

      “A software developer is a person or organization concerned with facets of the software development process wider than design and coding, a somewhat broader scope of computer programming or a specialty of project managing including some aspects of software product management”

      So if you don’t actually do any programming are you considered a developer. I guess not, but it’s really just semantics.

      Someone who downloads the AOSP, compiles it, tweaks some of the scripts and generally makes it better, in my book, I’d call them a developer. But it’s a fine line with many people.

      So, for the short answer I would say that YES you need to know how to program to be considered a developer.

      Reply
  29. Simone

    The interviews are very informative. It’s interesting to see where the roms we love come from. Clay (the older family man)came off very humble, spiritual, not trying to claim any glory. Then you have these boys (obviously gifted, except for some atrocious spelling)insulting everyone who offers criticism. I haven’t flashed any ZX roms yet, but they look intriguing, I’ll have to give them a go. I appreciate the hard work that all of them put into the roms that make our phones fun.

    Reply
  30. Simone

    The interviews are very informative. It’s interesting to see where the roms we love come from. Clay (the older family man)came off very humble, spiritual, not trying to claim any glory. Then you have these boys (obviously gifted, except for some atrocious spelling)insulting everyone who offers criticism. I haven’t flashed any ZX roms yet, but they look intriguing, I’ll have to give them a go. I appreciate the hard work that all of them put into the roms that make our phones fun.

    Reply

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