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What's the difference between an AOSP ROM and a stock ROM?

When referring to Android ROMs or kernels (etc.), what is the difference between:

  • AOSP ("vanilla")
  • Stock
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marked as duplicate by Richard Borcsik, Sachin Shekhar, Matthew Read Jul 16 '12 at 18:59

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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@cd4 Since kernel building is also done by experienced Android end-users it would say this question is ok. –  Flow Jul 15 '12 at 11:01
    
@ce4: This is not necessarily a developer question. If someone wanted to roll their own custom ROM to flash onto their device, for instance. –  Al E. Jul 15 '12 at 13:03
    
reverted. You're right, one might just know the difference between those. Well, HTCs stock kernel itself is based on the AOSP kernel because AOSP's kernel is not a vanilla kernel.org kernel but heavily patched as needed by android. However backporting of new android version's kernel patches or integrating htc's patches into a newer AOSP kernel is not for the faint hearted and definitely a dev task and not for power users. my 2ct –  ce4 Jul 15 '12 at 13:27
    
I've broadened this slightly since it doesn't really affect the answer, and removed the contentious points. As noted we can't help you with developer questions here, but do feel free to ask any other questions relevant to end-users (like this one) that fit our FAQ. –  Matthew Read Jul 16 '12 at 18:53
    
Oh man, I just found the duplicate. Sorry about that. Since I have the accepted answer to it I will make my answer Community Wiki, I don't want to redirect rep from the below answerers to myself. –  Matthew Read Jul 16 '12 at 18:59
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2 Answers 2

They are both Linux, but the AOSP kernel is a very standardized, general Linux kernel provided by Google that requires minimal modification to work across different devices, to make it easier for manufacturers to get Android working.

The various modifications made by manufacturers to their own kernels relate to the different hardware found in these devices. So HTC may enable some features in their stock kernel that only works on that particular HTC device and would not work on other devices by other manufacturers.

An example of such a feature is voice recording which was present in a certain version of the HTC Hero stock kernel, but this feature would not be possible on the AOSP kernel because the drivers being used for voice recording were only compatible with the HTC kernel, not with the AOSP version.

Similarly, an AOSP ROM is one built directly from Google's unmodified sources whereas a stock ROM is the manufacturer-modified version of Android that comes with a device or is released as an official update.

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AOSP software is released by the Android Open Source Project (i.e., by Google), while stock software may include modifications by manufacturers.

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