Sony seems to be one of the few companies that actually care about open source and what happens with its devices. If you think about it, most companies that build phones and tablets usually provide support for those devices for one or two years, like most of them. Those devices don’t just magically stop working after that supports end, so why waste them?
On the other hand, Sony is not interested in just providing support for old devices, and they are aiming to have some of the newer ones supported in the Linux kernel.
We need to backtrack a little; Google has something called Android Open Source Project, which is basically all the open source and free stuff from Android. This is headed by a guy named Jean-Baptiste Queru. Sony has partnered with AOSP to enhance the use of their devices.
Support in the Linux kernel
As you can imagine, not all of the Sony devices are open, but there are plenty of them, some of which are really new like Xperia Z5, Xperia Z3+, and many others. In any case, Sony is now pushing patches into the Linux kernel, which greatly enhances the access of developers to the hardware.
“The Linux kernel for Xperia devices starts in the git tree of Linus Torvalds, upon which the Android team at Google adds various patches for Android support. The platform vendor then adds all the necessary platform hardware support, features and bug fixes before Sony finally adds device specific hardware support, configuration and bug fixes,” reads the Sony entry.
For now, developers have explained that basic support for running the mainline Linux kernel on APQ8064 (Xperia Z) and MSM8974 (Xperia Z1, Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z3). Not all the functions are available, but they are working on it.
This extended Linux support might also help the community developers who might want to port Ubuntu Touch on these devices, but there is no guarantee that it will happen.