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Thread: Droid version, ROMs, and Kernels. What's the difference?

  1. Junior Droid
    jimbob_sf's Avatar
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    Droid version, ROMs, and Kernels. What's the difference?

    FNG here. I just updated my Droid from the stock 2.1 to 2.2 using the instructions on this thread. Love it, but ran into some questions on terminology that I haven't easily found answers for in FAQs.


    From this, I have:
    Baseband: C_01.43.01P
    Kernel: / pierce@MyDroidWorld #212
    Build: voles-user 2.2 FRF84B 42477 release-keys

    I haven't seen a clear explanation differentiating the version of Droid OS (ex. 2.2 FRF84B), ROMs, and Kernels. I think these are questions others may have, but the topics I've seen seem (yes, I searched and read for hours) to assume you know these core relationships.

    1. Once you follow the above thread to updated to 2.2, you've done the basic OS update and this is the only way to get to a rooted 2.2? The only OS update out there is the FRF84B in the above thread.

    2. Are ROM's different versions of the underlying OS (each could be applied to a 2.1 phone to get to 2.2) or are they just different interpretations of a higher level of the OS update to 2.2? If I updated a ROM, would that change the "Build number", Kernel version, baseband, or a combo that depends on the ROM?

    3. I re-ran the update thread a few times to try the market fix. I also applied the baseband radio fix update a few times. I think I figured out that the baseband updates are completely separate from OS or ROM and only need to be run once. Is it true that baseband only needs to be updated once and it won't get updated by ROMs?

    4. ROMs are not Kernels and Kernels are specific to ROMs? Kernels appear to be a subset of the ROM that affect CPU clock / power configuration, no?

    My WiFi isn't stable and keeps on cycling up/down. I need to do something to fix it, but don't know whether I need a ROM or Kernel.

    Many thanks in advance - Phil
  3. Droid
    Wolfy's Avatar
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    I'll try to help with a few things I've picked up doing this and from a lot of reading, though I can't answer all your questions.

    Baseband is only the 'radio' part of the phone that makes the calls, the 3G and Wifi connections, GPS connections, etc. As you thought, it is totally separate from a ROM. Updating a ROM will not update a baseband and going back to an older ROM will not 'downgrade' the baseband either. Upgrades to a baseband my improve signal strength, call quality, maybe have software tweaks to improve battery life while on 3G/Wifi, etc - things like that.

    Kernels are software code that allows CPU overclocking and voltage controls. Think of it like BIOS settings on your computer (PC, that is)..that's really all they do. Now, a kernel can be completely separate from a ROM, but a new ROM contains a kernel in it so it will run. For example, I had installed one of P3's kernels to have my Droid overclocked to 1Ghz. But, when I updated to JRummy's Kangerade 5.0.9, it came with it's own 'stock' kernel that bumped me back down to 800mHz (because I wiped all data and cache). So, I had to install a P3 kernel again, and am now running at 1.2Ghz. So, a kernel can be both separately applied from a ROM, but is also part of a ROM.

    The ROM is basically everything else but the apps and the two things above. It's actually the OS, as well as any stock apps that come with it - and any new improvements, features, etc. The increasing build numbers reflect bug fixes, known issue solutions, feature improvements, etc...thing of them like windows service packs and/or any software update.

    Updating a ROM will update your build number and the kernel version to the one that's in the ROM...If/when you install a different kernel on top, the kernel version will reflect that.

    I don't know which ROM you're using for your upgrade, but for the Kangerade, I tried everything short of wiping the data and couldn't get either the market to work or maps to install. I had to finally back everything up to the SD card, and do a complete wipe data and cache in recovery and then they both finally worked.

    The Wifi could either be a ROM issue if an install didn't fully complete, OR, it's possible a baseband update would fix that problem - especially since you say it seems to be a power issue.

    Hope this helps, and I definitely stand to be corrected on anything I wrote, but so far, that's how I understand things to be.
    Last edited by Wolfy; 07-17-2010 at 12:56 PM.
  4. Premium Member
    hookbill's Avatar
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    The wifi was an issue with the kernels that came with the first Froyo. I thought they fixed it. Try going here: P3Droid Kernels and install a low voltage kernel. Well, you can install a medium one if you like and see if that doesn't fix the wifi issue.
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  5. Junior Droid
    jimbob_sf's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking the time to fill in the blanks. I'm on CM 6 RC2 right now and everything is fairly stable.


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