Teach me and help me put together a coherent howto

Discussion in 'Android Hacks and Help' started by tehfade, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. tehfade

    tehfade New Member

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    I'm a pretty technically inclined guy. (BS in Computer Science, programmer, Linux-competent, built all my own machines, etc, etc, etc) But this forum confuses the crap out of me. There are about fifty howtos on everything you might want to do--BUT THEY'RE ALL DIFFERENT. And most of them are out of date. All this leaves me with a bunch of questions that I cannot find answers to.

    What exactly is a ROM? A new kernel? More than that?
    What ROMs are available, where are they, and what are the differences?
    What is different in 2.1 from 2.0.1?
    What's the distinction between a theme and a ROM? Are the themes an integral part of the ROM, and to have a different theme, I need a different ROM? Or are they separate and I can install any theme on any ROM?
    What's the cache partition? What other partitions are there?

    Is there only ONE version of the update.zip that you can use to root? Because when I did it, before ROMs were available, I seem to remember multiple ones being available.
    What is busybox, and does it come in that update.zip or not?

    How the hell do you tether? I've read like 3 different guides and once again they're all completely different!

    What does "wiping" the phone mean? Is this just a "factory data reset", as can be done under Settings -> Privacy?
    Suppose I used my phone for a while, then rooted it, used it for a while longer, wiped it with the "factory reset" under Settings -> Privacy, then did the SPRecovery/Nandroid thing--and now I want to magically go back to exactly how it was the day I got the phone. Completely, utterly stock. How do I do that?
    For that matter, what's the difference between SPRecovery and nandroid?

    What other websites and resources are there?

    So that's a ton of questions. But I'll make answering them worth your while. If you guys can make me understand all this crap, I'll write you a gigantic, all-in-one, noob-friendly HOWTO. I'll have links, and pictures, and everything. It'll be so easy a chimp can follow it. How about that?
     
  2. KZIWarrior

    KZIWarrior Silver Member

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    Root Your Droid best guide I've found and normally where I send people. Clean, simple and efficient. if you want to do a guide I would follow their setup. Their 'new users start here' guide goes over most of what you pointed to.
     
  3. natediddy1120

    natediddy1120 Silver Member

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    LOL, a chimp? ;)

    You're making this a little more complicated bro, this is the best way I can explain it.

    The phone has like 6 partitions: Boot, Cache, Data, Misc, Recovery, and System. Boot, is the kernel. Cache is, well, cache, from the stuff on your phone. Data, is YOUR user info (but contacts, paid apps, and calender info are through your gmail account). Not 100% what Misc is, it's obviously not that important though. Recovery, is your recovery screen....you know when you hold "x" and the power button to boot into that screen that you rooted with? And finally, System, the MOST important partition of the phone. System holds all the image files that makes your Droid look the way it does, it basically holds EVERYTHING that makes your phone run the way it does, look the way it does, and act the way it does.

    A ROM, usually consists of the System partition, and the Boot partition. The developer custom modifies the partitions and provides them to everyone to apply to their phones.

    ROMs available:

    Bugless Beast
    Simply Stunning
    DroidMod
    Ultimate

    And there are more but those are probably the *most* popular. A theme ONLY involves appearance. Not function.

    And I think now, at the present time, there probably only is 1 version of the root file. Not 100% sure but I'd say.

    2.1 is just the next version of Android that we are supposed to get. Features are still not 100% clear on what we'll get, mostly speculation...

    And "wiping" usually is just wiping the Data partition. A factory reset. But you can also wipe System and Cache too...

    Hope this helps!! :)
     
  4. vmescall

    vmescall New Member

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    Don't forget about AdamZ's Smoked Glass ROM (the newest iteration is 5.0)

    As far as what a ROM is, I find that it is helpful to essentially think of them as system images or snapshots. Basically, a user tweaks and modifies their system (Droid) utilizing the various hacks and guides out there and then once they are satisfied with what they have, they create an image (ROM) of the system and provide it for others to utilize.

    The kernel is basically the proxy or bridge between the applications and software on the Droid and the actual data processing that occurs at the hardware level. It is tweaks to the kernel that allow for overclocking the processor in the Droid along with several other modifications.

    The main difference between themes and ROM's boils down to themes being a purely aesthetic change (colors, widget backgrounds, fonts, etc) while ROM's are a complete system image that, while offering some theme elements, are aimed more at additional system functionality and usability. Generally speaking, themes are ROM independent. As I mentioned, some ROMs are available 'pre-themed' but most ROMs can still be themed differently using an application such as MetaMorph to apply and manage themes. Additionally, MetaMorph allows for some granularity in that it does not automatically apply all aspects of a theme to every part of a system. For example, you may really dig the Pandora and Facebook widget themes that come with AdamZ's smoked glass MetaMorph theme (not to be confused with AdamZ's Smoke Glass ROM, which is available with theme elements pre-applied), but do not like the look of anything else. Using MetaMorph, you can selectively choose to only apply the theme to those widgets.

    BusyBox is an add-on for Android that adds familiar Linux commands to the command line functionality. As it ships stock, Android does not support commands such as 'cp' and 'mv' - pretty common *nix commands that most users rely on. Installing BusyBox allows the use of these commands, however, they must be preceded by 'busybox'. To copy File A from your SD card to /system/app you would have to use 'busybox cp /sdcard/File A /system/app. Most ROMs that are available, already have BusyBox installed on them.

    I can't speak to how to tether simply because I have yet to come across a need to do so in my everyday usage.

    The difference between SPRecovery and Nandroid is simple - SPRecovery is the custom recovery console that replaces the stock one with additional functionality such as the ability to perform backups and install (recover) ROMs. Nandroid is the component of SPRecovery that performs said backups and restores.

    Going back to bone stock is not something that I have looked into or considered but I think the general school of thought is this - you can load a virgin/OEM ROM to essentially get back to stock, but the root access will be retained. This is a product of the fact that the virgin ROM could not have been dumped without a custom recovery console that could do so, which requires root access. So at the very minimum, you would still retain root privileges. Now, as I have said, this is not something that I have looked into, so I could be very wrong on the issue of going back to stock - anyone that knows better than I do, please correct me if necessary as I would hate to be passing on bad information to members of the forum.

    thefade, I hope that this has answered some of your questions and helped you make sense of the different aspects of the Android system. I am now going to nurse my newly developed case of carpal tunnel syndrome. :D
     
  5. korp

    korp Member

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    1. The roms are basically like a theme, however most include other kernels such as the ones that allow overclocking, allow tethering and edit some things in the current setup.

    2. There are several out there, for 2.1 and 2.0.1. The 2.0.1 favorites seem to be Bugless Beast, Sholes and Smoked Glass. Bugless Beast for sure has a 2.1 version and there are others.

    3. There are releases with that info but for simple sake, pinch zoom, live wallpapers, and more home screens .... those are stock 2.0.1 vs 2.1 ... many roms have those things included.

    4. Think of a theme as changing the paint job on a car, just external visual changes .... a rom is more like an engine change where you are actually changing things under the hood, like allowing wireless tethering and overclocking. You can use metamorph and some other programs to change it as you want or edit the roms when you get the know how for it.

    5. That I don't know, there is data, recovery, boot and system I believe for the other partitions.

    6. I think there is just one version but the link in my signature is pretty simple to in the end have busybox and everything installed. Some roms provide a new update.zip to use to install it but thats after you have rooted with the original update.zip.

    7. You just have to install a rom that allows tethering or there is probably a kernel out there. Then install the tethering app ... its pretty simple once you open the app.

    8. Wipe will restore alot of the settings ... but it does not unroot your phone .... the guide to do it is as simple as rooting it. SPRecovery is the program that lets you make backups .... nandroid is basically the folder where the backups are stored.

    9. droid forums, alldroid.org, androidforums, androidcentral.com