Why root / worry about boot loaders

Discussion in 'Droid X Hacks' started by zamslam, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. zamslam

    zamslam New Member

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    I see threads like "rooted and having xyz" problem, and I intuitively assume based on zero experience (a dubious proposition, but it's how I'm wired) that the problem is related to rooting. What's worth the hassle?

    Similarly: help me understand why people want to root or get uptight about encrypted bootloaders with as OS as open as Android.

    OTHER THAN TO TETHER which I get, but am not interested, because I don't really need it, and was successfully spooked by the Verizon sales dude who said "[usb | wireless without extra fee] tethering may be possible, but V may be able to detect it now or in the future and my unceremoniously cancel your account".

    Sorry I hope I didn't cause thread drift in the first post of a thread.

    Anyway.

    I can see wanting to jailbreak, or do similar things on other restrictive platforms, where the manufacturer/carrier prevents you from doing legitimately useful stuff.

    I guess I can see some sort of hacker "because it's there" / "it's the principle" mentality, which I don't find at all compelling, but can sorta understand someone might.

    There's a wi-fi router that you can re-flash with open-source/3rd party kernels, which I considered doing because it was arguably more feature rich and at the same time more stable. Is it the same thing here?

    I'm pretty new to Android, but from what programming books on it I've read it seems amazingly open/extensible and there are available APIs galore. In particular, there's the ability to extend/replace core operating stuff, but perhaps that's mostly at the UI level.

    It seems like it's a significant risk, but I don't see the reward. I guess it would be kinda neat to have a BASH prompt and be able to prevent processes that I don't really need from loading on startup and using the very little memory they use, but seems sorta meh.

    From the momentum and buzz about all this stuff, it seems to me that I'm wrong, and am just missing something, but I don't know what.
     
  2. hookbill

    hookbill Premium Member
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    Rooting is the same thing as jail breaking. You can't get the really cool apps without being rooted, and besides all the cool kids are doing it. ;)
     
  3. zamslam

    zamslam New Member

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    The difference is jail braking is on a restrictive OS and enables a series of useful applications that I've heard of.

    I get the cool kids bit tho :)

    Thanks for the superquick reply!
     
  4. vzwtek

    vzwtek Member

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    It makes your phone run better than the stock builds, and typically you wont have any issues if you read the instructions and do them exactly as listed.
    Issues can happen, but its rare if you follow the instructions.
     
  5. Humpa

    Humpa Member

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    You are correct. Most of the apps are already available because of the open API. But not all. Something simple like screen capture can't even be done without rooting. And what if you want to replace a system apk, like the Gallery or Music? You've "heard" of those applications, right? ;)

    For information about root, just search google for reasons to root an android device. There are literally thousands of threads/posts/articles that people have spent countless time on already. I imagine there is a good sticky or two about root right here at droidforums. I just don't have a link handy.

    Also, I'm not familiar with these "root problems" you mentioned. Droid X issues are the same whether rooted or not - root just gives you admin access everywhere, it doesn't introduce any new errors or bugs. Of course the person that now has root, can easily cause errors by deleting things from folders, such as the /system folder.
     
  6. Humpa

    Humpa Member

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    By just rooting, the phone should run identical to how it ran before. Only if there are things to fix, run, whatever, will the phone "run better".
     
  7. ftajeffrey

    ftajeffrey Member

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    Custom roms!

    :icon_ banana:
     
  8. c0y0te

    c0y0te Member

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    It's not just the apps that are cool, but the custom ROMs are too.

    Rooting allows you to update to the newest version of Android without having to wait for the official updates.

    For example, I've been running Froyo ever since P3Droid leaked it, which was what... six weeks ago? I've had flash and everything all this time, which definitely makes me feel like one of the cool kids, lol.

    It will get to the point where Verizon will stop updating the Droid1 and only root users will get the updates. I'm pretty sure we'll be some of the first people rocking Gingerbread later this year and who knows if unrooted Droid1 owners will ever even get that. Personally, I don't think it will happen to anything without 500 megs of ram and a 1ghz processor, but since we can overclock (another benefit of rooting,) that won't stop the devs from trying.

    Also, the custom ROMs can be custom themed directly in the framework instead of using metamorph, which is nice.
     
  9. qoncept

    qoncept Member

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    I have my phone rooted, but I can totally see where you're coming from zamslam. I think most people think rooting is cooler than it really is.

    1) You can count the number of "awesome things" rooting unlocks on one hand. Wireless tethering, better backups, screenshots, tweak memory usage (which I still contend is a bad idea), remove system apps ... that's about it.

    2) The apps are very limited. The majority of the apps that require root access are only tools to help you do other things that require root access. If you don't want to remove bloatware, you don't need Root Explorer.

    3) You can't use custom roms, overclock or run custom themes (on the X) yet.

    4) You can already "replace" system apps. You can use Handcent SMS or Dolphin browser. They're still sitting there on your phone, but they're eating up a negligible amount of your 8gb of system storage.

    My advice is, if you want to do any one of the things you need to root for, go ahead and do it. It's very low risk unless you start toying around with things you don't understand. It doesn't affect how your phone works unless you specifically make it.

    What's nice about that? You can toy around with moving images around in zip files all day instead of using a tool that makes it easier?
     
  10. izomiac

    izomiac New Member

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    Ok, here's a quick question: "Simply stated, what is the Droid X?"

    If you answered "a phone", then rooting isn't really that big a deal. You can work around carrier restrictions and get some more life out of your phone, but that's about it.

    Personally, I see a device with a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, a dedicated graphics card, 8 GB of internal storage, a USB host, and network connectivity. That's a general purpose computer. Throw in its mobility and a sensor package that basically makes it a tricorder and you have a very interesting device.

    As perceptions differ, so do expectations. Yesterday I wanted to type up a SOAP note, but all of the available desktop computers were in use. Seeing a computer in the palm of my hand, I got the idea that I could just use a USB keyboard with the USB OTG port and type my future notes that way. Oops, Motorola never thought to enable USB OTG, install keyboard drivers, or add anything to the GUI to do that. With root (or perhaps a custom kernel, Linux handles hardware a bit weird IMHO), I can fix that. Earlier this week I tried playing a simple Xvid encoded video in a Matroska container, only to find that the proper codecs (agh... libraries, again with Linux) weren't installed. On the first day I got my phone I installed Epocrates only to find that it needed an older version of libwebcore.so, which, without root, I couldn't install. (Fortunately the update fixed this.)

    The usefulness of a general purpose computing device shouldn't be lost on anyone who didn't buy a tool just to read this forum. Verizon doesn't want to sell them since then they'd become a dumb data carrier, could no longer justify nickel and diming people on add-on services, and could only compete with other carriers on throughput, latency, and price. Motorola doesn't want to sell them because they'd saturate their market in no time, since people wouldn't need multiple specialized devices when a single device would suffice. (Amusingly, they do love to take advantage of general purpose open source software so they don't have to develop everything from scratch for every device.) Google would love for this to happen since then you could do a Google search from your toaster, hence the push for openness from them. In short, empowering the consumer in a small way, through root, is the foot in the door for creating a buyer's market that's less favorable to Verizon and Motorola.

    Oops, that's starting to get into philosophy and hypotheticals. Suffice to say, if you see the potential of your device then you try to break the artificial limitations that prevent you from realizing it.
     
  11. vzwtek

    vzwtek Member

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    I meant to say Custom roms run better!!!
     
  12. suzook

    suzook Member

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    I rooted so i could get rid of that ugly white top bar....I now have smoked glass....it looks a thousand times better.