Friday, May 25, 2012

The fun in Rooting an Android

I started to tinker around the so-called "custom roms" in the Android ecosystem when I realized that,I could not upgrade my Sony Xperia to the latest and greatest which Google would provide.So I was wondering how I could get over with this frustration of mine.Much to my delight I was not the only person who was facing the issue.A friend of mine from a community in which I participate suggested that I should check the  awesome things at the xda developers. By that time I had already heard about them - when they made the news for running Android on the HP  Touchslate.

So I got interested in those folks and the work they do only when I had a the frustration which other people out there faced.As the saying goes,better late than never - I dived into the vast forums at the xda developers. It took me  a day or two to clearly understand how things were running there and what amount of brain hammering must be done to understand the  complicated method of rooting the phone. Complicated in my opinion because -- If you don't know what you are doing,you would end up with a bricked phone which would then be useful as a nice paper weight!

So all of this background research and endless hours of reading the many forum posts  boiled down to some of the basics of the Linux Kernel.The first time I installed Android was a mere fluke. It took 6 hours for me to figure out everything involved in rooting a Sony Phone. So then I heard about the last incarnation of the cygenmod Rom coming up,I thought that it was time for me to refresh my phone again. The second time,it took  several days for me to narrow down to the prerequisites,because I ignored some of them - which caused my phone to brick.Luckily I was able to restore the phone to the original eclair rom. (Restore features are helpful only in these kind of situations ;) )

I figured out that to install the custom rom this time,I had to have the latest nAa kernel running on my phone. This seems to be a custom kernel designed to run on Sony Ericsson devices.The procedure was quite arduous in nature as every step involved would brick the phone - had I not did it in the right way. It so happened that I had to restore the phone for 2 or 3 times and start from the beginning again. And after some hours I finally made it!

For those of you people who want to run custom roms on their phone I have an advice.This comes from the experience I faced during the readings and background research.

Never follow the rooting way if you don't know what you are up to.It is very important to understand the technical terminologies which are involved in the process.Basic knowledge and working of the Linux OS and kernel would help you get on to understand the process.

Always follow the procedure mentioned in the posts to the book.Never blindly download a custom Rom because - there are hundreds of Roms out there!  It would be beneficial for  you if you check out the Bugs which the current Rom is facing,so that you can decide upon perfect fit for your phone accordingly.

Never get fooled byany of  the attractive screenshots  of a particular ROM,make sure that the feature set which they provide will satisfy your needs.There might be more but these are some of the generic situations which I came across untill now.

FYI -- Rooting your phone would void your warranty,so make sure that you do not lose it. Installing Custom Roms is at your own risk too since there would be no support from the OEM and your phone might also be exposed to some serious malware exploits. In a nutshell - Check thoroughly and then decide.

Happy Rooting!