Understanding Your Android better / Glossary

Have you been in a position in which:

  • you want to show off an application on your phone and your phone refuses to respond
  • you wanted to call/message some one and your phone refuses to help you

and you abuse the hell out of your phone?

Well, I guess what we have all been in that particular situation and then we google out remedies to fix our phone revealing the other side of the medal: Rooting. Curiosity is known to humans so you just click on the first and second link, download a file and run it and 2 things of the following happens:

  • You were lucky enough to root it without screwing it.
  • Boom your phones screwed, it wont start.

So now you’re searching for a solution for this problem (unless you are the kind of person who is willing to spend a ton of cash to replace the motherboard)

Now for people searching for a solution, usually end up putting a question in the forums. In there, people post all these terms which you have no idea off, and when you ask them they get pissed (well i am one of them :p)

So i created this post with all  the terms you will ever need to know about rooting and a brief explanation about them, so that next time when some one says you have to flash your phone you wont ask whats flashing.

The Main Question- what is ROOTING

Android is based on Linux. On Linux and other UNIX-like operating systems, the root user is equivalent to the Administrator user on Windows. The root user has access to the entire operating system and can do anything. By default, you don’t have root access to your Android device(to prevent us from screwing with our phone), and certain apps won’t function without root access.

With root access, you can disable the bloatware(Samsung fun,htc skins,Motorola stuff,etc) that comes with your phone, manually deny app permissions, run a firewall, access the entire file system, or tether your device, even if tethering functionality has been disabled. You’ll find many apps that require root access in the Google Play store ,Even if they install on your unrooted phone they won’t function until you root your device.

The Most Basic Terms(they are in alphabetical order)

ADB:Android Debug Bridge

It is a versatile command line tool that lets you communicate with an emulator instance or connected Android-powered device. It is a client-server program that includes three components:

•A client, which runs on your development machine. You can invoke a client from a shell by issuing an adb command. Other Android tools such as the ADT plugin and DDMS also create adb clients.
•A server, which runs as a background process on your development machine. The server manages communication between the client and the adb daemon running on an emulator or device.
•A daemon, which runs as a background process on each emulator or device instance.

Android

A Linux-based operating system for mobile devices(smart phones).Versions are alphabetically codenamed after deserts:- Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly bean.

APK

Android application package file (APK) is the file format used to distribute and install application software and middleware onto Google’s Android operating system.

Bootloader

This small program’s only job is to load other data and programs which are then executed from RAM.Often, multiple-stage boot loaders are used, during which several programs of increasing complexity load one after the other in a process of chain loading.Bootloader increases the security of the phone preventing us from rooting, although companies like HTC provide a devloper site to help us unlock the bootloader

Bootloop

When your system recycles over and over without entering the main OS.(when u cant get pass the welcome screen)

Custom(ROM,KERNEL,APPS)

Independent developers who like to customize their devices beyond the standard options provided often tend to release their labor for the rest to enjoy, in form of custom ROMs,etc

Cache

Cache is used by the central processing unit of a device to reduce the average time to access memory. The cache is a smaller, faster memory which stores copies of the data from the most frequently used main memory locations. As long as most memory accesses are cached memory locations, the average latency of memory accesses will be closer to the cache latency than to the latency of main memory.

Dual Core

A dual core processor is a central processing unit (CPU) that has two separate cores , each with its own cache. It essentially is two microprocessors in one. This type of CPU is widely available from many manufacturers. Other types of multi-core processors also have been developed, including quad-core processors with four cores each, hexa-core processors with six, octa-core processors with eight and many-core processors with an even larger number of cores.

Dalvik

This is The Android platform’s virtual machine.The Dalvik VM is an interpreter-only virtual machine that executes files in the Dalvik Executable (“.dex”) format, a format that is optimized for efficient storage and memory-mappable execution.

Dalvik Cache

Writable cache that contains the optimized bytecode of all apk files (apps) on your Android device. Having the information in it’s own cache makes applications load faster and perform better.(its where the apps store their stuff)

FC/FC’s

Short for “force close,” meaning an app that has crashed.(like when firefox closes unexpectedly)

Fastboot

A diagnostic protocol used primarily to modify the flash filesystem in Android smartphones from another computer over a USB connection. It is part of the Android Debug Bridge library.
Utilizing the Fastboot protocol requires that the device be started in a boot loader or Second Program Loader mode in which only the most basic hardware initialization is performed. After enabling the protocol on the device itself it will accept any command sent to it over USB via a command line. Some of most commonly used fastboot commands include:

  • fastboot reboot (reboots)
  • fastboot devices(displays the devices connected)
  • fastboot flash boot boot.img(installs the kernels)
  • fastboot flash recovery recovery.img (installs the recovery)
  • fastboot erase cache (Erases the cache partition)

Flashing

It basically means installing.The ROM memory used in smartphones and tablets etc. is often same as flash memory found in SD cards and USB flash drives, simply optimized for better speed and performance while running the operating system

Hboot

It’s mainly responsible for checking and initializing the hardware and starting the phone’s software. It can also be used for flashing official software releases, as well as a few other things. HBoot can be compared to the BIOS on a computer.

Kernel(a link between the hardware and OS)

A kernel is a layer of code that allows the OS and applications to interface with your phone’s hardware. The degree in which you can access your phone’s hardware features depends on the quality of code in the kernel. The homebrew (rooting) community for HTC has made several kernel code improvements that give us additional features from our hardware that the stock kernel does not. When you flash a custom ROM, you automatically get a kernel. But you can also flash a standalone kernel ROM on top of the existing one, effectively overwriting it. These days, the difference in custom kernels is less about new features and more about alternate configurations. Choosing a custom kernel is basically choosing one that works best with your ROM.

Nandroid

Nandroid is used to backup or restore backups from Recovery.Its a must for first time users,Cause if anything goes wrong u can just restore it.

Recovery

The recovery partition is a boot-mode for your phone that allows you to wipe your settings from the Data partition of the phone, or perform an update using an update.zip file on the root of the microSD card. It is common  to flash a patched Recovery image, such as TWRP or ClockworkMod Recovery. This allows you to run Nandroid backup from the device, and flash modifications, such as files to the device, essentially becoming a means to install software to the device. Recovery mode is separate from ‘normal’ mode, and can be entered by holding down home whilst turning the phone on.

ROM

A ROM is a modified version of Android. It may contain extra features, a different look, speed enhancements, or even a version of Android that hasn’t been released yet

RUU and SBF

ROM Upgrade Utilities(RUU) (for HTC phones) and System Boot Files(SBF) (for Motorola phones) are files direct from the manufacturer that change the software on your phone. RUU and SBF files are how the manufacturers deliver your over-the-air upgrades, and modders often post leaked RUU and SBF files for flashing when the updates haven’t been released yet. They’re also handy when downgrading your phone, if a rooting method isn’t available for the newest software version yet. You can flash RUUs right from your HTC phone, but Motorola users will need a Windows program called RSD Lite to flash SBF files.

Superuser/SU

On many computer operating systems, the superuser is a special user account used for system administration. Depending on the operating system, the actual name of this account might be : root, administrator or0 supervisor.

S-ON AND S-OFF

S-On:Security on,means no access to the phones operating system.

S-Off:Security was exploited,now have access to the operating system.

Ok guys, these are the most basic terms you should know about before you go ahead and root your phone. If you have doubts, questions, ask in the comments section below!

Suggest this BLOG to other users if you found it useful. Thank you!

Most credits go to

  • Google
  • Wikipedia
  • How to geek
  • Lifehacker
  • Xda forums
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3 thoughts on “Understanding Your Android better / Glossary

  1. Pingback: Boot “N” #Root {apps that matter} « DroidVoid™

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