Flashing ROMs and other socially unacceptable behaviours

My plan for the day was to destroy my phone. Or, more specifically, break the operating system.

from Android.com

Long long ago I was fed up with the crappy overlays and ‘customizations’ of the Android smartphone OS. Android is linux, customized for the hardware of a phone. And Android is pretty awesome. But it is also user-focused, and letting people do things without paying to do them is not what phone companies or phone manufacturers want. So they bottled up much of the greatness of Android, larded it with advertising and spyware, and locked it up. And we paid them to do it.

Then along came Nexus, a nearly-pure/plain Android. It was not, perhaps, the bleading edge of hardware. Or even always the bleading edge of software. But it got the latest release of the operating system, and you could do pretty much whatever you wanted. There were pre-installed spyware, better known as GAPPS, but these were what most of us used anyway. (Incidentally, Nexus is dead. A new Google-built product line named Pixel has been rolled out to replace it.)

And then CyanogenMod, a community-built even plainer version of the Android OS. This was a cycle of GREAT! aw crap… GREAT! as Google reacted to the challenge of what was a tiny dissident movement within their otherwise unchallenged market control. Eventually CyanogenMod went corporate, lost its soul, and the community dwindled to a bit of smouldering on the edges until, phoenix-like, it reformed as…

From XDA

LineageOS! a new remix of Android based on the CyanogenMod history and codebase(s). Apparently there is even a phone available for purchase with the OS provided by OEM. But that is not the real goal; it is primarily focused on the hobbyist after-market, so far as can be told from the official website.

None of which quite explains my plan to break my phone, or why that is now on hold.

On an earlier Nexus (first gen, actually) I decided to install CyanogenMod. It was an extremely arcane process to get the ROM flashed and the system up and running and – because Google was in the depths of its protectionist stage – resulted in a phone with almost no programs. Which suited me perfectly! With a minimalist set up I had a great time, barely using my phone’s abilities but getting every message, e-mail, and phone call as needed. I was introduced to f-droid (app store filled with crappy student projects and a few shining gems, such as OpenCamera and GApps Browser) mostly because Google was making life difficult. Then the phone died.

And I never took the time to convert since, because it had been so painful that first time. But now, since my current phone is beginning to develop old-hardware-disease, I was going to make the time to do it.

Except the appliance guy called last night.

Our dishwasher started making unexplained noises last week. Called the landlord, who referred me to their appliance person, who was on vacation. So I left a message, carried on with my life, made plans to spend today rebuilding my phone, but he called last night and set up an appointment for today. “I’ll call you when I am about to come over.” <sigh>

So no breaking of phones today. No breaking phones tomorrow as Elizabeth is flying back home tomorrow. Maybe I can break the phone on Suday.

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