Android: Terminology

Like I said in the previous post, I felt that Android terminology can be complicated to grasp at first. ROM v. RUU? Radio v. RIL? AOSP v. CM v. AOSP? Eventually, I think I figured most of it out.

Root: granting superuser rights to install custom ROMs. Like su in Linux.

ROM (Read-Only Memory): a spin of the Android operating system. Goes in /system partition. Similar to a Linux distro.

RUU (ROM Upgrade Utility): utility that allows return to stock ROM and recovery.

Radio: provides access to phone, mobile data, wifi, bluetooth, and other such things. Flashing usually not necessary.

Flash: install from recovery partition.

Recovery: partition from which ROMs can be installed and backed up. The ones I’m aware of are 4ext, ClockworkMod (CWM), and TWRP (TeamWin Recovery Project).

AOSP (Android Open Source Project): the pure Google ROM, without extras. One of the 3 major ROM branches.

CM (CyanogenMod): the original ROM spinner. Usually adds some features to those provided by AOSP. CM7 = Gingerbread (2.3); CM9 = Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0); CM10 = Jelly Bean (4.1). Usually includes overclocking and theming. One of the 3 major ROM branches.

AOKP (Android Open Kang Project): a kang of CM. Usually adds some features in its ROMControl application to those provided by CM. For example: notification bar icons, clock, toggles, and weather; disabled bootanimation; customized recents windows; LCD density; navigation bar; etc. One of the 3 major ROM branches.

Sense: HTC’s overlay on top of regular Android. Includes UI, ROM, and kernel changes. (Sense kernels are not interchangeable with regular kernels.)

Kang: a ROM based off of another ROM.

Sense: HTC’s own UI, including launcher. Kernels based on Sense are not compatible with ROMs based on AOSP, CM, or AOKP.

Launcher: the home page manager. Similar to a Linux window manager.

Bootloader: starts on boot and loads a partition. Similar to Linux bootloaders (GRUB, LILO).

/boot: where the kernel resides.

/system partition: where the ROM resides.

/data partition: where the application data resides.

cache: cache, just like it sounds. Temporary memory.

dalvik cache: similar to a java cache. Temporary memory.

Full wipe: wiping /system, /data, /cache, and /dalvik. Usually recommended before installing new ROMs.

Dirty flash: not doing a full wipe before flashing a new ROM.

That’s about it! I’ll add more to this list as I think of them.

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