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Android Cellphones Handhelds Hardware Hacking Open Source Operating Systems Software Build News

CyanogenMod 9 Working On the Nexus S 218

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the is-it-better-than-android-1.6 dept.
MrSeb writes with an article in Extreme Tech about progress toward getting an AOSP build working on the Nexus S. From the article: "Over the past week, ROM Manager extraordinaire Koush has been frantically working on making a working build of CyanogenMod 9 (Ice Cream Sandwich) for the Samsung Nexus S. The custom ROM, which is built purely from the Android Open Source Project, has now reached 'alpha 11.' All major features are present and no significant bugs remain. It's too early to say that the build is ready for prime time or mission-critical work — the final release of CM9 is due in the new year — but it's certainly stable enough for daily use. The most significant feature, if you can call it that, is that Koush's build of ICS is really very smooth — it's as nimble as Gingerbread, if not more so. Unlike the previous, non-CM build that was released last week, this alpha build of CM9 has every feature enabled, including Google Wallet, and setting a mobile data limit. As usual, the custom ROM is pre-rooted, has ROM Manager installed, and absolutely no bloatware. "
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CyanogenMod 9 Working On the Nexus S

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  • Yay (Score:4, Funny)

    by masternerdguy (2468142) on Monday November 28, 2011 @08:43PM (#38196976)
    I want a real linux distro, not google's vision of how linux should be. Let me know when I can load Debian, SuSe, Fedora, etc, on my phone and then we'll talk.
    • Re:Yay (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kenja (541830) on Monday November 28, 2011 @08:48PM (#38197022)
      Done. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN4c61ETCWg [youtube.com] Totally useless of course, but knock yourself out. Just hope you dont need to make calls on your "phone".
      • Re:Yay (Score:5, Interesting)

        by chrb (1083577) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @12:02AM (#38198658)

        Not done. That is Ubuntu running in a chroot environment. And it makes phone calls fine, because Android is still present. Personally, I would love to see a real Linux distribution running on an Android device. Android has so many limitations: the bionic C library, Dalvik apps only (yeah, I know about NDK, but "real Linux" has Python, Perl, C++, OpenJDK Java etc.)

        The limitations of Android stem from being targetted at 2005 phone hardware, so they created a cut-down Linux. With 2012 tablets, dual-core 1.2GHz+ CPU and 1GB+ memory, there is absolutely no reason for these artificial software limitations. I want to see Gnome on a tablet. And KDE. And other GUI environments. And I want Android to be relegated to an app-compatibility environment in the same way that Java and Mono exist today - not because that's a bad thing, but because Android is just one application environment of the many that exist on Linux. Why shouldn't tablet programmers use Python+PyQT to build their apps, deployed on Debian-style apt-get repositories? Why shouldn't we have Ubuntu for Tablets? The hardware is powerful enough now, and it is only going to get more powerful, we don't need to be hobbled by the design choices of what was (8 years ago) a small startup in California.

        • It is definitely possible and work is being done. The issue is that many devices have a restrictive bootloader and pre-determined partition setup that prevents the creation of additional Linux partitions and installing extra boot options. Some devices do have "developer" boot loaders (such as Archos' SDE) or modded in custom boot loaders (such as moboot on HP Touchpad) that allow you to boot whatever you want. Beyond that, getting a proper "real Linux" environment requires Xorg drivers for the video devi
        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          I think you missed the point of tablets. They are not general purpose computers, they are about displaying information. You wouldn't want to do too much serious work on one because the form factor is not suited to that, e.g. the on-screen keyboard can't be typed on nearly as easily as a hardware keyboard, and touch is no where near as accurate as a mouse.

          For light gaming and web browsing they are ideal, and Android is ideally suited to that.

    • by Cyberax (705495)

      Easy.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWLOqVdtbkw [youtube.com] - Ubuntu on Galaxy S.

    • Not sure if it's "real" enough for you, but Ubuntu is coming to tablets. [engadget.com]

      Whether that means you'll be able to run any Linux application you like remains to be seen, but I imagine if it's Debian-based it should be quite hackable.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      I want a real linux distro, not google's vision of how linux should be. Let me know when I can load Debian, SuSe, Fedora, etc, on my phone and then we'll talk.

      Do any of those have phone support? If not then I can't see why you would want them since loading them on to your phone seems pretty pointless...unless of course you don't actually want to use it as a phone.

      • The android manufacturers should provide an open source kit for getting any linux distro to act as a phone. It's their hardware.
        • by Microlith (54737)

          Should, but they won't. Mostly because at least in the US they're subservient to the carriers who don't want you to do as you wish, but rather want you to do as they wish and use your device as little as possible, pay as much as possible, and throw it away in favor of a new device and a new contract after 2 years are up.

          Until then, pick a handset and go look at http://wiki.merproject.org/wiki/Nemo [slashdot.org]">Nemo, maybe grab an N900.

          • by gutnor (872759)

            Mostly because at least in the US they're subservient to the carriers who don't want you to do as you wish, but rather want you to do as they wish and use your device as little as possible, pay as much as possible, and throw it away in favor of a new device and a new contract after 2 years are up.

            No they won't because they want to sell a shitload of handsets and that means that they focus their effort on the most juicy target. Advanced support for geek has an extremely limited return on investment.

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          The android manufacturers should provide an open source kit for getting any linux distro to act as a phone. It's their hardware.

          You mean the handset manufacturers? Why would they do that?

    • To be fair to Google, I don't think Android is their vision of what Linux should be but rather it's their vision of what a consumer phone OS should be (and just happens to be based on the Linux kernel).
  • I have had to use ICBINB builds of Gingerbread for my Samsung Galaxy S 4G because CM7 was not available for that phone.... please please please support it for CM9!

    • by mjwx (966435) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:13PM (#38197240)

      I have had to use ICBINB builds of Gingerbread for my Samsung Galaxy S 4G because CM7 was not available for that phone.... please please please support it for CM9!

      If you're into hacking, the difference between the SGS 4G and the SGS is the radio (IIRC), so you'll need to replace the radio drivers with ones that work (I.E. one's you've backed up from the device). I had to do this on a Motorola Milestone (and the locked bootloader didn't help).

      This is a "Do at your own risk" thing, if someone more knowledgeable then I has better advice, by all means please post it, mine info is 2 years out of date.

      • I installed a couple different Modem ROMs.... the last one I installed gave me the best wifi signal. Never had problems with cell signal.

        I am not too comfortable installing a ROM for another phone... no matter how moderate the difference in hardware....I have Odin and the proper files to recover, but I hate it when I soft brick my phone.

  • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:20PM (#38197308)

    I recently left the n900 world for an Android phone - my first - the Samsung Captivate Glide (SGH-I927).

    I expected to root it easily; I hadn't realized how hostile manufacturers are becoming towards their customers. Indeed, as I write this, I still haven't succeeded. It actually feels like I may be the only person in the world who bought this device, which, to me, is utterly confounding.

    What happened to qwerty phones? Why did they fall so far in popularity? I find it excruciating to surrender half my screen real estate to an on-screen keyboard.

    This Nexus S looks great, and is easy to root and flash, which is nice. But, without a keyboard? To me.. useless. Come on Google! Put some weight behind a qwerty model of this!

    And for the love of god, start playing hardball with manufacturers that lock their bootloaders and fail to provide a clean method of rooting! Simply deny them access to the Google utilities.

    • by dell623 (2021586) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:35PM (#38197450)

      Qwerty keyboards are useless. Swype or similar input methods are faster and more intuitive than mashing tiny hard keys that add bulk and extra mechanical components that can fail. Screens are huge these days so seeing the keyboard on screen while typing is no big issue. Instead of getting a thicker bulkier keyboard equipped phone a bigger screen phone is a better compromise. Physical Keyboards are simply inefficient on mobile devices - not that great for typing, add bulk etc.
      The Galaxy Nexus kind of device with no buttons at all is the future, even the soft buttons disappear for video etc, maximizing screen real estate. Ultimately you want the smallest possible device with the biggest possible screen.

      • by phoenix_rizzen (256998) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:53PM (#38198140)

        What's the point of having a big 4" screen if you constantly lose half of it to an on-screen keyboard? Especially in landscape when vertical pixels are at a premium? If I wanted to constantly have a 1" high screen, I'd buy an older model QWERTY phone, the landscape screen size would be the same as a 4" keyboardless phone.

        Not everyone buys a phone just to watch videos or play games. some buy it to use as a phone (giant screens aren't that great to talk on), or to type a lot (QWERTY phones have more usable screen space even if the actual screen is smaller), or have issues with on-screen keyboards.

        There's no such thing as "the one perfect phone for everyone", just as there's no "perfect keyboard" for everyone. Hardware keyboards aren't going anywhere. Here's hoping more manufacturers add them to their offerings.

      • by assantisz (881107) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @12:50AM (#38198924)
        Try using an ssh client like ConnectBot with a virtual keyboard. You are losing enormous amounts of screen real estate that you need to get work done. I am in nightfire's camp - a phone without slide-out keyboard is utterly useless. I do not want to schlep around another piece of equipment in form of a bluetooth keyboard or some such. There are some hardware solutions for the iPhone 4 (cases with built-in keyboards) but the accessory market in the Android world sucks donkey balls thanks to manufacturers pumping out a new phone every 7 days.
        • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @05:54AM (#38200222)
          Jesus, buy a netbook. £200-300 (half the price of the phone in your hand) and you get a keyboard with keys you can actually press (albeit not as well as a full size keyboard) and a much better screen to work on.

          The thought of anyone trying to do actual work on a smartphone boggles my mind.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        a) swype isn't faster, b) you can't see shit if your screen is used up by OSK, c) the keyboard can be a slider, to add the same usable screen area and a osk, you can't do sliding really.

        it's no fun when your control buttons disappear anyhow.

        there's one real reason why they're dropping button counts. COST. so are you just trolling for max profits.

        (things might be different if you had flexible displays and actual tactile feedback for on-screen-keys.)

      • "Qwerty keyboards are useless. Swype or similar input methods are faster and more intuitive than mashing tiny hard keys that add bulk and extra mechanical components that can fail."

        Bullshit. If I can't type without looking, it isn't a decent input method... touchscreen devices cause me pain and possibly injury in the future, because I constantly need to look at the freakin screen while I'm typing. So it's either walk or type, unless I want to run into telephone poles or get run over by Granny in her motoriz

      • by evilviper (135110)

        Swype or similar input methods are faster and more intuitive than mashing tiny hard keys that add bulk and extra mechanical components that can fail.

        Swype fails horribly when you need to type non-dictionary words. Touchscreens also lack arrow keys, necessary for navigating text boxes and more. And in portrait mode, Swype takes up the ENTIRE screen, making it completely useless. The lack of keyboards is precisely why people believe smartphones and tablets are consumption-only devices, when, in fact, the

    • by phoenix_rizzen (256998) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:41PM (#38197524)

      I hear you.

      It would be so nice if the major Android phone manufacturers would stop spitting out new phones every 6 weeks, and instead focused on 2-3 phone hardware platforms per year. I say platforms in that they use the exact same innards (SoC, storage, etc) but with 1-2 screen sizes, and with/without keyboards.

      Sony Ericsson is the closest to doing this with the Xperia Mini/Mini Pro, Xperia Neo/Pro, and Xperia Arc/Play. They all basically have the same hardware, with just screen size and keyboard/gamepad variations.

      Just imagine how much simpler life would be for their Android devs, support staff, and customers if they did this.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        Heck, forget building it with a keyboard. Just keep the exterior form factor the same, and offer a Bluetooth keyboard that snaps on to the phone and can swivel out. If they would keep the outside form factor consistent, they could probably even get peripheral manufacturers to handle making the keyboards.

        (Yes, I know that the iPhone has this. Peripherals are the one thing that iOS devices crush Android in.)
    • by Microlith (54737) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:44PM (#38197560)

      I hadn't realized how hostile manufacturers are becoming towards their customers.

      But you aren't the customer. The customer, at least in the US, is the mobile carrier who wants to restrict you as much as possible. The fallout from this is that even in places where you can buy the device unlocked, the devices are still crippled (see Motorola.) The end result is that ~2 years on I am still using my N900.

    • My keyboard and Swype usages are pretty much one-to-one on my soon to be two y/o Droid 2...making my next choice more difficult than usual. The dealbuster that has me leaning towards a keyboard for the next device is passwords. This post being a case study, with the keyboard coming out for a pretty basic, mostly alpha string.
    • by Zorque (894011)

      They still exist, but they're not very prominent. I use an HTC Evo Shift 4G, basically a smaller version of the Evo with a slide-out keyboard, and I far prefer it to any of the touchscreen-only devices I've played around with.

    • It exists. Motorola Droid3 -> http://www.motorola.com/Consumers/US-EN/Consumer-Product-and-Services/Mobile-Phones/DROID-3-by-MOTOROLA-US-EN [motorola.com]

      The keyboard is amazing. The phone is awesome (even the actual phone part, as in I can hear the other person and the other person can hear me). Dual core processor, very nice screen.

      One click rooted, removed motorola/verizon crap, can't be happier.

    • by chrb (1083577)
      Yeah, it turned out phones with keyboards are bulkier and people don't buy them. Use a bluetooth mini keyboard instead.
    • by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @12:36AM (#38198838) Homepage

      I recently left the n900 world for an Android phone - my first - the Samsung Captivate Glide (SGH-I927).

      I expected to root it easily; I hadn't realized how hostile manufacturers are becoming towards their customers. Indeed, as I write this, I still haven't succeeded. It actually feels like I may be the only person in the world who bought this device, which, to me, is utterly confounding.

      I still carry my n900, but I got an iPhone for work, and bought an Android tablet recently, and I have had the same rude awakening of just how user-friendly the n900 actually was. I have spent the last two years looking for something newer, faster, and *better* than my n900, and I just haven't found it. Given how awkwardly Maemo begat Meego which has stumbled into Tizen, I'm not even very optimistic that anything will come along in the forseeable future. I'd practically kill to have a whizzy new n900 with the latest CPU and screen, but nobody wants to sell it to me. Even the most open android thing kind of pales in comparison to the promise of a genuinely open platform.

      I love the fact that I can write PyQt scripts while I am on the subway that work perfectly on my real computers when I get to the office/home. I can forward X11 apps to/from my phone just as I do with my normal computers. (Obviously, some aren't worth forwarding to a phone, but others work just fine on a touch screen.) The X11 forwarding over SSH with implausible complicated SSH tunnels between overly complicated networks is, AFAIK, impossible on Android, despite the fact that Android has VNC and ssh terminal emulator apps. In the context of working on a real big "Enterprisey" production network, having a "normal" ssh/X11 stack makes a huge difference.

      I know the n900 never got Angry Birds, or whatever, but it has been an invaluable tool in a way that no other mobile device seems willing to be, not even the "very open, easy to do whatever you want" Android platform, which is disappointing.

  • Sweetness. Guess I haven't been over on Cyanogenmod for a little too long as I didn't realize Koush was this close. I just happen to have a Nexus S and am a Cyanogen Advocate. I've been running Cyan Roms since about ver3 on my G1 way back and have found that if bugs appear, it usually gets fixed or a workaround is posted fairly quickly. I can actually say I trust most of the Cyanogen stuff to not brick my devices but I do reserve that I have a little experience with this type of thing. Can't wait to go get
    • by GenP (686381)
      I'd like to run Cyanogenmod on my Nexus S but for the life of me I can't seem to find a procedure that will let me backup my entire phone before I root/wipe :(
      • Like the other poster said it's a bit of a catch 22. You can't do a nandroid backup without a custom recovery image. Can't do a custom recovery image without unlocking the bootloader. Can't unlock the bootloader without wiping the phone.

        I had this same problem on the nexus one. The trick is to root the phone without unlocking the bootloader and then using a backup utility that requires root (Titanium Backup or whatever, I actually preferred MyBackup Root). This can be done by using a local root exploit

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