This ROM is very minimalist. I have not added any wallpapers, ringtones, or extraneous apps. Nothing is themed. What it does do is provide you with a minimum baseline to avoid the inherent design flaws with the stock ROM.
Why use a custom ROM?
The phone has very little internal memory. In the stock configuration, the little space that is available quickly gets eaten up by updates to pre-installed apps (which supplement, not replace, the default version). Even if every app you install installs to the SD card, the Dalvik cache files still go to internal storage.
How is this solved?
First, non-essential apps are removed. This includes most of the bloatware like the Tetris, UNO, and Bejeweled 2 demos, and other large apps like Swype and Facebook. I also removed the Google apps that are available on the Android Market (Maps, Street View, Gmail, Voice Search, and Google Search) and replaced the stock Android Market app with the current version (Google Play). The end result is that none of the apps in this ROM are going to prompt for an update (except maybe the Market/Play, but there's no way around that).
Second, the ROM is pre-rooted so apps like Titanium Backup and Link2SD will work immediately.
Third, I've pre-installed Link2SD. This requires the SD card to be prepared (identically to Arhtard's ROM). Once configured, Link2SD stores both the app and its Dalvik cache files on the SD card, which prevents the bloat-death of the phone.
Upgrading from a previous release? See UPGRADING below!
Preparing your SD card
Tools you will need:
- Either a microSD reader, or a regular SD reader with the microSD adapter that came with your phone. YOU CANNOT USE THE PHONE AS THE CARD READER.
- MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition (free download here)
- The microSD card from your phone.
Use the steps below to prepare your SD card:
Installing the ROM
New! Version 1.5: update.zip - Minus
- BACK UP THE CURRENT CONTENTS OF YOUR SD CARD. The remaining steps will reformat the card and erase all the data.
- Insert the microSD card into the reader (via the adapter if necessary). If the Windows AutoPlay window appears, close it with the X. You cannot partition the SD card while it is in the phone. You must use a dedicated card reader with your PC.
- Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard.
- Identify which volume corresponds with your SD card (the stock card will show a 1.8GB FAT partition).
- Right-click the volume and choose "Delete All Partitions" and confirm when prompted.
- Right-click in the unallocated space and choose "Create".
- Use the settings shown in the screenshow below:
- Right-click the volume again and choose "Create partition" again.
- You will get a warning that Windows will only recognize the first partition. Ignore the warning.
- Right-click the FAT32 partition and choose "Format".
- Use these format settings (be careful because it will default to NTFS):
- Right-click the ext2 partition and choose "Format", and make sure to choose ext2 for the file system. Be careful because it will default to NTFS.
- Click the Apply button (left-most icon in the toolbar) and wait for it to finish.
Version 1.25: update - Minus
Version 1.2: update - Minus
Version 1.0: update - Minus
NOTE: Do not unzip the update.zip!
- BACK UP YOUR DATA BECAUSE THIS WILL ERASE EVERYTHING.
- Copy update.zip to the root level of the SD card (this means don't put it in a subfolder).
- Use the Windows "Safely remove hardware" to eject your SD card.
- Put the SD card into your phone and shut down the phone.
- Open the keyboard, press and hold the 'T' key, and keep it held down while you power the phone back on. This brings you to the recovery image. If you are upgrading from the previous release, stop here and see "Upgrading?" below.
- Use the volume keys to go down to "Erase user data/factory reset" and confirm with the Power button. You'll have to go down past the "cancel"s to get down to the confirmation.
- Similarly, clear the cache partition.
- Finally, choose "install update.zip" and wait as the phone is flashed.
- Wait for the phone to reboot. It will sit on the flashing "SAMSUNG" logo for about a minute. This is completely normal.
- When prompted, either enable or disable location services (at your discretion). This should put you at the home screen. Wait for all the other startup stuff to finish.
Before you start installing applications, set up Link2SD:
- Tap Menu > Settings > Applications > Development and enable "USB Debugging"
- Tap the Applications icon (blue window in bottom-right) and open Link2SD
- Choose "ext2" when prompted for the partition type.
- Allow SuperUser to grant root access to Link2SD
- Link2SD will tell you the startup script was added. At this point, restart your phone.
- Open Link2SD again. Tap Menu > Settings
- Enable "Auto Link"
- Tap on "Install location" and choose Internal.
- Tap the Back button until you're back at the home screen.
- Launch Play Store (formerly Android Market) and sign into your Google account
- Download whichever stock Google apps you want, Facebook, etc.
- If you download GMail, you will need to tap Menu > Settings > Accounts and Sync > [your Google account] and enable "Sync Gmail" afterwards.
If you're upgrading from the previous release, the upgrade process is a lot simpler:
A note about Link2SD
- Follow steps 1-5 of the flashing instructions.
- But do not erase your data. Just erase the cache partition.
- Flash update.zip and wait for the phone to restart.
- Link2SD will give you a notification about a "mount error", and apps may be missing from your home screen. don't panic!
- Open Link2SD, and tap "Recreate Mount" when prompted.
In the above configuration, apps that install to internal storage will get automatically moved to the SD card and linked by Link2SD. However, if the app installs itself to the SD card, you will need to manually move it to the phone and link it in order to keep it out of your phone's internal memory. The steps for that are below:
- Tap Menu > Settings > Applications > Manage applications and tap on the affected app.
- Tap "Move to phone"
- Launch Link2SD and locate the app in the list, and tap on it.
- At the bottom of the screen, tap on "Create link"
While I dumped the packages in the ROM using my own phone, I couldn't have gotten that far without 3 people:
- Arhtard, whose ROM gave me a very good template for how a working ROM should be packaged; and
- keith1764, who provided enough information to get me back to the stock firmware after I'd already messed around a bit with Arhtard's ROM.
- Lorenz, a blogger that gave me critical details for how to actually sign the update.zip file.