**Official** Droid X encrypted bootloader and efuse thread

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  1. kwest12

    kwest12 Well-Known Member

    I've updated this OP to make it easier for new comers to find some of the most important posts as well as a few important outside links that inform this thread. It is my personal feeling that if you are reading these forums, and considering buying ANY Android phone, this thread is a very important one to read. It is far better to be informed than to realize after you buy a product that it wasn't what you expected (I almost made this mistake).

    The main purpose of this thread is to discuss what a signed (encrypted) boot loader is, what the implications of having a signed boot loader are, whether or not the Droid X may have one, why you may care, what you may be able to do about it if you do care, etc, etc.

    This thread is filled with a lot of long posts (including this one), so prepare yourself for that. Not all of them have tons of merit (mine included) so keep that in mind.

    Below are some of the most informative posts you'll find in this thread. That said, I highly suggest further reading: there are many great ones that I haven't linked to here.

    EDIT (7/8/10): This thread was just opened and indicates that our fears may be correct and the boot loader is signed. http://androidforums.com/motorola-d...-may-rooted-but-has-encrypted-bootloader.html

    EDIT (7/10/10): This is a highly technical post (at least in my mind) in which a user describes methods he thinks may work to get around an encrypted boot loader. If you really know your stuff too, please take a look at it and consider posting your thoughts on his suggestions.

    EDIT (7/13/10): Turns out the DX may have even stiffer security measures than we originally thought. For more details see the two links below (the second one is extremely scary stuff):
    > The DroidX: Security and Discovery Steven Bird
    > How the Droid X is locked down? Let me tell you what I know.
    (Links found in a thread over at XDA dev forums)

    EDIT (7/15/10): the 4 links in this update are embedded in the text
    > the good --> Steven Bird has turned his tone to optimistic: he is tweeting, blogging on his webpage and posting in a DroidXForms thread.
    > the [really] bad --> p3droid, a well know hacker/developer and Aixelsyd, a well known leaker of reliable Droid X and Droid 2 info @ Howard Forums have some devastating posts in a different thread at DroidXForums. (WARNING: This will ruin the buzz you got going off the good news BIG TIME)

    1) Good posts illustrating what it means to have root access and what it means to have access to the boot loader:
    > http://androidforums.com/motorola-d...ashing-roms-abandon-all-hope.html#post1052477
    > http://androidforums.com/motorola-d...hing-roms-abandon-all-hope-3.html#post1082054

    2) There is a difference between locking and encrypting (signing) the bootloader: it's encrypting that people are worried about.
    > Will the Bootloader be Locked or Unlocked? - Page 3 - xda-developers

    3) If the boot loader is encrypted, there is an almost nonexistent chance that it will be cracked. (2nd link is methods that would be used to try to crack it)
    > http://androidforums.com/motorola-droid-x/109403-played-x-afternoon.html#post1045547
    > http://androidforums.com/motorola-d...hing-roms-abandon-all-hope-5.html#post1108199

    4) Why it

    sic0048, wheelna, xfan and 8 others like this.
  2. aleis

    aleis Well-Known Member

    first...what would be the benefits of rooting this other than adding sense, using wifi tether (usb tether is already available with pdanet) and apps to SD?
    sense...yeah i would like that. wifi teether...it would be nice..apps to SD, we have plenty storage. root isnt all what its cracked up to be in my opinion. o yeah, also we will get the feeling of being in total control, with root.
  3. doctajay

    doctajay Well-Known Member

    So yeah, that would be the main reason why you would go for a Samsung Fascinate over Droid X. The Galaxy S/Fascinate is already rooted and custom roms have been flashed to it. Motorola has made the statement that they will be locking down the bootloader so no custom roms can be flashed. So you buy the Droid X with the understanding that the hacker community may never be able to crack the bootloader. So you have to ask yourself is the Droid X still worth it? Personally, most of the things I want in a phone just require a root to install different kinds of software. I'm pretty sure that a root will be possible, but more than that I am not hopefully. Overall though I think the build quality of the droid x pushes it past the galaxy s/fascinte fo rme.
  4. kwest12

    kwest12 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, those features you listed would be nice, but I'm more concerned with the ability of the hackers to fix little problems that Verizon/Motorola may have overlooked. It is my impression that a lot of the roms not only focus on adding extra functionality, but also work to really optimize the existing features and performance as well. It's also about being able to get the latest greatest firmware before the the carrier and manufacturer say you can have it. Those are just some of the things that really are exciting to me when I think about root and roms.

    You make some excellent points about the fascinate: I have thought about all that myself. Unfortunately, I don't know much about the build quality, but tbh I'm not getting my hopes up. I know the screen is 4" vs 4.3", so the size difference isn't THAT big of a difference, but it still boosts the Droid X in my mind. I hate the idea that I'd have to bargain with myself to get the Vibrant over the DX. I guess I'll just start praying for a non-encrypted bootloader on the DX.
  5. irishpride

    irishpride Well-Known Member

    There are a few pretty important aspects of root that you missed...
    *Overclocking - With the little bit of lag that I've seen in some of the videos, it would be really nice to bump the X up to 1.1 or 1.2ghz.
    *Removing bloatware - I know I don't want pretty much any of the VZW bloatware apps like visual VM, CityID & even the Blockbuster app($4.99 for 1 movie??), having the ability to remove these would be a huge plus.

    Having said all that, I'm still going to be getting the X on release day & praying that the amazing Devs we have will be able to crack this phone.
  6. just4747

    just4747 Well-Known Member

    Who would see rooting as not worth it??

    Obviously, this phone being fully rootable is very desireable as you can do so much with custom roms and menu items, and all the other stuff mentioned in here and other threads. It would be very disappointing IMO if it wasn't rootable and/or we weren't able to flash custom roms.
  7. Miker

    Miker Member

    I've also pre-ordered my Droid X hoping that the devs will be able to crack it. If it can't be cracked, well, I might have to take it back and wait for the Fascinate. Custom roms are a /huge/ deal to me as I believe in the open-ness (and hackability!) of Android.
  8. aleis

    aleis Well-Known Member

    the X out the box (from what i`ve read) is perfect. not that i wouldnt want root...just because...but it isnt that important. it use to be the case, on phones that were inferior. to "improve" them. but the X has the fastest processor so far so why overclock and risk burning out your phone?
    the only BIG benefit, is removing some bloatware and adding sense.
  9. sic0048

    sic0048 Well-Known Member

    Let me try to make some basic comparisons using Windows OS as an example....

    Rooting is simply getting access to the device's system as a "Super User" or SU. Think of it like an Administrator vs regular user on Windows. There are a lot of rudimentary things in Windows that you can only do as an Admin. Getting root access on a phone does allow you to add, modify, and delete things that a regular user cannot do. This will probably allow you to modify the theme to some extent, over clock the processor, add "unauthorized" programs, etc, etc, etc.

    Having unrestricted access to the bootloader allows a user to load completely new ROMs. It would be like a Windows XP user installing a new OS like a super customized verson of XP, or upgrading to Windows7, or moving to Linux, or any other OS, etc, etc, etc.

    The (suspected) problem with the Droid X bootloader is that it will only accept digitally signed ROMs from Motorola. So if Moto releases Froyo (which they have already annouced), then you can upgrade to that without problems (like going from XP to Windows7). What you cannot do is use the bootloader to install any other ROM that hasn't been officially released from Moto for the Droid X.

    Is it something to worry about? I guess that depends on what you planned to do with your phone. If you are a "stock" phone kind of person, then you have nothing to worry about. Even if you wanted the ability to root and play around with some changes, you probably have nothing to worry about. But if you are a hard core "tweaker" that loves to push the envelop, or if you are worried about Moto dropping support for the Droid X (it will happen one day) and you want the ability to use customized ROMs, then this probably isn't the phone for you.

    Hopefully this helps explain a little better the situation we face with the Droid X (at least as we know it today).
    frankrizzo and ylexot like this.
  10. ylexot

    ylexot Well-Known Member

    Thanks sic0048. That does make me feel better.
  11. tuanster1119

    tuanster1119 Well-Known Member

    Wow that sounds similar to the arguments that I've heard from people drinking the Apple kool-aid. While rooting may not be for everybody, it's nice to have the option to root. It's similar to many of the arguments between iOS vs Android. One of Android's major selling points is the openness of the platform. We are starting to see some manufacturers lock down the phones which goes against what was originally advertised when Android was launched. If you're satisfied with everything in the stock phone, well, good for you... but what about people who want to over-clock or really love this phone but want sense? Wouldn't you rather have the option to install those features, even if 90% of the population does not deem them a necessity?
    ndfan4u likes this.
  12. Hardhead_7

    Hardhead_7 Member

    Then cancel your preorder. A digitally signed bootloader might be cracked in time, but it won't be soon, and it could very easily be NEVER.

    If a custom ROM is a "huge deal" to you, then you don't want the X, it's that simple. There are plenty of other good Android phones in the pipeline.
  13. ghdtpdna

    ghdtpdna Well-Known Member

    I have a question for all.
    When you say flashing roms does that mean custom roms only.
    I don't care for them and would just like to get the newest vanilla android on my phone.
    So when you flash the new OS that is not out for the device yet, does that still count as flashing a ROM? and would encrypted bootloader prevent that as well?
    ckochinsky125 likes this.
  14. rushmore

    rushmore Well-Known Member

    If the Sammy had the 16gb built-in like the Tmo version (theirs does not have a flash), I would get the Sammy. Seems a better compromise for display size and a better AMOLED than the already great one on the Inc :)

    I like the Inc's 8gb (well, 6.6 for media and 748mb for apps), so the extra .3" and slightly faster cpu is not enough trade-off to lose the 8gb. 2Gb on Sammy just for apps? Silly, if not.
  15. 2.2 is supposed to allow apps to be stored on sd card so dont really need root for that
  16. kwest12

    kwest12 Well-Known Member

    Son of a @#$%! Why does every VZW Android have to have some major downfall?! They can't let us have it all can they.... this is really quite annoying. By encrypting the bootloader, they're basically removing what a lot of users love about Android. Someone call Google and tell them to take Android away from Motorola until they start playing nice again.

    That comment about Apple scares me b/c it's true. Motorola and Verizon have decided to modify Google's "open" OS to "open*".

    * Your phone's version of Android is no longer truly open, we reserve the right to restrict the rom you are running as we see fit. We think you'll appreciate bloatware we've included: however, if you don't want to use any of it, please consider leaving it on one of your screens though... that would be mad cool of you man. Also, don't worry about that guy with the older phone that is running the newer version of Android with all those nice tweaks... we'll probably get you our copy at some point. I mean at the very least we'll keep announcing an update and then delaying it to keep you guessing... that helps, right?
  17. tuanster1119

    tuanster1119 Well-Known Member

    AT&T has done the same thing with the HTC Aria by locking out unsigned apps. I wonder if this was Motorola's choice or Verizon's.
  18. Miker

    Miker Member

    Yeah, but I've been stuck with a dumbphone for ages, and the Droid X has a 4.3" screen, which is the perfect size for me. Also, the only keeping me from getting the Fascinate is Samsung's post-launch support and the phone's awful looks, i.e. iPhone 3G-esque.
  19. kwest12

    kwest12 Well-Known Member

    That's the whole point though... the Fascinate can have custom roms put on it. There will be big name roms out for it in no time if the Galaxy S has already been rooted! The only question is, how is the build quality and how does the hardware rate up. Also, a side by side view of this and the DX would be helpful...

    Back on topic... WTF VERIZON / MOTO?!?!?!
  20. EKG

    EKG Well-Known Member

    Root doesn't matter to me at all, so I am good with this but...if the devs could root the HTC Droid Eris with all of its issues they had to go through, then I am confident they can do this, too.
  21. doctajay

    doctajay Well-Known Member

    No, what at&t does it prevent you from side loading applications. Motorola will never prevent you from doing that. While you can't load custom ROMs, you CAN side-load applications which simply takes you having the .apk, dropping it on ur microSD card or emailing it to yourself and installing it. What AT&T is doing is worse, trust me.
  22. kwest12

    kwest12 Well-Known Member

    Was the Eris's bootloader encrypted like the Milestone's?
  23. tuanster1119

    tuanster1119 Well-Known Member

    I know that AT&T's issue is completely different, but my point was that Android phones are starting to have features stripped/locked, regardless of how significant the feature is.
  24. just4747

    just4747 Well-Known Member

    I hope they can fully root this thing with custom rom loading and all. No can really know for sure yet, so you never know.

    Do any of these devs that usually get the job done have the phone to work on yet?
    What forums do they hang out at? I don't think Android Police has a forum...
  25. kwest12

    kwest12 Well-Known Member

    Maybe someone can answer these questions quickly without having to dig through the Milestone and Eris forums:

    1) Is the Eris bootloader encrypted?

    2) Are people still working relentlessly on getting bootloader access/flashing roms to the Milestone or have people just given up?

    3) Is there any other possible way to flash custom roms if the bootloader is encrypted?

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