Welcome to another interview with an XDA Recognized Developer. This time we will speak with Incalza Dario who goes by the nickname h4oxer. He is a student currently studying Computer Science – Electrical Engineering at K.U. Leuven in Belgium.
orb3000: Hi h4oxer. Thanks for giving us some of your time to talk. First, how did you get started in the mobile world?.
h4oxer: About two years ago 2 friends (Henri P. and Michiel S.) of mine bought smart phones that had the Android OS on it. -Nexus One and HTC Desire-. They were very pleased about the capabilities of the device and the powerful Android OS. Around that time my old cellphone broke down and I was searching for a new one. However I didn’t feel to spend a lot of money on a device, so I started surfing the web looking for a decent but not too expensive device and came up with the HTC Wildfire. The priority for me was that the device had to run Android because I wanted a device that I could use to start developing, which Android is all about.
orb3000: How did you get into XDA?
h4oxer: When I finally bought the device and started to look for help regarding development issues I always came back to the XDA Forums, and that’s where I learned almost everything I know about Android till today. (Aside of some pdf’s).
orb3000: You are working on a desktop application for downloading a ROM, and installing it with a single click. Please tell us more about it.
h4oxer: The desktop application started from the idea that it took too much time to search through the forum looking for download links for a particular ROM, so I decided that if you just need to install/flash quickly a new ROM you would just want to download it and flash the damn thing without spending a lot of time on finding the thread on the forum.
Don’t get me wrong, you should still go to the specific thread if you want more information about the ROM or if you experienced some bugs, but the essential meaning of my application would be that the user already knows which ROM he wants to download and flash. The initial release will only be for the HTC Wildfire because I first want to see if there can be any improvements, before I cover other devices.
orb3000: You wrote a very interesting article entitled “Building an Android ROM.” What made you decide to write such a guide?
h4oxer: The article is the result of my own learning experience. Sometimes I just needed one article or one pdf that just sums up all the basic stuff a person needs to know to start developing. Almost all tutorials just began randomly assuming the reader already knows a lot of these terms they use. So I decided to write this article to stimulate beginning developers, to first get to know the bigger picture on how an Android device works before specializing in a particular field : Kernel development, Rom Development.
orb3000: You also are a ROM chef. What are the devices you work with now?
h4oxer: For now I only developed for the HTC Wildfire, because I don’t have any other devices I can test on. I would love to start cooking for the HTC Desire or something; we’ll see what time will bring.
orb3000: What’s your “secret ingredient?” What differentiates your work from that of others?
h4oxer : I started developing on ROM’s because I wasn’t satisfied with the performance of my Wildfire because of the CPU shredding Sense part. So the first thing my ROM couldn’t have was Sense! I started from a Sense version and tried to delete as many Sense dependencies as possible. Because I was just a noob starting, I couldn’t build from source. I just started HEX editing files, playing with the build.prop and repackaging kernel and apps. This resulted in a ROM that responded snappier and more stable something I didn’t suspected. This ROM was finally named ImPrOS (Improved OS – found by Danilo C.).
When I started on WildGinger I was more experienced in developing and started to build from source. A great advantage is the fact you can truly alter the source code without difficult and vague HEX editing. The things that made WildGinger differ was the fact that I studied on how the CPU used the memory, by tweaking this and putting it in categories I managed to get a positive increase in performance. Also I managed to solve the bug where the browser crashed because of the wrong architecture tag in the source code. I also added some theming like every other dev, although the ROM wasn’t just a theme like most of the ‘repackaged ROM’s’ out there.
PS : This is one of the first Gingerbread compiled ROM’s for the Wildfire, after Cyanogen. Also without some patches coming from these guys, I maybe had a couple of bugs more.
orb3000: Are you planning to cook for more devices in the near future? If so, which?
h4oxer: Sadly I have to give you a negative answer on that. The fact is, I have some other projects going on and can’t find the time to truly support and code a ROM from scratch again. But if a develop team is reading this, I surely am interested if I can work in a team .. hehe :p
orb3000: You are a Recognized Developer in XDA. Do you feel that this gives you any sort of special responsibility?
h4oxer : I think of it as an example role for all starting devs, I am trying to help as much devs as I can. I can do this because I have a lot of experience in Android development that I want to share with other devs. As part of this commitment I will write some tutorials for a new starting section on XDA which will come on-line soon.
orb3000: What advice would you like to offer other members wanting to enter the development world?
h4oxer : Everybody once starts as a noob, but ask as many questions you can think off. There will always be someone that will answer you or give you a different view on the problem. A lot of talented devs are roaming the forums here! Try not to just repackage a ROM, but try to truly understand the Android source and find/add better options or functionality.
orb3000: Finally, what you do for living? I mean, outside of the Android and XDA world?.
h4oxer : I am still a full time student , so besides doing a job in the summer , I don’t do anything else for a living.
orb3000: Any final words or comments you would like to share with our readers?
h4oxer : All of my work can be found in my site or here on XDA. Thanks for this interview orb3000, thanks to XDA for being such a great place of knowledge! Hope I will see some of you readers in the Wildfire forums or the Android development forums, cheers!.
orb3000: Thanks a lot for your time.
And more important, thanks to you readers! Do you want us to interview your favorite developer? If so, please let us know.___________________