June 6, 2012 By: Will Verduzco
By now, we’re all familiar with the hard brick bug that’s plagued various Samsung when updating to leaked builds of ICS. The bug has shown up on various Samsung Exynos 4210-based devices including the Galaxy Note GT-N7000, Epic 4G Touch, AT&T Galaxy S II, and the Korean SHW-M250S/K/L.
However, as we quickly found out, not all eMMC revisions were equally afflicted. Instead, the 0×19 revision was highlighted as known bad, whereas the 0×25 is thought to be safe. Revisions between 0×19 and 0×25 are thought to be possibly bad, whereas those newer than 0×25 are probably safe. Adding insult to injury, those keen on hex will be quick to notice that 0×19 converted to decimal is 25!
Naturally, someone was bound to create a simpler way of determining the status of your device, and that someone is XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire. With his new app Got Brickbug, users can easily check their device to see their risk status for the hard brick bug. As explained by Chainfire himself:
Attached is a simple APK that reads out your chip’s type and CID, and lets you know if we know that chip is dangerous or safe.
Just uninstall again after using.
Obviously, this comes “as-is”, we’re not responsible what you do with your device, etc. No rights can be derived from the output of the program!
Internal data used:
MAG4FA, VYL00M, or KYL00M fwrev 0×19 –> known bad
MAG4FA, VYL00M, or KYL00M fwrev >= 0×25 –> probably safe
MAG4FA, VYL00M, or KYL00M fwrev != 0×19 && < 0×25 –> probably bad
Everything else: unknown chip
As this is relevant information for any flashaholic, we recommend you head over to the application thread to test your device.
[Image stolen from egzthunder1's fantastic article on the matter.]
June 5, 2012 By: Will Verduzco
Those familiar with TriangleAway by XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire will take comfort in knowing that the app has been updated to add compatibility with the Samsung Galaxy S III and the International Galaxy Note. For those unfamiliar with the app, it does as its name implies by removing the triangle and resetting the flash counter on your device.
Let’s backtrack for a minute and find out exactly why the app had to be updated, and what made this time a little different than before. At the application’s start, the kernel flash counter was relatively easy to take care of. Simply resetting the value would remove the counter. However, with the release of the Galaxy Note, Samsung made things more difficult by hiding the data. And now on the Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung has made it even more difficult thanks to a background service that searches for the telltale signs of rooting.
According to Chainfire’s development blog:
With the Galaxy S II, Samsung introduced a custom kernel flash counter and custom kernel warning triangle. This is where Triangle Away came in – it reset the flash counter and removed the warning triangle.
On the Galaxy Note, Samsung tried hiding the data once more, so Triangle Away would not work.
On the Galaxy S III (among other new devices), Samsung has gone a step further, and has introduced a background service that runs on your device and checks for things such as a modified /system, apps running with root access, etc.
For the moment, this service does not do anything malicious, but who knows what the future will bring ? Tracking of IMEI’s that have ever ran root, disabling of services, etc ?
Scary, isn’t it? The last line should jump out at you, as it’s not too much of a stretch to think that future revisions of the service could be used as such. And by looking at the update log, you can clearly see the battle between Chainfire and Samsung:
Update 16.02.2012: Users have confirmed TriangleAway works on the I9220 SGNote ICS leak !
Update 13.05.2012: TriangleAway does *not* work on the latest official SGNote ICS firmwares. There will be a fixed version soon, but it has to wait for my Note to return from repairs, else I cannot test it
Update 04.06.2012: v1.50 should work with the I9220 and N7000 SGNote’s again
Right about now, you may be wondering why exactly Samsung or any other OEM would feel the need to keep tabs on your ORD. One can assume that it has to do with warranty, but is this really a valid reason on Samsung’s part? After all, if the hardware functioned properly, why should an improper firmware flash even have the capacity to damage the hardware?
Once again, according to Chainfire himself:
Custom ROMs, root, bricks, and warranty
I am not sure what the reason is Samsung wants to track all this. My reason for wanting to “break” their tracking is one thing: warranty.
Being able to run the software I want on devices I own without losing hardware warranty should be a right by law. As for as I can see, there’s only two ways you can really break your device with root access:
(1) overclocking to the point where hardware is damaged
(2) flashing nonsense to your bootloader partitions
I’m not sure how to handle (1). I personally never overclock – and I don’t think it’s strange to deny overclockers warranty. Surely this must be preventable in the hardware. Case number (2) however is wholly Samsung’s fault. Adam Outler has shown time and again that these devices are perfectly able to be made unbrickable - so any bootloader brick is IMHO Samsung’s fault. If Adam Outler can prevent the situation with a soldering iron, the original design is broken.
Regardless, hardware should be under warranty – if I have my device rooted or not. Leaked service center documents show that devices should be checked for root, and if present, deny warranty. (This is not just Samsung, all the major OEMs do this.)
That is simply unacceptable. Any OEM following that policy is a bad OEM – in some countries this may even be an unlawful practise (though good luck winning in court). HTC has once refused to replace a defective digitizer on my HTC Diamond (a common hardware issue with this device) due to HSPL being present. They claimed HSPL had irreversibly damaged the mainboard, and the entire innards of the device would have to be replaced. Riiiiight.
Root by itself is not a crime, nor a pointer that a device is broken in any way that should not fall under warranty. But in the eyes of the OEMs it seems we are criminals.
If the purpose of the tracking is related to corporate security and such, I can see why Samsung would want to lock down further. I can certainly understand that, though I don’t necessarily agree.
If this reminds you of the mid-nineties, you are forgiven. As Chainfire writes, there is nothing inherently malicious or criminal in being able to use our own devices as we see fit. Yet, various OEMs employ tactics aimed at preventing us from truly customizing our devices to our hearts’ content for fear of a voided warranty.
If (using Chainfire’s personal example) broken digitizer hardware has absolutely nothing to do with flashed firmware, why is that justification for denying warranty service. For those who tinker with their cars, this is akin to voiding a Powertrain Warranty because you added an aftermarket radio. There is simply no justification—morally anyhow. Luckily for those in the US, the Magnusun-Moss Warranty Act offers a sliver of protection—but good luck trying to take that to court. And in other countries, you may be entirely out of luck.
This then leads to the question of what would be best, both practically and ethically. Chainfire has assessed the situation stating:
And thus we come full circle – if Samsung goes another step further in protecting their custom flash data, will I even attempt to bypass it ? Should I ? A big part of me thinks not.
Those simply looking to absolve their triangle and flash counter for what is possibly the last time can purchase a donation version of the app on Google Play or head to the original release thread for the free version. Those simply looking to learn more on the issue should head over to Chainfire’s development blog post.
Samsung Galaxy S III this, SGS3 that—it seems like everywhere you look, the mobile tech industry is aflutter with news on Samsung’s latest flagship. Fittingly, there has also been a plethora of development surrounding the device—everything from achieving root access and the release of GPL-compliant kernel source to its launcher and proprietary apps ported to other devices.
We now have a custom recovery thanks to XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire, who coincidentally was the first to root the device sight-unseen, well before official release. The recovery itself is an unofficial port of ClockworkMod 5.5. 0.4. Due to the way CWM works, there were a few quirks along the way. However, Chainfire seems to have squashed them, and tells us:
As is the case with every SGS release (it happened with the SGS1 and the SGS2, and now again with the SGS3), CWM source isn’t built to correctly deal with our setup (internal storage vs sdcard). I had to make a number of changes to the source to get it working correctly. From my tests, it all seems to work, but it’s quite possible I missed something (report issues).
(I have tested backup/restore to both internal and external storage, wipes, installing zips from both internal and external, etc, all works as I expect it to)
Aside from the base fixes, there is currently nothing fancy about this build of CWM. I’m not sure if the SGS3 suffers from the brick bug (that SGS2 and Note have), but I patched out the relevant code to be sure (I think). Backups are rather big, system alone is about a GB.
Those lucky enough to own the SGS3 already, or those eagerly awaiting their own, should head over to the recovery thread.
[Big thanks to Member Advocate Admin Egzthunder1 for the tip.]
May 23, 2012 By: egzthunder1
Yesterday was a sad day we all knew would eventually come—the Windows Marketplace for Windows Mobile applications finally ceased to exist, as Microsoft officially killed Windows Mobile and mostly everything related to it sometime last year. The market brought the capability to do what Apple’s Appstore was doing at the time, which was to try and centralize all the available free and paid applications so that people could easily find their favorite apps in one, single place. The introduction of the marketplace didn’t come without its share of issues and scandals due to various flaws in functionality. For instance, Windows Marketplace was restricted geographically. More specifically, you couldn’t use it in certain parts of the world because your device would simply not be allowed access to the servers. Please note that this practice still takes place today with services such as the Amazon Marketplace, Hulu Plus, and several other popular services.
Of all the gripes that people had with Microsoft about protection, the copy protection patch that Microsoft released sometime in 2009 was by far the most annoying. Essentially, it forced developers to submit the applications in such a way that they could not license it under their own models. Instead they had to be licensed by Microsoft under a single model. The patch forbade people from protecting their apps, and because of that, they could be bypassed and even have the code stolen and copied. XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire cracked this new “protection” measure from Microsoft within two hours of it being released. The license check was easily bypassed, and he created a hack to go around it, disabling the license check code added by MS to all the apps in the MP. Due to his own morals, Chainfire decided not to release this hack for a very simple reason… it could be used for piracy.
Today, since MP is already dead, he has decided to go in full detail regarding how me managed to crack Microsoft’s protection model in less time than it takes to prepare a good meal. Oh, and he did it in Pascal (yes, yes… roll in agony). He also went ahead and released the source code via github, which can be found in the link below. If you are interested in some history and overall hacking insight, please be sure to visit his blog (linked below).
Now that Marketplace for 6.x has been closed, I thought it time to release some WM hacking/patching details and some source for this claim of cracking the Marketplace.
You can find more information in the original thread as well as Chainfire‘s blog. And if you still want more Chainfire after all that, be sure to check out his interview. Thank you Chainfire for all your hard work.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
[Thanks Chainfire for the tip!]
Not too long ago, we went hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S III. In fact, XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire, who was later kind enough to go on camera for a fun interview and unboxing, even made a brief cameo in the video as we tested USB Host functionality on the SGS3 using his popular DSLR Controller app. Needless to say, much of the Android community is eagerly anticipating the launch of Samsung’s new flagship.
However, many people won’t bother with devices that aren’t rooted. Luckily this has been quick to achieve on Samsung devices in the past, and the Galaxy S III is no different. Before the official release, Chainfire has managed to root the SGS3. While Chainfire is currently unable to release the insecure boot image because it may be traceable, this most likely won’t be the case for long. In his words:
Unfortunately, I am not able to share the “insecure” kernel with you at the moment, because of fears it is traceable to the leaker (this is said to be the last traceable firmware revision).
This root is, as expected, trivial. It was a simple matter of repacking the stock kernel, with a modified adbd binary that thinks ro.secure=0 (even if ro.secure=1). This gives access to all adb root commands (see screenshots). Then SuperSU was installed manually.
Kernel - The modification was trivial, because this time around, Samsung is using the standard boot.img format, instead of the zImage format used for SGS1, SGS2, SGNote, etc, that is much harder to repackage.
Recovery - The recovery partition is also being used this time around. And thus we can flash recoveries separately from the kernel.
Bootloaders - There was no warning triangle at boot-up after flashing the modified kernel, but download mode did show a custom kernel flash counter which increased. Whether or not flashing a custom recovery also triggers this counter is as of yet unknown.
Final note - This was all tested on a current (release candidate) SGS3 firmware. There may be a newer firmware on true retail/production devices. Though some things may change, it is unlikely to changemuch. Let’s hope nothing
Also, Triangle Away did not work. They have hidden the boot partitions again as on the latest SGNote firmwares.
(No, I don’t have an SGS3 yet, everything was done remotely)
Now if you take a closer look at that last line, you’ll see what is perhaps the most impressive aspect of Chainfire’s achievement. Not only is he the first to root the device, but he did so working remotely, sight-unseen.
What are you waiting for? If you’re lucky enough to have your hands on a pre-release SGS3, head over to the original thread to learn more. This is exciting news even if you don’t yet own the device, but wish to purchase one in the near future!
May 10, 2012 By: Will Verduzco
You may remember that we were on-site for the Samsung Galaxy S III unveiling at Unpacked 2012 in London last week. We then went hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S III and showed you its cool gestures, blazing fast performance, and USB host capabilities. Not content with simply calling it a night, what then are two self-proclaimed Android nerds to do at 3 AM after the event? Interviews, of course!
Join us in today’s episode of XDA Developer TV, where I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire in an extremely late night interview session. We start off by “unboxing” the “Samsung Galaxy S III.” We then talk about the Samsung Galaxy S III, including what we like and what we don’t like. Then, Chainfire talks about his personal life, hobbies, development history, favorite projects, and those that have made him want to demolish his computer. For those living under a rock, Chainfire is responsible for WMWiFiRouter, CF-Root, CF-Bench, Chaifire 3D, DSLR Controller, and a plethora of other development work. You can find a selection of his development work on the XDA Portal and of course in Chainfire’s signature on the XDA Forums.
In case you haven’t already started watching, this is an interview you do not want to miss. Grab some popcorn, hit play, and prepare to be amazed.
May 8, 2012 By: Will Verduzco
You may have already read through our live-blog of the Samsung Unpacked 2012 launch event for the Samsung Galaxy S III. However, a picture is worth a thousand words, and therefore a little hands-on video must surely be worth even more.
In this episode of XDA Developer TV, we get a little hands-on time with Samsung’s latest flagship, and our own Portal Administrator Will Verduzco (that’s me!) puts the SGS3 to the test. We begin by taking a look at browser performance and voice control. Then, we test for USB host functionality (hint: it works) using Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire‘s DSLR Controller App. Finally, we examine the size compared to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and cover some notable additional features and gestures.
If you’re currently salivating at the thought of Samsung’s latest and greatest, make sure to watch the video below!
April 9, 2012 By: Conan Troutman
If you’re a Galaxy Nexus owner who hasn’t been living under a rock, you are undoubtedly aware that Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich was recently rolled out. Unfortunately, it would seem that some people have had trouble with the OTA update, including XDA Elite Recognised Developer Chainfire, who promptly came up with a solution to the problem.
Chainfire has repackaged the full stock images for the international GSM Galaxy Nexus (yakju/maguro) for use with Odin, the flashing tool for Samsung devices. This should allow anyone with similar issues to easily install the update to stock 4.0.4. While some Galaxy Nexus owners may be unfamiliar with Odin, it’s a completely viable alternative to performing the same actions via fastboot, and offers a high degree of noob friendliness. Another bonus is that these images will also work with Chainfires Mobile Odin, allowing you to flash without a PC. If you are unfamiliar with Odin, don’t despair. There are crystal clear instructions on how to flash the images provided.
There are two versions available. The first is a “No wipe, no recovery, no bootloader” version that leasves your recovery, bootloaders, and user data intact. This version should only be used if your device is already OEM unlocked—otherwise your data will be wiped. There is also a full stock image that will leave you with a complete stock installation of 4.0.4.
Whether you’ve also been experiencing problems with the OTA or just want to grab the images then check out the ROM thread.
Now is the time for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen dozens of devices receiving ICS, RUU leaks, and so on. And when we first heard news that Samsung was starting to roll out ICS for its immensely popular Galaxy S II line, we knew that it was only a matter of time before the OTA would be captured and instructions on how to root the tasty treat were released to the wild.
Now thanks to the work of XDA Forum Member Faryaab, this is a reality. Using the previously covered CF-Root for the Galaxy S II by Recognized Developer and Senior Moderator Chainfire, Faryaab has posted instructions on how to get your newly updated device rooted and ready for all the root-only action that you can find on these forums. And if your SGS2 isn’t lucky enough to have received the update already, the instructions even walk you through manually installing the update as well.
I9100XXLPQ (Official Final Build) DO A WIPE BEFORE FLASHING!
Base Firmware: I9100XXLPQ (4.0.3)
Build Date: 8th March 2012
Change List: 223505
Kernel Version: 3.0.15
Chainfire’s CF-Root XXLPQ
To get your SGS2 up to date and rooted with the latest in Google-flavored tasty treats, head over to the development thread. You know you want to. This is like peer pressure, only in the absolutely best way possible.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]
March 9, 2012 By: egzthunder1
Superuser, the final frontier for those seeking for root on their devices. These are the voyages of a small tool that surfaced a few years ago based on the idea that some apps required more from our devices to work properly. Superuser has become a standard on xda-developers, much like theming and roms, and definitely a must-have if you want to run things like SetCPU and Titanium Backup. However, as with everything in life, there is always room for improvement and people with vision and skills are the ones who can make said improvements into a reality. In the case of this tool, XDA Recognized Developer and Senior Moderator Chainfire has decided to take it to the next level, and the results of the work gave birth to SuperSU.
So, what is so special about SuperSU? Well, aside from all the goodies that you would normally get out of the regular superuser app, this provides you with more options, power, and flexibility. For instance, the app can be configured on a per-app basis, it can log activity and requests of every app and process, which will save you from going “what is this thing using superuser?”. It will also allow you to temporarily unroot your device, it works in recovery, and runs even if Android isn’t properly booted. There are many more features, and this is just the free version! There is also a pro version available, which offers more functionality such us surviving after an OTA update (over the air), and more.
If you happen to use it and test it, please report any and all feedback on the thread so that the dev can correct any bugs listed or add features if needed.
SuperSU allows for advanced management of Superuser access rights for all the apps on your device that need root. SuperSU has been built from the ground up to counter a number of problems with other Superuser access management tools.
You can find more information in the original thread.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
Thanks to Chainfire for the tip!
February 6, 2012 By: Will Verduzco
Back in November, we took a peek at Mobile ODIN by XDA Senior Moderator and Recognized Developer Chainfire. For those who don’t remember, the app acts as an on-device ODIN utility by allowing you to fully flash your firmware straight from the device itself—practically removing the need to connect your device to a host computer. Due to safety reasons, however, the EFS and bootloader partitions are not flashed.
Mobile ODIN has now undergone a major update to version 2.0—adding compatibility for several new devices and variants, while updating flashkernels for already supported devices. Just as before, two versions are available: a lite version that is available exclusively on XDA, and a pro version that can be found on the Android Market. In the words of the developer:
The following devices have been added (see changelog for full list):
- Samsung/Google Galaxy Nexus, GSM and CDMA/LTE variants
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7″, 3G and Wi-Fi variants
- Samsung Galaxy 5, eight different models
The following variants have been added:
- Samsung Galaxy Note: I9220 variant added
- Samsung Galaxy S2: SHW-M250S variant added
The following devices have been updated and have new flashkernels:
- Samsung Galaxy S
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″ (the original 7″ tab)
- Samsung Galaxy S2 (2 models)
- Samsung Galaxy Note (2 models)
Those interested in getting started with Chainfire’s latest offering should proceed to the application thread.
Even if your device is currently unsupported, there is a good chance that the next major revision will add support—just be sure to share the resultant application dump and your device’s PIT file in the thread.
[Thanks to XDA Senior Moderator M_T_M for the tip!]
December 22, 2011 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re ever tried to use a USB stick or external hard drive with your brand new Galaxy Nexus, you’ve no doubt faced difficulties. Despite supporting USB On-The-Go, Google has disabled automatic mounting of mass storage devices for some unknown reason.
Similar to the growing pains in previous versions of the OS, it is safe to assume that a first-party fix will eventually be coded into Android itself. In fact, Romain Guy has indicated that this functionality will be added in a “future release.”
Until then, however, we have XDA Senior Moderator and Recognized Developer Chainfire to rescue us from the dungeon of arbitrary limitation. StickMount allows rooted users to automatically mount and dismount USB mass storage devices.
For some reason the current Galaxy Nexus build (writing this on December 19, 2011) does not automatically mount mass storage devices (such as USB sticks) so you can use them from the phone.
Maybe Google will fix this soon, maybe not. Until that time there is StickMount !
If you’re rooted and looking for some automatic USB lovin’, head over to the original thread to get started.
December 15, 2011 By: Will Verduzco
One of the most amazing aspects of the Google Nexus experience is always being first in line for Android updates. However, some of us Nexus loyalists still decide to take the software experience into our own hands by installing custom firmwares.
What does a Galaxy Nexus owner with an aftermarket recovery partition do when a shiny new update comes out? While you could restore to the factory images completely, wipe your /data and /recovery partitions, XDA Recognized Developer Chainfire has made it much easier for your by releasing a stripped down version of the ICL53F update compatible with both the GSM (yakju) and the LTE (mysid) models.
Here is the stripped version of ICL53F.
Stripped meaning no bootloaders, no recovery (so you keep your current CWM), and no wipe.
Continue to the ROM thread to get started. Be sure to say thanks, as few developers consistently release as many high quality releases as he.