Developer makes a proof of concept multi-boot solution for Android devices
Multi-booting on Android devices has always been a bit tricky. On regular x86 PCs and Macs, it’s fairly easy to get another OS booting. On smartphones, however, the story is different. Luckily, the brilliant aftermarket developer community, as well as individual modders, frequently came up with different ways to get your Android device to run two ROMs – or even multiple different operating systems – at once.
When there’s mention of multi-booting on Android, MultiROM by XDA Recognized Developer Tasssadar is one of the first projects that come to mind. We have also had Safestrap and DualBoot Patcher, the former of which still retains several faithful followers. Lately, TWRP itself has emerged as another excellent platform for creating a multi-boot solution. Now, XDA Recognized Developer phhusson has thrown his hat into the ring with a demonstration of a dual-booting solution between his AOSP GSI and the stock One UI ROM on a Samsung Galaxy A71.
Pierre-Hugues Husson, i.e. the person behind the “phhusson” alias, may be best known for his Project Treble GSI more than anything, but he has also delved into a number of different tools and projects that range from incredibly useful to quite fun. The aforementioned multi-boot project is one such example. It is called “boot-diverter” and the current implementation requires the end-user to press the volume rockers to select the OS they want to boot.
According to the developer, the loader “… sits between boot.img and system, and can boot unmodified stock and GSIs.” — making it more versatile than Google’s DSU Loader. Secondary operating systems can be stored on the SD card, which is also a big plus in terms of portability. As of now, it can’t switch the kernel at boot, but the SoC-agnostic structure of the solution allows it to work on Exynos, Qualcomm, and MediaTek chipset-based devices without depending on platform-specific code.
Project at https://t.co/mLXBeme4Py ; Tested on Exynos, Qualcomm and Mediatek SoCs. Still not usable for end-users, and will probably forever considered very unstable.
— Husson Pierre-Hugues (@phhusson) April 18, 2021
If Android is about openness, multi-booting adds a whole new dimension to the idea. For flashaholics, the ability to boot more than one OS offers the chance to safely try out new ROMs or test certain mods without risking your daily driver’s integrity. With that spirit, if you’d like to check out phhusson’s boot-diverter project, you can find the GitHub repository for it right here. Keep in mind that ready-to-use binaries have yet to be released, hence you’ll need to adjust the code and compile it all by yourself.