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Custom ROMs and a Q

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ihrsetrdr

Señor Senior Member
Joined
May 17, 2005
What do custom ROMs have to offer? I was going to start a thread disparaging Google and it's properties, but I really don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater(as they used to say). Do custom ROMs provide more system functionality, by providing tools for system tweaks?

Are custom ROMs basically about different "desktop enviornments", like Gnome, KDE, MATE are in Linux?

Me said:
I was going to start a thread disparaging Google and it's properties, but I really don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater(as they used to say).

That said, I do get tired of Google 'this' and Google 'that'. Some Google is O.K., I of course like my contact list instantly available, when signed in to gmail. But, I don't buy music, books or really anything else from Google this and that.


Q: What does a custom ROM do for you, and your smartphone use?
 

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Are custom ROMs basically about different "desktop enviornments", like Gnome, KDE, MATE are in Linux?

Some are like that, and I guess you could look at it that way. What the rom offers is largely up the developer and can include extended functionality (adding in locked features like hotspot and VPN), baked in improvements like support for extra filesystems. One of the best instances of a custom rom being a savior was with Kit Kat. There was a bug when Kit Kat was introduced that would not allow apps to be installed to the SDcard by default (and this was a problem for devices with small internal storage). Custom Rom to the rescue! Kit Kat would have been unusable otherwise.

Some custom roms are almost "branded". Slim Roms for example can be compared to a minimal/light distro like Lubuntu/Xubuntu in that they contain only the required packaged and are tuned for speedy UI amongst other improvements. OmniRom and PacRom (IIRC) strive to be as universal as possible while offering improvements over the vanilla experience. The list could go on and on honestly (Paraniod Android,Team Viper roms, Resurection Remixes....), but it really matters what is available for your device as custom roms are device specific. There is rarely a rom that can be moved between 2 different devices without atleast some development (porting).

I hope that gives a bit of an answer, because even though I can install a custom rom on my own devices I still only have the bare minimum of knowledge required for that area. But suffice it to say, I am a big fan of custom roms and they have greatly improved by Android experience (I might even learn enough to develop one someday :) )
 
OP
ihrsetrdr

ihrsetrdr

Señor Senior Member
Joined
May 17, 2005
Knoober, thanks for the really all-encompassing reply, I have my old Moto G still, would make a fun learning project and possibly return-to-service, as a backup phone as well.
 

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Knoober, thanks for the really all-encompassing reply, I have my old Moto G still, would make a fun learning project and possibly return-to-service, as a backup phone as well.

Moto G has plenty of development (depending on which version). I had one of those myself. Good little phone. Moto E isnt bad either and has a bevy of roms as well. Since Ive had actual experience with the Moto G , I can help with some things if you need, but really if you follow the instructions (and have a clue what you are doing already) then you will be in good shape.
 

hokiealumnus

Water Cooled Moderator
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
For newer devices, custom ROMs don't offer all that much, depending on the device. With a newer device, chances are pretty good you're on or at least soon to get the latest version of Android, and because it's newer, you probably won't have an performance issues. Even so, with a new device, there are two things that you typically get with custom stock based ROMs - Built-in Root (you can root many stock ROMs of course) and reduced bloat (either carrier bloat, or built-in, performance sucking manufacturer bloat).

I would typically not run AOSP/Cyanogen Mod (CM) based ROMs on a newer device, as you lose functionality when going that route. Most that you lose is 'meh' (like getting a text when you get a voicemail instead of a Voicemail alert like stock firmware on my G3, which would automatically convert the text's string to 'you have a voicemail!'). However, the #1 thing you lose with AOSP/CM based ROMs is camera quality. Camera drivers are always proprietary, and when you venture away from a stock-based ROM, you lose some quality to the photo processing. That can be huge, or not, depending on the phone and how much of a difference there is. There will be a difference, but it could be so minor as to put it in the 'meh' category.

Almost every custom ROM you can get is going to be smoother than stock, and that's especially true of the AOSP/CM based ROMs when used on an older device. That bloat gets more and more cumbersome over two years (typical device lifetime if you're on a contract), and dropping it for the efficiency of an AOSP/CM based ROM is a breath of fresh air. You also get some extras that you may not otherwise get, like CM theme engine or the new'ish Substratum theme engine. They don't affect performance, but allow you to easily customize the look of your ROM.

Most important to older devices is new OS support. My G3 is virtually guaranteed to be abandoned by LG for the future. I can say with near 100% certainty that Marshmallow is the farthest stock is going to go. Currently I am running a nice CM-based version of Android 7.1 Nougat, because I can. I love Nougat's new features, and if I wasn't running a custom ROM, I never would have known how good it could be.

It also comes with Substratum theme engine, and I use it to load a free Pixel UI theme from the play store. Used with the Pixel launcher, save for missing the Google Assistant (which I could get working if I felt like it), I'm basically using the software equivalent ...but definitely not the hardware equivalent!... of a Pixel. :)
 

habbajabba

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Location
Oregon
Custom roms have no inherent benefit other than 'I can'. Plus they're easy if phone is rooted with the proper stuff to manage them with. I.e., you can have multiple images on your sd card and reboot into any one of them, completely customizing the phone exactly as you left the image with a simple reboot. Personally I would be thrilled just to own a rooted phone so I could gut google and all the bs oem baggage mine has. Just that alone is like having your own custom rom, but without all the hassle of actually creating or customizing one particular to your tastes.