You can modify all aspects of the phone's software with root, but if you want to make changes to the hardware level, you will need a custom kernel. If you have looked at custom kernels before, a name would undoubtedly come up: ElementalX. It is easily the best custom core out there, and the reason for it is its amazing developer, flar2, aka Aaron Segaert.
For the uninitiated, flar2 is an absolute legend in the Android Rock community. In addition to retaining the ElementalX core for dozens of devices, Segaert is the only developer of several popular modding apps like EX Kernel Manager, Button Folders and DevCheck. But he is more than just an encoder ̵
Segaer's background is exciting. He holds a doctorate in sociology, and although he continued formal education in computer science, it was primarily his enthusiasm for tinkering that led him to become the software developer he is today. In fact, he was initially resistant to the whole cellphone's viciousness in the early 2000s, and it was only after he had to pick up one as he realized his passion for tagging Android kernels and apps.
Suffice it to say, Aaron Segaert has a finger at the Android Rock Community, and his perspective is unique. Therefore, we were enthusiastic to get the chance to choose their brains – below the interview text in full, with Segaert's easy-to-answer answers.
Gadget Hacks: We are huge fans of all your job here on Gadget Hacks. Are any of your projects personal favorites of yours?
Aaron Segaert: Thank you, I hope people find my software useful. EX Kernel Manager has always been my favorite. It was my first app and I have been working hard over the years to make sure it manages everything that users want.
GH: Are there any features in your apps or modes that you want more people know about?
AS: I wish more people realized that EX Kernel Manager can be used with any kernel, not just the ElementalX kernel. I've worked hard to add hundreds of settings that are not even part of ElementalX, and it's compatible with Kirin, Tegra, Exynos and MediaTek, as well as Qualcomm SOCs
I also wish more people knew about DevCheck. For some reason, the app has always struggled to get pulling power in the Play Store.
GH: DevCheck is a good app, it's a pity it has not been removed. Can you explain who is going to use what is not currently? What are the users missing?
AS: I think that anyone who is interested in hardware or diagnostics should use it. DevCheck digs deeper into the hardware, especially for root users. I think it stands out from the other sysinfo apps, because the information is organized and presented in a much more clear and concise manner. It does not just dump a lot of things to the screen, I choose and choose what to display. I do not think any other apps show so much relevant detail about camera, network (especially dual SIM), Bluetooth and RAM.
GH: what phone do you currently use as your daily driver? Do you have a favorite phone series that you always like to come back to?
AS: I have used OnePlus 6 as my daily driver since it was released in the spring. It's a very solid phone, very stable and fast. I've never had a single problem with that. Before using Pixel XL, which is also incredibly reliable. Other daily drivers were HTC 10, Nexus 6 and HTC M8, M7 and One XL. I was a great HTC fan for many years, they were innovative and made great hardware. Now I think the Pixel line is the best, especially when it comes to software. If OnePlus can match the Pixel camera, they would be the best.
For core and app testing, I rotate phones through my family members to make sure everything is stable and working well. I usually use my daily driver when I'm on and off and other phones when I'm home.
GH: Can you expand your thoughts about HTC's downfall? Something special do you think they should have done differently?
AS: It's unfortunate because HTC can still make a good phone. The U11 and HTC 10 were excellent devices, with good sound and camera and premium build quality. I have not actually seen U12 +. The first generation of Pixlar was mainly HTC phones. The biggest problem is that HTC came out with a really bad phone, M9 (which had a horrible display and heat problem), at a critical time. Samsung and others were capitalized on the weakness and HTC never recovered. HTC is no longer distributing large carriers in the US and Canada, so the average consumer does not even know they exist.
Aside from the fact that M9 is a dud, HTC has always had bad marketing. I think they should have focused on making premium hardware. Instead, they reprimanded their brand's reputation by releasing a lot of scary laptops like the Desire series and confusing variants of their flagship.
GH: What roots do you use on your own? Or do you even rot at all?
AS: All my phones are rotated, that's the first thing I do when I get a new device. There are two root models I can not live without: High brightness and wake up to wake up. I have implemented these mods on many devices. I also adjust vibration on some phones, usually to lower it. The vibrator in several newer devices has an annoying tone that I do not like, which makes the vibration a bit weaker on it, especially when writing. And I adjust the headphone boost to increase the left channel, because my left ear is not as good as my right ear.
GH: What is your favorite tweak for Android?
AS: Aside from HBM and Sopa to wake up, I always use Button Folders to program a long volume downward to turn the flashlight. No root is required for that. My tweaks are usually small, practical things I use every day.
GH: ElementalX currently supports at least 26 different devices. When you develop the kernel, do you have to take care of all these devices? If so, how do you finance it?
AS: You need the actual hardware for core development. The kind of things I do, such as sound control, wake gestures, vibration adjustment, etc., must be tested on the device. I have over 30 phones. I have bought most of them at full price, so I have spent a lot on phones over the years. In the early days, I relied on donations. HTC community on XDA increased $ 600 against HTC M8. Recently, I have received some phones via XDA and OnePlus. Important also sent me a free phone. The rest is funded through the sale of EX Kernel Manager, which also supports server and other equipment costs.
GH: Interesting that OnePlus and Essential would send you phones – they are definitely fashionable devices, so I & # 39; I'm pleased to see that both OEM customers are targeting the root community. Are there any other manufacturers who have stood out as a pleasure to work with when it comes to answering your questions or helping?
AS: OnePlus, Essential and Google stand out as the easiest for core development. Each of these OEM users releases kernel source code with git, which makes it easy to merge updates and you can see the engagement history. They allow bootloader unlocking, and they provide full factory images. This is basically what I need to do a custom core.
There are major obstacles to developing for other brands. Some do not provide the source code for the work kernel, or the release is not current, or it is released as a blob without engagement history. It is often difficult to find system images and flashbar firmware, and others make you jump through hoops to unlock the boot reader. On some devices, bootloader unlock or use of a custom kernel or firmware may break certain features. These things make development frustrating. I'm still staying at OnePlus and Pixel devices at the moment.
GH: What were your priorities when fine-tuning the ElementalX governor? Speed? Battery Saver? Increased speed without lowering battery life?
AS: The ElementalX Governor was supposed to find a balance between responsiveness and battery life and provide the best performance for gaming. It is based on HTC's custom evil man governor, used in his flagship up to the M8. It is a demand-based governor (as opposed to interactive, developed specifically for Android). It tries to be context conscious, which means different frequency levels depending on how long the load is. A unique feature is that it considers GPU load, and adds an extra boost when 3D graphics are used. Then big. Some chips came out, and Google's development of Energy Aware Scheduling (EAS) has stopped working with ElementalX Governor. EAS is better in many ways for modern fields.
GH: You mentioned game performance as a priority – are you a player yourself? What special games are you in these days?
AS: Performance is something that users request and I've always found it a fun challenge to try to improve bottlenecks and reduce the delay. I do not play on my phone or in another way I do not even own a gaming system. But I've always been in tweaking and modding computers. I was really overclocked computers back in the day, and I learned a lot about program optimization running and building Linux when I was young. I love smooth, super-optimized computers, and it has been translated into phones.
GH: Google's A / B partitions (seamless updates) were a major barrier to root, custom reset, custom ROMs and course, custom kernels. Do you need to coordinate with developers of other modes to ensure ElementalX would remain compatible with things like TWRP and Magical sharing space on the boot partition now?
AS: It was a big change, but definitely more of a challenge for root and TWRP than customized kernels. Many users still think it's confusing because things have to be installed in a certain order. At the beginning, I changed the ElementalX installer to detect if the device was rotated or not and set a command line parameter to handle it. This was based on the work of Chainfire (formerly SuperSU dev), which initially thought about how everything works. Instead of making a binary piece like SuperSU, I made some changes to the initramfs kernel code that enabled ElementalX to be installed without losing root. Later, I started using the AnyKernel2 installer of osm0sis, because it manages everything and it's much easier than keeping my own installer.
GH: Interesting! It makes me curious about the root and modding society as a whole. Can you give us more insight into the stage itself, how do you interact with other developers in it and the major changes you've seen over the years?
AS: I'm not really the one involved in society at a social level. I only talk once with other devs. It's mainly a time limit for having a family, some other hobbies and I maintain a separate career in social research and public order. All of this keeps me busy 24/7.
As for changes in society, there are some things that happen. One is an overall decline in rotation and modding, which is partly due to the fact that the hardware becomes much better (and therefore less need tweaks) and the software gets more features and options. The second change is newer forms of social media that have taken over from internet forums. The Internet forum was ideal for sharing and archiving knowledge and forming community-selected societies that are really stuck in specific subjects in detail. Recent forms such as Telegram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., are more ephemeral and closed. They are less searchable, posts and threads are basically lost in a sea of off-topic chat after a few days, leading to less focused discussion and fragmentation of society. And finally, the other big I see a shift from west to east. Development used to be centered in North America and Europe, now the most enthusiastic muddy communities in India and Southeast Asia.
GH: Do you think Google will stop closing down tweak at root level on Android sometime in the future? The ability to unlock the boot loader is potentially a weak point in the secure boot chain, but so far, they have retained that opportunity while securing the boot process with things like the "OEM Unlocking" setting and the Titan M chip in their own devices.
AS: If they would, I think they would have done it already. There are still many users and many top rated apps that use root. The knowledge and effort required for the root are probably sufficient obstacles that lock the boot loader and rotation will not cause widespread problems. The people who unlock and rot have their reasons.
So, I do not think root will be allowed when Android is eventually replaced.
Unlocking bootloader is a security threat, especially if someone has physical access to the phone. Rooting obviously opens the entire device for modification, but apps like Magic Manager do a great job to manage access to SU. It depends entirely on what you install on your phone and the access you allow. Personally, I've never encountered anybody who has had a security issue from unlocking and messing up his phone. Be careful about what you install and grant root access to.
Security is obviously very important given all the personal information held on our phones, but I think the threats have been exaggerated and used to serve the interests of carriers, advertisers, data collectors, content providers, and to create a larger anti-malware market. apps. I would say there's more to limit what you can do with your device than protecting you. It's about limiting your ability to remove ads and bloatware, stop you from hotspot tethering, things like that. It's a battle for control over your device.
GH: "When Android is eventually replaced," I definitely decided my interest! I guess you're talking about Andromeda or Fuchsia – do you think there's some certainty at this time that Google will eventually move the ecosystem over?
AS: Nothing lasts forever. It's probably sensible to build something from scratch that is tailor made for modern hardware and the latest calculation ideas. Linux is almost 30 years old, and Android has been around for 10 years, which is almost an eternity when it comes to technology. I do not know much about Andromeda or Fuchsia yet, but it seems that Google thinks forward. It will make a big effort to copy all features and features of a mature OS like Android / Linux, and then there's a huge app ecosystem, so Android will probably be left.
GH: What is the most challenging problem facing the rotten community right now? What kind of challenges do you see in the movement?
AS: In addition to the threat of OEM users like Huawei and Samsung that locks the boot charger, I think the biggest problem right now is the subset of Android enthusiasts who feel root is no longer needed and that root is childish something you grow out of. That kind of negative attitude will kill rooting. It's good if you do not need or want to stumble, but I do not like when when users feel it's necessary to enter this in every discussion about rooting.
I can say that a large number of my Users are not teenagers who flash continuously custom ROMs and kernels. These people are not necessarily active in Android forums and discussions. They are hobbyists, engineers and IT professionals who use Android devices for things like scientific testing and system administration that need root to run specific software or hardware. Android devices are very small, very cheap, Linux computers and there are people out there who do amazing things with this hardware. They must build custom kernels and gain root access to control their custom hardware and software.
So before people look at rooting, they should keep in mind that there are many people with good reasons to stumble, and they should be happy that Android still offers the freedom to fully utilize their hardware if they need.