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Android Rooting Dictionary

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// Just sharing from other sources. I am a newbie in android modding. So if u find anything wrong then please correct them in your comments. //

Android is an Operating system which is based on Linux. And in Linux, there is something called root access. You'll get superuser access by rooting your Android device (whether its a phone or a tablet). With root access you'll have a complete control over your phone's operating system like you can install great system apps (e.g the backup tools which are available to root users only). You'll have the chance to install custom Android ROMs. In other words, when you have root access, you can use your phone as a hardware shell so that you can simply put new releases of Android OS into.

This post is not to teach you about how to get root access, but it'll explain all the words you'll encounter in different forums while reading about different custom ROMs.


A2SD+ is an extension of Android 2.2 Froyo's native support for installing apps on the SD card. But it installs every app in the external storage virtually. You need to partition your SD card to use A2SD+. You can more or less expand your internal storage with the size of the partition you create on your memory card. It’s great if your Android phone has a limited amount of internal storage space. Most Android ROMs have built-in support for A2SD+.


AOSP is the short form of Android Open Source Project.

When this term is used in ROM descriptions, it usually indiacates that the ROM is based on Android source code provided by Google itself, not on some other ROM project or some other company's firmware.


The bootloader executes the code before any operating system is launched. In Android devices the bootloader is generally locked because manufacturers want you to use the Android version they have provided. With a locked bootloader you can't install any custom ROM. Thats y we need to unlock the bootloader by rooting so that we can get the most from our device.


BusyBox is an app on your phone which will give access to additional Linux/Unix based commands. You may need BusyBox installed to perform some root level tasks. And some other apps that require root access may need BusyBox installed as well. BusyBox is self-dubbed "The Swiss Army Knife of Embedded Linux."

ClockworkMod Recovery

ClockworkMod is the most popular Recovery Mode and it’s installed with the app ROM Manager.

Its a boot menu which is shown without Android being loaded. It gives you access to certain features like doing complete backups of your phone (Nandroid backups) and installing custom ROMs.

CM or CyanogenMod

CM is a custom version of vanilla (more or less unmodified) Android. It’s the most popular custom ROM for Android. Its a community effort and many other ROMs are based on CM. It adds a bunch of extra customization features and options.

Dalvik & Dalvik cache

Dalvik is the cryptic name of the virtual machine (VM) in android. It is the basis of running apps (.apk files) on the platform. Before Android apps are launched, they’re converted into the compact Dalvik Executable (.dex) format which is designed to be suitable for systems that are constrained in terms of memory and processor speed.

The Dalvik cache is simply the cache of Dalvik. It is the result of Dalvik doing optimizations for running the apps. Some ROMs allow to move the Dalvik cache to the SD card in order to free up some internal storage.


If a ROM supports data2SD/D2EXT/D2SD, it means that the \data folder on the phone’s internal storage can be moved to memory card. This is an advantage because it will free up precious internal memories and leave more room for apps and games. But some say that having the data stored on SD card is slightly slower though.

D2ext means "data to the extended file system". U should have created a partition in your SD card for this.


When a ROM has been deodexed, it means that its apps have been prepared such that they can be modified. Deodexed ROMs feature apps that have been repackaged in a certain way. Android applications (.APKs) contain .odex files that developers supposedly use to save space. These .odex files are extracted from the application packages and are put in the \system\  folder on your phone to speed up the boot processes and to allow parts of apps to be preloaded.

However, this makes hacking and modifying those apps difficult because parts of the apps have been extracted to another location. Deodexing means that all pieces of an application package are put back together into one file and it makes sure that a modified .APK won’t conflict with some separate odexed parts located somewhere else. Developers of custom ROMs choose to deodex their ROM packages since it lets them modify various .APKs after the ROMs have been installed.


This is an equalizer app that android modders like to include in their ROMs.


These refer to ext2, ext3 & ext4 partitions on the SD card. These are extended file systems for Linux that can be used by Android. Usually used in order to preserve internal memory space. Many custom Android ROMs require that you have an ext2, ext3 or ext4 partition on your memory card. Ext2 is the oldest type of extended file system & ext4 is the newest. Some say that ext4 will put an unnecessary strain on your memory card, because it writes to it so much. But currently ext3 extended file system is more commonly used. To use one of these file systems, you need to create a special partition on your SD card with ROM Manager or GParted.


"Fastboot is a protocol used to directly update the flash file system in Android devices from a host over USB."

This is essentially a boot menu that you can do stuffs before Android is launched. You can access it by turning off the device and simultaneously pressing the Power button and the Volume down button. From this menu, you can choose to boot into Recovery Mode, and more options.


A phone's firmware is basically its operating system. It’s the version of the operating system the phone’s manufacturer delivers.


Flashing is the process of installing a new version of the Android OS, or just parts of it, like the radio. Flashing new ROMs is done via the Recovery Mode, usually with ClockworkMod Recovery.


HBoot is the 1st thing which is loaded when the phone is switched on and mainly responsible for checking and initializing the hardware and starting the phone’s software. It can also be used for flashing official software releases as well as a few other things. HBoot can be compared to the BIOS on a computer.


The Kernel is the central component of most OSs.

It is a bridge between applications and the actual data processing done at the hardware level.

The Linux kernel was initially created by legendary Finnish computer science student Linus Torvalds in 1991.

Android kernels are often customized, optimized and modified for different purposes such as over-clocking the processor or extending the battery life. Custom ROMs usually include a new kernel.


MIUI is a heavily customized version of Android 2.2 from a team of Chinese developers, and it made a splash in the Android blogosphere back in September 2010. MIUI takes the best parts of Froyo, Samsung’s TouchWiz interface and iOS, and transforms the various elements into something quite unique that has managed to make many people excited. A lot of developers have released their own versions of MIUI, and the ROM is available for many different devices.

NANDroid & NANDroid backups

NANDroid will let anyone, with root access, make a complete system backup. It lets you create a backup for every piece of information on your phone and it can be restored later whenever you want. NANDroid backups are usually performed before flashing a new ROM, in case anything goes wrong, or if you want to return to your previous setup later. NANDroid backups are created from the Recovery Mode, often with ClockworkMod Recovery.


This is the radio that handles communication in your phone. It is responsible for sending and recieving of data. Flashing or installing a new radio can improve your reception and bring other benefits. A radio is flashed via Recovery Mode just as an Android ROM.

Radio interface layer (RIL)

Android provides a Radio Interface Layer (RIL) between Android’s telephony services and the radio hardware. Developers modify the RIL to make it better.

RC1, RC2 etc

RC means Release Candidate of an Android ROM. It’s a candidate for the final release of a ROM and they can be considered ROM betas.

Recovery Mode

As explained under ClockworkMod, the Recovery Mode is a menu that you can boot into which lets you perform complete backups of your phone (Nandroid backups), install custom ROMs and many more. ClockworkMod is a very popular Recovery Mode and you can get it via the app ROM Manager.

ROM Manager

ROM Manager is a popular app for root users and it lets you flash ClockworkMod Recovery, install ROMs from your SD card, perform backups and even download new ROMs over-the-air.


Root generally refers to having root access in an Android phone. Android devices need rooting for superuser access.

S-OFF (security off)

In the Android devices, the manufacturers implement a certain form of security which controls whether your phone has its NAND or flash unlocked.

S-ON (security on) will read-lock your \system and \recovery partitions, blocking you from performing certain root level actions directly from Android.

You can disable this security measure with S-OFF (security off) although you risk bricking your phone in the process (worst case).

This is HTC Specific.


This is a popular application for overclocking or underclocking your phone’s processor, making it faster or slower. It may require a special kernel in order to work.


The superuser is sort of a special user account for system administration. SuperUser is also the name of an app which lets you grant or deny superuser privileges to other apps.

Terminal and Terminal Emulator

Terminal Emulator (sometimes just referred as Terminal) is an app that lets users access Android’s built-in Linux command line shell. The application emulates a Digital Equipment Corporation VT-100 terminal and it is mostly useful for programmers and for those with root access.

For example, typing this in Terminal Emulator, when A2SD is installed, will move the Dalvik cache to the SD card:

su (gives the app SuperUser access)
a2sd cache sd (moves the Dalvik cache to the SD card)

Titanium Backup

Titanium Backup is the best backup tool for root users, since it allows you to backup all your applications as well as their data.


WWE means “World Wide English”.

It usually tells that an Android ROM is based on WWE or World Wide English firmware.


Zipalign is a tool that optimizes the way an Android app (.APK) is packaged.

It enables Android to interact with the application more efficiently.

And in doing so, it has the potential to make the app and the entire Android system much faster.

Zipaligned applications are launched more quickly and they use less amounts of RAM.

So zipaligned Android ROMs are good to go with.

Source: TechCredo, Google

Feel free to rectify the mistakes and also to suggest more terms to be added in this post. :)

And for FAQs about rooting Android, refer This Post :)

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