Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

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Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Portreve » Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:27 pm

There's a number of people on LMF, such as Moem, who use Android Open Source Project (AOSP) ROMs on their Android-running smart phones, and they do so for various reasons, usually the two most common being to run a version of Android newer than is otherwise available for their device, or to have a way to highly customize their setup such that (among other things) they can eliminate Google-specific software.

Whatever your reason(s), there are a variety of options out there in terms of ROMs to pick from.

In my case, I own a Nexus 6, and it's pretty broadly supported.

In the past, I've played around with community ROMs (I have done this on prior devices, but I'm only going to focus on my Nexus 6 in this discussion) but invariably there's some kind of problem or problems which cause me to either try something else or to go back to factory stock.

One of the bigger AOSP projects out there is LineageOS, which is a descendant of Cyanogen. At the moment, the release version is Android 8.1, and overall it works great on my phone. However, there's some kind of OS-level compatibility issue with the camera subsystem, and so oftentimes the camera is just plain unavailable. There's simply no good work-arounds for this; one simply has to reboot (sometimes multiple times) or connect it to your computer and flush certain cache data. Given my job requires me to take photos of site conditions, it's not an acceptable situation.

There's another community ROM project called NitrogenOS, which is presently of Android 9.0. It works wonderfully, has no camera problems... but has the annoying problem on my phone of losing all cell network configuration data, and so one has to force settings back and forth until it finally is able to re-establish an appropriate connection. On the Nexus 6, it tries to make use of CDMA because, for whatever reason, it stops being aware that it's on GSM-using hardware.

So, I've been back to running factory stock software until yesterday, when I stumbled upon a solution for this: someone else has posted flashable installers of every version of the radio for this phone that Google has ever produced for every major release of Android that Google's ever supported on this phone. So, with this being the weekend, I figured I'd try it out and see if it made a difference.

Day and Night.

I'm putting this thread up for a couple reasons. First, I wanted to share my experience with this community because the place I found all this information is a community on Google+ which, as you all know, is going away this year. For anyone here who's using a Nexus 6 (or who might be considering buying one since it's still good hardware and has become fairly inexpensive) it may well behoove you to try this.

Here's some useful links:

XDA Developers: I used the last release version for Android 7.1.1, and it seems to work just fine.

For the apps installer, I use The Open GApps Project and specifically use the "Aroma" option because it gives you full customizability instead of just being a pre-canned set of software.

I hope this thread helps others. And by all means, if anyone wants to post in here about other ROMs and other hardware, go for it.
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Portreve » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:25 am

So, here's a bit of a follow-up to my previous post.

The “day and night” I described previously is not an actually adequate description. Therefore, I'm going to follow it up with some additional details.

It is correct to say that prior attempts to use NitrogenOS on this phone had exactly the problem alluded to above: the OS acts as though it's running on CDMA-using hardware and doesn't provide access to anything having to do with the GSM system actually in use on the phone. That is, the whole section for handling APNs (access point names) is missing, and the phone itself only gets very baseline cellular connectivity. For those here familiar with the concept of "layers" relative to networking, I have no idea at which such layer this problem manifests, but it would seem as though the hardware isn't able to fully set itself up normally using the GSM broadcast system.

So, that is how things were, previously. When I said above that things were “day and night” different, I meant the problem had completely ceased. Well, actually, it hadn't ceased so much as things behaved a LOT better, but not perfectly.

What I've noticed happens on my phone now, and it's only happened fully a couple times and then for different things, is I don't exactly lose GSM connectivity, but the rest of the stack (i.e. the rest of the OS) sometimes develops a problem where I no longer have LTE capabilities and am stuck in HSPA+ or, as happened yesterday, plain HSPA. Also, in particular with yesterday, I could no longer get my Nexus 6 to complete a phone call. It would "try" but any call I tried to make would just fail, but without an error being reported. A restart of my phone was the only thing I could do to correct it. Even toggling Airplane Mode did nothing.

So, last night, at home, I was kind of mentally mulling over the situation, and between a sort of stream-of-consciousness thing and classical troubleshooting thoughts (which I will not reconstruct here) I had an idea: what if Android 9's style of power management was less than 100% compatible with the Nexus 6's systems? I was thinking this as I was scrolling through my list of installed apps and futzing around trying to "fix" something else, and I stumbled across SIM Toolkit.

As an experiment, I have turned off battery optimization for SIM Toolkit, and now I'm going to let things go on the phone for a few days to see if it makes a difference. Moreover, I am going to deliberately not reboot my phone beyond what I've already done, and let some hours and usage accumulate.

I'll keep you folks appraised of any future developments.
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Portreve » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:02 pm

Well, this was short-lived. :shock:

About two hours after posting the last post, I decided to restart my phone. When it came up, I could no longer get a cell network connection. I rebooted again, and the whole thing locked up on me.

Fortunately, I regularly back up text messages and other things, so I decided to pull the plug.

I've nuked-n-paved the phone, put it back to factory stock, and I've simultaneously made two other conscious decision, both things I've been putting a lot of thought into of late.

The first of those is I'm no longer putting in any more time to troubleshoot or tech support this phone. I'm going to keep it as it now is, I'm no longer going to bother doing anything with it, and it will run until, well, I guess it will run until it doesn't, any longer, and that will be that. I've really had it with tech supporting stuff, even my own stuff, and that leads me to the second point.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm really burned out with being a technology enthusiast. I'm burned out with being "all about the process" and am no longer interested in putting further effort into support over getting things done and living my life.

This doesn't mean I'm done with F/OSS, and it doesn't mean I've suddenly thrown away my ethical compass any more than it means I've thrown away my accumulated knowledge or my intelligence.

I think I need to find a better way, a middle course, or whatever you may wish to call it, because I don't feel as though I can continue to function the way I have been, and I really just don't want to do this any longer.

What this means for my job, which (without mentioning the company name or going into too many specifics) daily involves using embedded software on a Windows Mobile running handheld scanner which interfaces through a cradle with company-wide software, the handheld app and company servers both being utter crap and causing mass quantities of instances of mass technical problems and loss of productivity and a host of other ills, I really don't know.

I only know I will no longer help that situation, either, since I'm done with being that company's crutch. I still desperately need the paycheck, so as I say, I really don't know where I'm heading or what I'm going to do.

I just know things need to change.

Thanks for following this thread. Thanks for listening to me, and letting me vent. Whether you give a d**n about me or any of what I've just opened up and told the world, or you don't, I don't care either way. Just thank you, as one human being to another, for listening.
I'm so down wit' dat', yo, dass ich unter dem Beton bin.

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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by mediclaser » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:33 am

I used to flash custom ROMs on my Android phones, but it has become very counter-productive (waste of time) recently compared to 5 or so years ago. The point of getting a smartphone is no longer there when the phone's important features become unusable and when it misbehaves due to bugs in the ROM.
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Moem » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:20 pm

I'm sorry to hear things did not work out for you!

As I may or may not have told you, I took the easy way out by acquiring a phone with LineageOS pre-installed (Oneplus One). It's working flawlessly. I have switched off everything Google, which limits the number of apps I can download because I can't get on the Google Playstore; I'm fine with that.

This solution works for me, and the inconvenience is minor to me and worth it... but :!: I can totally dig wanting your life to be easier, not harder. :!:
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Pippin » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:48 pm

Moem wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:20 pm
which limits the number of apps I can download because I can't get on the Google Playstore
You cannot download manually from google: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefo ... ownloader/
?
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Moem » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:26 pm

I wouldn't know. I've never seen that add-on before. But let me put it this way: if Google is involved, I'm staying away from it.

By the way, the reviews don't look great. I don't think this is safe: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefo ... r/reviews/
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by sarge816 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:49 pm

Portreve wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:02 pm
Well, this was short-lived. :shock:
I empathize completely. I do my best to not be on the cutting edge most of the time, but sometimes I can't help myself.

I know you didn't agree with the tutorial I posted on here awhile back, but maybe in this situation it might be a good compromise? A completely debloated and degoogled stock rom isn't a terrible option if the alternative is a non-functional device.

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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by sarge816 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:53 pm

Moem wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:20 pm
I'm sorry to hear things did not work out for you!

As I may or may not have told you, I took the easy way out by acquiring a phone with LineageOS pre-installed (Oneplus One). It's working flawlessly. I have switched off everything Google, which limits the number of apps I can download because I can't get on the Google Playstore; I'm fine with that.

This solution works for me, and the inconvenience is minor to me and worth it... but :!: I can totally dig wanting your life to be easier, not harder. :!:
Have you tried Yalp Store? It lets you search for, download and update apps directly from the Google Playstore without a Google account or anything Google installed on your phone. It is what I use and I haven't got Play Services, Framework, or anything else Google installed. It is available on F-Droid.
https://f-droid.org/en/packages/com.git ... yalpstore/

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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Moem » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:01 pm

sarge816 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:53 pm
Have you tried Yalp Store? It lets you search for, download and update apps directly from the Google Playstore without a Google account or anything Google installed on your phone.
Thanks. I'm sure someone who is not me may find that useful! :mrgreen:

I don't have a problem, so y'all can stop pointing to solutions, thanks. I have all the apps I need.
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by mediclaser » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:45 pm

Moem wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:20 pm
I'm sorry to hear things did not work out for you!

As I may or may not have told you, I took the easy way out by acquiring a phone with LineageOS pre-installed (Oneplus One). It's working flawlessly. I have switched off everything Google, which limits the number of apps I can download because I can't get on the Google Playstore; I'm fine with that.

This solution works for me, and the inconvenience is minor to me and worth it... but :!: I can totally dig wanting your life to be easier, not harder. :!:
I would be interested in a phone like that. Did it come factory installed, or your seller simply did the installation job for you?
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Portreve » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:26 pm

sarge816 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:49 pm
Portreve wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:02 pm
Well, this was short-lived. :shock:
I empathize completely. I do my best to not be on the cutting edge most of the time, but sometimes I can't help myself.

I know you didn't agree with the tutorial I posted on here awhile back, but maybe in this situation it might be a good compromise? A completely debloated and degoogled stock rom isn't a terrible option if the alternative is a non-functional device.
I'm trying to remember, and I apologise as it's a blur (too many other things going on in my day to day, so no insult or disrespect intended) but which guide are you referring to?

At this time, I'm contenting myself with having a functional Nexus 6. I intend to keep it to the point of hardware failure or future insufficiency, and I'm hoping by then to replace it with a Librem 5, or one of its successors. Failing that, I'll likely look at getting a sufficiently high-end-enough, presumably Android 9-running, replacement.

I don't like what I've heard about Alphabet possibly putting carrier locking into the OS with Android 10, and I also really don't like the thought of them walking away from the GNU+Linux underpinnings it presently has with their so-called Fuchia OS.
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Portreve » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:40 pm

Without getting into the specifics too far, I am hoping to ditch the employer I presently have within, say, the next 18-24 months. It is my intention to explore the possibility of moving to Germany (there's a woman there who I'm hoping turns out to be that special someone I've been looking for my whole adult life) and if I can make things work out, I'll probably replace this phone at that time, as I'll need full support for European GSM frequencies.

Moreover, my current job carries with it certain highly specific technological needs, any or all of which might disappear with whomever my next employer will be.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind if my next job — all things being equal — had little to nothing to do with technology. If I can do something I enjoy and make a career of it and support myself, that's all I care about.
I'm so down wit' dat', yo, dass ich unter dem Beton bin.

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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Moem » Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:09 am

mediclaser wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:45 pm
Moem wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:20 pm
As I may or may not have told you, I took the easy way out by acquiring a phone with LineageOS pre-installed (Oneplus One). It's working flawlessly. I have switched off everything Google, which limits the number of apps I can download because I can't get on the Google Playstore; I'm fine with that.
I would be interested in a phone like that. Did it come factory installed, or your seller simply did the installation job for you?
Factory installed. The one I got had never been used and was sold in an unopened box. It's not the newest version, so it was quite affordable, and runs LineageOS 15, which got regular updates until last month.
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by sarge816 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:13 am

Portreve wrote: I'm trying to remember, and I apologise as it's a blur (too many other things going on in my day to day, so no insult or disrespect intended) but which guide are you referring to?
Tutorial: Android Without Google Not sure how much of that would apply to you in Europe, but stripping down the stock ROM might work until you can get a new phone.

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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by mediclaser » Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:34 pm

Moem wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:09 am
...
Factory installed. The one I got had never been used and was sold in an unopened box. It's not the newest version, so it was quite affordable, and runs LineageOS 15, which got regular updates until last month.
Thanks for answering my questions! :)
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Portreve » Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:58 am

sarge816 wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:13 am
Tutorial: Android Without Google Not sure how much of that would apply to you in Europe, but stripping down the stock ROM might work until you can get a new phone.
Oh, ok, that one. I apologize.

Actually, at the moment, I wouldn't be in a position to walk away from the Google office and navigation suite (unless there's a full-blown drop-in replacement) because I literally use it every day for my job. I mean, if there's a full replacement for all of it (documents, calendar, navigation) then by all means tell me.

Moem wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:09 am
Factory installed. The one I got had never been used and was sold in an unopened box. It's not the newest version, so it was quite affordable, and runs LineageOS 15, which got regular updates until last month.
And now LineageOS 16 is out. Are you planning on upgrading? As someone who is back to using Android 7.1.1, I can definitely say Android 9 is nicer. How much better it is than Android 8 I can't speak to with the same kind of authority.
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Moem » Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:05 am

Portreve wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:58 am
Moem wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:09 am
Factory installed. The one I got had never been used and was sold in an unopened box. It's not the newest version, so it was quite affordable, and runs LineageOS 15, which got regular updates until last month.
And now LineageOS 16 is out. Are you planning on upgrading?
Not as such. Considering... yes.
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Portreve » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:11 pm

Hey Folks...
Moem wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:05 am
Not as such. Considering... yes.
mediclaser wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:34 pm
Thanks for answering my questions! :)
sarge816 wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:13 am
Tutorial: Android Without Google Not sure how much of that would apply to you in Europe, but stripping down the stock ROM might work until you can get a new phone.
Pippin wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:48 pm
You cannot download manually from google: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefo ... ownloader/?
Got a question for all of you.

When you are on your respective smart phones, on a "normal" phone call (i.e. not through a voice chat app) do any of you get near-CD-quality sounding connections with another smartphone user?

The reason I'm asking is I had occasion to talk to my boss today but I was using someone else's smartphone instead of mine, and that's the kind of phone call I had. Normally when I talk to anyone on my own phone over a standard phone call, it's just standard phone call audio that we're all used to.

I just wanted to know how common this is, and if perhaps it's a carrier thing, or something else.
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Re: Android 9 from Community (AOSP) ROMs...

Post by Moem » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:46 pm

Portreve wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:11 pm
When you are on your respective smart phones, on a "normal" phone call (i.e. not through a voice chat app) do any of you get near-CD-quality sounding connections with another smartphone user?
I've never noticed any specific difference in audio quality, if that's what you're asking. Sound quality is good, but not all that different from what I was used to. Or maybe I have a tin ear.
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