As I am on vacation with some time to kill, I decided to free my Samsung Galaxy SII from all the Samsung crapware and install an open-source version (GPLv2 and Apache 2 licenses) of Android on it : CyanogenMod. Here is how I did it, using Fedora 17 only.
I do not take any responsibility for what you do with your device. YMMV with your Android version and hardware model. This kind of operations voids the warranty of your smartphone and may damage it irreversibly. (But, hey, it’s fun 🙂 )
First, let’s compile and install the tool that will help us to root our Android mobile phone “Heimdall”. We start by installing the development tools and needed libraries.
# yum -y install “Development Tools”
# yum -y install libusb1-devel
Then we compile and install the actual program
$ git clone git://github.com/Benjamin-Dobell/Heimdall.git
$ cd Heimdall/libpit
$ cd ../heimdall
# make install
After that, we download the tool that will root our Android phone: ClockworkMod Recovery, our CyanogenMod operating system as well as Google Apps.
$ wget http://cmw.22aaf3.com/c1/recovery/recovery-clockwork-184.108.40.206-galaxys2.tar
$ md5sum recovery-clockwork-220.127.116.11-galaxys2.tar
$ wget http://download.cyanogenmod.com/get/jenkins/4627/cm-9.0.0-RC2-galaxys2.zip
$ md5sum cm-9.0.0-RC2-galaxys2.zip
$ wget http://goo.im/gapps/gapps-ics-20120429-signed.zip
$ md5sum gapps-ics-20120429-signed.zip
We then extract the following file
$ tar -xvf recovery-clockwork-18.104.22.168-galaxys2.tar
The extracted file is a kernel image called “zImage” that we will boot on later on
Put the CyanogenMod as well as the GoogleApps in the root directory of your SD card, then, let’s get rid of the Samsungoid ! This is also the right moment to backup your data and configuration, in case anything goes wrong.
Power off the Samsung Galaxy S II and connect the microUSB to the computer but not to the Samsung Galaxy S II.
Boot the Samsung Galaxy S II into download mode by holding down Home & Volume Down & Power while connecting the microUSB to it.
Change the directory back to where the previously extracted zImage file is and execute the following command
# heimdall flash –kernel zImage
A blue transfer bar will appear on the phone showing the kernel being transferred. But, unlike CyanogenMod’s documentation mentionned, my Galaxy SII did not reboot automatically. I tried to boot it by pressing on the power button on the right side, but it did not work. The only thing that worked was starting the phone by pressing on Home & Volume Up & Power at the same time, until the ClockworkMod Recovery booted.
In ClockworkMod Recovery, select the following options
“Wipe data/factory reset” then “Wipe cache partition”
“Install zip from sdcard” -> “Choose zip from sdcard” and choose first CyanogenMod and redo the operation for the Google Apps zip file
Once the installation has finished, select “Go Back” to get back to the main menu, and select “Reboot system now” and CyanogenMod should boot as it did for me.
So far, the user experience is much better and my phone is way faster than it used to be. The process was not as straightforward as I described it here and I had a couple of “interesting” moments when the Galaxy did not boot as expected, but I hope it will make your switch to a freer operating system smoother.