What is CyanogenMod 2

LineageOS: Installation and first information about the CyanogenMod successor

The news of the end of CyanogenMod should have been a shock for many. After all, the custom ROM was a popular alternative for a preinstalled Android on the smartphone or tablet. Because the hardware manufacturers are changing the original Android from Google and some are also delivering advertising apps that cannot simply be uninstalled and thus further reduce the already scarce free storage space on the smartphone. With CyanogenMod you could get around such vices.

What is a custom ROM?

A custom ROM like CyanogenMod and the new LineageOS is basically nothing more than an operating system that is based on Android, but is not published by the manufacturer of the mobile device, but by a third party manufacturer. Third-party manufacturers are either companies or developer communities with volunteer supporters. A custom ROM can also be viewed as a kind of Android distribution, as it is also available on Linux. Especially since every Linux distribution is based on the Linux kernel, which Android also uses. And the custom ROMs for Android devices use Android's open source code.

The advantages of CyanogenMod

One of the custom ROMs is CyanogenMod, which was programmed by volunteer developers and supported by the Cyanogen company until the end of 2016. CyanogenMod supports numerous devices and repeatedly offered functions that were ahead of the current Android version. For example, CyanogenMod limits the access rights of individual apps. Google only introduced this later with the Android 6.0 Marshmallow version. With this, CyanogenMod was ahead of the game in terms of data protection and already forbade individual apps from unnecessary access to their own contacts.

In addition, CyanogenMod offers more extensive format support for videos, audios and music. The interface can be customized and the lock screen can be controlled with gestures. However, the open source project does not include any Google apps such as Google Play or Google Maps. If you need this, you have to install it later. Alternatively, you can also use another app store such as F-Droid.org, so that you can in principle do without Google.

Updates for more security

A big plus for CyanogenMod was the supply of security updates that close security loopholes. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case with the preinstalled Android versions of the smartphone manufacturers. The security updates for Android issued by Google must be adapted by the hardware manufacturers for the individual models and provided as firmware updates. Unfortunately, the older a device is, the less likely it is that the effort will be made and updates will be received.

This became clear again recently when a loophole called Dirty-Cow was discovered in Linux. It also threatens Android devices because Android uses the Linux kernel 2.6.25 from 2008. The patch from Google for the Dirty Cow hole has been available since November 2016, but only comes onto an Android device if its manufacturer adapts it, tests it and includes it in a firmware update. This is rarely the case with older devices. In the last CyanogenMod version, however, the patch is included and the system is thus protected against hackers who want to exploit this vulnerability.

LineageOS replaces CyanogenMod

As I mentioned above, CyanogenMod was maintained as an open source project by volunteer developers, with years of support from Cyanogen. There was also a commercial version of the company, which did not catch on, so that all services were discontinued in December 2016 and CyanogenMod was also about to end.

But this does not mean the end in principle, which shows the advantage of open source. Because the code will continue to be used and CyanogenMod lives on under the new name LineageOS. The developer community transferred the source code to GitHub and is developing the CyanogenMod successor here.

Accordingly, LineageOS is the seamless connection to CyanogenMod, which makes the version number 14.1 clear for the first version of LineageOS, which corresponds to the last version of CyanogenMod. In addition, there is still the penultimate version of CyanogenMod 13, which has also been renamed and is available as LineageOS 13.

Supported Devices

Since LineageOS emerged as a fork from CyanogenMod, it continues to support devices from LG, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Lenovo, Asus, BQ, Google, Huawei, Nextbit, OnePlus, Oppo, Sony, Wileyfox, Wingtech, Xiaomi and YU. You can find the ZIP files with the matching custom ROMs for the individual models on the official website. A look at the downloads for some models only showed nightly builds and experimental versions, which should change soon when LineageOS leaves the initial phase behind. Then you can certainly download ZIP files with the status stable, which are especially suitable for custom ROM beginners.

Installation of LineageOS

The installation itself is not that easy and involves risks. We had to watch the demise of a smartphone during a test. However, thousands of ongoing CyanogenMod installations show that it usually works.

In our special root Android - advantages, disadvantages and CyanogenMod, Tao has already discussed the installation of CyanogenMod, which requires unlocking, i.e. rooting, of the Android device. There are installers for this purpose, which are intended to make the process easier. But these are quite device-dependent and can cause problems, as our previous test with the wrecked cell phone showed.

It is better to root without an installer, although the procedure depends on the model. In general, it can be said that you have to connect your smartphone or tablet to your computer via a USB cable. You also need the Google development tool Fastboot or, for Samsung devices, the Odin tool and the ZIP file with LineageOS intended for your device.

First, the bootloader is unlocked in order to replace the smartphone manufacturer's original recovery system with a custom recovery system such as TWRP or CWM. Fastboot or Odin at Samsung helps with many devices. Then you push the ZIP file with LineageOS onto the mobile device, switch it off and then boot the recovery system to install the LineageOS ZIP file, which is called flashing.

Booting the recovery system should not be confused with the usual start of the mobile device. So don't just press the power button. Depending on the model, the recovery system is started by pressing the volume up, volume down, power and / or home buttons at the same time. It is best to check the Internet to see what applies to your model. At Motorola, for example, it is the volume down and power buttons. As a test, you can try this out beforehand with normal power-on and then select the item for normal start in the menu that appears - it's just a test.

In the LineageOS Wiki you will find procedures for some smartphone or tablet models. You should also note that installing a custom ROM destroys your data on the smartphone and can lead to loss of warranty. Therefore, a backup is mandatory before flashing. It can be helpful to reset the smartphone or tablet to the factory settings before you start rooting and flashing.

Conclusion

With the end of CyanogenMod, the successor LineageOS has basically not changed anything for users. The CyanogenMod successor replaces a pre-installed Android system on the supported devices and frees them from advertising apps and possibly unnecessary Google services. These can be installed later, so you don't have to go without Google Play to search for and install apps.

With the migration of the project to GitHub, which is used as a service for managing open source software for numerous projects, the project for the development of the CyanogenMod successor LineageOS should be on the right track.

➤ Download LineageOS

Do you have experience with CyanogenMod or LineageOS? Then tell us about it in the comments!