GummyJAR Starts Out As A Gooey Mess

January 8, 2011

Android, Mobile Phone, Technology

After using ApeX 1.3.1 for almost a week, I decided it would be time for a few more changes to the phone.  Sometimes, I amaze myself with the brazenness of my ego.  But that amazement never occurs before the fact.  Rather, I plunge headlong into the fray.  And I invariably clean up the mess after the fact.  And that was the case today as well.

I started today by downloading GummyJAR.  GummyJAR is a custom ROM that attempts to be both AOSP-compliant and extremely fast.  Rather that use pre-built binaries, the developers recompiled everything.  The result of this is a much faster build

The download process itself was positively wonderful.  Since I’m using ROM Manager Premium, I can download straight to my SD card.    And the process only took a few minutes.  So while I was waiting on downloads, I decided to take a backup of all of my apps using Titanium Backup.  Once I had a good backup, it was time to launch the install. I chose to wipe cache and data.  And with that, the install began.  It took about ten minutes to boot into recovery, copy the files and start the glistening new OS.  And the OS began without a hitch.

The next step was the coolest thing I’ve seen in at least… four or five days. I went to the Android app market and selected one of the apps I had purchased already.  And within a few minutes the Market app was downloading several dozen apps to repopulate my system.  This is totally awesome.  And the recovery went without a hitch.

So within an hour, my phone had a new OS with all of my apps.  I was flush with excitement.  I felt the swelling of pride rise in my heart.  So I decided to make yet another change: I used Titanium Backup to move many of these newly deployed apps to my SD card.  And that’s when the trouble began.

My first inkling of trouble came when TB couldn’t move some of my apps.  But I was amazed at just how many had moved before things failed.  In the past, I had been able to move 15-20 of my 104 apps to my SD card.  The rest didn’t move.  But TB was telling me that it could move 79 of the apps.  I felt great – even though a few apps didn’t move as expected.  Things seemed to be working – and then I rebooted my phone.

After rebooting, very few of my apps were visible.  This puzzled me.  And some of the really important apps seemed to be gone – including ClockworkMod and ROM Manager.  I tried to uninstall the apps and re-install them to no avail.  Indeed, the Market wouldn’t install these apps as it believed that they were still available on my phone.  But they acted just as if the SD card had not mounted – even though it had.  After struggling with the issue for half an hour, I decided to just restore from a backup.  But I could get TB to work at all.

So in desperation, I decided I would just boot into recovery mode and recover to a different ROM.  But ROM Manager wasn’t working.  So I tried to manually enter Clockwork Recovery.  But I had no joy.  And I was starting to feel desperate.

I rebooted the phone into GummyJAR.  But this time, I could see the apps – and I could run them.  So I downloaded a fresh ROM and rebooted.  But on restart the apps were gone once again.  As I was pulling my hair out, I figured that maybe the process of trying to go into bootstrap recovery had some effect that allowed successful execution of the apps I had moved.  For whatever reason, this did have the desired effect.  I could access my apps.  So the first thing I did was run TB and move all apps back to internal memory.  This took about five minutes and the process ended without error.  Then I went into ROM Manager and re-installed the Clockwork Recovery software.

Upon reboot, everything came back in a functioning state.  I have used the phone for about an hour.  And I’ve rebooted the phone almost a half dozen times.  And everything is working well.  Phew.  I had bad dreams of humbly going to the forums and begging for assistance.  Fortunately, I accepted my slice of humble pie and I wasn’t forced to make public penance.

So what was the problem?  What caused the trouble?  Since moving the apps with TB was the start of the trouble and moving them back was the end of the trouble, my conclusion is simple: using any tool to force an app to SD is a bad idea.  And it is a worse idea to move any apps when testing a new ROM.

But the good news is very good.  The GummyJAR ROM is very cool.  It is a complete AOSP solution.  And there are no vestiges of MotoBlur on the phone at all.  For this, I am very thankful.  And I’ve learned a lot along the way.  And this ROM is blazingly fast.  So I will be living on this one until the new Gingerbread ROM’s start to surface in a few weeks.

So I am happy as I live with this new ROM and I dream about the new Motorola Xoom and its Android 3.0 goodness.



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