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CyanogenMod 9 is stable; 10 is underway

CyanogenMod 9 is stable; 10 is underway

Posted Aug 10, 2012 23:43 UTC (Fri) by ldarby (guest, #41318)
In reply to: CyanogenMod 9 is stable; 10 is underway by ldarby
Parent article: CyanogenMod 9 is stable; 10 is underway

Another thing that needs to die but won't is the use of the term ROM to refer what I would call "images".

ROM = Read Only Memory = Semiconductor hardware that stores information which cannot under any circumstances be modified.

Using "ROM" to refer to an operating system (or more generally, a set of software) that can be installed into re-writeable memory, is just bizarre...

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CyanogenMod 9 is stable; 10 is underway

Posted Aug 13, 2012 18:26 UTC (Mon) by Nico57 (guest, #63763) [Link]

Still, system files are generally stored on read-only memory from the system's point of view, and the device needs to be switched to some special update mode to get write access to it.
So "ROM" is not all that wrong.

"Image" sounds even more confusing. :)
You could go for "system image", "system archive" or simply "system update", but ROM tends to be the most universally understood and less ambiguous term.

CyanogenMod 9 is stable; 10 is underway

Posted Aug 13, 2012 19:46 UTC (Mon) by ldarby (guest, #41318) [Link]

I know "image" is a bit vague but it already has precedence as in "ISO image", and conceptually it's correct:

Image (ISO) => CDR(W)
Image (software) => Phone with EEPROM

How much sense does burning a CDROM to a CDRW make? The same amount as flashing a ROM to a phone.

"EEPROM Image" would be correct and I wouldn't be surprised if that's what it actually was, and then instantly got abbreviated to just ROM, because no one would want to say "ee-ee-prom image". Pretty much like almost no one wants to say "Guh-nooo-linux" - too many syllables.

CyanogenMod 9 is stable; 10 is underway

Posted Aug 13, 2012 20:17 UTC (Mon) by nybble41 (subscriber, #55106) [Link]

Actually I'm fairly sure the "ROM" term comes from the modding community. At least for older consoles (NES/SNES/N64/etc.), the original memory images were extracted from literal ROM chips for modification or emulation; the term "ROM" thus identifies the source of the data. Modern consoles (and Android) use optical media or SDDs / hard drives rather than actual ROMs, but the term stuck.

Of course, Android is nominally open source, so it shouldn't be necessary to mess with binary-level modifications. However, the fact that one can't actually build the unabridged equivalent of the Android system image shipping on any real hardware from just the published source code means that we are still at least partly at the "mod" stage rather than "distributions". Android has quite a bit of maturing to do to catch up with Linux on that front.


Posted Aug 14, 2012 8:02 UTC (Tue) by mastro (guest, #72665) [Link]

Not many people on this planet are rich enough to afford a phone with gigabytes of EEPROM. The system software on Android devices is simply written to Flash memory, not EEPROM.


Posted Aug 14, 2012 17:37 UTC (Tue) by Jonno (subscriber, #49613) [Link]

Flash is technically just a collection of EEPROMs, hidden behind a nice abstraction layer. The individual EEPROMs in a flash device are just called "erase blocks" nowadays...

That said, calling an RFS-image a "ROM" is really just legacy terminology, carried over to a replacement technology. Much like the term "broadband" is used to denote all fast network connections, even those not utilizing a broad frequency band...

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