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documentation page for replicant newcomers

Added by Fil Lupin 4 months ago

Hi there,
it's a few years I made my first steps with android and I have to say that it was not always easy.
I think it would be very useful to create a page with links to useful resources like documentations, tools, etc.
This page would be user oriented, for responding to user needs when they arrive and wanted to install replicant on their phone.

Here are a few steps I needed myself :

- first step : backup my data, especially my sms and mms.
I discovered how to use adb tool to access android partitions.
Then, looking into the data, I discovered several useful data stored into /data (for my i9300):

  • contacts : /data/data/com.android.providers.contacts/databases/contacts.db (best way is to backup on sdcard and get them through usb)
  • SMS MMS : /data/data/com.android.providers.telephony/databases/mmssms.db
  • memos : /data/data/com.sec.android.app.memo/databases/
  • camera pictures (can be in several places if you use several app)

For SMS and MMS, I tried a few tools to get them from iOS and convert them for replicant. Sadly, I did not find anything to backup my SMS without sending them on a distant server. I looked for documentation of smsmms API, but I was horrified when I discovered the database was in its 50th version for android 4.2.
In fact, this API was not really adapted so I found a solution by analyzing the SQLite SMS format of the iOS and modifying a script to convert it into the android SMS database (https://redmine.replicant.us/boards/21/topics/7233 and https://redmine.replicant.us/boards/21/topics/9543).

- second step, understand how to make system backup.
I digged into the web looking for documentation during a long time, and I found a lot of user experiences, a few useful tools, a lot of unuseful or proprietary programs, and all of this was very time-consuming for few results.
Here a some informations which could be useful

2 things I found recently (so not sure it is pertinent): * Master guide: http://www.transformerforums.com/forum/new-member-introduction-site-assistance/21032-master-help-guide.html * Fantastical forum favorites: http://www.transformerforums.com/forum/asus-transformer-rescue-squad-help/17424-frederuco-s-fantastical-forum-favorites.html * "adb backup /data/data" launched on the computer connected to the phone : it stores /data/data into the local directory. It seems to store every data app.

- third step : ideally, a doc on the steps to follow to make a diagnostic and repair the phone would be useful. A few examples :

  • what if blocked at startup on the replicant logo, or on the CWM (Clockwork Recovery) logo, etc.
  • how to make a backup of the phone and put it where it's safe (you are often aksed to format /cache and /data partition when installing replicant)
  • when to wipe data/factory reset (CWM), cache partition, dalvik cache?
  • when format /data and /data/media? What differences with wiping?
  • check this issues and forum threads will allow to complete this
  • a dictionnary of useful acronyms we can find in the android world

Is there a place where we could put this information (https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/UsageNotes ?), or even better, do you know a doc? Such a doc would make it easier for newcomers and would allow to increase the number of replicant users, and hopefully the number of forum participants. :)

I recommand at least a backup/restore part, and a trouble/solution part.

What do you think of it?


Replies (4)

RE: documentation page for replicant newcomers - Added by Wolfgang Wiedmeyer 4 months ago

Hi,

thanks for your suggestions!

Fil Lupin wrote:

Here are a few steps I needed myself :

- first step : backup my data, especially my sms and mms.
I discovered how to use adb tool to access android partitions.
Then, looking into the data, I discovered several useful data stored into /data (for my i9300):

  • contacts : /data/data/com.android.providers.contacts/databases/contacts.db (best way is to backup on sdcard and get them through usb)
  • SMS MMS : /data/data/com.android.providers.telephony/databases/mmssms.db
  • memos : /data/data/com.sec.android.app.memo/databases/
  • camera pictures (can be in several places if you use several app)

As we already discussed in the other thread, relying on the databases itself can cause issues when upgrading.

For SMS and MMS, I tried a few tools to get them from iOS and convert them for replicant. Sadly, I did not find anything to backup my SMS without sending them on a distant server. I looked for documentation of smsmms API, but I was horrified when I discovered the database was in its 50th version for android 4.2.
In fact, this API was not really adapted so I found a solution by analyzing the SQLite SMS format of the iOS and modifying a script to convert it into the android SMS database (https://redmine.replicant.us/boards/21/topics/7233 and https://redmine.replicant.us/boards/21/topics/9543).

Thanks for documenting this! But documenting this in the Replicant wiki is beyond the scope of the project. The wiki should be about Replicant and this already covers all sorts of usage issues with other operating systems. Replicant also shouldn't be special in any way in this regard compared to other Android distributions, so general Android instructions should apply. There are currently very few regular wiki contributors, so I can't imagine that this will be maintained properly and kept up to date.

- second step, understand how to make system backup.
I digged into the web looking for documentation during a long time, and I found a lot of user experiences, a few useful tools, a lot of unuseful or proprietary programs, and all of this was very time-consuming for few results.
Here a some informations which could be useful

2 things I found recently (so not sure it is pertinent):

Feel free to make specific suggestions for the backup section. I think it's enough to give pointers there if it's not specific to Replicant, but applies to Android or Samsung devices in general. It's not necessary to collect all sorts of information there if it can be found quite easily using a search engine. If it's all in the wiki, it just becomes outdated.

- third step : ideally, a doc on the steps to follow to make a diagnostic and repair the phone would be useful. A few examples :

  • what if blocked at startup on the replicant logo, or on the CWM (Clockwork Recovery) logo, etc.
  • how to make a backup of the phone and put it where it's safe (you are often aksed to format /cache and /data partition when installing replicant)
  • when to wipe data/factory reset (CWM), cache partition, dalvik cache?
  • when format /data and /data/media? What differences with wiping?
  • check this issues and forum threads will allow to complete this
  • a dictionnary of useful acronyms we can find in the android world

Yes, I was already thinking about some of this. #1778 is such an issue. However, a lot of issues aren't actually recurring or common and require a dedicated forum, mailing list or irc discussion anyway.

Is there a place where we could put this information (https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/UsageNotes ?), or even better, do you know a doc? Such a doc would make it easier for newcomers and would allow to increase the number of replicant users, and hopefully the number of forum participants. :)

I recommand at least a backup/restore part, and a trouble/solution part.

What do you think of it?

I'm not sure what you mean with "doc". You're already mentioning the UsageNotes which has a backup section. A start for more troubleshooting info in the wiki would be to work on #1778 and write instructions how to back up and restore the EFS partition and common issues that could make this necessary,

RE: documentation page for replicant newcomers - Added by Fil Lupin 4 months ago

I understand the wiki would need to update and would take time.
I agree with you that a collection a useful links added with a developped troubleshooting section could be sufficient.

For backup section, it seems to me it is essential to explain how to backup and convert between different android versions since users will want to keep their data, at least phone data (call log, smsmms, contacts).
I already got some answers (https://redmine.replicant.us/boards/21/topics/12057?r=14329) which could be usefull.
Does this sounds reasonable to you?

RE: documentation page for replicant newcomers - Added by Wolfgang Wiedmeyer 3 months ago

Yes, definitely! Having instructions how to import SMS from Replicant 4.2 to Replicant 6.0 would be very helpful! I guess that there is not much info about this elsewhere because other distros usually didn't make such a big version jump.

RE: documentation page for replicant newcomers - Added by Fil Lupin 2 months ago

Currently, there is no way to import correctly SMS & MMS since only SMS can be imported. Moreover, SMS can be imported through application Silence which keep user captive so it is not a safe and healthy solution as far as I know.

However, I would be greatly interested if you have any solution. I suggest to continue this discussion in the dedicated thread here https://redmine.replicant.us/boards/9/topics/14315

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