Trying CyanogenMod 6 (RC2) on my HTC Magic

Yes, it's been a month now since my last entry. I've prepared some more but never came around finishing them because there has been some stuff going on which kept me off the blog until now. Maybe (or not) on that later, this posting is about my experiences with installing and using CyanogenMod 6 RC2 on my HTC Magic.

I tried to keep off custom hacking on my phone for as long as possible but since HTC and my provider won't be offering an update to the current version 1.6 of Android for this phone anymore, I've been looking forward to try out the custom ROM "CyanogenMod" for quite some time now. I've just been waiting for it to include the FroYo-Changes into its content because especially the Just-in-Time compiler was something which I hoped to give my phone a new boost. And now as the second release-candidate of CM6 was out I began to read the instructions how to get the whole stuff done.

It turned out that it's not really that hard to flash a custom ROM onto the HTC Magic. But it's essential to make a backup of the currently installed operating system to be able to restore it if something goes wrong or the new ROM doesn't meet the expectations.

For the flashing itself, I just followed the update instructions on the CyanogenMod Wiki to prepare the phone with the recovery image and to perform the initial backup. After that I just followed the instructions to install CM on the phone, using the latest Cyanogen and Google-Apps images. This was all done in a matter of minutes and after that I was running FroYo.

The very initial impressions were very exciting, a lean and very fast system with a load of options and settings to tweak. Then I began installing all my previously used applications one after another. This took a while because I had forgotten to check all applications for possibilities to back up their data and settings and so I had to flash back the original image and back to CM6 several times. But I didn't bother because it shouldn't be necessary anymore after I'm finished with that.

As time went by and more and more applications were installed I began more often to experience forced-closes where windows and applications just shut down immediately after I've started them. A quick connection with the adb logcat command revealed, that my phone was running extremely low on memory and that was the cause for the shutdown of many applications. Quite a turn-down. Even more so since there were many applications and services in the background, which I didn't want or never used anyway.

The solution to this memory issue was to insert a larger Class6 Micro-SD-card (set me back by 20EUR), reformat it using the corresponding option from the recovery-bootloader and re-writing it with the previously backed up data. After that I used Stevo's scripts according to the instructions for setting up swap on CM5 and enabled system swapping to the SD card.

This gave me another enormous speed boost and no closed applications anymore. Nice! :) I could continue setting up my phone and restoring the settings.

Later on I also applied the CM6 settings suggested by Vermithrax in a custom script (leaning on these instructions) which added a little more performance.

In conclusion, I think I'll keep this setup with CyanogenMod 6, although I'll have to re-flash it at least once more if CM6 final is released. Most of the time it's still snappy and faster to use than the original 1.6-image even if there are a ton of new features and larger applications and multithreading etc. But sometimes it still slows down to a crawl, I wasn't able to track it down to a specific cause so far. I guess it's somewhere rooted in the memory-settings. Have to play around with that a bit or even try to remove some of the pre-installed (and un-installable) applications like this strange "Amazon MP3" tool, which always crawls around in memory.


Update 2010-08-18 The last weekend I updated to RC3. Went without a hitch, I just had to re-setup the modifications for 'bootswap20' with Stevo's scripts again and remove the Amazon MP3 tool once more. Just have to get used to the new icons and bootup logo...


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