by thanos
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Google, Mobiles, Programming, TechnologyHTC Hero: To Root or not to Root?

HTC Hero just like most mobile devices these days are limited with restricted user rights, not allowing the user full administration, mostly for the protection of the device itself and the installed software (operating system, applications, etc.) This is absolutely normal and most users won’t even notice it, since the average user simply wants to be able to utilize his mobile device for common tasks. Still, It seems these days that many mobile phone owners are learning just how valuable gaining root access on their phone can be. Rooting your phone is the difference between having the same phone others have and having a phone that allows you to change various aspects such as icon, fonts and many more. Gaining root access also opens the ability to have homebrew apps and other utilities that usually prove more useful than those commonly available. For others it is knowing that you have all the control.

One of the good things about having root is you can always go back if you want, so basic UnRoot the device to its initial state. The same is not true of not having root! Obviously Google/Providers (e.g. Tmobile)/HTC will propably take steps forbid end users from root in the future. So finally, To Root or not to Root? ?

Well, obviously we are talking about Full control over your system, meaning the ability to alter system files and replace many parts of the android core including:

  • Themes
  • Core apps (maps, calendar, clock etc)
  • Recovery image
  • Bootloader
  • Toolbox (linux binary that lets you execute simple linux commands like “ls”) can be replaced with Busybox (slightly better option)
  • Boot images
  • Add linux binaries

You can also Run special applications that require more control over the system, providing enhanced functionality and advanced operations such as

  • SuperUser – lets you approve or deny the use of root access to any program
  • Task Manager For Root – Lets you kill apps that you otherwise could not kill
  • Tether apps (like the one found at [android-wifi-tether.googlecode.com])
  • BlueX – Exchange Files by Bluetooth (sending and receiving)

Another very important things is the ability to make a full Backup of your system on your sdcard, backing up all of your .apk files (helps if an author decides to “upgrade” you to a version that requires you to pay to use the version you just had) and other important things.
You can also relocate your (browser/maps/market) cache and/or your installed applications to your /sdcard clearing up significantly your internal memory space. Utilized a terminal app for advanced commands and operations on the linux kernel.

But then, what do we loose after rooting? If it was allowed they wouldn’t forbid it in the first place! Right? Well, you do lose things like the ability to accept OTA updates (well, you can but you would lose root, so its been made so they get denied), but other than that, given the fact you always can return to initial state there is nothing else. Thus, nobody else controls your phone and you don’t have to keep on trying to figure out how somebody else did that on their mobile and so on.

As far as HTC Hero is concerned, there is an extensive guide that can be found at xda-developers, describing all the necessary steps to get your phone Rooted.

There is also a simpler alternative approach based on the latest Linux kernel local privilege escalation bug. Using an exploit from FlashRec (you can use already compiled asroot program from FlashRec apk to run busybox binary with root privileges) you get a really a clean way to get root, without actually changing anything in the system. There is a word that this was already patched but one-click rooting still works on the HTC Hero phones bought so far.

Visual Guides to both methods are also provided at theunlockr.com.

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