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XDA and Android Terms and Acronyms

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By mrhaley30705, Recognized Contributor on 23rd September 2012, 06:13 AM
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Hopefully this will address a few questions, and help anyone new to the forum. I've assembled a list of terms and acronyms used on the forum below. Terms with links go to sources or threads with additional information. An item in all caps in a definition is one that I've defined elsewhere.

Use CTRL+F to find a specific term.

SEARCH: The button just above the title of the forum or thread you are in. This should be your first resort when trying to find information.
GENERAL: This is the place for posting anything general. These include tips, ideas, comments, etc.
Q/A: This is the place for posting any questions. If you have a bug to report in a program or ROM (and have the minimum of 10 posts), post it in the appropriate thread in the ANDROID DEVELOPMENT subforum.
ACCESSORIES: This forum is for any items that attach to the physical hardware of the Android device.
ANDROID DEVELOPMENT: This is the place for posting Hacks/Mods/ROMs/Modems/Kernels. Generally reserved for developers, there is a 10-post minimum before a user can post here. This is the place to inform developers of bugs or software issues - ask questions in the Q&A subforum.
ORIGINAL ANDROID DEVELOPMENT: Similar to the ANDROID DEVELOPMENT subforum, this is where Hacks/Mods/ROMs/Modems/Kernels developed from scratch (i.e. not ported from other devices) are located.
THEMES AND APPS: This is the place for posting themes as well as programs. Many applications can be interchangeable with Android Development, so use your best judgement.
FWIW: Short for "For what it's worth"
OP: Short for Original Poster, or the person who originally started the thread.
PM: Short for Private Message. Allows users of XDA to send and receive non-public messages. Accessed from USER CP.
THREAD: An individual issue page on the forum. This thing you're reading is a thread.
THREAD TOOLS: A button that allows users to subscribe and unsubscribe from THREADs. Subscriptions can be accessed from USER CP. See button screenshot below.
USER CP: Short for User Control Panel. This button near the top of the XDA page allows users to update their avatar, personal information, and signature. PMs and subscribed threads can also be checked in this location. See button screenshot below.
YMMW: Short for "Your mileage may vary".


4G: Short for Fourth Generation. Refers to network connection speed levels that exceed 3G / Third Generation speeds. See also LTE.
ADB: Short for Android Debug Bridge. Part of the Android Software Development Kit (SDK), it allows for ROOT-level access to the Android device from a computer.
AOKP: Short for Android Open Kang Project. Consists of Android builds compiled from open source, but with special features unique to each build. See also KANG.
AOSP: Short for Android Open Source Project. The open-sourced code from which individuals can build new distributions of Android.
APK: An Android executable file, similar to the .exe file in Windows. Most programs will install with a .apk file.
BOOTLOADER: There are two of these; the primary and secondary bootloaders. These programs tell the Android device how to start up, and are critical to its functionality.
BML: Short for Block Management Layer. Provides a programming interface simulating the parallel disk model.
BRICK: An Android device that is completely non-responsive, i.e. nothing lights up, the screen does nothing, no combination of button presses cause any reaction. Can only be restored by JTAG or warranty service.
BUILD.PROP: A plain text file which contains environmental variables for the system to use during operation. Can be hacked to fake a different model for increased functionality, among many other operations.
BUSYBOX: An application that contains many standard Unix tools. Commonly used with TITANIUM BACKUP.
BUTTON COMBO: The act of pressing several buttons at the same time to produce a desired result (e.g. pushing volume up, home, and the power button for 10 seconds will reboot into the RECOVERY menu). 3-Button Combo is a common example. May also be referred to as a "Chord".
CLOCKWORKMOD RECOVERY MENU: This is a program that allows you to install custom ROMS as well as do many other low-level customizations. Often referred to as the "RECOVERY MENU". See also "ROM MANAGER"
CM: Short for CyanogenMod. CyanogenMod is an Android build built from the Android Open Source Project, and its builds are usable on multiple different Android Devices.
CWM: Short for ClockWorkMod Recovery Menu. See CLOCKWORKMOD RECOVERY MENU.
DALVIK CACHE: The collection of program information stored for use by the DALVIK program. This can be cleared from the RECOVERY menu to resolve issues with the Android OS.
DALVIK: The Android operating system's memory management tool. This program handles which other programs are running and assigns memory to them
DEODEXED: Removing the .odex files from an APK file. The .odex files contain a list of dependencies for the associated file, and if something changes, the .odex (and similarly, the associated file) not longer function correctly.
DOWNLOAD: The download menu is the lowest-level interface to the Android device. Allows for full access to all flashable items on the device via the ODIN/HEIMDALL tool.
EFS: The directory /efs on the Android device's internal storage. Contains files with the Android device's IMEI, wireless devices MAC addresses, product code, and other information..
EMMC: Short for Embedded MultiMediaCard. A chip architecture consisting of an embedded storage solution with MMC interface, flash memory and controller, all in a small ball grid array package.
EXT4: A journaling file system (e.g. NTFS, FAT32 are file systems) often used by Linux distributions. Can be used with Android.
EXTERNAL SD: A micro SD card that has been inserted in the micro SD slot in the Android device. Can be removed.
FACTORY RESET: This will remove all user customizations in the Android OS, returning it to a factory state. Note: This will not wipe the Internal SD card.
FLASHING: The act of writing code to the Android device. ROMs, MODEMs, KERNELs, and BOOTLOADERs can all be flashed. Independent from, and having nothing to do with, Adobe's Flash product.
FLASH COUNTER: A line of code in several Samsung Galaxy devices' bootloaders that counts the number of times a user uses ODIN to flash code to the device. Commonly used to detect software modification. Can be reset with TRIANGLE AWAY.
FORCE CLOSE: When a program on the Android device becomes unstable, the DALVIK program will force it to terminate to prevent further system instability.
FREEZE: Specific to TITANIUM BACKUP. Using the TITANIUM BACKUP tool, the user changes a program into a non-functional, but still installed, state. Useful for identifying problem and FCs.
GOVERNOR: A program that interacts with the device hardware to increase or decrease the processor's clock speed (e.g. at low usage, it will set the processor speed to 400 MHz, but as usage increases, it would scale up to 1000 MHz).
HEIMDALL: An open-source program by Benjamin Dobell that allows the Android device to be flashed back to stock or with custom software. See also ODIN.
HSUPA/HSDPA: Short for High Speed (Up/Down) Packet Access. This is 3G+, and is the Android device's internet speed level between 3G and 4G.
ICS: Short for Ice Cream Sandwich, the Android OS version 4.0.x.
IMEI: Short for International Mobile Equipment Identity. A unique number to identify GSM, WCDMA, and iDEN phones. Used by GSM networks to identify valid devices.
INTERNAL SD: The internal storage memory of the Android device. Not a physical SD card that can be removed.
JB: Short for Jelly Bean, the Android OS version 4.1.x.
JIG: A piece of hardware that makes a physical connection between pins of the USB slot to force the Android device into DOWNLOAD mode.
JTAG: A process of connecting directly to the main board of the Android device to rewrite corrupted BOOTLOADERS.
KANG: Originally used to refer to stolen or leaked code. In CyanogenMod builds, a KANG build is one that is an unofficial branch from the main CyanogenMod development. These builds usually contain custom modifications that did not make the official CyanogenMod builds.
KERNEL: The collection of software drivers and more "nuts and bolts" programs that allow the basic functionality of the device.
LAUNCHER: A program that launches programs in Android. Examples are Touchwiz (Samsung), Launcher Pro, ADW Launcher, and Go Launcher.
LTE: Stands for Long Term Evolution. It is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, increasing the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements.
MD5 CHECKSUM: A 32-digit (128-bit) hash number generated by a cryptographic program to ensure that a downloaded file matches the original file. The original file is run through the MD5 generator program, which creates the 32-bit number. This number is checked against the md5 number created with the file the end user receives to ensure file integrity.
MODEM: The software that interfaces with the phone's radio hardware to connect to cell phone towers.
MTD: Short for Memory Technology Device. A type of device file in the Linux structure that interacts with flash memory. Provides an abstraction layer between applications and hardware-specific device drivers.
MTP: Short for Media Transfer Protocol. Allows file transfers between the Android device and a PC. Safer to use than USB Mass Storage, as it does not seize complete control of blocks on the Android Device; instead, it connects in a transactional (all-or-nothing transfer) method.
NANDROID BACKUP: A complete system image backup of the Android device except for the MODEM and KERNEL. Can be accessed from CWM.
NO-WIPE PACKAGE: A rom update package that leaves the user's market apps intact while still performing the updates to the system files. Restoring from backup is not necessary. See also WIPE PACKAGE.
NV_DATA.BIN: An encrypted file in the /EFS directory that contains the Android device's IMEI number and product code. See also EFS.
OC: Short for Overclocking. See OVERCLOCKING.
ODEX: A file that is associated with an APK file, containing a list of the dependencies for the program. See also DEODEXED.
ODIN: A Samsung proprietary program that allows the Android device to be flashed back to stock or with custom software. See also HEIMDALL.
OVERCLOCKING: Setting the processor's clock speed to run faster than its default setting, i.e. 1200 MHz (1.2 GHz) vs 1000 MHz (1.0 GHz).
PIT FILE: Short for Partition Information Table file. One of the possible file types used while flashing with ODIN or HEIMDALL.
PRIMARY BOOTLOADER: Also known as First Stage Bootloader. The first bootloader run at boot time, this bootloader finds RAM for the Android device, and hands the boot sequence off to the SECONDARY BOOTLOADER. See also BOOTLOADER, SECONDARY BOOTLOADER.
RAT: Short for Radio Access Technology. This determines how the network decides the QoS (quality of service) on the connection between the Android device and the carrier's data towers.
RECOVERY: The menu that allows a user to do many low-level operations on the Android Device. This menu can either be the stock Samsung menu, or the CLOCKWORKMOD RECOVERY MENU (CWM). See also CWM.
RFS: A Samsung-proprietary file system (e.g. NTFS, FAT32 are file systems) used on some Android devices. Stands for Robust File System.
ROM: The collection of programs, themes, and settings that create the general look-and-feel of your Android device. This is what most users will initially be wanting to change.
ROM MANAGER: The Android OS front end program for the CLOCKWORKMOD RECOVERY MENU (or CWM). Allows use of many of the CWM features from inside the Android OS. See also CWM.
SECONDARY BOOTLOADER: Also known as Second Stage Bootloader. The second bootloader run at boot time, this bootloader handles the processes required to allow the Android device to boot the main kernel, such as file systems, memory, and MODEM. See also BOOTLOADER, PRIMARY BOOTLOADER.
ROOT: Changing the permission level of the Android system to its most powerful level, the root user, allowing full access to the file system.
SILVER HOME BUTTON: One of the most powerful and dangerous modifications to the Android device available. Can cause a variety of results, from improved signal to radioactive cats in boxes. Should not be used by the infirm or those with faulty gluons.
SOFT BRICK: A device that is not functioning correctly, but still shows some signs of operation. See also BRICK.
STOCK: The Android software version that comes installed on new devices, prior to sale to the user. Can also be used to refer to the Android software issued from Samsung or the carrier.
TETHER: Connecting the Android device to a computer via a wired or wireless connection to allow the transfer of data through the Android device's internet connection. Commonly used to provide internet access to a laptop or desktop computer when other methods are not desired or available.
THEME: A collection of images, backgrounds, colors, font types, and other visual items to change the Android device's look and feel. Separate from LAUNCHER, and is usually FLASHed in CWM.
TIBU: Short for Titanium Backup. See TITANIUM BACKUP.
TITANIUM BACKUP: A backup utility available in the Android Market that allows users to back up their applications, the saved data for the applications, and system settings.
TRIANGLE AWAY: An app developed by Recognized Elite Developer Chainfire that resets the FLASH COUNTER to zero, removing evidence of software modification.
UNDERVOLTING: Setting the voltage levels drawn by the Android device to a lower level to reduce overall battery usage.
UV: Short for Undervolting. See UNDERVOLTING.
WCDMA: Short for Wideband Code Division Multiple Access. An air interface standard in 3G mobile communications networks that allows higher speeds and more users.
WIPE PACKAGE: A rom package that will format the portions of the Android device where the user's market apps are stored, in addition to any updates to the system folders. After a wipe package is installed, the user will have to restore apps from a backup or redownload them from the Android Market. See also NO-WIPE PACKAGE.
ZIPALIGNED: An archive alignment tool that provides important optimization to APK files. The purpose is to ensure that all uncompressed data starts with a particular alignment relative to the start of the file. Reduces RAM consumption.

Note: These are only ROM names that use acronyms, not a complete ROM listing
CM: CyanogenMod. See "CM" in Android Device Related section.
MIUI: A Chinese built-from-source ROM. Short for "Mobile Internet User Interface". Also can refer to the MIUI music player, which has been included in other ROMs.

If I've incorrectly identified what something is or does, please let me know so I can update this post with the correct information. If you can think of any other terms or acronyms that should be included, let me know, and I'll put them up here. I've tried to give credit where it's due by direct linking, but if I've copied something and not cited properly, point it out and I'll update it.
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2nd October 2012, 02:12 AM |#2  
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Everyone should have to read this before trying to flash a ROM.
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6th October 2012, 05:30 AM |#3  
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Question Ota?
What does ota stand for?
6th October 2012, 04:00 PM |#4  
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Originally Posted by UnicOrnseeD

What does ota stand for?

Over the air, as in updates downloaded wirelessly.

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3rd November 2012, 12:37 AM |#5  
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great informative post! it deserves a sticky! this should be the first thing anyone reads before joining the forum


what are inverted gapps? what's the difference between normal gapps and inverted?
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21st January 2013, 04:58 AM |#6  
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OP great info here, Stuck and Thread cleaned. Thank You.
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14th February 2013, 07:11 PM |#7  
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Thanks for the thread!
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21st February 2013, 05:04 AM |#8  
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Re: XDA and Android Terms and Acronyms
Subcribed because awesomeness.
Props friend youbput a lot of commendable time into this.
Fantastic job.

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paid app with adds now?? seriously?!?
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5th March 2013, 11:35 PM |#9  
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I have come across the term "dd" a few times. May I inquire as to its meaning?
6th March 2013, 01:42 AM |#10  
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Re: XDA and Android Terms and Acronyms
Originally Posted by WavyA70

I have come across the term "dd" a few times. May I inquire as to its meaning?

Daily driver. One you feel you will keep a while. The taboo one is deal beaker...ask any dev ..daily driver is a compliment though.

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14th March 2013, 05:38 PM |#11  
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what does ''OTG'' means? just saw a post today couldn't find the answer anywhere :/
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acronyms, new user, terms, xda

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