Project OtterX: New Direction

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Hashcode

Senior Recognized Developer
Sep 3, 2011
3,426
23,731
** WARNING. WORK-IN-PROCESS DISCUSSION. NO ETAS. NO DONATIONS. NO PROMISES. :)**

PROJECT OTTER X DISCUSSION

It's a major change to the device. If you choose to update, it won't be easy to flash back the stock files and use your device as a Kindle again. The device name will actually change to "otterx", so that the 2 sets of files can be kept clearly distinct as well as provide a safety net for those who accidentally download the wrong thing and try to flash it.

GOALS OF THIS PROJECT: Make everyone happy of course.
  • [DONE] Update the bootloader (u-boot). And I don't mean "tweaks" to the bootloader, I mean: the current code was based on a 2011 release. The newer bootloader will be based on a 2014 release. Changes to be included in the update:
    • [DONE] A much better text driven menu system laid on-top of the initial boot graphic (as opposed to the image-only menus currently)
    • [DONE] Cleaned up device initialization / charging loop for extreme low battery situations
    • [DONE] Support devtree binary loading (native support for newer kernels)
    • [DONE] Support for decompessing kernels in new formats
    • [DONE] Native "reboot recovery" support no more hacky idme/sticky values
    • [DONE] Device "handling" changes like a longer button press to fully power on the device. Avoids "accidental" power ons while traveling.
    • [DONE--NEED NEW OTTERX ROM] Built in support for "charger" mode. IE: plug the device in while it's off and it boots into the native Android charger screen, vs a full boot of Android.
    • [DONE] I'm guessing a new initial power-on logo as well (it says "KINDLE" -- I lied.. but you can change it!)
  • [DONE] Partition layout change to support 5 to 6gb of combined app / sdcard storage.
  • [DONE] Rebuild a new TWRP to support combined data/storage
  • [DONE] The process for changing the partition layout is be handled in the bootloader menu. Users will need to pull everything off the internal storage prior to performing the change as it will wipe system, cache and userdata partitions out during the process.
  • [DONE] Kernel and userspace now support F2FS format for userdata. This is a new filesystem specifically designed for devices which use EMMC style storage.
  • Kernel update. A lot has happened to the OMAP kernel world over the last year. Much of the code needed to run newer kernels has been merged into the mainline. However, much has not. So I'm riding the line between: 1) finishing the 3.4 kernel using the new bootloader and partition layout, with an option for upgrading later to an even newer one. Drawback: I don't have a 512MB based ducati binary to process HD codecs for the 3.4 kernel. Or, 2) starting a newer kernel to go hand in hand with the other portions of this update (it would be 3.8 or newer). Why upgrade the kernel? Besides the typical "bigger better faster" mentality, I want some specific solutions to current problems: our graphics layer has been outdated for 1-2 versions of Android, and we still use a TI supplied ducati binary for HD codecs. If we update to a 3.8+ kernel, I can then attempt to build a custom ducati binary which would work better with our 512MB memory requirements and leave more free space to the OS.

Of course, the REAL end goal: to keep this device current and usable using today and future OS updates. And yes, maybe even get OTG and the MIC functions working.
 
Last edited:

lovejoy777

Inactive Recognized Developer
Dec 30, 2011
3,725
4,541
Nottingham
yes i would update immediately:)

edit
Multi boot isn't a priority for me and as you say space is key with the kindle.
the new partitions sounds great.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:

Ixthusdan

Senior Member
May 14, 2012
465
152
Mishawaka, IN
My kindle is my toy. I burn any rom I can on it, and make backups to store off kindle. I have other equipment, would probably try to make an image before changing. But I would play with it!
I do not want to dual boot. I use virtual environments on my desktop for other os.
Sent from my Nexus 7 using xda app-developers app
 

bhuffman

Member
Jul 7, 2008
17
1
1) I would absolutely perform this update. No - I never had an intention to use this device as a stock Kindle Fire Reader.
2) I really can't say if it would appeal to others. But the rationale makes sense to me.
3) I agree - better to have one VERY usable ROM.
 

burgon

Senior Member
Mar 10, 2009
60
3
This project is exactly what this device needs.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using XDA Premium 4 mobile app
 

werwortmann

Member
May 17, 2012
22
1
Pretoria
1 - I would definitely repartition etc.
2 - I think most current users would also
3 - I wouldn't personally dualboot

I would also love Ubuntu with a similar partition layout,
Thanks for the continuous support, it has provided a great user experience
 

kev716

Member
Aug 21, 2013
35
5
1. Would you perform such an update knowing that you would have a hard time going back to the Amazon software.

Yes, definitely

2. If I were to drop the partition layout change from this project do you think more users would like it? Or less?

Less

3. I had considered a dual boot option to be built into the new menu system.

Drop the dual-boot idea

Kevin
 

Kfire21

Senior Member
May 14, 2013
85
11
OnePlus 7
Yes for all 3, it will make the kindle much more better and faster

Sent from my Moto G using xda app-developers app
 
Last edited:

lovejoy777

Inactive Recognized Developer
Dec 30, 2011
3,725
4,541
Nottingham
just ordered a replacement screen for my emmc damaged kindle, so i will also be trying your unbrick procedure soon:). thanks so much for all your work Hash. its greatly appreciated. cheers Steve

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
 

kinfauns

Retired Senior Moderator and Retired DC Lead
Jan 5, 2012
1,861
3,543
Hashcode, it would be great to see you take Kindle Fire development in this direction. The plans are grand and it's obviously going to take a lot of work, but it would certainly breathe new life into the device. If you're going to do it, I say you swing for the fences. My guess is most people around this forum are here for the full android experience and not so worried about leaving the amazon ecosystem behind. Plus, the storage capacity on the KF has been a sore point from the beginning, so combining the userdata and sdcard partitions is really the best way to optimize usage for all users. With those two things in mind, I think it's a relatively easy decision to repartition as you've planned and forgo dualboot (which will also complicate the emulated sdcard usage anyway). Eagerly looking forward to the great things to come! :good::good:
 

paulsonmcreilly

Senior Member
Feb 25, 2013
184
27


DISCUSSION POINTS:
1. Would you perform such an update knowing that you would have a hard time going back to the Amazon software. Who really uses their original Kindle Fire as a reader anymore anyway?
2. If I were to drop the partition layout change from this project do you think more users would like it? Or less?
3. I had considered a dual boot option to be built into the new menu system. But I think we just don't have the internal space for it. I'd rather have 1 VERY usable tablet, than a dual boot system which isn't as usable in either ROM. Thoughts?


I really love your idea for otterx.
On your discussion points:
1. Yes, I would update for sure
2. The partition layout change seems like it is key to otterx. If the partitioning is manual it will cause problems for some. If it is automatic then everyone will love it. Neither of these options will scare me away BTW.
3. I prefer a single ROM that is stable/usable versus two unstable dual boot ROMs.

Even if otterx doesn't get off the ground, thanks again for helping keep this HW relevant.
 
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BobJayJr

Senior Member
Jan 20, 2014
119
55
My vote

I just want to cast my vote for Project OtterX along with everyone else. I'd update (I haven't run Amazon software in my KF for more than two years). The partitioning is key and necessary to keep the KF usable with future OS updates. As with others, dual boot isn't important to me.
 

404-Not Found

Senior Member
Sep 12, 2012
1,399
138
Phoenix
1) I would totally update, been years since my last boot of the Amazon OS. I can get any Amazon App from Google Play, Non-Amazon Prime Users should NOT have a problem, unless they are and usae Instant Video.

2) In theory this should way better, but there might be a problem: Harder Developing. If it is in fact harder to develop a ROM for this specific type of system, we may look into very few ROMs available, which I am pretty sure I community does NOT want. Even though, I am doubtful it will get any harder.

3) Dual Booting might be awesome, but on this device, the Hardware will be much slower and otherwise defeat the purpose of building this new "OtterX".

In other words, I FULLY AGREE, that we should continue or start the OtterX project. We might wanna do a poll to assure that our community in fact will want this. Hope you have success in this Hashcode!!!

Sent from my Amazon Kindle Fire using xda app-developers app
 
Last edited:

Samuelgames

Senior Member
Aug 21, 2008
60
27
Dual booting can be really useful for me specially if we can boot tar images easily with chroot with also a specific kernel instead of repartitioning every time
 
Last edited:

Hashcode

Senior Recognized Developer
Sep 3, 2011
3,426
23,731
Small update as I work on the new bootloader.

Some of the new screens.

Image #1: I really like the new ultra simple bootscreen of the HDX's so I thought I'd start there... tho I may still change "kindle fire" to something else.
Image #2: Is the low battery charging screen
Image #3: Is a new screen similar to what the KFireHD 8.9" has for anytime you enter fastboot mode.
(Text responses from fastboot are shown on the fastboot screen)

Once I get the menu system up and running, I'll try and put some shots of that up as well.
 

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QuasiTD

Member
Dec 28, 2010
31
3
Hashcode, you are constantly amazing with what you have managed to make work on this device. I love all the ideas of this project, I'm definitely a #2 user from your first question. I primarily use my Kfire as a reader(Amazon Kindle app) and internet browser, with some gaming/email here and there.

Discussion Points:
1) I definitely would, I tried going back to the Amazon software about a year ago and couldn't stand it then, let alone since all the work you've done in the last year to get the newer 4.3 and 4.4 revs available.

2) I feel this is a less likely to use situation. the Kfire has a horrendous partition layout for a normal tablet use, I know why it was, but compared to how fluid it feels on my Gnex(similar in that it has no SDcard slot either) the kfire could definitely see better usage in your proposed setup.

3) I have no large interest in dual boot myself, as you mentioned it had a limited amount of storage on the device, something I've found running into limits quickly just using Multiple profiles in CM let alone adding a whole extra system of data to the tablet. Personally I'd prefer the tablet made as functional/quick as possible without worrying about a second OS. I'll be perfectly content with one Os that runs great rather than 2 that could both stand to run better.
 
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    ** WARNING. WORK-IN-PROCESS DISCUSSION. NO ETAS. NO DONATIONS. NO PROMISES. :)**

    PROJECT OTTER X DISCUSSION

    It's a major change to the device. If you choose to update, it won't be easy to flash back the stock files and use your device as a Kindle again. The device name will actually change to "otterx", so that the 2 sets of files can be kept clearly distinct as well as provide a safety net for those who accidentally download the wrong thing and try to flash it.

    GOALS OF THIS PROJECT: Make everyone happy of course.
    • [DONE] Update the bootloader (u-boot). And I don't mean "tweaks" to the bootloader, I mean: the current code was based on a 2011 release. The newer bootloader will be based on a 2014 release. Changes to be included in the update:
      • [DONE] A much better text driven menu system laid on-top of the initial boot graphic (as opposed to the image-only menus currently)
      • [DONE] Cleaned up device initialization / charging loop for extreme low battery situations
      • [DONE] Support devtree binary loading (native support for newer kernels)
      • [DONE] Support for decompessing kernels in new formats
      • [DONE] Native "reboot recovery" support no more hacky idme/sticky values
      • [DONE] Device "handling" changes like a longer button press to fully power on the device. Avoids "accidental" power ons while traveling.
      • [DONE--NEED NEW OTTERX ROM] Built in support for "charger" mode. IE: plug the device in while it's off and it boots into the native Android charger screen, vs a full boot of Android.
      • [DONE] I'm guessing a new initial power-on logo as well (it says "KINDLE" -- I lied.. but you can change it!)
    • [DONE] Partition layout change to support 5 to 6gb of combined app / sdcard storage.
    • [DONE] Rebuild a new TWRP to support combined data/storage
    • [DONE] The process for changing the partition layout is be handled in the bootloader menu. Users will need to pull everything off the internal storage prior to performing the change as it will wipe system, cache and userdata partitions out during the process.
    • [DONE] Kernel and userspace now support F2FS format for userdata. This is a new filesystem specifically designed for devices which use EMMC style storage.
    • Kernel update. A lot has happened to the OMAP kernel world over the last year. Much of the code needed to run newer kernels has been merged into the mainline. However, much has not. So I'm riding the line between: 1) finishing the 3.4 kernel using the new bootloader and partition layout, with an option for upgrading later to an even newer one. Drawback: I don't have a 512MB based ducati binary to process HD codecs for the 3.4 kernel. Or, 2) starting a newer kernel to go hand in hand with the other portions of this update (it would be 3.8 or newer). Why upgrade the kernel? Besides the typical "bigger better faster" mentality, I want some specific solutions to current problems: our graphics layer has been outdated for 1-2 versions of Android, and we still use a TI supplied ducati binary for HD codecs. If we update to a 3.8+ kernel, I can then attempt to build a custom ducati binary which would work better with our 512MB memory requirements and leave more free space to the OS.

    Of course, the REAL end goal: to keep this device current and usable using today and future OS updates. And yes, maybe even get OTG and the MIC functions working.
    10
    I went ahead and posted an ALPHA build of the new bootloader for those folks who are comfortable knowing that the only recovery from a bad bootloader is to pull the back cover off and setup usbboot w/ a shorted pin on the motherboard (and probably have to be running Linux to do it).

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2671619

    This will now be the "Discussion" thread linked to from that.
    8
    And of course the obligatory YouTube vid.

    Here's a play by play:
    1. I start off by long pressing the power to turn on the device (new feature)
    2. I then cycle through the main menu using power button presses (same as old)
    3. On the 2nd pass, I use a power button "long press" to select the "Advanced Menu" (hard to see in the video)
    4. The next menu shows several new options like the Serial #, MAC addr etc. and has a "<-- BACK" item at the top
    5. I play with that menu for a bit and then long-press my way back out of it to the main menu
    6. Then I select "RECOVERY" by long-pressing that.
    7. So recovery boots up and then I shutdown.
    8. Here I long press the power again to boot up, and then enter a fastboot command on my PC so that it triggers the new fastboot screen which I think is better than sliced bread. It shows you the command responses right on the screen, so you get a really nice feedback from fastboot.

    Anyway enjoy,

    8
    Small update as I work on the new bootloader.

    Some of the new screens.

    Image #1: I really like the new ultra simple bootscreen of the HDX's so I thought I'd start there... tho I may still change "kindle fire" to something else.
    Image #2: Is the low battery charging screen
    Image #3: Is a new screen similar to what the KFireHD 8.9" has for anytime you enter fastboot mode.
    (Text responses from fastboot are shown on the fastboot screen)

    Once I get the menu system up and running, I'll try and put some shots of that up as well.
    7
    Thought I'd drop this off in case folks were still following progress..

    Couple quick shots of the new bootmenu.


    Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk