Xoom out of AOSP due to partitioning (Motorola simply didn't plan for the future)

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Winesnob

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May 20, 2012
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Some other threads discussing "full partition" problems loading custom ROMs onto the Xoom led me to some digging around. The short story is that Motorola only allocated 236MB to the system partition on the Xoom, and the current JB stock build (JZO54K) occupies nearly 231MB.

uploadfromtaptalk1353288712636.jpg

Given that various features were not included in the JB update when compared to the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus, it's all starting to make more sense why. When Honeycomb rolled out for what is now thought to be a public beta test of the Android tablet form factor, the system partition likely had plenty of space for growth. Dial the calendar ahead several months, and ICS emerges with a footprint that is nearing the Xoom's capacity. And the first item to go - face unlock. It's all good, no one really uses it for actual security but is a cool novelty to show your non-Android/non-ICS friends. Then comes Jellybean. And it's BIG. The Galaxy Nexus system.img file is over 400MB for toro (obviously apples and oranges due to its use as a phone, but you get the idea). So, to make it work for the Xoom, a lot of the frills are stripped away - new wallpapers, sound search as a system app, on-device voice search, Google hot word to start a search in Google Now, etc. It all just doesn't fit inside the partition that Motorola assigned in early 2011. Sad when you realize that there is a giant 32GB flash memory chip built in. And I suspect the Nexus S is faced with the same problems - hardware will work, but the system partition is just too small.

And now we hope for custom ROMs for 4.2 that can fit inside that tiny system partition. Based on the current size of CM10 for wingray, I'd say Team EOS has the best possibility from the size standpoint. That shiny Nexus 10 is looking better and better...


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romdroid.

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Jul 27, 2010
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They can skip the unnecessary **** like google now and keep it as clean as possible and 4.2 will fit
 

Winesnob

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May 20, 2012
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They can skip the unnecessary **** like google now and keep it as clean as possible and 4.2 will fit

I personally use Google now and really find the information helpful. However you are correct-get rid of the Motorola crap like Cordy and Dungeon Defender, and the Google apps that no one uses like Currents. Make Maps, Earth, and other Google products optional instead of being system apps and it will probably fit. I do think both CM and Team EOS will need to strip lot some of their own system apps to make it fit.


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Jaytronics

Senior Member
I am obviously no Dev. But, is it not possible for any of the Devs here to write a new bootloader and partition for the Xoom? Or at least modify the current one? Seeing as it is unlocked. I only ask because well, the Xoom is such a very nice peace of hardware, as old as it is. The shear fact that it is virtually a pure Google device, has a metal housing, mSD slot, and is all around a cool device. One could hope for such a monumental mod.
Another thing, is it possible to boot off of a mSD card and install the OS on there? Not that that would be such a hot idea due to read and write problems. But an option either way?

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Winesnob

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May 20, 2012
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I am obviously no Dev. But, is it not possible for any of the Devs here to write a new bootloader and partition for the Xoom? Or at least modify the current one? Seeing as it is unlocked. I only ask because well, the Xoom is such a very nice peace of hardware, as old as it is. The shear fact that it is virtually a pure Google device, has a metal housing, mSD slot, and is all around a cool device. One could hope for such a monumental mod.
Another thing, is it possible to boot off of a mSD card and install the OS on there? Not that that would be such a hot idea due to read and write problems. But an option either way?

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More power to the Dev that could make this happen, but modifying the boot loader can be a quick journey to a bricked Xoom.


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vimesUK

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Aug 18, 2007
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Having owned the Advent Vega and used many home brew ROMs it was very common to change the partition layout to make the ROM fit. An issue used to be when using nvflash from a PC as it would not account for any bad nand blocks. But, in the main it worked.
Owning the Skate phone that too has the opportunity to change the system / cache / data partition layout to fit the custom ROMs.
Whether that would be an option supported for the Xoom I do not know.

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albundy2010

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Sep 24, 2010
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The nexus s has a system 528mb system partition.

There is no hardware limitation at all for that device.

You could. make a case that its amount of ram makes for a bad user experience though. It has around 345mb available. But they put 4.1 on it so there is a no reason they shouldn't have supported 4.2 IMHO.

Looks a like a case of we don't want to bothered supporting that old device to me.
 

Winesnob

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So let me get this straight, there is literally no way we can repartition our system storage space to anything different? Even with an unlocked bootloader and such?

I can't with certainty say there is" no way", but from what I've read on this recently it isn't easy. The boot loader has partition info so it knows where to look for the files to make the device function. Modifying the boot loader could brick the device. I've also become aware of symlinks that enable moving files from the system partition into the data partition to save space-no idea how this works.

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Lothaen

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Jun 4, 2010
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Nexus One has had a fair few partitions changed in its life span. Up to Gingerbread with stock, ICS and JB had different .... Someone reach out to some nexus one dev perhaps to see if the same sort of thing could be applied here?

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RMerlin

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Jan 26, 2011
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Nexus One devs rely on the Blackrose bootloader to allow repartitioning. The Blackrose author would be the one to contact if you needed a pointer on where to start to at least figure out IF it's doable or not on the Xoom (the two don't have the same bootloader, obviously).
 
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matt4321

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Dec 20, 2011
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Somewhere over in the dev section Big Rush Dog said it would lead to certain brick and couldn't be done. They also said youtube HQ wouldn't work on armv6 due to lack of omx libs, but that got hacked (eventually) and we got that. so may be possible but not without hard work and bricked devices
 

Jaytronics

Senior Member
The nexus s has a system 528mb system partition.

There is no hardware limitation at all for that device.

You could. make a case that its amount of ram makes for a bad user experience though. It has around 345mb available. But they put 4.1 on it so there is a no reason they shouldn't have supported 4.2 IMHO.

Looks a like a case of we don't want to bothered supporting that old device to me.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that the RAM could end up being a non issue. Reason I say this is because it can be replaced with other RAM chips from another device. Say the Thunderbolt or whatever. The only question I have pertaining that would be. Does RAM for mobile devices follow a specification as far as pin outs is concerned? If they do, and as long as the voltage and frequency threshold are the same if not similar to a degree. Then we could upgrade those. I know that not all people hers would be willing to try such a feat. But I would. And if it worked, I would be willing to help others out in that area.
I believe it is safe to say that I am not the only person that is passionate about how cool devices is. Its age and lack of NFC does not bother me. The thing is solid and has mSD. I can not tout how important that one feature is to me. Its funny, we live in a world where there is supposedly this "Green" movement. Yet no one is pushing these companies to make the hardware they make last longer or make them upgradable. I understand the whole making money model. But we are either ruining this planet or we are not. It is not both ways. You are either "Green" or not. A woman can not be some what pregnant. She either is or is not. These corporations don't give a rats ass about the future generations or their home.
I don't know, it is a bit sickening
. And I as usual, am ranting on like a crazy man. Oh well.

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MikeCriggs

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Dec 24, 2010
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I can't with certainty say there is" no way", but from what I've read on this recently it isn't easy. The boot loader has partition info so it knows where to look for the files to make the device function. Modifying the boot loader could brick the device. I've also become aware of symlinks that enable moving files from the system partition into the data partition to save space-no idea how this works.

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Mount it in Linux and rebuild the partitions with lvm... it's not too difficult. If you've ever owned a Touchpad, you might have followed one of my guides to get Ubuntu running in a triple boot, doing this is necessary. But unfortunately there is no Novaterm for Android, so the easiest way would be through ADB shell while booted into recovery.

Also, the bootloader has nothing to do with resizing partitions. It just directs your device to the desired partition to boot from. For example, GRUB tells your PC whether to boot into Linux or Windows.

Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk 2
 
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Winesnob

Senior Member
May 20, 2012
827
294
Lorton, VA
I am going to go out on a limb and say that the RAM could end up being a non issue. Reason I say this is because it can be replaced with other RAM chips from another device. Say the Thunderbolt or whatever. The only question I have pertaining that would be. Does RAM for mobile devices follow a specification as far as pin outs is concerned? If they do, and as long as the voltage and frequency threshold are the same if not similar to a degree. Then we could upgrade those. I know that not all people hers would be willing to try such a feat. But I would. And if it worked, I would be willing to help others out in that area.
I believe it is safe to say that I am not the only person that is passionate about how cool devices is. Its age and lack of NFC does not bother me. The thing is solid and has mSD. I can not tout how important that one feature is to me. Its funny, we live in a world where there is supposedly this "Green" movement. Yet no one is pushing these companies to make the hardware they make last longer or make them upgradable. I understand the whole making money model. But we are either ruining this planet or we are not. It is not both ways. You are either "Green" or not. A woman can not be some what pregnant. She either is or is not. These corporations don't give a rats ass about the future generations or their home.
I don't know, it is a bit sickening
. And I as usual, am ranting on like a crazy man. Oh well.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using xda app-developers app

I think most folks in the Xoom forums would agree that RAM is not an issue; we're mainly discussing the system partition size in storage memory. If this was in reference to the Nexus S, I only mentioned that device in the OP since it was dropped from AOSP at the same time as the Xoom.

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Winesnob

Senior Member
May 20, 2012
827
294
Lorton, VA
Mount it in Linux and rebuild the partitions with lvm... it's not too difficult. If you've ever owned a Touchpad, you might have followed one of my guides to get Ubuntu running in a triple boot, doing this is necessary. But unfortunately there is no Novaterm for Android, so the easiest way would be through ADB shell while booted into recovery.

Also, the bootloader has nothing to do with resizing partitions. It just directs your device to the desired partition to boot from. For example, GRUB tells your PC whether to boot into Linux or Windows.

Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk 2

This is helpful. So to make sure I understand, the boot loader isn't looking for specific blocks, but for the partitioned folders?


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Jaytronics

Senior Member
I think most folks in the Xoom forums would agree that RAM is not an issue; we're mainly discussing the system partition size in storage memory. If this was in reference to the Nexus S, I only mentioned that device in the OP since it was dropped from AOSP at the same time as the Xoom.

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Good call on that. Not sure where my head was at when reading your other post. I apologize for that. Though, the whole upgrading the RAM chip thing in my opinion is something I would like to under take. More RAM could help in the performance field. Imagine having 3 maybe 4 gigs onboard this thing? Heck 2Gigs would make a killer difference. Any way, I'll jump off the RAM topic. Another subject for another day and post. Thanks for the head check.


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  • 6
    This is nothing new, the problem has existed ever since 4.1 and more than likely ICS as well.

    With our EOS gapps, we work around the size limitation by placing parts of the gapps on the /data partition.
    4
    Some other threads discussing "full partition" problems loading custom ROMs onto the Xoom led me to some digging around. The short story is that Motorola only allocated 236MB to the system partition on the Xoom, and the current JB stock build (JZO54K) occupies nearly 231MB.

    uploadfromtaptalk1353288712636.jpg

    Given that various features were not included in the JB update when compared to the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus, it's all starting to make more sense why. When Honeycomb rolled out for what is now thought to be a public beta test of the Android tablet form factor, the system partition likely had plenty of space for growth. Dial the calendar ahead several months, and ICS emerges with a footprint that is nearing the Xoom's capacity. And the first item to go - face unlock. It's all good, no one really uses it for actual security but is a cool novelty to show your non-Android/non-ICS friends. Then comes Jellybean. And it's BIG. The Galaxy Nexus system.img file is over 400MB for toro (obviously apples and oranges due to its use as a phone, but you get the idea). So, to make it work for the Xoom, a lot of the frills are stripped away - new wallpapers, sound search as a system app, on-device voice search, Google hot word to start a search in Google Now, etc. It all just doesn't fit inside the partition that Motorola assigned in early 2011. Sad when you realize that there is a giant 32GB flash memory chip built in. And I suspect the Nexus S is faced with the same problems - hardware will work, but the system partition is just too small.

    And now we hope for custom ROMs for 4.2 that can fit inside that tiny system partition. Based on the current size of CM10 for wingray, I'd say Team EOS has the best possibility from the size standpoint. That shiny Nexus 10 is looking better and better...


    Sent from my Xoom using xda premium
    3
    It looks like this is going to need some work. Keep an eye on the Dev section.

    Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk 2
    3
    If you are willing to share the commands I'll turn this into a reference thread on changing partition sizes. Will most likely help others seeking this solution.

    Sent from my Xoom using xda premium

    No problem. Let me just make sure that it doesn't misdirect the bootloader.

    Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk 2
    1
    I was under the assumption that re-partitioning was possible?

    Possible, but Motorola would first have to write an updated boot loader, and the OTA would have to move existing files to the new blocks. Probably an OTA nightmare. I recall HTC skipping updates to ICS for this reason.


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