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  1. SCrid2000's Avatar

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    Thread AuthorThread Author   #1  

    Default What you need to know before installing a hybrid

    What you need to know before installing a hybrid:

    Lately it seems that hybrid OSes have become popular faster than an understanding of what a hybrid is and how it works. While the spread of hybrid OSes is a good thing, the spread of knowledge is even better. In order to acknowledge this, I am writing this beginners tutorial regarding what a hybrid is, how it works. This instruction is limited by my own basic and restricted knowledge, and hampered by my lack of formal hybrid training. As with any hybrid, this instruction will undoubtedly contain errors. That being said...

    Some basics regarding the BlackBerry OS:
    Basically, BBOS has two parts: a .sfi file, and several hundred .cod files.
    The .sfi file is more commonly known as the radio file, or the base. The .sfi is the most important part of the BBOS. Think of it as the foundation of the entire operating system; if the foundational .sfi is buggy, cracked, etc., then nothing that is built on it is going to be perfect. Most major changes between OSes are a result of the .sfi - for example, the differences between OS5 and OS6 are almost exclusively controlled by the .sfi. Every phone and every RIM OS has a different .sfi.
    The .cods determine smaller, less integral parts of the BBOS. For example, net_rim_bb_tasks is for the tasks app; net_rim_bb_btfiletransfer controls transferring files over bluetooth (both of these examples are off the top of my head, but I think they're actual BBOS .cods). Think of the .cods as the house built on the foundation. Some .cods have dependences on other .cods, and will not work properly if other .cods are removed. Using the house example, if you break or remove your gas line your stove won't work (no jokes about electric stoves please). A well known example of this in BBOS is that if you remove Voice Activated Dialing, the about screen will not work.

    Getting the .sfi and .cod files onto your BlackBerry:
    RIM has created software to place the .sfi and .cods onto the BlackBerry device. The most popular among hybriders is Loader.exe, usually referred to as AppLoader. Loader.exe is found in c:/Program Files/Common Files/Research In Motion/App Loader on a windows 32bit PC. The location is :\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Research In Motion\Shared\Loader Files\*os name and release number*\Java (thanks to mikeplus1 for that) on 64bit systems, and I have no idea where it is on a mac. Loader.exe determines what files to install by reading an .alx file. .Alx files can also be used to install BlackBerry apps. Another type of file, the .jad file, is similar to the .alx but is not used in the OS installation.
    Programs like BBSAK launch loader.exe to install the actual hybrid. As of now, loader.exe is the number one tool for hybrid installation.

    A bit about hybrids:
    First, hybrids rarely do anything with the .sfi file. As the .sfi is a single file, it cannot (as far as I know) be edited or improved. And to be honest, I trust RIM to improve the .sfi more than any hybrider. In rare occasions, a hybrid will contain a .sfi; an example of this is the .sfi from 9650 OS 6.0.0.398, which until recently was held exclusively by RIM testers, hackers, and certain hybriders who required payment of a VIP fee for access to it. Because 6.0.0.398 is still in the exclusive control of these individuals at this time, the released .sfi file from that build is included in some hybrids. This is an exception to the rule; for the most part, a hybrid will instruct you to install a certain BBOS before installing the hybrid. The installation of the hybrid will not do anything to the .sfi file.
    Hybrid OSes usually attempt to improve performance by replacing .cod files. Hybrid makers usually replace specific files which are dependent on each other (much like renovating a kitchen in a home) with .cods from a newer BBOS. In general it seems that hybrid makers tend to attempt to use files from the newest available OS, under the assumption that RIM fixes bugs as time passes. This assumption usually proves to be correct.
    Because a hybrid cannot usually improve upon the .sfi file, it is unlikely to see any truly remarkable change from a hybrid. Most hybrids aim for some combination of improved signal, improved battery life, faster/smoother internet browsing, and an overall smoother OS experience. Small bugs may also be fixed by a hybrid, and small UI changes may take place. Sometimes a hybrid does all of these things, and sometimes they fail miserably.

    Installing a hybrid:
    Ultimately most hybrids only replace some .cod files from an official OS with .cods from a different OS, and perhaps modify the .alxs which tell the loader.exe what to install. Running a hybrid installer overwrites files with the hybrid files. Hybrids are usually installed into c:/program files/common files/research in motion/shared/loader files/*os name and release number*/. The .cod files are located in the Java folder in this location. Again, this location is slightly different in 64bit versions of windows.
    Before installing, always delete the vendor file if you're using a base os from a carrier other than your own.
    Always use the loader.exe to install it - BlackBerry Desktop Software is not a preferred hybrid install choice. The actual installation is quite simple - launch loader.exe and let it do it's thing. After you first install your hybrid, you will see those arrows in the top right going crazy. Your BlackBerry has to go through a lot of work to get everything organized. Do several battery pulls in the first 12 hours, and expect a 24-48 hour "settling" period.

    Some final words about hybrids:
    Often after a hybrid install your BBM groups won't load properly (anyone in a BBM group with me is unfortunately very much aware of this fact). This is not the fault of the hybrid, but rather a result of BIS not working properly. It happens more often to some than to others. To get your groups back, just ask your group members to add you back.
    Another note on BBM groups is that restoring Groups is hard on the batteries of everyone in the group. I suspect RIM set it up this way to reduce strain on their servers.
    Finally, never forget that you or the hybrid builder owns nothing in regards to the hybrid. The .cods and .sfi belong to Research In Motion regardless of any effort and time the builder put into making them. Further, it is likely that the building and installing (and most definitely the selling) of hybrids is impermissible under RIM's terms of use. No proprietary rights exist in a hybrid other than those owned by RIM.


    Hopefully this will help people to understand what a hybrid OS is and some of the basics on how it works. The best way to truly learn about hybrids is to mess around with the .cod files yourself. Doing so will help you to better understand the BBOS, make you better at understanding hybrids, and allow you to perhaps solve minor problems in any hybrids you install.
    Feel free to PM me with any questions you have; while I'll respond as quickly as possible, please keep in mind that I'm a full time student with a new family.

    Happy Hybriding.

    Posted from my CrackBerry atwapforums.crackberry.com
    Last edited by SCrid2000; 01-08-2011 at 01:29 PM.
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  2. njaremka's Avatar
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    #2  

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    NICE! this should be a sticky post...
    - Nik
    Hybrid Builder
    iPhone 4 (prior 9550 / 9530 / 8330 user)
    www.BBTweaks.com (THE hybrid site )
  3. Guatiao's Avatar
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    Hybrid 101!
  4. SCrid2000's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guatiao View Post
    Hybrid 101!
    Never been to Hybrid 101 - I imagine it's better than this tho (and at minimum more visually appealing lol).

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
  5. mikeplus1's Avatar
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    Isn't that the road up and down the West Coast?
  6. SCrid2000's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeplus1 View Post
    Isn't that the road up and down the West Coast?
    You're thinking if I-5, also known as I-go-5mph.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
  7. mikeplus1's Avatar
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    I meant Highway 101. LOL

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
  8. yehrulz's Avatar
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    I-5:

    Road of **** down here in SoCal.

    Thanks for the guide
    BigBadWulf - "Word of advice - Stick to the seasoned veterans here. If you see someone who averages about 100 posts a day, gnrally speaking they have little experience, and want to prove it as often as possible. "
    "Thank you. I am tired of copy/pasting the same instructions."
  9. BBB78's Avatar
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    Great write up SCrid!
    It's good to get some knowledge out there.

    I would like to add something though:

    It is recommended to WIPE your device before installing any new hybrid OS. (after you back-up your device's apps and data)
    For the reason behind this have a read through this post by Willyboy: http://forums.crackberry.com/f224/lo...-first-543077/

    Also if you want to learn how to make a hybrid I do recommend to do a few driphter.com classes. I was a "rogue" hybrid builder leaving numerous errors in my early hybrids, but after a few classes I can now supply the hybrid community with reliable hybrids. (and $10 for a class is well worth it)

    Keep up the good work!
    Back in Black!
  10. JimiMack's Avatar
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    Is there any way of getting that .398sfi to work in OS5?
  11. SCrid2000's Avatar

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    Thread AuthorThread Author   #11  

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimiMack View Post
    Is there any way of getting that .398sfi to work in OS5?
    As stated in the writeup, the sfi is the foundation that shapes the entire OS. If you have an OS6 sif installed, you're running OS6. You would probably be able to include some OS5 cods (I haven't tried so I can't confirm it) but you would for all intents and purposes be running OS6.
  12. Culex316's Avatar
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    First of all, great first post!

    Quote Originally Posted by SCrid2000 View Post
    As stated in the writeup, the sfi is the foundation that shapes the entire OS. If you have an OS6 sif installed, you're running OS6. You would probably be able to include some OS5 cods (I haven't tried so I can't confirm it) but you would for all intents and purposes be running OS6.

    Just to add to what you're saying here, the .sfi file is the OS itself for all intents and purposes (or rather the kernel with all the drivers for the BB hardware + JVM to run the apps) and the CODs are the applications themselves, obviously, so anyone who is trying to "port" OS6 to other devices by running OS6 CODs over an OS5 .sfi is carrying out a futile endeavor.
  13. kkunal's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    THAT , my friend was a nice write-up yo!!
    a lot of people would have their air cleared with this one right here!!
    IF YA GOT IT, U GOTTA FLAUNT IT!
  14. imiki2421's Avatar
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    Gr8 stuff maan.. I am a noob @ this topic and I'm glad I read this post before playin with my bb.. A quick question though, which would b d best recommended hybrid os for 8520 curve? (Note that it is incompatible with os6)

    gr8 job m8.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
  15. amitabhsh's Avatar
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    Great write up. Thanks i am trying to install a hybrid today
  16. zulfan_efendi's Avatar
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    I'm using a Nokia™ phone. It's Symbian and there's person/group who able to adit the core file. With that tool, they can use another type of Nokia™'s firmware to run in another one. Like, Nokia™ C6 OS run on Nokia™ 5800.
    Perhaps someday, someone would be able to make the sfi editor. Is it illegal? I guess not. Because it only harm your own phone, not others. Any use of hacked sfi must regarding by the users that it can brick your device.
    That's just an imagination.
    Sorry my poor English.
  17. SCrid2000's Avatar

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    Thread AuthorThread Author   #17  

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    Quote Originally Posted by zulfan_efendi View Post
    I'm using a Nokia™ phone. It's Symbian and there's person/group who able to adit the core file. With that tool, they can use another type of Nokia™'s firmware to run in another one. Like, Nokia™ C6 OS run on Nokia™ 5800.
    Perhaps someday, someone would be able to make the sfi editor. Is it illegal? I guess not. Because it only harm your own phone, not others. Any use of hacked sfi must regarding by the users that it can brick your device.
    That's just an imagination.
    Sorry my poor English.
    If you or anyone you know wants to create some sort of .sfi decompiler I'd love to see it there's a reason RIM is the leader in mobile security, and it's not because their software can be easily decrypted.
  18. ppeters914's Avatar
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    Stumbled upon this post. Why isn't it a sticky? Answers all the basic questions that reading multiple threads did not.
    Pete
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    Just chill the hell out. It's pretty bad when I'M the voice of reason. lol - Bla1ze
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  19. SCrid2000's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by ppeters914 View Post
    Stumbled upon this post. Why isn't it a sticky? Answers all the basic questions that reading multiple threads did not.
    It'd be pretty much too late now with BB10, there's really not going to be hybrids.
  20. ppeters914's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCrid2000 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ppeters914 View Post
    Stumbled upon this post. Why isn't it a sticky? Answers all the basic questions that reading multiple threads did not.
    It'd be pretty much too late now with BB10, there's really not going to be hybrids.
    While new hybrids probably won't be built, there still may be interest (like mine) to try a hybrid on a pre-BB10 device.
    Pete
    AT&T / Z10 STL100-3 / 10.3.1.1154


    Just chill the hell out. It's pretty bad when I'M the voice of reason. lol - Bla1ze
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  21. flyingsolid's Avatar
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    Thank you to OP for typing this all up. Answered a lot of questions. Took me a while to stumble upon the thread and worth surfacing.

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