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> Rooting the Cosmo Communicator
Charlie Stross
post Oct 12 2019, 04:02 AM
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Does anyone have any insight into how to go about rooting the Cosmo?

(Yes, yes, I know they've only just begun shipping ..!)

NB: directions to enable a relative noob to root a Communicator would be welcome. (I want to be able to use some of the root-only functions of t-ui launcher.)
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Vistaus
post Oct 13 2019, 12:00 PM
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It should be easy. I don't have a Gemini, but there is official root support for the Gemini and it seems easy enough. So I think the process for the Cosmo will be very similar. I want to root it too smile.gif
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Zarhan
post Oct 23 2019, 11:38 PM
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Actually...can someone point to a good tutorial on rooting Android in general?

The phone I'm using daily is still good old Nokia N900 (only big problem with it is the lack of TLS 1.2 support). Syncing with MS Exchange Online (O365) works. Anyway, this means that I really have no in-depth experience with Android apart from occasionally seeing my wife use her Samsung.

I'm finding a bunch of tutorials by googling for them, but the basics, such as "What are the differences between Supersu and Magisk and why do I need them in the first place" is missing. Same applies for TWRP. (Well, for that I could find info on what it is - essentially a boot manager with partition backup functions), but no one has exactly told why it's needed and why TWRP is the one everybody recommends...

So by "good" tutorial I'm looking for information that besides telling "Do X, then do Y" actually also tells WHY you should do X and why Y is the best choice (instead of Z).
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Vistaus
post Oct 24 2019, 01:36 AM
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Dunno. Sometimes rooting is device-specific. But to get you started: DON'T ever use SuperSu. It has been abandoned for a long time and contains security holes. Magisk is the only good way to root, plus it's more flexible as you can add Magisk repos to customize your device after rooting it.
TWRP is needed because the default bootloader iis never really flexible nor easy to use and often doesn't even allow you to flash Magisk and custom ROMs and stuff. There are a few other bootloaders out there, but TWRP is the most flexible and widely supported.
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shinkamui
post Nov 8 2019, 11:08 PM
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QUOTE(Vistaus @ Oct 24 2019, 04:36 AM) *
Dunno. Sometimes rooting is device-specific. But to get you started: DON'T ever use SuperSu. It has been abandoned for a long time and contains security holes. Magisk is the only good way to root, plus it's more flexible as you can add Magisk repos to customize your device after rooting it.
TWRP is needed because the default bootloader iis never really flexible nor easy to use and often doesn't even allow you to flash Magisk and custom ROMs and stuff. There are a few other bootloaders out there, but TWRP is the most flexible and widely supported.


TWRP isn't a bootloader, its a custom recovery environment...
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Vistaus
post Nov 9 2019, 02:38 AM
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QUOTE(shinkamui @ Nov 9 2019, 08:08 AM) *
QUOTE(Vistaus @ Oct 24 2019, 04:36 AM) *
Dunno. Sometimes rooting is device-specific. But to get you started: DON'T ever use SuperSu. It has been abandoned for a long time and contains security holes. Magisk is the only good way to root, plus it's more flexible as you can add Magisk repos to customize your device after rooting it.
TWRP is needed because the default bootloader iis never really flexible nor easy to use and often doesn't even allow you to flash Magisk and custom ROMs and stuff. There are a few other bootloaders out there, but TWRP is the most flexible and widely supported.


TWRP isn't a bootloader, its a custom recovery environment...


I know, I just wanted to keep it simple.
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gidds
post Nov 9 2019, 08:05 AM
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TWRP is certainly not necessary to install rooted Android, as the Gemini I'm typing this on was rooted without it!

It can be done using the Windows or Linux Flash Tool to install the rooted Android OS that Planet supply. (It's pretty fiddly, but doable.)

Assuming the same tool works with the Cosmo -- and I suspect it will -- all we'll need will be Planet to supply the rooted Android image for the Cosmo.
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ZimbiX
post Nov 14 2019, 05:59 PM
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I need root to be able to migrate from my Gemini properly. I've been carrying around three phones this week =P

According to the official Magisk installation instructions, the app can patch an arbitrary kernel image file. https://topjohnwu.github.io/Magisk/install....-image-patching

I'm thinking the desktop flash tool would be able to flash that patched kernel image to the Cosmo. It would just need a scatterfile to know where the partitions are.

I did some Googling, and apparently an MTK Tool can generate a scatterfile by analysing the device. The flash tool might support doing this too.

So lastly, we need to first read the kernel image from the device so the Magisk app can patch it. The MTK Tool can apparently make a backup of the device. Hopefully that means it stores the partitions as individual img files. Again, the flash tool might also support this.

I've been thinking about this for a few days, but haven't tried any of it yet. Sadly, I haven't been able to get the flash tool working on my Arch Linux in the past, so I'll have to have a go on Windows on the weekend.
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gidds
post Nov 16 2019, 02:26 AM
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On my Mac, the only way I was able to run the Flash Tool was by setting up a USB stuck with Debian and booting from that. (It didn't work on Ubuntu.) I had a second stick with the Flash Tool and scatter file and images, but I first needed to install the non-free Debian tools to read it...
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ZimbiX
post Nov 17 2019, 03:49 AM
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Unfortunately, it turns out the MTK Tool is unmaintained and has not supported new devices for some years.

I found another tool called Miracle Thunder, which was described as rather capable, but it looked sketchy and I couldn't get it to load up past the splash screen.

There's info on a more manual process (https://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2540400) which I haven't made much headway with. The various partition info files in /proc which it mentions do not exist. I guess the Cosmo's using a newer/different Android storage system?

I've spent the better part of today researching and experimenting, and at this point I'm afraid I'm about ready to give up and wait for Planet to eventually release something =\
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ZimbiX
post Nov 17 2019, 05:53 AM
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In case it's useful, I've just worked out how to boot to recovery and show the menu:
- Reboot the device while holding down the right-hand side of the fingerprint rocker switch until the screen turns on (info from https://github.com/gemian/gemian/wiki/Bootloader) - or alternatively, run `adb reboot recovery`
- Once in recovery, press Fn + Esc + right-hand side of the fingerprint rocker switch

I tried the ADB sideload option to flash the Magisk zip, but predictably, it responds with "Signature verification failed" - since I'd reckon the bootloader's still locked (so zips require manufacturer signing). Now, if there was a way to unlock the bootloader...

I've had a play with the 'Reboot to bootloader' option with fastboot - hoping to try something like `fastboot oem unlock` (which is the bootloader unlock method for other Androids I've used) - but annoyingly, it doesn't show up with `fastboot devices` and Windows keeps making device plugged and unplugged noises (alternating about every ten seconds).
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ZimbiX
post Nov 17 2019, 06:52 AM
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At a glance, this looks quite interesting - using a 'Wwr MTK tool' to create a full backup of the device: https://forum.hovatek.com/thread-21970.html
I don't have any more time to look into this for a while! =\
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v3ritas
post Nov 17 2019, 01:13 PM
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QUOTE(ZimbiX @ Nov 17 2019, 09:52 AM) *
At a glance, this looks quite interesting - using a 'Wwr MTK tool' to create a full backup of the device: https://forum.hovatek.com/thread-21970.html
I don't have any more time to look into this for a while! =\


Thanks for your work on this. I just got my Cosmo yesterday & have started to play around with it a little as well, looking into rooting.

I was trying to do the same thing with the bootloader unlock: `fastboot oem unlock`, but didn't have any luck.

Going to keep playing with it & see what I can get. On other systems I've been able to patch the boot image through Magisk Manager, flash through fastboot, & then be set. I forget how I was getting root on my Gemini while using stock firmware, but may be similar to this.

Do we have recovery images yet for the Cosmo? May need those (either for root or when I inevitably break something while trying to root).
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ZimbiX
post Nov 17 2019, 03:23 PM
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QUOTE(v3ritas @ Nov 18 2019, 08:13 AM) *
I forget how I was getting root on my Gemini while using stock firmware, but may be similar to this.


For the Gemini, Planet provided a pre-rooted boot.img for us to flash with the SP Flash Tool. Unless you're saying you might have done something else.

QUOTE(v3ritas @ Nov 18 2019, 08:13 AM) *
Do we have recovery images yet for the Cosmo? May need those (either for root or when I inevitably break something while trying to root).


Not that I know of. I did come across this last night though: 'Mediatek (MTK) Auto TWRP recovery porter by Team Hovatek' - https://forum.hovatek.com/thread-21839.html. It looks recently developed enough that it might just work once we extract the stock recovery image biggrin.gif These Hovatek people are champs.

Good luck! And let us know what you learn
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gidds
post Nov 18 2019, 01:29 AM
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(I can't add anything useful, but just wanted to encourage you all to let us know what you find! I'll need to root my Cosmo when it arrives, as I rely on my Gemini being rooted to do things like backups and file transfers over ssh, adblocking via the hosts file, checking for runaway processes, and much more.)
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