Tag Archives: Krsnah Mobile OS

TWRP Almost Bricked My Phone

Yesterday I decided to test out LibreKrsnah Linux Mobile Alpha 0.1 on my phone.

The screen has been flickering on and off for a couple of years now. And I decided maybe it was time to try something new, something different.
Now I just remembered to check for any updates for TWRP and there was one.
I figured, why not install it first?

TWRP website download links weren’t working on the browser for some strange reason.
So I thought why not just pull the downloads manually?

Loaded the files on my phone and booted into Recovery mode.
Flashed the new TWRP image files and rebooted.
Then I saw the error: Could not do normal boot. Invalid kernel length.

Now I couldn’t even boot into the OS.
Pressing the power button only yielded the Samsung logo and the error message above.
My heart sunk.

I fired up Windows on my netbook and opened Odin, then connected my phone to it.
Odin showed one device added. Great!
Now I could just flash TWRP manually.
I looked up screenshots from a few years ago to check how to do that.

Then I disconnected my phone and connected again.
Aaaaand the device drivers failed.
Windows could not detect the phone anymore.
I rebooted and connected again. Nothing. Device manager listed unknown device on USB port.

So I installed the Samsung USB drivers from my old backup.
Still nothing.
My netbook could no longer detect my phone.

I tried different cables to see if it would connect, since the original cable is now worn out and held together with cellotape (lol).
Still nothing.
Was my device bricked? Did the phone’s port somehow get fried because the OS was borked?
All sorts of weird hypotheses were running through my head.

And then my internet connection stopped working.
Ain’t this a bitch!
Just when I needed it to search for a solution, no internet.

I turned off the router and went to nap.

Woke up an hour later and turned on the router.
The internet was back up.
Looked up the error online and most people seemed to have resolved the problem by flashing new recovery through Odin. Now if I could only get my netbook to detect the phone!

The problem in my case had been caused by incomplete TWRP files.
Both the img and tar files were around 7Kb.
But I didn’t check the file size because I thought everything was cool.
So TWRP’s broken download site was the root cause of my troubles. I’m surprised TWRP managed to flash the 7Kb files without checking the file size. Then again, I didn’t verify the SHA256 signature files. So it was partly my fault. But mostly TWRP’s fault!

I found a solution that worked for me.
I connected a similar phone to the netbook, let the drivers install, and opened Odin. The device was added.
Then I removed that phone and plugged in mine.
One device added!

I flashed TWRP from my backup and then installed different versions of LibreKrsnah Mobile to see if the screen flickering stopped on fresh installations. It didn’t.

So I installed the last version of LibreKrsnah Mobile then formatted the SD card as internal storage.
When I tried to root it, TWRP couldn’t read any .zip files.

Back to the internet to search for a solution.
I think the problem occurred because I formatted the SD card from TWRP before formatting it from the OS.
I formatted the SD card as portable storage.
TWRP could now read the .zip files.

I reflashed TWRP and reinstalled the OS, just to be safe. Then formatted the SD card as portable storage because it was too slow for internal storage anyway. Even though I’d used it as internal storage in my last working installation.

I checked TWRP site today and the downloads still do not work.
I’m lucky that I had backups for everything otherwise I’d be stuck here with a bricked device waiting for TWRP devs to fix their broken site and re-enable downloads.

Now I’m too scared to test LibreKrsnah Linux Mobile.
My netbook is already crappy. I can’t afford to brick my phone.

A Brief History Of Krsnah Desktop OS

I’ve procrastinated writing this article for almost 7 months now.
With the next generation of my personalized OS looming in the horizon, I need to get this done right now. Otherwise it’ll never be done.

What is Krsnah Desktop OS?
Krsnah Desktop OS is a full-fledged OS based on Linux. Just like it’s sister OS is based on Android.

Now, when did I get my netbook?
I think I got it right after my smartphone.
Somewhere in late 2015 or early 2016, I think.
Let me check my records!
Okay! I have a Windows 10 ISO that dates back to Feb 2016. So I must’ve got it around that time.

My netbook came preloaded with Windows 8.1 and McAfee Internet Security. It also came with a goldfish malware thingy? What’s the word? Spyfish? SUPERFISH! Right. Thanks duckduckgo.

So I upgraded my netbook to Windows 10 and that didn’t work out quite well because it was just too slow. It was horrible!
At that time I was quite deep into the whole privacy thing. So I looked into Linux and decided to dive headfirst into it.

I can’t remember the first Linux distro that I tried. Was it Solus? Or was it Manjaro?
I think it was Solus. Solus was still quite new at the time and I was really enticed by the Budgie desktop. (Budgie became so popular later on, that a number of distros adopted it – Arch, Gentoo, Ubuntu, Debian and so on.)

So I tried Solus out but it was still quite new and didn’t have many of the packages I was looking for.
Since I was coming from Windows, I was looking for an advanced GUI firewall, network monitor etc.
I ditched Solus pretty quickly. Though I would return to it later on, amidst trying out different distros. When I needed to get back online, I would pop Solus in and get things running pretty fast.

I looked into Arch.
Arch was the most interesting Linux brand for me at the time. (It was also overly hyped. Gentoo is the best!)
I installed Manjaro and had it running for a while.
However, it had a lot of bugs and I was quickly becoming an angry frustrated computer guy because of it.

I bumped into Elementary OS.
Elementary OS is a beautiful distro.
It runs really nicely and smoothly.
But at that time, I had a problem with it. What was the OS name? Juno? No! It was LOKI! Yes! Loki! Thanks duckduckgo.
Loki was fast and smooth. But I could multitask on it because it didn’t detect my SWAP. As a result, it only utilized my 2 Gigs of RAM.

I think I tried out a bunch of different distros at that time. I checked out Fedora, Subgraph (anyone remember Subgraph? The entire privacy community was chattering about it. Then I downloaded it and couldn’t even get it to install. What a pile of crap! It was an alpha version and apparently it’s still on alpha all this time!
Who are the developers of Subgraph OS and what have they been doing all this time? Show yourselves! I’m gonna smack you in the head with a tray of eggs.) Debian, Sabayon, Ubuntu, and so on.

Then I checked out Gentoo. And I was very interested. I think I discovered Enso OS at that time, along with Trenta OS, Liri OS, Semicode OS, and I started noticing a theme.
I discovered the key to making your own distro.

Now everyone knows how Android works. Every Android phone basically runs the same OS, except for the minor (or major) tweaks that the smartphone company makes to the user interface, adding a few preinstalled apps etc.
The biggest difference in Android phones isn’t the OS. It’s the hardware.

Here’s how Linux works.
All developers, hold onto your seats! I’m about to crash your egos straight into the ground.
Arch, Gentoo, Debian, BSD, and Slackware are the forefathers of Linux.
Every Linux distro out there either borrows something from the above, or is based entirely on the above!

When you start going through all these distros one after another, constantly switching and trying to find the perfect fit, you come to realize that all these distros have so much in common.

Then come the desktop environments and window managers. If you’re running Gnome on Gentoo and Gnome on Debian, they’ll look identical.
No one will be able to tell the difference from a visual perspective.

The difference comes in the installers, the package managers, the init systems, and of course, some commands.

One of the problems with most distros is that they’re only customizable up to a certain level. You can change the wallpaper, dock location and transparency and font and some icons. But that’s it! And it is indeed enough for most people to be able to have their personalized desktop. But not me!

Another problem to be considered when selecting a distro is the availability of apps and how easy it is to build your own should the need arise.
Unfortunately, that problem has not been solved in any of the derivative distros. Often, developers will only package applications that they think the user would need. So you might not always find what you’re looking for.

Finally, the main problem to be considered when everything has been sorted out, is how smooth the OS runs and how much resources it needs. I’ve found some distros to be consuming 800+ Megs of Ram on first run, with no user apps running in the background.
And some lightweight distros only consume 300-400 Mb on idle, with no user apps running.
Usually these distros came with an ugly LXDE or Openbox window manager. And that just wasn’t cutting it for me.
If I’m going to spend 6 hours of my day looking at my computer screen, I don’t wanna be staring at a Windows 98 themed LXDE interface.

Plasma, KDE, Deepin, Pantheon and Gnome are heavy on system resources, whereas i3, LXDE, LXQt, Enlightenment and XFCE are quite lightweight and minimalistic. Mate, Budgie and Cinnamon are somewhere in the middle.

Arch and Debian had all the packages in the world. Gentoo is missing some. BSD is missing quite a few and Slackware, well, I haven’t tested it. And I don’t think I will any time soon.
I think a large proportion of Linux users are using Arch, Debian or one of their variants.

Now, every distro has some bugs. But the worst bugs came from Arch and it’s derivatives.
The most complex and time consuming is Gentoo. It really takes a while to set things up on Gentoo.

The above section of this article was written on Tuesday, 13th October 2020.
It’s now Tuesday, 20th October 2020. And I have absolutely 0 willpower to finish this article right now. Maybe in the future. Until then, that’s all you get.

A Brief History of Krsnah Mobile OS

My phone model came out in 2015 running Android 5 Lollipop. The only upgrade that came from the manufacturer was Android 6 Marshmallow about 2 years later. By then I had already installed a Russian build of Marshmallow that worked pretty well for me.
I installed Android 7 Nougat at around the same time but the battery drained too quickly and the bottom half of the screen flashed on low brightness. Therefore I moved back to Marshmallow and stuck to it for almost 3 years.

Krsnah Mobile OS was based on from Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow after several tweaks. It was my first attempt at building a personalized mobile OS that catered specifically to my needs. It had major UI changes with a brand new launcher and was fully rooted and debloated. It still ran Google Play Services though.

Krsnah Mobile OS v2 was based on Android 8 Oreo. It was my first major upgrade since Marshmallow. It included MicroG. I experienced a major issue with the WiFi connectivity where the phone would go into bootloop when connected to the WiFi. I managed to fix the issue from the developer settings. The OS wasn’t as smooth as Marshmallow though. The battery didn’t last as long. I had to charge it everyday, sometimes twice a day, for long usage. It carried on the UI launcher and theme settings from Marshmallow. It couldn’t run Orbot though. And it couldn’t receive phone calls.

Krsnah Mobile OS v2.1 was another attempt at Android 8.1 Oreo that fixed the WiFi bootloop issues from a fresh install. It used a different launcher and several tweaks in the theme. It got rid of MicroG and ran barebones Android. There were some app incompatibilities and I had to use alternative apps to get around the problem. The major issue was that it kept hanging, all the time; e.g. while playing music, when receiving phone calls, when using apps etc
This problem had to be fixed urgently.

Krsnah Mobile OS v3 is the build on Android 9 Pie. It only lasted for a few minutes of use. Since I had directly tested the upgrade from 8.1 Oreo to 10 on my phone, the rollback to 9 Pie seemed like a letdown. Android 9 Pie seems like a half-baked version of 10. It seems like an incomplete OS with many missing features that were finalized in Android 10 release. While 9 Pie was certainly an improvement on 8.1, it wasn’t worth spending time on since I had already tested Android 10.

Krsnah Mobile OS v4 is built on Android 10. Doesn’t use MicroG. It runs smoothly, is quite fast and doesn’t hang or go into random bootloops. It is free from all bloatware. Battery lasts longer than the previous generations and even more so on standby. The UI launcher and theme are carried on from Krsnah Mobile OS v2.1
Had an issue running AdAway but it’s now fixed. Also couldn’t run Greenify as there seems to be an app incompatibility. Greenify would randomly close by itself. Haven’t done a comprehensive test on it but everything seems to be good at the moment.

With that said, I have also installed Krsnah Desktop OS v4.
This is the first desktop build that directly coincides with the Mobile OS build and with the same number of iterations.
More on this coming soon.

— Tuesday, 31st March 2020

Krsnah OS: End Of Support

Alright! That’s it!
I’ve had enough of this Linux ecosystem because updates keep breaking everything.

The Linux ecosystem sucks!
Let me say that again: LINUX SUCKS!

I don’t care what distro you are on. I don’t care if you’re running Linux or Unix or Microdick Windows okay? They all suck!

Last month I updated Krsnah Mobile OS v4.3. And the update broke the icons and notification system. So I had to roll back.

Today, I updated Krsnah Desktop OS v4.3. And guess what? The WiFi broke. I could not access my WiFi because the WiFi module stopped working. So I narrowed it down to either the Linux Kernel or the Broadcom Wireless Driver update, and, after some thought, my router.
I rolled back again.
Just to make sure it wasn’t the router, I rolled back those settings to a file from July 2016.

Here’s the crazy thing – The Broadcom Wireless Drivers just uninstalled by themselves from my emergency Windows partition. What kind of magic crap is this?
And nothing worked until I rolled my Linux partition to a previous date.

And I rebooted my netbook a dozen times just to check that the WiFi worked every single time.

I was sitting in the morning, relaxing after breakfast, and I thought to myself, let me grab the updates from upstream. And everything was fine until I restarted the netbook.

Then I had to do some research and go hunting for a solution. I tried some stuff but nothing worked.
The easiest solution was to roll back.
And I still wasted a few hours on this crap!

So, I’ve had enough of software updates.
I don’t want any more updates.
I don’t want to deal with little things breaking here and there and having to reinstall the whole OS when something important stops working.

From now on, there will be no rolling updates.
After my last installation during the Lockdown, I managed to fix the screen recording issue. But it cost me about 3 days to get everything set up and working again.
I don’t have that much time to waste on a stupid netbook with stupid software updates.
Is this thing worth 3 days of my life? I DON’T THINK SO!

Krsnah Desktop OS v4.3 and Krsnah Mobile OS v4.3 are the final LTS editions for this year.
That means there won’t be a single software update on either OS unless something important breaks. And I don’t know why anything would break if nothing’s been modified.

Maybe now I’ll have time to configure some things I really wanted to start using and actually spend some time using them instead of wasting all my time updating stuff that I never get to use.

As for security patches and fixes, well, I stopped worrying about them the day I switched to Linux and rooted my phone.

The next updates will be done on the last week of the year. Maybe I’ll create a new build and start next year with a fresh install on both devices.