For a first time Android user looking to customize his phone, XDA-Dev can be filled with a lot of jargon. Hope this helps users understand at least a part of it.
Bootloader a.k.a HBoot:Â This is the piece of software that runs before anything else on the phone. It basically packages it all up, tells what to run in what order etc. Every computer device has a bootloader in some form or another, be it an Android Phone, iPhone, Windows PC, iMac etc.
The HBoot is accessible by switching your phone off, then holding down volume down as you turn it back on. The first line of the HBoot will tell you if you are S-OFF or S-ON.
Recovery: The recovery is the piece of software that allows us to write files to partitions while they aren’t being used. It is the portal to allow us to flash custom ROM’s and kernels. There are custom recoveries with more options than the stock such as ClockworkMod.
root aka su orÂ superuser: This is a user that is present on all linux distros that allows higher permissions than standard users have access to. Certain apps need superuser permissions to function, such as Titanium Backup.
Rooting: Process of getting root access on your phone
S-On/S-Off:Â Short for security on/security off. If your phone is Security On, you can only flash (if you don’t know what that means, let’s say install) code that HTC has signed at “OS level” so to say.. There are folders which are protected.. these are folders that normally users wouldn’t touch say files for radio, the /system partition, your OS files, recovery etc. If you aren’t a user who “normally” uses his phone and you want to have custom ROMs or for that matter, root access.. you need S-Off.
This will allow you to run unsigned scripts and eventually will let you get root access.
Why get S-Off?
So you can root and/or install custom radio and/or install custom roms
So you can use apps such as screenshot and/or titanium backup which require special privileges. You can also do things such as install custom boot animations ;) (Point #7 onÂ my post titled “Complete guide from S-On to S-Off to Root and customizations!” for HTC Incredible Son XDA-Developers Forum” which I have also talked about here)
Why install a custom ROM?
Because you want to. If stock ROM suffices, stick to it. Custom ROMs might give you better performance or access to features stock doesn’t.
Credits: First 3 terms are quotes from l0st.prophet from the “Rooting Incredible S – AlphaRevX in Public Beta” thread on XDA-Developers.