Cyanogenmod ROM Motorola Photon 4G (sunfire) (MB855)
Download (nightly build)
CyanogenMod 7 (Android 2.3 (Gingerbread))
Main sections for Motorola Photon 4G (“sunfire”)
Note: Support Status
This device does not support the latest official release of CyanogenMod. This may be due to hardware limitations or simply because development is ongoing. The most recent version supported is based on the gingerbread branch of CyanogenMod.
|Also known as:||MB855|
|Release date:||2011 July|
|GSM freq:||GSM850, GSM900, UMTS850 (B5), UMTS1900 (B2), UMTS2100 (B1)|
|CDMA freq:||CDMA800 (BC0), CDMA1900 (BC14)|
|Platform:||NVIDIA Tegra 2 250 AP20H|
|CPU:||1 GHz dual-core Cortex A9|
|GPU:||300MHz NVIDIA GeForce ULP GPU|
|Dimensions:||66.9 x 126.9 x 12.2 mm|
|Screen size:||109 mm (4.3 in)|
|Resolution:||540 x 960|
|SD Card:||up to 32GB|
|Bluetooth:||Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR|
|Main camera:||8 MP Dual-LED flash|
|Latest CM version:||gingerbread|
How To Build CyanogenMod For Motorola Photon 4G (sunfire)
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Build CyanogenMod and CyanogenMod Recovery
- 2.1 Prepare the Build Environment
- 2.2 Create the directories
- 2.3 Install the repo command
- 2.4 Put the ~/bin directory in your path of execution
- 2.5 Initialize the CyanogenMod source repository
- 2.6 Download the source code
- 2.7 Get prebuilt Rom Manager
- 2.8 Prepare the device-specific code
- 2.9 Extract proprietary blobs
- 2.10 Turn on caching to speed up build
- 2.11 Start the build
- 2.12 If the build breaks…
- 3 Install the build
These instructions will hopefully assist you to start with a stock Photon 4G, unlock the bootloader (if necessary), and then download the required tools as well as the very latest source code for CyanogenMod (based on Google’s Android operating system). Using these, you can build both CyanogenMod and CyanogenMod Recovery image from source code, and then install them both to your device.
It is difficult to say how much experience is necessary to follow these instructions. While this guide is certainly not for the very very very uninitiated, these steps shouldn’t require a PhD in software development either. Some readers will have no difficulty and breeze through the steps easily. Others may struggle over the most basic operation. Because people’s experiences, backgrounds, and intuitions differ, it may be a good idea to read through just to ascertain whether you feel comfortable or are getting over your head.
Remember, you assume all risk of trying this, but you will reap the rewards! It’s pretty satisfying to boot into a fresh operating system you baked at home :) And once you’re an Android-building ninja, there will be no more need to wait for “nightly” builds from anyone. You will have at your fingertips the skills to build a full operating system from code to a running device, whenever you want. Where you go from there– maybe you’ll add a feature, fix a bug, add a translation, or use what you’ve learned to build a new app or port to a new device– or maybe you’ll never build again– it’s all really up to you.
What you’ll need
- A Photon 4G
- A relatively recent computer (Linux, OS X, or Windows) with a reasonable amount of RAM and about 100 GB of free storage (more if you enable ccache or build for multiple devices). The less RAM you have, the longer the build will take (aim for 8 GB or more). Using SSDs results in considerably faster build times than traditional hard drives.
- A USB cable compatible with the Photon 4G (typically micro USB, but older devices may use mini USB or have a proprietary cable)
- A decent internet connection & reliable electricity :)
- Some familiarity with basic Android operation and terminology. It would help if you’ve installed custom roms on other devices and are familiar with recovery. It may also be useful to know some basic command line concepts such as
cdfor “change directory”, the concept of directory hierarchies, that in Linux they are separated by
If you are not accustomed to using Linux– this is an excellent chance to learn. It’s free– just download and run a virtual machine (VM) such as Virtualbox, then install a Linux distribution such as Ubuntu (AOSP vets Ubuntu as well). Any recent 64-bit version should work great, but the latest is recommended.
You want to use a 64-bit version of Linux. A 32-bit Linux environment will only work if you are building CyanogenMod 6 and older. For CyanogenMod 10.1, if you encounter issues with 64bit host binaries, you can set
BUILD_HOST_32bit=1 in your environment. This is generally not needed, though, especially with CyanogenMod 10.2 and newer.
Using a VM allows Linux to run as a guest inside your host computer– a computer in a computer, if you will. If you hate Linux for whatever reason, you can always just uninstall and delete the whole thing. (There are plenty of places to find instructions for setting up Virtualbox with Ubuntu, so I’ll leave it to you to do that.)
So let’s begin!
Build CyanogenMod and CyanogenMod Recovery
Prepare the Build Environment
You only need to do these steps the first time you build. If you previously prepared your build environment and have downloaded the CyanogenMod source code for another device, skip to Prepare the device-specific code.
Install the SDK
- If you have not previously installed adb and fastboot, install the Android SDK. “SDK” stands for Software Developer Kit, and it includes useful tools that you can use to flash software, look at the system logs in real time, grab screenshots, and more– all from your computer.
Install the Build Packages
Several “build packages” are needed to build CyanogenMod. You can install these using the package manager of your choice.
A package manager in Linux is a system used to install or remove software (usually originating from the Internet) on your computer. With Ubuntu, you can use the Ubuntu Software Center. Even better, you may also use the
apt-get install command directly in the Terminal. (Learn more about the apt packaging tool system from Wikipedia.)
For both 32-bit & 64-bit systems, you’ll need:
bc bison build-essential curl flex git gnupg gperf libesd0-dev liblz4-tool libncurses5-dev libsdl1.2-dev libwxgtk2.8-dev libxml2 libxml2-utils lzop maven openjdk-7-jdk pngcrush schedtool squashfs-tools xsltproc zip zlib1g-dev
In addition to the above, for 64-bit systems, get these:
g++-multilib gcc-multilib lib32ncurses5-dev lib32readline-gplv2-dev lib32z1-dev
For Ubuntu 15.10 (wily) and newer, substitute:
For Ubuntu 16.04 (xenial) and newer, substitute (additionally see java notes below):
Java versions: Different versions of CyanogenMod require different versions of the JDK (Java Development Kit):
- CyanogenMod 7 – 9: Sun/Oracle Java SE 1.6
- CyanogenMod 10.1: Sun/Oracle Java SE 1.6 or 1.7
- CyanogenMod 10.2 – 11.0: Sun/Oracle Java SE 1.6 or 1.7 (OpenJDK 1.7 works fine, but the build system will display a warning)
- CyanogenMod 12.0 – 13.0: OpenJDK 1.7 (see note about OpenJDK 1.8 below)
- CyanogenMod 14.1: OpenJDK 1.8
Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) or newer and OpenJDK: Since OpenJDK 1.7 was removed from the official Ubuntu repositories, you have a couple options:
- Obtain OpenJDK 1.7 from the openjdk-r PPA
- Enable experimental OpenJDK 1.8 support in CyanogenMod 13.0 (not available in earlier version). To enable OpenJDK 1.8 support, add this line to your
Also see http://source.android.com/source/initializing.html which lists needed packages.
Create the directories
You will need to set up some directories in your build environment.
To create them:
$ mkdir -p ~/bin $ mkdir -p ~/android/system
Enter the following to download the “repo” binary and make it executable (runnable):
$ curl https://storage.googleapis.com/git-repo-downloads/repo > ~/bin/repo $ chmod a+x ~/bin/repo
~/bin directory in your path of execution
In recent versions of Ubuntu,
~/bin should already be in your PATH. You can check this by opening
~/.profile with a text editor and verifying the following code exists (add it if it is missing):
# set PATH so it includes user's private bin if it exists if [ -d "$HOME/bin" ] ; then PATH="$HOME/bin:$PATH" fi
Initialize the CyanogenMod source repository
Enter the following to initialize the repository:
- Note: Make sure the cm branch entered here is the one you wish to build and is supported on your device.
$ cd ~/android/system/ $ repo init -u https://github.com/CyanogenMod/android.git -b gingerbread
Download the source code
To start the download of all the source code to your computer:
$ repo sync
The CM manifests include a sensible default configuration for
repo, which we strongly suggest you use (i.e. don’t add any options to
sync). For reference, our default values are
-j 4 and
-j 4 part means that there will be four simultaneous threads/connections. If you experience problems syncing, you can lower this to
-j 3 or
-c will ask repo to pull in only the current branch, instead of the entire CM history.
Prepare to wait a long time while the source code downloads.
repo sync command is used to update the latest source code from CyanogenMod and Google. Remember it, as you can do it every few days to keep your code base fresh and up-to-date.
Get prebuilt Rom Manager
$ cd ~/android/system/vendor/cyanogen
You won’t see any confirmation- just another prompt. But this should cause the Rom Manager apps to be loaded and installed into the source code. Once completed, this does not need to be done again.
Prepare the device-specific code
After the source downloads, ensure you are in the root of the source code (
cd ~/android/system), then type:
$ source build/envsetup.sh $ lunch
You should see a list of devices, including something like
cm_sunfire-userdebug. Select it by typing its number. It is possible that
lunch does not display your device. In that case try
$ lunch cm_sunfire-userdebug
$ lunch full_sunfire-userdebug
If all goes well, you should see that sunfire-specific directories are downloaded automatically.
If you want to know more about what
source build/envsetup.sh does or simply want to know more about the
lunch commands, you can head over to the Envsetup help page.
Instead of typing
cd ~/android/system every time you want to return back to the root of the source code, here’s a short command that will do it for you:
croot. To use this command, you must first run
source build/envsetup.sh from
Extract proprietary blobs
Now ensure that your Photon 4G is connected to your computer via the USB cable and that you are in the
~/android/system/device/motorola/sunfire directory (you can
cd ~/android/system/device/motorola/sunfire if necessary). Then run the
You should see the proprietary files (aka “blobs”) get pulled from the device and moved to the
~/android/system/vendor/motorola directory. If you see errors about adb being unable to pull the files, adb may not be in the path of execution. If this is the case, see the adb page for suggestions for dealing with “command not found” errors.
Your device should already be running a build of CyanogenMod for the branch you wish to build for the
extract-files.sh script to function properly.
It’s important that these proprietary files are extracted to the
~/android/system/vendor/motorola directory by using the
extract-files.sh script. Makefiles are generated at the same time to make sure the blobs are eventually copied to the device. Without these blobs, CyanogenMod may build without error, but you’ll be missing important functionality, such as graphics libraries that enable you to see anything!
Turn on caching to speed up build
You can speed up subsequent builds by adding
prebuilt/linux-x86/ccache/ccache -M 50G
50G corresponds to 50GB of cache. This only needs to be run once and the setting will be remembered. Anywhere in the range of 25GB to 100GB will result in very noticeably increased build speeds (for instance, a typical 1hr build time can be reduced to 20min). If you’re only building for one device, 25GB-50GB is fine. If you plan to build for several devices that do not share the same kernel source, aim for 75GB-100GB. This space will be permanently occupied on your drive, so take this into consideration. See more information about ccache on Google’s android build environment initialization page.
If you are a very active developer, working on many other projects than just Android, you might prefer to keep your Android ccache independent (because it’s huge and can slow down the efficiency of ccache in your other projects). Beginning with CyanogenMod 12.1, you can specify environment variables for the location and size of CyanogenMod’s ccache. Some syntax examples:
export ANDROID_CCACHE_DIR="$HOME/android/.ccache" and
Start the build
Time to start building! So now type:
$ croot $ brunch sunfire
The build should begin.
If the build doesn’t start, try
lunch and choose your device from the menu. If that doesn’t work, try
breakfast and choose from the menu. The command
make sunfire should then work.
A second, bonus tip! If you get a command not found error for
lunch, be sure you’ve done the
source build/envsetup.sh command in this Terminal session from the
A third tip! If the build to fails while downloading Gello, you’ll need to import a missing certificate into Maven’s truststore. Detailed instructions on how to do that can be found here
If the build breaks…
- If you experience this not-enough-memory-related error…
ERROR: signapk.jar failed: return code 1make: *** [out/target/product/sunfire/cm_sunfire-ota-eng.root.zip] Error 1
…you may want to make the following change to
Search for instances of
-Xmx2048m (it should appear either under
OPTIONS.java_args or near usage of
signapk.jar), and replace it with
Then start the build again (with brunch).
- If you see a message about things suddenly being “killed” for no reason, your (virtual) machine may have run out of memory or storage space. Assign it more resources and try again.
Install the build
Assuming the build completed without error (it will be obvious when it finishes), type:
$ cd $OUT
in the same terminal window that you did the build. Here you’ll find all the files that were created. The stuff that will go in
/system is in a folder called
system. The stuff that will become your ramdisk is in a folder called
root. And your kernel is called…
But that’s all just background info. The two files we are interested in are (1)
recovery.img, which contains CyanogenMod Recovery, and (2)
cm-7-20161224-UNOFFICIAL-sunfire.zip, which is the CyanogenMod installation package.
Back to the
$OUT directory on your computer– you should see a file that looks something like:
The above file name may vary depending on the version of CM you are building. Your build may not include a version number or may identify itself as a “
KANG” rather than
UNOFFICIAL version. Regardless, the file name will end in
.zip and should be titled similarly to official builds.
Now you can flash the
cm...zip file above as usual via recovery mode. Before doing so, now is a good time to make a backup of whatever installation is currently running on the device in case something goes wrong with the flash attempt. While CyanogenMod Recovery doesn’t have a backup feature, there are other custom recoveries available that do. You can also use something like Titanium Backup (root required) as an alternative.
Success! So….what’s next?
You’ve done it! Welcome to the elite club of self-builders. You’ve built your operating system from scratch, from the ground up. You are the master/mistress of your domain… and hopefully you’ve learned a bit on the way and had some fun too.
Now that you’ve succeeded in building CyanogenMod for your device, here are some suggestions on what to do next.
Also, be sure to take a glance at the Dev Center on this wiki for all kinds of more detailed information about developer topics ranging from collecting logs, understanding what’s in the source code directories, submitting your own contributions, porting CyanogenMod to new devices, and a lot more.
Content of this page is based on informations from wiki.cyanogenmod.org, under CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.