PDA OS rules

Article unfinished, still searching for explanations why one dev show is bad.

Last update : 23/5/2022

- Introduction -

- Major Features -
- Per-app network restriction -
- Signature Spoofing -
- App Lock -
- Theming options -
- Minor Features -
- Dark Theme -
- Full Screen Apps / Expanded Desktop -
Navigation bar layout customization
- Setup Wizard -
- Smart Pixels -
- Prebuilt Simple Mobile Tools Apps -

- People's side -
- Vanilla / Goolag variant distribution -
- The maintainer -
- One dev show -
- Other advantages -
- Boot animation -
- Customizations options -
- Other disadvantages -
- "Advanced" Settings -
- Inbuilt ad-block -
- Permissive SELinux -
- System app remover -
- Time reset on boot-
- USB debugging self-enabled on boot -


Personal rules for advantages & disadvantages found in my PDA OS page.

Major Features

These are features that I consider essential. Not having them counts as a disadvantage.

Per-app network restriction

This feature increases privacy protection by blocking internet access to apps. It can be found in Settings by entering Settings > Apps > App info (select an app) (or by long-pressing an app from the launcher & selecting App info) > Mobile data & Wi-Fi.

While this feature may be irrelevant with the usage of firewall apps like AFWall+, it will always be a nice component to have.

While network & sensors permission are usable as replacements, they take the less ideal "all or nothing" approach.

Signature Spoofing

This is an important permission required by microG to replace Goolag dis-services. However, on the flip side, this could also be a security risk, especially if you install questionable apps. Well, that's what one should expect with workarounds - not as good, but at least it kinda works.

If your ROM lacks inbuilt signature spoofing, you could theoretically patch it with Smali Patcher / NanoDroid's own patcher. However, since both may bring their own risks & requirements, I won't delve deep on how to apply them.

App Lock

This feature is a recent addition to custom ROMs (if we're counting app locker apps, not so recent) that allow you to lock down any app (from sensitive ones to what you think are sensitive), which should prevent anyone from being able to access that app without your permission (and/or your lockscreen password).

Similar to the per-app network restriction, it can also be a neat addition rendered irrelevant with an app locking app (which may also bring their own issues).

LineageOS also has implemented something like this in the form of Hidden & Protected apps, but it's tied to the stock Trebuchet launcher, meaning it will tie you to the stock launcher if you'd like to use it.

Theming options

This is a frivolous addition only made possible thanks to Goolag enforcing Material You & deprecating Styles & Wallpapers in A12. Initially, I'd consider separate theming options a disadvantage with the existence of Styles & Wallpapers, but as Material "Actually It's Papa Goolag's Arbitrarily Made Up Choices That You Can Never Defy" You enforces terrible colors & removes options, let's be honest - I can only hope they work, or Styles & Wallpapers allow the user to select actual basic colors for themselves (or maybe implement kdrag0n's monet implementation).

Minor Features

These features don't really matter when they're there, though having them would be an advantage (depending on your preference). However, sometimes not having these features can be a disadvantage, depending on your device and/or preferences.

Dark Theme

Generally found in Settings > Displays > Dark Theme in A10 & A11, this feature can be used to make the interface far less annoying in the dark while saving some battery on OLED displays, especially with turned-off blacks.

If this feature is tossed into the "advanced settings" menu, I consider this a disadvantage since it's far less intuitive to dig deep into the settings just to change something that belongs in the basic settings.

Full Screen Apps / Expanded Desktop

Full Screen Apps (or Expanded Desktop if you're running Pie Lineage builds) is a feature that allows apps initially made for 16:9 to stretch themselves to fit taller aspect ratios.

Not having this feature would be considered a disadvantage if you're running a device with 18:9 display / taller. However, it doesn't matter if you're running 16:9 devices (or are used to pillarboxing / letterboxing), so there's no point in considering them a major feature / advantage.

Currently, I don't consider this feature to be an advantage as I no longer check it.

Also known as the traditional 3-button navigation bar, which existed long before the dawn of gesture navbars introduced in Pie & A10. Personally, I'm not a big fan of gesture navigations, even though I can agree that A10 gestures are better than Pie's half-assed one (but then again, that's a low bar to pass, so... good enough to use once in a while (maybe only when it is the default after a clean flash), but still not enough for me to drop everything & use gesture navigations for everything).

Not having this feature is a disadvantage, unless you're used to gesture navigations and/or traditional Android's Back > Home > Recents setup.

My troubles with gesture navigation (at least the ones introduced in A10) :

Setup Wizard

Also known as the thing that stands between you & the system that's found in LineageOS, Lineage-based ROMs, & CarbonROM. For those 3, unless it's replaced with Goolag SetupWizard, you don't really need internet connection to get through (some ROMs, such as GApps variants of WaveOS demand internet access).

As I also mentioned Goolag SetupWizard, I don't consider them as a part of this, since it could force you to connect to the internet on 1st boot.

Smart Pixels

Smart Pixels shuffle & disable the pixels of a display in order to prevent burn-in & reduce battery usage. So far, I'm not quite sure whether the former is true / not, but at least having something to mitigate burn-in is better than nothing. On the bad side, it reduces your display's viewing quality as long as it's enabled.

Since this matters only to OLED display users, I can only consider this feature an advantage if you're using OLED. Otherwise, this feature is redundant to LCD users unless you want an even darker display than what the brightness slider could provide.

Prebuilt Simple Mobile Tools Apps

Not counting Simple Music, Launcher, Camera, Calculator, & File Manager (at least), Simple Mobile Tools' apps are generally the best apps I've ever used. Having it prebuilt essentially allow me to keep prebuilt apps (like calendar, gallery, & contacts) when I'm debloating.

People's side

This section applies to developers & maintainers.

Vanilla / Goolag distribution

Generally, a ROM can be exposed as a Limbo ROM if at least 3 have a Goolag-only release while the rest of them are either Vanilla-only or Vanilla/Goolag. However, if at least 3 devices are available as Vanilla-only builds & there are no Goolag-only builds, this doesn't apply, though their consistency should be questioned.

Here's some examples: