Custom Flashable ZIPs deploying/sharing

Hi all,
I write here because don’t want to start speculations or high demand from users before speaking with moderators :smile:
I started thinking about creating flashable ZIPs files in order to restore some system modifications I did (think about busybox or NOGApps Maps APIs) which are always removed by system updates.
Also as a beta tester I find it very annoying to restore all my modifications by hand in Terminal or ADB, especially because I don’t like to mount the /system partition as writable in order to do this modifications, even though I’m an experienced Linux user.
So I thought to create a flashable ZIP file which contains my /system files and useable on the Fairphone (for example I found the flashable NOGapps Maps API ZIP doesn’t work on the Fairphone but I need to copy all the files by hand).
I would like to share my knowledge with other users, but as this is a dangerous activity, involving recover mode and so on, I ask you to share your thoughts about this and if you consider this an argument to share with all the other users :smile:
What do you think about? Thank you very much for your attention :smile:


I don’t understand half of what you are saying and I think most unexperienced users won’t either. So I don’t think it’s dangerous to share such information because those who don’t understand it will probably not try it :wink:

Oh and what is the NOGapps Maps API? Is it part of the μg Project?

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Consider the μg Project as a son of the NOGApps project, you can find the original post here
Of that project I still use Blankstore which is a sort of PlayStore navigator and installer (you can install apps from that without the needing of GApps on your phone) and the MAPS APIs which is a library that provides the same APIs of the Google Maps Service to Apps which require to display maps data (using OpenStreetMaps maps instead of Google’s ones).
Blankstore is provided as an apk file so once you install it you can browse the PlayStore repo and install apps (free ones only), while the MAPS APIs need to be installed as system component because (quite like XPosed framework do) they override the Google Maps Services.
For this reason they’re provided as a flashable ZIP file which should copy the inner files onto the /system partition in recovery mode, but the executable program included (the flashable ZIP is opened by the recover mode firmware and executes a script with a support of an executable program) doesn’t work on my Fairphone; I suspect the executable file varies depending on the recovery firmware and on the hardware (maybe even on the partitions structure).
So to install that APIs I always use the terminal mounting /system partition as writable and copying the files onto the /system subdirectories which is quite annoying, the same when I install busybox, and so on.
So the solution could be to create a flashable ZIP with the executable file used by the original Fairphone OS ZIP image and creating the script to copy the files you want to be installed under the /system partition, but this has to be done carefully because if you fail to create the script or copy the wrong files (i.e. files with names of existing critical system apps/libraries) you can render you phone unbootable.
I thought to do this for myself but I’d like to share my idea with other users who customize their phones, maybe creating a flashable ZIP with all the tools used by the forum users :smile:
This could also be useful to collect a set of system customizations (think about ROM Mods) done by the forum users.
My only doubts are the difficulty to revert modifications (without reflashing original OS) and provide support to beginner users which want to try the ZIP files (I don’t want to create a mess of topics like “my phone doesn’t show the phone app after installing your ZIP” and so on :stuck_out_tongue: )

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This sounds really cool. I think as long as you explicitly communicate the dangers this shouldn’t be a problem. :smile:

Yes it’s very powerful but from a great power comes great responsibility :wink:


I’m no mod, but I REALLY would like to to read about your experiences more, and get a proper guide to doing that with the option to ask you directly about what and why. However:

I think this is definitely going to happen no matter how big the “at your own risk” warning is written on top of all this. While I like the idea of having a more techie part of the forum, may I suggest we take this to XDA, and just link it here on the forum? This might function as a filter, because people who are not that interest will not go there, not get an account there, and probably don’t come here on the FP forum to ask for help if something goes wrong after trying out stuff described on XDA.

Fairphone got some a own category on XDA. I learned about the NoGApps project there first, and while I am not at all experienced in these matters, managed to install it. (But installed GApps later; for $reasons.)

As I said, linking the stuff from here, however, would be highly appreciated.

Also, it’s good to know you are a) interested in such stuff, and b) an experienced Linux user. I, for one, am such a noob that didn’t even manage to find out why the flashable created by Titanium Backup does not flash. :frowning:


This sounds like a very interesting idea. I’d be interested in hearing how to do it… I do enjoy a bit of danger :wink:

But seriously, if you post on the forum with a guide then it definitely needs to say that it’s for experienced users only


yeah, you best start with:

:warning: Warning: …

Yeah it’s probably going to happen, but we can move theese posts in the original topic, or if you prefer there could be two topics, one for a constructive discussion on how to do it and one for “help needed by noobs” :wink:

I like the XDA solution too, although then I’d probably not follow this project as much and I’d really like to learn more about it.

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First of all thank you all for your feedback :smile:
I think that even though the XDA solution could be very useful to manage the compulsive “wannatryeverything” users :slight_smile: but this would be a bit difficult for me because I registered an account on XDA only some months ago (when I started to follow the NOGApps project), so I’m pretty unknown in that community, and I think many “paranoid” users could point me at someone who could inject malwares or other strange apps on their phones… I don’t want to create tons of posts with polemics nor have the time to provide security proofs of my work given that I do it in my little spare time and just to avoid frustrating reinstallations of system customizations :smile:
That said thank you @humorkritik because I didn’t know about the Titanium backup problem (I used it only once to backup my system before the 1.8.4 beta installation but didn’t try yet to recover!!!) but I think the problem could be due to the (in)famous executable file or the script used to recover (I’ll try to look at it after testing my custom ZIP).
OK so to begin…
The next weekend I’ll try to create the ZIP which should contain the NOGApps MAPS APIs and the busybox executable and will test it on my phone, then I’ll share it with you, kindly asking to try it on your phone, would be better if someone has a not-beta system, in order to be sure the ZIP could work in both cases (I think these customizations should work out-of-the-box independently from the OS), then we can announce it to the community and escape from this planet :stuck_out_tongue:
What do you think about? :smile:
Again thank you very much for your interest, bye!


So far I would assume that it’s probably a @humorkritik problem, not a Titanium Backup problem. :blush:

I doubt this would be happening, since as mentioned there is a specific Fairphone category with Fairphone-specific users. That said, however, you might attract the attention of some experienced people there not using a FP, and get feedback from them. Which could be quite a good thing. You will not get the same feedback here, I guess: among the 60k FP users, there might be some experienced programmers, but more likely than not their number is small.

(Circumstantial and completely anecdotal sidenote: In the beginning, i.e. when the first deliveries went out, I tried to read every tweet of people who actually bought and used FPs; compiled a list of about 700 twitter handles. I noticed that some the people who were exited about it from the techie/hacker side very quickly got dismissive, and switched phones because of Android-related hasseling.)


To get back to NoGapps “vs” μg Project:

  • they are both developed by Marvin
  • the NoGapps post was last edited in February and the only part that is not discontinued is Maps API v1
  • I believe the new project is microg/GSM-core, it includes Maps API v2
  • 17 days ago Marvin said not to expect a test build before the next month

If you can (in the future) provide a flashable Zip for this (and a noob can use it) I’ll be deeply grateful. :smiley:

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I have no good news… it seems I can flash a zip only if I was able to sign it not simply as an apk package (using the apksign tool) but I need to sign it as if it was an OTA package because the standard recover system accepts only OTA flashable ZIPs… :frowning:
This needs AFAIK a full system building setup which is a bit complex to have for me at the moment… I’ll let you know if and when I’ll be able to setup that, sorry! :frowning:


Hi guys!
Great news!!! :slight_smile:
Thanks to the support of @Stefan I was able to create a flashable ZIP file, see our private messages here and here
The only problem is the need of using the CWM recovery, not the standard one because the latter needs signed zip files but, although I tried to sign my ZIP it refuses to install it (I suppose because the keys/certificates needed are the Kwamecorp’s production ones and the recovery doesn’t accept any other generated key/certificate).
This is however a good result for me, and when I’ll be able to flash the CWM recovery and do a pair of tests, I’ll write an how-to and share it with you and the other forum users :smile:
Thank you very much to @Stefan again and to all you for your interest :smile:


You can’t share private messages, we don’t have permission to see them. You’d have to invite us.

Thats really great news, I’m looking forward to testing them. Although first I should probably have a look at that CWM recovery thingy and see if I can understand it! :wink:

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Here is the new link to cwm recovery:


Sorry! I thought linking a message would grant access to it, following is the copy of the messages :smile:


Hi @DjDas!

Brought to you by DjDas. : )

I tried the unsigned zip and it was installed successfully! :smiley: Busybox is installed (it doesn’t appear in settings>apps but /system/app/mover works now). Android Market is also there (just have to find out, what to insert in the fields.)

I did not get the email… :frowning: but my wallpaper stayed the same this time. :smile:

Cheers, stefan


Thank you very much!!! :slight_smile:
So it works with unsigned ZIPs this is very interesting.
I have one question: reading about the installation of CWM thread on XDA
it seems there are problems with installation of standard FP OTA ZIP
files, how do you manage to install them? Furthermore it seems also the
images of CWM aren’t available anymore due to the site not
available, how did you download it?
Thank you very very much for your time and support :slight_smile:

Busybox is installed (it doesn’t appear in settings>apps but /system/app/mover works now)

Busybox is a “Linux” executable, not an app so you can see it only on
the terminal, it is used by system app mover to use Linux terminal
commands in order to do the (re)mount of /system partition, copy apps on
it and (re)mount it read only, which is what I (manually) have to do in
order to get the MAPS API again after an FP OS Update and which lead me
to try the flashable ZIPS :stuck_out_tongue:

Android Market is also there (just have to find out, what to insert in the fields.)

For Market to work you should follow the instructions and create an
Android-ID, there is a post linked on XDA on the installation
instructions of Blankstore, see here


Do you have that as a list on twitter? Can I follow the list?