Motorola Milestone UI Acceleration

On the Orange San Francisco (aka ZTE Blade) custom ROM’s, it is common to enable hardware UI acceleration, since it’s disabled by default. This allows the UI to be rendered by the GPU, instead of the CPU, making things faster and more snappy.

This is normally configured within a file called build.prop, found within the phone’s system partition.

I had a little dig around in the Milestone and the necessary entry isn’t there to enable the accelerated UI, either it defaults to a particular setting, or it’s set elsewhere. As an experiment I’ve added the necessary tweak to enable it and I’m convinced the UI, in particular scrolling on the app drawer or within a browser, is much smoother and more snappy.
If you wish to try it, here’s how, I’d be very interested in peoples feedback: –

Root the phone, since root is needed to access and write to the necessary file. Once this is done, open a terminal application on the phone, or a terminal on a PC, via the Android SDK. I did it all from the phone, which is a bit hardcore, but not too bad if you open the keyboard slider when typing the terminal commands.

Type the following commands at the terminal: –

$ su

$ mount -o rw,remount -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock6 /system

$ cp /system/build.prop /sdcard/

$ mount -o ro,remount /dev/block/mtdblock6 /system

The above commands ask for superuser permissions, mount the system partition in read-write, copy the existing build.prop to the root of the sdcard, then remount the partition read-only.

Open the build.prop in a text editor, I used the inbuilt text editor in Estrongs File Explorer. You will see a section like this: –

# The OpenGL ES API level that is natively supported by this device.
# This is a 16.16 fixed point number
ro.opengles.version = 131072

Add the string debug.sf.hw=1 before the ro.opengles.version string, e.g: –

# The OpenGL ES API level that is natively supported by this device.
# This is a 16.16 fixed point number
debug.sf.hw=1
ro.opengles.version = 131072

Go back into the terminal app and type the following to copy the modified build.prop back to the system partition: –

$ su

$ mount -o rw,remount -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock6 /system

$ cp -f /sdcard/build.prop /system/

$ mount -o ro,remount /dev/block/mtdblock6 /system

$ reboot

The phone will restart after the last command and then you can see if the difference is noticeable, please let me know your experience!

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1 Response to Motorola Milestone UI Acceleration

  1. Tom says:

    Well, just done it (after having cleared the cache as you suggested in a different post, massive difference!) and it isn’t all that obvious sadly.

    Oh well, we’ll see if it becomes more apparent over the next few days.

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