Red Pill mode

Red Pill functionality has been removed from the Hildon Application Manager GUI Maemo5 51-1 forwards. It can be enabled manually as shown below.

Red Pill is an Application manager mode that disables certain safety features, and allows access to certain additional settings. It changes the way Application manager behaves, primarily by removing many of the safety locks that prevent users from installing harmful packages, or upgrading or replacing important system packages (which can result in reboot loops). It also hides packages that aren't relevant to users, and shows additional settings to tweak specific behaviors (like whether to cache packages to the internal memory card during installation).

WARNING: Red Pill is not intended for use by users, power-users, nor the vast majority of developers. Red Pill mode is very likely to break your tablet and should not be used unless you know exactly what you are doing.


[edit] Safety locks

In Blue Pill mode (the normal operating mode), Application manager has many safety locks in place to reduce the risk of the user accidentally damaging their tablet by installing harmful packages. Red Pill mode disables these locks.

[edit] Visible packages

Normally, only packages in a user/* section will be displayed in the Application manager, but when Red Pill mode is enabled, packages outside of user/*, and magic packages will also be displayed. Packages outside of user/* are generally of no concern to the average user, as they will either be pulled in as dependencies for packages which do concern the user, or installed from Xterm with apt-get.

Packages outside of user/* will not be backed up for reinstallation by Backup/Restore.

[edit] Settings

Clean apt cache 
If activated, the equivalent of "apt-get clean" is performed after every install or update. (This is the default behavior for blue-pill mode.) Contents of the downloaded .deb files can be found in: /home/user/MyDocs/.apt-archive-cache/
Assume net connection 
This will not ask for an active IAP before downloading. This is useful if you have a network connection, but the tablet connectivity APIs are not available or don't know about it.
Break locks 
This will break needed locks instead of failing. This is done by default in blue pill mode so that users don't lock themselves out when a crash leaves a stale lock behind.
Show dependencies 
This adds another tab to the details dialog with some dependencies from the package.
Show all packages 
This will not filter out packages that are not in the "user" section. It will also allow installing packages from any section. When enabled this will show free Ovi Store packages.
Show magic system package 
This will include the "magic:sys" package in the list of packages. Updating that package will do something similar to "apt-get upgrade". It is not yet fully defined what it will do exactly. This feature might become available in blue-pill mode at one point.
Include package details in log 
When this setting is active, opening a package details dialog will dump its content into the Log so that you more easily save it. This should be useful when reporting complicated dependency issues. This setting can only be changed in Red Pill mode, but it's effect stays active also in Blue Pill mode.
Use MMC to download packages 
If activated, all the packages will be downloaded to a temporary directory in an available MMC with enough free space, then installed in the flash memory. The MMC's are considered in order: first the internal MMC and then the removable MMC, If no MMC is available, or no MMC has enough free space, the internal flash memory will be used as usual. Using this option is useful to install/upgrade packages when there's enough free space at the root filesystem to install, but not to download plus install/upgrade, so you can use an alternative storage just to download such those packages. This option is enabled by default.
Always check for updates 
Activating this setting removes the refresh button from the toolbar and instead performs a "Checking for updates" operation everytime you switch to the "Browse installable applications" or "Check for updates" view. This settings was added for some quick UI experiments, but we kept it afterward. You need to restart the Application manager for this setting to take effect.
Ignore packages from wrong domain 
Usually, a package from a wrong domain will be completely ignored by the Application manager. Deactivating this setting will not ignore these packages. However, When actually installing a package from a wrong domain, a warning message will still be displayed and you need to confirm that installation should proceed. You need to restart the Application manager for this setting to take effect.

[edit] Activating

Red Pill mode has been removed from the GUI in the 1.2009.44-1 N900 firmware. It can be enabled on future firmwares by editing the configuration file for HAM using terminal.

For the vast majority of people, using Red Pill is inadvisable. Please don't use it unless you know exactly what you are doing.

To enable Red Pill mode through HAM on old firmwares:

  • Open Application manager and go to "Tools -> Application catalogue"
  • Click "New"
  • Type "matrix" into the "Web Address" field
  • Click "Cancel" (N900: tap outside the window)
  • Tap "Red" in the dialog to enabled Red Pill mode, or "Blue" to keep the Application manager as-is or to disable Red Pill.

N900: The Red-Pill mode is not persistent after being enabled. Closing the Application manager, disables Red Pill.

To enable Red Pill mode in 51-1 (PR1.1) onwards:

  • Close Hildon Application Manager if you have it opened.
  • Open Terminal. Note that you can use your favorite editor to do this, vi is used for this tutorial as it is preinstalled on the N900. Under PR1.2 this file is not available, so one has to add the two relevant fields below for it to work.
  • Type
    vi /home/user/.osso/hildon-application-manager
    press I to enter input mode.
  • Change
    red-pill-mode 0
    red-pill-mode 1
  • Change
    red-pill-permanent 0
    red-pill-permanent 1
  • Press CTRL+C to exit input mode, type
    and press enter to save and
    to exit.

Red pill mode will stay on till the steps are reversed.