Red Pill mode

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.


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.

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.


Clean apt cache 
If activated, the equivalent of "apt-get clean" is performed after every install or update. (This is the behavior for blue-pill mode.)
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.
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.


Red Pill mode has been removed in the 1.2009.44-1 N900 firmware.

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:

  • 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.


Red Pill mode has been removed in 1.2009.44-1 N900 firmware. Similar function can be accomplished by Root access and rootsh can be instaled via application manager.