I just successfully installed CyanogenMod 7 on my Samsung Galaxy Ace. Finding all the right instructions was a bit tricky so here’s my personal recollection on how to get you up and running with CM7.

If you follow any of these steps you do so at your own risk. You might void your warranty, your phone could get irreversibly bricked.

That being said, apparently it worked for me, so just be careful and you should be fine.

Starting position

My Ace came installed with 2.2 Froyo. After finding out about a leaked 2.3 Gingerbread firmware I flashed that one (in the meantime it has officially been released by Samsung). You can find it at SamFirmware.com and flash it with the usual Samsung procedure of Odin (see SamMobile.com for more info). It worked fine for the most part but there is a well known problem with WLAN that causes random hang-ups. I could have tried the official 2.3 firmware which is supposed to partially fix the problem. Since I would have to flash anyway I decided to try out CyanogenMod 7 which had just been ported to the Ace and will become an official port. Part of the reason was of course that my brother had just installed it so I had to have it too ;)

So, to start out you will be running some 2.3 firmware, otherwise your mileage may vary.

Rooting your Ace

The first step will be to root your Ace which is the prerequisite for all further parts.

I first tried SuperOneClick which is supposed to be an easy-to-use GUI program. I couldn’t get it to work in either Windows or Linux so I quickly dismissed that way. It turned out there were some root exploits just for Galaxy Aces running 2.3. All you need to do is upload a zip archive, reboot in recovery mode, apply that update and you’re done. It worked flawlessly for me. You can find all the info on how to root your Galaxy Ace at the xda-developers forum, and you just need to follow step D.

Installing ClockWork Recovery

Next up is installing ClockWork Recovery. ClockWorkMod (CWM) is an advanced recovery mode and ROM manager which allows you to easily pull backups of your current ROM and install new ones. Luckily it was just ported to the Ace. Why CyanogenMod cannot be installed with the stock recovery mode is beyond me but I’ll just go with it. It also seems like a good idea to get backup of your current ROM (do this!).

Same as the root exploit you just need to upload a zip archive to your sdcard, reboot, apply the update from the zip and you’re done. After this step you will have a new recovery mode so to check if CWM was successfully installed just reboot into the recovery mode and it should look different and have a lot more options available. You can get ClockWork Mod Recovery (CWM) at androidflip.com

Installing CyanogenMod 7

Finally, the moment you have been waiting for. The port for the Ace is currently in an unofficial state and deemed an RC1 – it’s working, the features are there, but there might still be some (smaller) bugs. It was originally posted to the xda-developers forum and the original poster keeps the thread in shape and collects all updates in his original post. So head on over to the CyanogendMod 7 for Samsung Galaxy Ace post for all the required files and instructions. Just be sure to grab the ROM for flashing from stock or other custom ROMs, not the one for updates. Again, upload the zip to your sdcard, reboot into recovery mode, apply the update and you’re done!

Epilogue

I haven been running CM7 for a few days now, and so far it has been rock solid – not a single crash and the uptime is approaching 2 days! I didn’t really notice much in the way of added features. My very subjective feeling is that the battery life is slightly shorter, and while the performance is mostly good sometimes it gets very sluggish, mostly after the phone has been idle for a while. Opening a menu might take a few seconds in that state but it will get better the longer you use it, all the way up to the menus opening instantly as is expected.

So, to summarize, theres’s no great advantage so far but no big disadvantage either. But seeing as the first release was less than two months ago, and Samsung is notoriously lazy about firmware updates, CyanogenMod for the Ace should hopefully get ahead of the stock firmware over time, fingers crossed. The more people use it, the better, so go ahead and flash the hell out of your Ace :)