Are all different things, though they are intertwined in some ways.
- An unlocked bootloader is necessary to install a custom recovery (except for those methods that don't require unlocking to install root)
- a custom recovery is necessary to install custom ROMs
- an unlocked bootloader is necessary to gain root, except with that one method that finds an exploit to gain root privileges.
IOW, you can use a security exploit in the system to gain root without unlocking your bootloader, or you can do it the official way with the whole warning about voiding warranty and so on.
- rooting = "administrator" access to your system, allowing you to do things you normally can't like remove system apps, mess your system up, play with the phone's software internals (which is why a rooted phone can be used to install a custom recovery, for example with ROM Manager, without going through unlocking the bootloader)
- rooting = part of the OS is changed to allow root, therefore an OTA update WILL remove your root privilege until the superboot.img is updated
- having a custom recovery = OTA updates will NOT work, you need stock recovery for that
- with a custom recovery you can make backups of your current system, even if you didn't root it first; this means unlocking your bootloader and flashing a custom recovery, then going in recovery mode and backing up
Let's see if there's other questions that aren't answered by the above:
Basically I want is full and lasting root permissions on FRG83D 2.2.1 so I can remove system apps (twitter, amazon, etc...) through terminal commands and MAYBE a unlocked boot loader to flash a custom recovery image (Amon_RA) so I can make full nandroid backups.
That paragraph above is why I prefaced my reply with what I wrote before the quote... Seems like you are mixing up the terms and role of each part
1) It seems to me that unlocking the bootloader is a more flexible and permanent way to achieve root, as opposed to other '1-click' type methods in the face of firmware updates (2.3...), which would just disable root and it might not be re-achievable till another exploit is found whereas with an unlocked bootloader I can flash w/e I want?
With an unlocked bootloader you can flash whatever you want... best way to flash ROMs is to flash a custom recovery and use it on the phone to flash ROMs through the custom recovery's GUI, since most ROMs come as .zip "update" format files rather than .img files you can flash with fastboot on your PC/Mac
Unlocking the bootloader allows you to flash the appropriate image of a rooted "boot" image (not bootloader, just an image of the kernel and other files of the base Linux OS on which Android is based) that allows root permission. The 1-click methods use a security exploit to install the same thing.
Either of them is as permanent as the files on the phone are.. meaning, if you re-flash with a non-rooted rom, if you install an OTA (only possible with the Stock Recovery), then you will lose root. If not, your phone is rooted. Period.
BTW all custom ROMs I've encountered are rooted, so it's not a big issue to flash them, you won't lose root.
2) Is it possible to enable root and use terminal on my n1 without some "superuser.apk" program? In order to do this would I use an insecure superboot and manually deploy SU?
Probably, but why? Some apps are more useful as root (Titanium backup for one, NetExtender VPN is another one), so SuperUser is great to have.
3) How can I make a backup before rooting if I'm not rooted? I've been using my device for 8 months so there's a lot of stuff on there...
Also, once rooted, you can use Titanium backup or "MyBackup root" (both free, though Titanium needs a licence if you want to avoid clicking "ok" and "install" and "done" every time you backup or restore an app) as an additional backup measure, which will backup individual applications and their data, on your SD Card, so you can restore them (ie if you install a new ROM you can restore your apps like that).
3a) If I can't make a full backup where can I find signed stock recovery images and boot images or updates zips so I can reflash them if I need to?
Right here in one of the stickies of this forum, you can download some signed-passion-update zip files that contain the .img files that you can flash with flash boot when your phone is in bootloader mode. (the mode where you see the droids on skateboards on the screen lol)
4) I believe if I superboot.img and leave everything (ROM and Recovery) stock will I still be able to receive and install OTA updates...?
Yes but you will lose root when updating and will have to re-apply a superboot.img once it's rooted again.
4a) Can someone explain the difference between himem with updated wifi driver and not? I think himem removes permanent virtual address
AFAIK you don't need to worry about that since Froyo came out...
5) How important are OTAs and the stock recovery image? It would seem if I'm going to do any system moding (even just removing twitter/amazon) I should have a full and function Nandroid backup and would therefor need a custom recovery image- at the sake of missing OTAs (not important mainly because applying them would disable root etc anyway?)?
Exactly, if you unlock your bootloader, then... the only "disadvantage" to not getting OTA updates is you need to get updated ROMs from here or other forums.. meaning you might get it faster since modders will be rooting and modding as soon as the OTA starts hitting phones, while waiting for the update to be rolled out gradually and reach your phone might take longer.
6) With root permissions and stock everything do I have to worry about manual baseband and radio updates? What about with a custom recovery image?
You should run the baseband radio that's current with the version of Android you're running.
IE the "eclair radio" version 4.08 or whatever, for running with Eclair
the 5.08 radio is the Froyo radio, also for Cyanogenmod 5,6,7+.
I assume you don't want to be on Eclair, and you might have already gotten the Froyo update, so don't worry about the radio.
It's possible the Gingerbread OTA will bring a new radio with it, but until then don't worry. Just make sure you have 5.08 with Froyo..
7) Apps2SD+ doesn't work with stock roms period and I would need a compatible custom rom?
Hope it helps, and I hope I untangled some of the terminology cuz I see so many people being confused between rooting, unlocking the bootloader, custom recoveries and custom ROMs... IMO it's dire to understand the differences.