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When installing custom ROMs most recommend clearing the Dalvik cache. What exactly is Dalvik cache?

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The Dalvik cache is the set of saved .dex files. A .dex file is basically a compiled bytecode version of an app that has been built for the Dalvik Virtual Machine on which Android's apps run. It's similar to the Java Virtual Machine and having saved .class files.

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Is it thus normal for a freshly installed ROM with wiped Dalvik cache to take a long while to boot the first time? because ParanoidAndroid is sure taking its sweet time; five minutes and counting. –  badp Apr 27 '13 at 6:35
    
@badp Yep, my first boots were often that long with various ROMs. I wouldn't give it too too long before assuming something's wrong though. –  Matthew Read Apr 28 '13 at 1:25
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