Flashing is the process of writing a firmware image (and the root file-system) to the memory of an Android device

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Do I need to revert to stock firmware and/or wipe data before installing a custom ROM?

Several sites I've visited mention that I need to revert to the stock firmware and possibly wipe my phone data before installing a custom ROM. Is this recommended or completely necessary? I have a ...
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Gaining root acces/installing custom rom on G1 with build number CRC1

Could you please share your knowledge about how to flash the latest update of stock Android OS on G1 (aka HTC Dream). I would like to try out some custom roms but most information I was able to find ...
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What is the meaning of “flashing a custom ROM”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between: Rooting, Jailbreak, ROM, Mod, etc.? What is a custom ROM, and what does "flashing a custom ROM" mean?