Heimdall is a cross-platform open-source tool suite used to flash firmware (aka ROMs) onto Samsung Galaxy S devices. Heimdall uses the same protocol as Odin to interact with a device in download mode. USB communication in Heimdall is handled by the popular open-source USB library, libusb-1.0.
Why “Heimdall”? The flashing software Odin is named after the king of gods in Norse mythology. Loke, the software component on the Galaxy S that provides functionality to flash, may also to be named after an important character in Norse mythology, often translated as Loki. As such I have named my flashing software Heimdall, after the Norse god, and guardian of the Bifrost Bridge.
What platforms does Heimdall run on? Linux, OS X and Windows (XP, Vista, 7 etc.)
Why use Heimdall when we can use Odin? Odin is generally unreliable and only runs on Windows systems. Furthermore, Odin is leaked Samsung software that is not freely available or well understood by the community.
ODIN, RUU and Heimdall
For anyone unaware, ODIN is the Samsung equivalent of HTC’s RUU. Both are full ROMs which can only be installed via Windows. The ODIN ROMs can be used to restore a semi-bricked phone, that won’t boot to recovery or into the full OS, as all that is needed is Download mode. Download mode is simply accessed by unplugging the phone from the USB cable, holding the volume buttons and plugging in! There’s a more thorough guide on ODIN and Heimdall in the Basic Guides section of this website:(http://www.freeyourandroid.com/guide/building_roms_for_odin)
Heimdall is the Linux program to flash ROM. For information on Heimdall, click here.
Please be careful. Make sure to backup the existing ROM so that it may be restored before if it is bricked. One more caution, many ROMs offered and claimed to have been built from CyanogenMod are not working. It appears some unscrupulous developers launch HTC based ROM claiming it to be for some other phone and then judge from others experience as to what problem may arise.
Finally odin running on Lucid with live chart by applying a patch for vista.
For those looking for Odin (Samsung rom loader) for Linux; check here.