SBF doesn't always mean unlocked bootloader unless we happen to get a specific version. The SBF is available for many devices such as the Droid X but it only takes you back to stock, not unlocked bootloader.
Yep, even the normal sbf would work. It would just flash it back to the stock image. It would be amazing if one with an unlocked bootloader was leaked but I just hope any sbf is released soon. Then you at least have a last resort to bring your phone back from the dead.
It allows you to make backups of the system, do full wipes, flash roms, etc. It's one of the essential parts of the modding process.
On devices where the bootloader is locked custom recovery has to be launched through a bootstrap process. Basically some files are replaced that get processed on boot. Then when the system is being loaded it is forced into custom recovery. The problem with this is the phone needs to be bootable to get into custom recovery.
On a device that has an unlocked boorloader you can replace the stock recovery with the custom one. Then you can boot directly to it even if the phone isn't functional.
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