Of Rooting & Custom ROMs

Hello there! I figured I should just get to the point right away: I have a friend with the international Galaxy S4 version — the i9500 to be exact — and he's interested in getting it to look as close to AOSP as possible. So, I have some questions:

  • Is rooting necessary to achieve this and get rid of all Samsung's pre-installed apps he finds unnecessary, i.e. bloatware?
  • If yes to the above, is the procedure on this XDA page, titled ODIN Installation (Detailed), reliable to follow?

Now, for the custom ROMs, the ones I've found that look very close to AOSP are CyanogenMod and Supernexus. It doesn't seem like the i9500 gets much love compared to its i9505 sibling, unfortunately.

The CyanogenMod ROM I found on their site is only available as a Nightly build, which is their least stable type, so I'm a bit wary of my friend using that, except if the general consensus is that it's okay to go.

And for the Supernexus, I'd like to hear if anyone has nice things to say about the experience of using it.

Finally, if there are other stable ROMs with the AOSP look (as close as possible, please), I'd appreciate suggestions. For now, I need all your advice. Thanks!