Upcoming versions of Android might cause even more “breakage” for root apps, Chainfire claims
Chainfire reveals that certain changes in the security policies of AOSP's kernel, SELinux, make the latter even more secure than before. Referring to it as “SELinux on steroids”, Chainfire states that the kernel now prevents root apps to run in the /data partition, thus breaking them “in new and exciting ways”. This means that making your root app work will be a tad harder.
Additionally, it appears that the latest version of AOSP runs on the experimental ART runtime by default - up until now, Dalvik was the preferred runtime. ART is considered to be superior to Dalvik, as it provides better performance and increased battery life, but most apps have certain compatibility issues with it. What's more, Chainfire says that the combination between the new runtime and the latest version of the SELinux kernel might cause even greater system instability when a root app is making an unauthorized or incorrect query, resulting into constant reboots.
It is highly probable that these changes will make it to a future version of Android, be it 4.4.3 or even 4.5. Luckily, Chainfire built a new version of its root management tool, SuperSU, which successfully bypasses these newly-added changes in the most recent AOSP builds - great news for all Android root app developers out there.
source: +Chainfire via XDA
1. AfterShock (Posts: 3698; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)
Kool work Chainfire, answers any doubt root will survive an ota on my N5.
2. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4559; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
As long as we have talented developers like Chainfire, Android's root community will stay strong as always.
16. Peeyushmalik96 (Posts: 71; Member since: 08 Jun 2013)
cant I give more likes to this comment
40. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4559; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Yes I always go to XDA after I get the "Special Entertainment".
3. jroc74 (Posts: 5260; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
Yea....Google has to find a way to keep Android as open as possible....and yet make it more appealing for govt, corporate America.
Which in the end dont mean much when jail breaking an iPhone is just as easy as rooting.
Pretty soon the only way to have a more open Android device might be to get a Nexus, or the upcoming Silver cert thing. Or hope folks like Chainfire stay current.
4. Finalflash (Posts: 2077; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)
Yea google has said they won't deliberately try to break root, but also can't promise if they end up breaking it due to changes they make to the OS. People will just have to find a way around.
5. grahaman27 (Posts: 358; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)
Root is an exploit, Google is making android more secure. Rumors point to ART, 3.10 kernel, and possibly enterprise oriented feature sets. Hence, security.
6. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1428; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)
Google is making Android more appealing to the masses , many still believe that android is a nerd os that is operated by java programmers , it is slowly locking the system down inch by inch , someday Android will be another sandboxed OS when current smartphone designs end
7. jroc74 (Posts: 5260; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
As long as AOSP and Nexus device exists.....that will never happen. And I forgot to mention GPE devices too. I assume they have unlockable bootloaders.
I can take Android...and if I knew how, develop my own version. Look at the One Plus One with the CyanogenMod folks.
(for the folks that do wanna separate Android from AOSP, be my guest....but in my eyes...Android is Android. A in AOSP.....)
Reading up on GPE devices....seems like the OEM still has say so over bootloaders and whatnot.(some easier than other to unlock) Its not all Android...as Moto is notorious for having phones locked down tight. I am extremely surprised the Moto G from Boost Mobile can be unlocked.
25. jibraihimi (Posts: 708; Member since: 29 Nov 2011)
But rumours are saying that google will stop nexus devices from this year, and they are working on project silver.......
10. grahaman27 (Posts: 358; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)
Correct. Just as every business with a consumer interest does.
13. cncrim (Posts: 629; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)
It is heading toward that direction, but as long as talented developer interesting in root, there will be ALWAY a hole exploit.
39. networkdood (Posts: 6329; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Yikes, if that is the case, then..."I... am... outta here"
8. Liveitup (Posts: 1766; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)
Little by little Android is becoming a closed OS. Stephen Elop was quite early in seeing this. With Android Silver Google is going to make a major push for consistency across the platform, just like how Microsoft is pushing the one experience mantra, as time goes by Android devices are all going to look and behave similar. Google is looking to streamline its experience across its products and services.
11. tedkord (Posts: 6541; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
No, it's not. There is and will still be ASAP, which anyone can modify however they like and distribute. No one is forced to use Google's version or Silver. Those who choose to agree to the terms.
14. elitewolverine (Posts: 2964; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
If you are making a change to the core of ASAP, then no it will break certain functions.
However if you are so inclined to build your own android, then so be it, see you in a few years. CM on the one plus one, took 'years' to build and make mature enough for a product that people will buy.
The root community is used to 'problems' and issues that arise. I compare it to the car-mod community. I know a guy that states his 600hp scoobie has been rock solid, but he fails to mention that it is in the shop monthly, parts are replaced monthly, rebuilt, worked, broken. When he has a 'problem' to him it is not a problem. To the person driving every day that is a problem. Same way with the mod stuff, and including my own phone, S3 that is rooted.
21. jroc74 (Posts: 5260; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
I dont think CM and Co ever really tried to go out and land an OEM job. Samsung teamed up with them a few years ago. Dont know what happened but know they are with the One Plus folks.
For many years custom ROMs were better than what Google offered. Its no surprise that Android had things added over the years from OEM's and apps from the Store. Some probably from custom ROMs too.
I would argue that if CM was on a commercial phone back before the Galaxy S name took off, back when Moto and HTC were the kings of Android....they could have held their own vs any Android OEM.
Almost every custom ROM is based on CyanogenMOD.
27. tedkord (Posts: 6541; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
It doesn't take years. CM had a 4.4.2 room out for the S3 within weeks. Now, if you had to build out device trees, etc... on your own, it might take a bit longer.
Samsung and Android supply all you need to build an AOSP rom. HTC usually takes a long time to put their Source code out, but eventually they do.
34. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3806; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
EliteWolverine -- excellent comment. I think only people who have done Android development really understand these issues.
12. grahaman27 (Posts: 358; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this article is claiming the reason behind the broken compatibility is due to using a core LINUX feature in an up-to-date LINUX kernel. If what you are saying is correct, then the Linux foundation is doing the same thing.
9. tedkord (Posts: 6541; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
Chainfire is a legend. I used his work all the way back on my WinMo phones.
15. 1701nino (unregistered)
So much off openess of android.
22. jroc74 (Posts: 5260; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
Take away root and unlocked bootloaders...and Android is still waaaaaay more open than the other 3 main mobile OS's.
I dont know what your definition of open is...but its not the same as mine.
18. crazymonkey05 (Posts: 162; Member since: 20 Nov 2012)
This shouldn't be a huge problem for the Dev community as they can always disable seLinux in a stock ROM then make it flashable creating a open system again....a lot of devices ship with selinux preinstalled like the galaxy series and devs were still able to root and run root apps fine.....even my galaxy s3 has selinux enforcing and its rooted
19. Liveitup (Posts: 1766; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)
@tekford I know that Android silver will replace the Nexus line or its rumored to, that's not the point in making I'm stating that as time goes by Android will become more streamlined to deliver a very similar experience overall, OEM's included,Android is becoming simplier, cleaner following in WP flat UI one can argue that WP 8.1 is a flexible as stock Android..
23. jroc74 (Posts: 5260; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
You just couldnt leave Flat out....I was actually shocked it didnt come up in your earlier post...
Like on one of the strengths of Android is choice in hardware, choice in the type of Android OS is there too.
Nexus, GPE, AOSP/Android based.
Elop was and is still wrong in his assessment about Android becoming closed. As long as AOSP is alive he will never be right. You should know this....he knows it....Nokia X.
29. tedkord (Posts: 6541; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
Sure it will become more streamlined. That's not the same as closed.
20. Liveitup (Posts: 1766; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)
One can modify their experience but the simpler version of Android is front and centre, Android is searching for it's identity, placing the Google branding on its future smartphones part of the push for an identity, Android is maturing from a boy to a man regarding overall user experience.
24. jroc74 (Posts: 5260; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
"Android is searching for it's identity, placing the Google branding on its future smartphones part of the push for an identity,"
Google has been doing that since the Galaxy S 1 days.....some phones over the years had with Google on the phone itself. They are just doing it more....
"Android is maturing from a boy to a man regarding overall user experience."
Uh yea....that already started with Honeycomb....I would say they are already there.
Just like WP...except that didnt really happen until WP 8 and 8.1. Only difference is....Android didnt have to go thru an entire core OS reboot.
26. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3806; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
There is some sad truth to the various comments about Google closing down Android. There have been a number of analyses done on how Google uses open source for its own benefits and corporate strategies, including their most prominent strategy which is Google's version of "embrace-extend-extinguish".
There is "embrace" which means for Google put out something open source, like Android. Build a community, embrace developers.
There is "extend" which means for Google to add their proprietary extensions to AOSP such as Google Chrome, Google Play, Google Apps, etc. This makes the platform core less viable (or non-viable) for end-users.
And soon we will see "extinguish" which will mean to close Android down and make it effectively locked and closed source.
The future of Android for people who want to tinker, who want a personal phone, may very well be a fork of Android AOSP, similar to what Amazon and Nokia and others have done. The tricky part of course will be making this work on good hardware, but here is where Chinese companies may help.
30. tedkord (Posts: 6541; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
Bull. An operating system is a layer of code that passes communication between the hardware and software. The Apps you talk about are not part of that layer, they're programs that run on top of it.
The operating system itself, is 100% open source. You, I, and the little boy who lives down the lane can modify it any way we like and distribute it. All you have to do is give credit (don't modify the headers) and allow others to build on top of yours. If it were closed, then Kindle, Nook, CM, Slim, PA wouldn't exist.
33. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3806; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
Things are more complicated than the simplistic worldview that you present.
"If a company does manage to fork Android and make something compelling outside of Google's ecosystem, there's the little matter of nearly every manufacturer being contractually barred from manufacturing a device that runs the new OS. Even if this new Android derivative is better, for an OEM jumping out of the Google ecosystem, it's probably more trouble—and risk—than it's worth.
While Android is open, it's more of a "look but don't touch" kind of open. You're allowed to contribute to Android and allowed to use it for little hobbies, but in nearly every area, the deck is stacked against anyone trying to use Android without Google's blessing. The second you try to take Android and do something that Google doesn't approve of, it will bring the world crashing down upon you."
35. SellPhones82 (Posts: 569; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
Yes, people seem to confuse AOSP with Google apps. Just flash a CM rom without Google apps to get "true" stock Android. What the Nexus 5 and other GPE devices run isn't really stock android. They run a Google modified version of Android that just looks to be stock when compared to TouchWiz, Sense, and other OEMs skinned versions.
Go back to the cease-and-desist letter Google sent Steve Kondik back in 2009. He was angry until he realized why they did it and simply stopped including the GAPPS in the rom and made them there own flashable zip as GAPPS are NOT open source and never will be.
31. jroc74 (Posts: 5260; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
I would argue about extend and this:
"This makes the platform core less viable (or non-viable) for end-users."
.....see the Kindle and how well it sells.
As far as tinkering....Google want ppl to develop on phones. That as a whole will never get shut down. What we may see is Google going back to actual dev phones like the ADP 1 and 2. Nexus phones are dev phones...but Google tried to get them to be a mix of dev and consumer starting with or right after the Nexus One...and IMO that may have been a bad idea.
32. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3806; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
Maybe what I wrote isn't clear enough. I mention Amazon and Nokia and what they've done with AOSP. Obviously the Kindle has sold well for some time and the Nokia X allegedly sold well in China. The point I was trying to make is that AOSP is viable for the base of a new, more open, Android OS that is not so intertwined with Google and that others have shown the path works.
As for future Android phones being completely locked down, the endgame may be that Google wants greater awareness of and control over developers. If the only real developer phones are from Google, then Google will achieve this.
28. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3673; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
This is such a disturbing news, but not all hope is lost, there is some glim of light.
37. GreekGeek (Posts: 909; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)
Hadn't there been any hack to KitKat's SD card limitations (Thanks SD Fix!) I would've refused to buy any devices with KitKat in it, let alone update my old devices
This is Google's sinister plan all along, after they got what they wanted, they are now cranking up the profit mill to get the most out of everything (eg Sd card restrictions to get people into CLOUD)) out of people's pockets