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  • Upcoming versions of Android might cause even more “breakage” for root apps, Chainfire claims

Upcoming versions of Android might cause even more “breakage” for root apps, Chainfire claims

Posted: , by Peter K.

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Upcoming versions of Android might cause even more “breakage” for root apps, Chainfire claims
According to Chainfire, one of the most popular and renowned XDA developers, the next version of Google's mobile platform could break most of the apps that require root access. Back in January, the expert unearthed a change in the master AOSP tree that prevented root apps from executing commands in the /data partition of your Android device. Due to this change, apps that require root access easily break and can't function properly. Chainfire found several workarounds for this issue, however, it seems that the newest iteration of AOSP has other aces up its sleeve, which might create even more hurdles for root app developers.

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

40 Comments
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posted on 19 May 2014, 09:36 8

1. AfterShock (Posts: 3698; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


Kool work Chainfire, answers any doubt root will survive an ota on my N5.

posted on 19 May 2014, 09:44 17

2. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4857; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


As long as we have talented developers like Chainfire, Android's root community will stay strong as always.

+1

posted on 19 May 2014, 11:38 3

16. Peeyushmalik96 (Posts: 75; Member since: 08 Jun 2013)


cant I give more likes to this comment
Anyways +10000000.....

posted on 19 May 2014, 20:49 1

38. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


"true dat", Mordecai...

posted on 20 May 2014, 10:31

40. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4857; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Yes I always go to XDA after I get the "Special Entertainment".

posted on 19 May 2014, 09:45 2

3. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; 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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 09:55 4

4. Finalflash (Posts: 3210; 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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 10:24 2

5. grahaman27 (Posts: 361; 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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 10:37 1

6. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1488; 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

posted on 19 May 2014, 10:51

7. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; 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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 12:19

25. jibraihimi (Posts: 764; 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.......

posted on 19 May 2014, 11:06 1

10. grahaman27 (Posts: 361; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


Correct. Just as every business with a consumer interest does.

posted on 19 May 2014, 11:21 1

13. cncrim (Posts: 854; 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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 20:50

39. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Yikes, if that is the case, then..."I... am... outta here"

posted on 19 May 2014, 10:55 1

8. Liveitup (Posts: 1798; 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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 11:07 1

11. tedkord (Posts: 12222; 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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 11:22 2

14. elitewolverine (Posts: 5188; 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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 12:01

21. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; 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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 13:09 1

27. tedkord (Posts: 12222; 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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 14:43

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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 11:10 1

12. grahaman27 (Posts: 361; 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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 15:36 1

36. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3576; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)


It is, and this is just a mess...

posted on 19 May 2014, 11:05 2

9. tedkord (Posts: 12222; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Chainfire is a legend. I used his work all the way back on my WinMo phones.

posted on 19 May 2014, 11:26 1

15. 1701nino (unregistered)


So much off openess of android.

posted on 19 May 2014, 12:05

22. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; 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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 11:44 1

17. Totse2k15 (Posts: 462; Member since: 11 Feb 2014)


Chainfire is the man! XDA ftw too.

posted on 19 May 2014, 11:48 1

18. crazymonkey05 (Posts: 180; 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

posted on 19 May 2014, 11:53

19. Liveitup (Posts: 1798; 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..

R

posted on 19 May 2014, 12:09 1

23. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; 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.

posted on 19 May 2014, 13:11 1

29. tedkord (Posts: 12222; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Sure it will become more streamlined. That's not the same as closed.

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