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A future Android update could break tons of root apps

Posted: , by Michael H.

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A future Android update could break tons of root apps
The Android root ecosystem is an enormous community of developers and users dedicated to unlocking all of the potential inherent in Android. The ecosystem has myriad custom ROMs, with at least one for most devices; and, for those not confident enough to flash a custom ROM, there are tons of root apps to extend functionality. Unfortunately, many of those apps may become unusable if recent code commits make it into a future Android update.

Android developer Chainfire has found code committed to the master AOSP tree which " prevents the unconfined domain (everything you run through [superuser] by default) from executing files located on the /data partition". The trouble is that many root apps will extract files to the /data partition, and these changes will break functionality in those apps if these changes are released in a future Android update. 

This will undoubtedly cause quite a few problems, but Chainfire does also say that there are a number of workarounds which can be used to restore functionality. Unfortunately, there isn't one singular fix that can be implemented by all developers with root apps, so developers will have a quite a bit of work to do in order to get ready for these changes. 

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posted on 20 Jan 2014, 17:33

1. faizan-sharif (Posts: 98; Member since: 26 Jun 2013)

i am not that much familiar with rooting and always use what i get from manufacturer or get launchers from playstore to change the look,

may that is why i cud n't understand much of this article, would any one explain me exact thing?

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 17:44 4

3. Blazers (Posts: 467; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

There is a ton of resources about rooting on the internet. Why not start at XDA Developers and go from there. Needless to say, rooting involves way more then just theming.

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 17:48

4. apple4never (Posts: 1064; Member since: 08 May 2013)

pretty much they hack android to do whatever they want, but its not a hack since google allows this. what rooting is, is allowing ROOT access to the phone allowing you to over clock, flash custom versions of android and such and much more

posted on 21 Jan 2014, 17:54

22. sgtdisturbed47 (Posts: 845; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)

Wish I had the time to play with my cell phone. Rooting sounds like a crazy-fun time

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 17:57 1

5. joey_sfb (Posts: 6600; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)

You don't need to root to get the most of out of your devices. I have a rooted Note 2 running Samsung Touch Wiz Android 4.3 and another unrooted Note 3 as my daily driver.

Both have advantage and disadvantage. Rooted Note 2 can run apps that require root permission however it also break some Samsung feature and apps such as Samsung Hub. I overcome the problem with Triangle Away but still the hassle may not be worth it for certain users.

My Note 3 works fine without root. Every Samsung build in feature and apps just work. The main reason for me rooting is to run CPU Tuner to improve battery usage as the apps throttle CPU clock speed down to 200Mhz when the screen is off. Note 3 I use the whole day never drop below 50% so don't really need the app.

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 22:48

16. BattleBrat (Posts: 1476; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

I used cpu tuner on my DROID 1, I miss it, none or the other Verizon phones I had could be rooted :-(

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 17:59 2

6. Teja171 (unregistered)

You have to do it, to understand it. Everything cant be explained on paper right ?

posted on 21 Jan 2014, 08:30

18. Tuxedo (Posts: 356; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)

It is just administrator access to your device. It is called "root" because the built-in admin account on a linux OS is tipically called the "root account". Such account has admin or superuser access, meaning unrestricted access to command execution and full read/write access to all files. It also gets assigned the User ID of 0, which is the first account on the UID list, hence the name "root".

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 19:02 1

10. rns122112 (Posts: 50; Member since: 20 Jan 2014)

think of rooting android as jailbreaking it for apple... sort of. tons more customization and design and cleaness. lets say i have sprint. on most sprint android phones you have sprint nascar. i HATE nascar. so why do i need an app taking up space that i dont pay for the subscription for? with root i can remove it.

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 17:44

2. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2226; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

That thumbnail looks familiar.

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 18:33 1

7. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Probably one of my favorite logos of all time.

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 20:16

12. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1488; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


posted on 20 Jan 2014, 18:51 1

8. mike2959 (Posts: 578; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)

Android is going down the Apple path for sure. All the "built in's", I don't wants hangouts, and all the Google stuff, just like I didn't want all the Apple stuff, just like years ago you couldn't uninstall Internet Explorer from Window's. Love my G2, love Android, but there's no denying it.

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 18:57 2

9. Cyberchum (Posts: 749; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

You know what I'll miss most? Xposed installer and it's modules. I'm running a stock Rom but one can't tell until they take a closer look.

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 19:30

11. Killertech2099 (Posts: 148; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)

Well till then they still have time needless to say it's suppose to be android 4.5 or 5.0 i think. But it's not like you have to update your device in order for it to work, if that does happen it's going to be a riot i guarantee. As far as i can tell we don't know what's in the upcoming update, till then i wouldn't worry till we have more details of what's in this new android update. Put it this way GOOGLE HAS ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN FOR SO LONG, i ask what makes you think their going to all of a sudden change? Remember what they tried to do with youtube that crap didn't work.

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 20:41 2

13. CEMIII (Posts: 110; Member since: 26 Jun 2013)

This is why Android lovers love this platform. They are free to do what they want to their device. The thought of loosing control over that is UNBAREABLE LoL!!!!!
That's why they want a device from every manufacture w/ Android.

For you guys sake I hope this doesn't happen.

I love callin you guys TROLLS hahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 20:48

14. CEMIII (Posts: 110; Member since: 26 Jun 2013)

Seriously I wonder if it really is worth it to Android now. Open source is free. So closing that gap might make them more attractive business wise if they become a more secure platform. A new business model like Apple, BB & MS, as well as Sammy's new Tenzin may allow them to create a larger profit margin?????

Anyway ya look at it y'all will be cryin soon if the developers can't find a work around.

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 22:01

15. elitewolverine (Posts: 5192; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

Because by not controlling the ecosystem google looses a lot in terms of profit. How many root apps that don't go through googles store don't go through googles money channel?

posted on 21 Jan 2014, 03:29

17. android_hitman (unregistered)

F*cking android, i wait 1 more year and then i swtich to ubuntu or some other linux based phone

posted on 21 Jan 2014, 09:14

19. tokuzumi (Posts: 1211; Member since: 27 Aug 2009)

Google is not playing the Apple cat-and-mouse game here. A very similar thing happened when 4.3 was introduced. Root apps needed to be updated to work with the new commits, but there wasn't much hoopla about it. The changes were made, and everyone went on their merry way. It will be the same with future android versions. Root is essentially exploiting a hole in the security of the OS, especially with devices that may come locked from the manufacturer. With Android being shipped on around 80% of mobile devices worldwide, it's going to be targeted by others with malicious intents. I see the work Google is doing as a positive, trying to keep Android secure, along with your data.

I'll start worrying about Google closing Android access if they stop posting updates to the AOSP, or close the project altogether. Until then, those who want root will be able to flash roms to their heart's content.

posted on 21 Jan 2014, 09:20

20. joey_sfb (Posts: 6600; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)

Does Google Play edition or developer edition devices have root access?

posted on 21 Jan 2014, 15:07

21. Tuxedo (Posts: 356; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)

No, you still have to "root" to gain root access.

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