A future Android update could break tons of root apps

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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22 Comments

1. faizan-sharif

Posts: 98; Member since: Jun 26, 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?

3. Blazers

Posts: 709; Member since: Dec 05, 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.

4. apple4never

Posts: 1064; Member since: May 08, 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

22. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 960; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

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

5. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 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.

16. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

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

6. Teja171 unregistered

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

18. Tuxedo

Posts: 356; Member since: Mar 19, 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".

10. rns122112 unregistered

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.

2. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

That thumbnail looks familiar.

7. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Probably one of my favorite logos of all time.

12. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

superuser

8. mike2959

Posts: 692; Member since: Oct 08, 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.

9. Cyberchum

Posts: 1011; Member since: Oct 24, 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.

11. Killertech2099

Posts: 148; Member since: Sep 28, 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.

13. CEMIII

Posts: 110; Member since: Jun 26, 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!!!!!!!!!!

14. CEMIII

Posts: 110; Member since: Jun 26, 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.

15. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 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?

17. android_hitman unregistered

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

19. tokuzumi

Posts: 1787; Member since: Aug 27, 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.

20. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

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

21. Tuxedo

Posts: 356; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

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

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