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
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



1. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

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

2. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

As long as we have talented developers like Chainfire, Android's root community will stay strong as always. +1

16. Peeyushmalik96

Posts: 75; Member since: Jun 08, 2013

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

38. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

"true dat", Mordecai...

40. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

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

3. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 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: 364; Member since: Apr 05, 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: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 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: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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: 815; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

But rumours are saying that google will stop nexus devices from this year, and they are working on project silver.......

10. grahaman27

Posts: 364; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

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

13. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 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: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

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

8. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 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: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 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: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 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: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 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: Apr 16, 2014

EliteWolverine -- excellent comment. I think only people who have done Android development really understand these issues.

12. grahaman27

Posts: 364; Member since: Apr 05, 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.

36. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

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

9. tedkord

Posts: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 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: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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.

17. Totse2k15

Posts: 478; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

Chainfire is the man! XDA ftw too.

18. crazymonkey05

Posts: 189; Member since: Nov 20, 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: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 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

23. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

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

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