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Jan 20, 2014

Upcoming Android Version Could Break Root Apps




The next version of Android, provided that it will be called Android 4.5 or Android 4.4.3, could potentially break root applications, a recent post from Chainfire, a renowned Android developer, suggests.

According to him, a recent commit to the AOSP master tree will prevent the unconfined domain from executing files that are located on the /data partition. Basically, this includes all that is being run through su (super user) by default, though not all root applications were designed to extract to their app-specific files or lib directory from the /data partition and execute from there as root (yet most of them do so). Due to the aforementioned change in Android, the current setup will no longer work, but will result in an access denied error. Chainfire also notes that there are a series of workarounds for the issue, but that there is none that could work in all cases, and which might be implemented in su. App developers with root apps will need to update their software so as to ensure that they will work with the upcoming Android platform release (provided that Google does not change the setting in the meantime, of course).

Given that said OS version has yet to be made available, things are still uncertain, though devs are encouraged to start working on a way to bypass said issue as soon as possible. Moreover, Chainfire notes that some of the possible workarounds include “extracting and running from memory or rootfs […], piping commands directly to su instead of writing to a .sh first […], forcing a context switch to a non-unconfined domain by way of su parameter or runcon,” and the like. The commits are already available in AOSP master (here and here), devs can also compile a build, flash it to their devices (preferably one of the latest Nexus products), and take it for a spin to learn more on the matter.

They are also encouraged to download and install SuperSU 1.91 on the test device, as long as this is their Superuser solution of choice.

Next Android release could break root apps
Image credits to Google

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