Will Verduzco · Jan 20, 2014 at 02:30 pm

Android 4.5 May Break Compatibility with Many Current Root Apps

There’s often much speculation surrounding what may be seen in upcoming and updated devices and new versions of Android. Most of this talk unfortunately centers around leaked images of some sort, rather than any hard evidence. Once in a while, however, genuine clues are discovered that help paint a picture of what’s to come.

A little over a week ago, a pair of commits were made to the AOSP master tree that essentially prevent SU from executing files stored on the /data partition. This is an issue because many (but not all) current root apps include files that are extracted to and executed from app-specific directories on this partition. As such, if these commits are not reverted, a large number of current root-enabled apps will need be updated in order to work with this new version of Android.

So if you’re an app developer responsible for creating root-enabled apps, how can you get around these changes? Well, XDA Senior Recognized Developer Chainfire has you covered with a few potential workarounds that were added to his How-To SU page. These workarounds include extracting the code and running it from RAM or rootfs, piping commands directly to SU, and so on.

Now, it’s important to keep in mind that these two commits may be reverted before the release of the next version of Android. Furthermore, if they are retained, it’s anybody’s guess as to the actual version number of this upcoming revision. That said, it’s obviously best to be safe rather than sorry so that you can save yourself and your users the hassle later.

Head over to Chainfire’s Google+ Post to learn more about the changes and what they could mean for the next version of Android. And if you’re developing a root-enabled app and you want to be sure that you are ready for these changes, be sure to check out Chainfire’s How-To SU Page.

[Many thanks to OEM Relations Manager jerdog for the tip!]


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Will Verduzco

willverduzco is an editor on XDA-Developers, the largest community for Android users. Will Verduzco is the Portal Administrator for the XDA-Developers Portal. He has been addicted to mobile technology since the HTC Wizard. But starting with the Nexus One, his gadget love affair shifted to Google's little green robot. He is also a Johns Hopkins University graduate in neuroscience and is now currently studying to become a physician. View willverduzco's posts and articles here.
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