jerdog · Jan 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Entropy Seed Generator Not All It’s Hacked Up to Be

Contrary to what many may think, what we report on is not always perfect. While we get many things right and have a great group of developers who continually stretch devices to heights, sometimes we highlight solutions with unknown gains. A recent article we published on a hack for gaming on the Nexus 7 and other devices is one such example.

The premise of the hack is that you can reduce lag by keeping a section of the Android file system (/dev/random) full of random bits so that the system does not have to wait for the file system to generate them. In theory that sounds great, and has shown some success in certain areas where lag was obvious, but it presents all sorts of other problems.

It is for those concerns that we do not recommend using this fix. The fix itself in no way causes harm, and is near-placebo in its effects. CyanogenMod developer arcee posted information on the fix, stating that

The only users of /dev/random are libcrypto (used for cryptographic operations like SSL connections, ssh key generation, and so on), wpa_supplicant/hostapd (to generate WEP/WPA keys while in AP mode), and the libraries that generate random partition IDs when you do an ext2/3/4 format. None of those 3 users are in the path of app execution, so feeding random from urandom does nothing except make random… well… less random

There are valid concerns about lag and how the Android OS handles them, and there is discussion currently ongoing within the Android Code about this, but this fix does not address those issues and instead gives performance gains through boosting CPU speed. The developer himself stated that this could in effect reduce battery life, since the hack is waking the CPU every second.

As is always the case, anything you use here on XDA is done at your own risk, and you assume all liability for your actions. That said, there are times we pass on inaccurate information, and this is one of those times. We do applaud all of our developers for working to find fixes for the things that nag at them. However, we jumped the gun on this, without letting adequate discussion and testing take place.

[Image adapted from /dev/urandom thoughts.]
_________
Want something on the XDA Portal? Send us a tip!
TAGS:

jerdog

jerdog is an editor on XDA-Developers, the largest community for Android users. Jeremy has been an XDA member since 2007, and has been involved in technology in one way or another, dating back to when he was 8 years old and was given his first PC in 1984 - which promptly got formatted. It was a match made in the stars, and he never looked back. He has owned, to date, over 60 mobile devices over the last 15 years and mobile technology just clicks with him. In addition to being a News Editor and OEM Relations Manager, he is a Senior Moderator and member of the Developer and Moderator Committees at XDA. View jerdog's posts and articles here.
Faiz Malkani · Jul 2, 2015 at 08:41 pm · 1 comment

Mysterious GG1 Google Device Stops by FCC. Glass v2?

As the year progresses, we draw further away from Google's annual I/O conference, and closer to the time when the latest hardware from Mountain View is made available to the public. While I/O itself remains one of the most popular tech conferences, the hardware unveiling is a contrastively low-key post across social media, but nonetheless, remains an exciting and much awaited event. In the months leading up to the unveiling, a host of leaks take place, revealing various info about...

XDA NEWS
Faiz Malkani · Jul 2, 2015 at 04:54 pm · 3 comments

Material and Material Dark Hit Samsung’s Theme Store

The latest version of Touchwiz, launched alongside the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, was aimed at providing a vastly improved software experience in lieu of the bad reputation its predecessors had gained. While this iteration turned out to be a vast improvement in terms of lack of bloatware, fluidity and user experience, Samsung's OEM skin fell short in the aesthetics department by a long shot, abandoning a plethora of Material Design principles and leaving users wanting more. However, Theme Store...

XDA NEWS
Jack Jennings · Jul 2, 2015 at 01:09 pm · 4 comments

Swappa’s New App Helps You Value Your Device

There comes a sad time in everyone's life where you must part ways with your gadgets. Perhaps they are dropped from a height, carelessly hardbricked, or simply stashed in a drawer in favor of a shinier upgrade. Alternatively they might enter the world of the second-hand market, and become someone else's daily driver. Swappa is especially popular for this purpose here at XDA, where thousands of users trust the site enough to buy and sell their devices through it. In fact, we made...

XDA NEWS
Share This