Just a quick PSA for those of you who either develop or use apps that require root. Chainfire, the man behind some of the most helpful and useful root apps out there, has alerted the community about possible changes to Android’s file system that would effectively break root access for many apps.
According to him, new code commits to the Android Open Source Project master tree prevents SuperUser from executing files located in /data. Chainfire explains what’s happening in a quick couple of lines:
A lot of root apps (though by no means all of them) include binaries or scripts that they extract to their app-specific files or lib directory (located on the /data partition) and execute from there as root. This will no longer work out-of-the-box, and generate an access denied error.
Though there are certainly several ways around the issue for the affected apps, there doesn’t seem to be a single generic solution that would work for all cases and can be implemented in the su command itself (though of course if you can come up with one, I’m all ears).
He says it’s likely we’ll be seeing this in the next major version of Android (be it 4.4.3, 4.5, 5.0 or whatever Google decides on). So what does that mean? It’ll mean tons of app developers will likely have to update their apps to circumvent this unfortunate issue looming over the community.
While there’s no known solution just yet, Chainfire says it’s important for the community to be aware of the issue early on. This would allow developers to pool the power of their overly smart brains together and work together to make sure this doesn’t become an issue by the time the next version of Android is out.
How can you, the user, help? Simple: contact all of the developers of your favorite apps and pass them the source link you see below. Make sure they’re aware of the impending issues so that they can be on the edge of development and make sure this doesn’t affect their apps’ usage. Otherwise, we’re going to have a lot of sad folks dropping a lot of 1-star reviews in the Google Play Store in the near future.