While the announcement of Android L has brought, or at least teased, several improvements for the platform, there are those that look at the next Android release with a sense of foreboding. Aside from Google potentially exercising more control over the OS’ user interface direction, there are also fears about rooting becoming extremely difficult. Fortunately, SuperSU developer Chainfire’s post-I/O report paints a less bleak picture.
Chainfire’s previous posts were full of caution and analysis of how rooting will substantially change in future version of Android, based on source code changes in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) codebase. Fortunately, those have not yet come to pass. This isn’t actually surprising because the current state of AOSP isn’t always reflected in the next Android release. It only means that the dreaded changes will be coming and that we don’t know exactly when.
However, two changes previously mentioned by Chainfire did take place. These are concerns mostly for authors of rooted apps but, of course, their issues will indirectly affect users of those apps as well. In particular, apps that use dynamic linking must be built as Position Independent Executables or PIE. In a nutshell, this lets the operating system hide the memory address that the app is running in, making it harder for hackers to pinpoint the location and initiate exploits. The other change is related to the unconfined domain label in SELinux. As predicted before, this new security feature prevents files with that label from executing in the /data partition of Android devices. Unfortunately, that is exactly how root apps run. Fortunately, Chainfire already knows the solution around it and has documented it for other developers.
Chainfire has updated SuperSU to version 2.01 to incorporate fixes for these rooting hurdles. Those running on version 2.0 need not do a binary update of SuperSU. The CF-Auto-Root utility has also been updated to use this new version, so users of Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 running Android L will be able to root their devices with ease. Chainfire warns that he won’t be dwelling much on fixing Android L compatibility at this early stage, since things are likely to change a lot before the new Android version finally launches later this year.