Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default Some root questions

    I posted this over at Phandroid a couple of days ago but despite a number of views, no one has replied. I'm reposting here to see if anyone could provide some expert advice:

    I was burned by the MB3 update and successfully rolled back to MB1. I don't want the MF1 update since my S3 is working great right now. I've always wanted to root for various reasons but permanently disabling the MF1 OTA update is what finally may push me over the edge.

    I've done a bit of reading and nearly all the info I could find was either a how-to guide or an article talking about the advantages of rooting. I'm interested in the drawbacks since this phone is my most critical personal device. The articles describing disadvantages that I did manage to find listed the more obvious ones - voiding the warranty, risk of bricking it. I'm not too concerned about either of those risks since my S3 is already over a year old and I don't plan on modifying much, if anything.

    One of my main concerns is security. What exactly does the runtime environment look like on a rooted phone? Do apps and processes run as a non-privileged user (I assume that's what happens on an unrooted device) and superuser privs are granted as requested? Or do they always run as a superuser? In either case, is this something that I would need to be concerned about?

    Hypocritically, I just uninstalled my anti-virus & security app after some careful consideration. I only load apps from Google Play, Amazon or the Humble Bundle. I check all permissions carefully before installing any app. After reading how apps are run in a privilege-controlled, sandboxed environment, I figured this would be sufficient security. Does rooting a phone throw all that out the window?

    If rooting does end up being a fairly safe condition, I would likely proceed, disable the OTA check then start exploring some of the benefits of a rooted phone, notably better backups. If for whatever reason I decide that I don't want to live with a rooted phone, would it be possible to root it, permanently disable the OTA functionality, then unroot it?

    It would be great if an app or systems developer could chime in. I'm an experienced UNIX administrator but not a programmer ( unless you count shell and Perl scripting as "programming" ) so speaking in terms of systems/user administration would be a great way to explain things to me. Are there any other forums frequented by devs that I could visit to get some feedback to my questions?

    Thanks for reading...!
  2. #2  
    VDub2174's Avatar

    Posts
    3,578 Posts
    Global Posts
    4,509 Global Posts
    ROM
    Anthem_003

    Default Re: Some root questions

    Rooting your phone is safe. I've never had any security issues and I've been rooting phones (and tablets) for years now. Superuser will request root access for certain apps that require root access. If you don't want to allow them that access then you don't have to but you also won't be able to use that app correctly (I think, never disallowed access before).
    "The worst foe lies within the self....."
    Get yourself some storage with Dropbox: http://db.tt/hWGiTCa



  3. Thread Author  Thread Author    #3  

    Default Re: Some root questions

    Quote Originally Posted by VDub2174 View Post
    Rooting your phone is safe. I've never had any security issues and I've been rooting phones (and tablets) for years now. Superuser will request root access for certain apps that require root access. If you don't want to allow them that access then you don't have to but you also won't be able to use that app correctly (I think, never disallowed access before).
    Thanks for the reply VDub. The little I've been able to find seem to suggest the same as your advice.

    I've been doing some reading the last couple days to try to learn more but there's a couple problems. First, I'm ignorant so I don't really know exactly what information I'm looking for and second, there's not a whole lot of discussion about what goes on under the hood on a rooted phone. Most of the discussions involve the process of rooting or what folks do with their rooted phones. There's hardly any info on what's going on from a system internals perspective. I started looking at Google Groups and my first problem mentioned earlier rears its head: I don't know where to begin looking.

    I've got an old Droid Inc that I'm going to try to root and get some sort of shell/terminal open. That way I can start poking around and maybe learn a little more about what's going on.
  4. #4  
    VDub2174's Avatar

    Posts
    3,578 Posts
    Global Posts
    4,509 Global Posts
    ROM
    Anthem_003

    Default Re: Some root questions

    What you need to do then is look for some threads with developer talk. Most of us here are more familiar with the process of rooting, not the under the hood stuff.

    Sent from my Cleaned AT&T Note 2
    "The worst foe lies within the self....."
    Get yourself some storage with Dropbox: http://db.tt/hWGiTCa



  5. #5  

    Default Re: Some root questions

    I'm also interested in rooting for one purpose - to stop the OTA update. I just recently purchased a GS3 but have read all the horror stories about the OTA update...my phone is currently on VRBMB1 and that sounds like the one everyone recommends (I'm getting great coverage and speeds).

    So what is the recommendation to someone who really doesn't know much about the android, that only has Mac's at home and only wants to disable the OTA updates and nothing else???
  6. #6  
    gollum18's Avatar

    Posts
    1,510 Posts
    Global Posts
    1,532 Global Posts
    ROM
    Stock Rooted Mk3

    Default Re: Some root questions

    Quote Originally Posted by jbsmith_05 View Post
    I'm also interested in rooting for one purpose - to stop the OTA update. I just recently purchased a GS3 but have read all the horror stories about the OTA update...my phone is currently on VRBMB1 and that sounds like the one everyone recommends (I'm getting great coverage and speeds).

    So what is the recommendation to someone who really doesn't know much about the android, that only has Mac's at home and only wants to disable the OTA updates and nothing else???
    If thats the case all you need to do is rename your otacerts.Zip to otacerts.bak in /etc/security using a root browser. It won't stop the update from downloading to your cache but it should stop the message. It's an old trick we used in the Optimus s days, when we were waiting for a new root method.

    Sprint GS3 Running TN's Msg and Chubbs
    Current Laptop - Samsung Ativ 4 Book, Ivy Bridge I7 @ 2.00GHz per Core, 8GB DDR3 Ram, Intel HD 4000, 750GB SATA

    Please don't thank me unless I have helped you in some way, if you like my post then click like not thanks.

    Check out my github @ https://github.com/gollum18 or My Android Applications @ http://lrdev.net76.net
  7. #7  
    gollum18's Avatar

    Posts
    1,510 Posts
    Global Posts
    1,532 Global Posts
    ROM
    Stock Rooted Mk3

    Default Re: Some root questions

    Quote Originally Posted by sixty_four View Post
    Thanks for the reply VDub. The little I've been able to find seem to suggest the same as your advice.

    I've been doing some reading the last couple days to try to learn more but there's a couple problems. First, I'm ignorant so I don't really know exactly what information I'm looking for and second, there's not a whole lot of discussion about what goes on under the hood on a rooted phone. Most of the discussions involve the process of rooting or what folks do with their rooted phones. There's hardly any info on what's going on from a system internals perspective. I started looking at Google Groups and my first problem mentioned earlier rears its head: I don't know where to begin looking.

    I've got an old Droid Inc that I'm going to try to root and get some sort of shell/terminal open. That way I can start poking around and maybe learn a little more about what's going on.
    Let me give this to you in brief detail. Android is an embedded linux system. It sits on top of a custom built java runtime environment called the dalvik virtual machine. Basically when an app is cached into your dalvik cache. The Java code from the app is translated into smali code that is readable by the machine. That's what happens when apps run.

    Now then, the kernel interfaces with the hardware such as the proximity sensor and the like to make your phone actually respond to your actions. The kernel is responsible for almost everything your phone does, and is a big cause for bootloops. Flashing an incompatible kernel with your phone may even brick it, and really kernel flashing is the most dangerous root operation you can do. As the kernel makes up your boot.img, the image used to boot your phone.

    If you have any more questions feel free to pm here here and will respond as best I can.

    Sprint GS3 Running TN's Msg and Chubbs
    Current Laptop - Samsung Ativ 4 Book, Ivy Bridge I7 @ 2.00GHz per Core, 8GB DDR3 Ram, Intel HD 4000, 750GB SATA

    Please don't thank me unless I have helped you in some way, if you like my post then click like not thanks.

    Check out my github @ https://github.com/gollum18 or My Android Applications @ http://lrdev.net76.net
  8. #8  

    Default Re: Some root questions

    Quote Originally Posted by gollum18 View Post
    If thats the case all you need to do is rename your otacerts.Zip to otacerts.bak in /etc/security using a root browser. It won't stop the update from downloading to your cache but it should stop the message. It's an old trick we used in the Optimus s days, when we were waiting for a new root method.
    Again total noob here...I've seen a "Root Explorer" app in the market, but I'm assuming I still need to root the phone to use it and ultimately rename the files?
  9. Thread Author  Thread Author    #9  

    Default Re: Some root questions

    A quick update for anyone in the same boat as me...

    I've spent most of the morning tinkering with a VirtualBox-based Android VM from Genymotion. I've created several VMs and tied them to one of my spamtrap Google accounts. The VMs come pre-rooted so I'm able to snoop around and take a look at what a rooted device looks like. This is really cool and I don't have to run the risk of dorking up my phone or tablet. If I screw something up, I can just throw away the VM and recreate a new one.

    I've been exploring process tables, file systems, network/port configuration, partition maps and all sorts of interesting bits.

    I still have no idea how Android processes work, especially in terms of process ownership. It looks like process owners are created dynamically as non-privileged users. If a process (app) needs root, it's granted via a 3rd-party app. In the VMs I've started, it's something called "superuser". I spent a good bit of time in the shell, both on the VM and from adb's shell function. Pretty cool and I still have a lot to learn.

    For those interested, I found a handy guide at the XDA forums that walk you through setting up some Genymotion VMs. It's a pretty easy process and pretty much all you need to do is download VirtualBox and the Genymotion app. Install, setup and starting a VM is a easy, click-through process.



    Note: my lowly PC had trouble running the 4CPU/1GB Nexus 7 VM smoothly but it's running the 1CPU/384MB Nexus S VM like a champ. I'm not sure why the Nexus 7 VM choked so hard but it might be because I was trying to run 4 vCPUs on a 2 CPU system.
  10. #10  
    gollum18's Avatar

    Posts
    1,510 Posts
    Global Posts
    1,532 Global Posts
    ROM
    Stock Rooted Mk3

    Default Re: Some root questions

    Quote Originally Posted by jbsmith_05 View Post
    Again total noob here...I've seen a "Root Explorer" app in the market, but I'm assuming I still need to root the phone to use it and ultimately rename the files?
    Yes unfortunately you will need to root it. Anything in your root partition ( this - / ), besides your storage is write-protected, and can only be made rw with a root explorer app, hence the name "root" explorer. If you do go ahead and root your device, please be aware of what every folder in your root partition houses, as messing with the wrong stuff can really mess up your device.

    dont be scared by it though, you can pm me if you need help after your rooted. Im fairly versed in both Linux and Android, so I should be able to help you with any issues that come up.
    Current Laptop - Samsung Ativ 4 Book, Ivy Bridge I7 @ 2.00GHz per Core, 8GB DDR3 Ram, Intel HD 4000, 750GB SATA

    Please don't thank me unless I have helped you in some way, if you like my post then click like not thanks.

    Check out my github @ https://github.com/gollum18 or My Android Applications @ http://lrdev.net76.net

Similar Threads

  1. root my a2109
    By Colin Gleave in forum Lenovo Android Tablet Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-17-2013, 09:23 PM
  2. Battery Questions
    By thatotherdude24 in forum Verizon Galaxy Note 2
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 07-04-2013, 12:42 AM
  3. Please help!! SGN10.1 not recognizing *some* wifi networks
    By moccinter in forum Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-02-2013, 02:39 AM
  4. Knox questions?
    By jaa37 in forum Samsung SAFE and KNOX
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-01-2013, 07:34 AM
  5. rooting htc desire S
    By vincix in forum Android 2.3 Gingerbread
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-30-2013, 08:44 AM

Posting Permissions

B