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Google Cellphones Handhelds Hardware Hacking Build News

Just Days After Release, Google's Nexus 4 Has Already Been Rooted 85

An anonymous reader writes "Google's Nexus 4 sold out around the world very quickly this week, and while there was talk of very limited supply, apparently some key people managed to get their hands on it. That's right: the Nexus 4 has already been rooted."
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Just Days After Release, Google's Nexus 4 Has Already Been Rooted

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  • Why is this news? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Severus Snape ( 2376318 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:14AM (#42011145)
    Isn't this supposed to be dead easy?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:22AM (#42011175)

      Yep, it's an unlocked device and you're supposed to be able to root it without issue.

      • The news is that it sold out very quickly, and Android really starts to have the iEffect.
        And the catch is that I couldn't get my Nexus 7 3G :-(.

        • by Karlt1 ( 231423 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @09:21AM (#42011547)

          Right because "sold out" automatically means that the Nexus is doing as well as the iPhone without knowing how many were sold.

          • Hell no but the number of iPhone 5 that sold the first day needed to have been physically built already (I know not all people were satisfied anyway).
            Google couldn't make such a bet stayed careful, and didn't surf on the iHype. So comparatively it's a very good score yes. And also here it's out of stock with a lot of preorders ...

            • Re:Why is this news? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Karlt1 ( 231423 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @10:47AM (#42011887)

              So without knowing how many we're built, "it's a very good score?" Apple announced how many they sold the first weekend. Why won't Google? If they only made 50,000 and "sold out", is that good?

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Anonymous Coward
                I wish they would announce how many they sold. They still don't "get" physical merchandise fulfillment at all. I was trying to order one from 2:30 AM on the day they came out. They didn't bother to tell anyone WHEN they would become available on that day - we had to rely on reports from tech news sites that "it showed up in Australia and sold out in 1 hour and the play store was unusable". Finally at 8:37 AM Pacific Time, it shows up. I put one in my cart and proceed to checkout. I select a credit card and
          • Re:Why is this news? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @11:00AM (#42011955) Homepage Journal

            "Sold out" means the same thing in any time or place:

            More people want them, than are available. In a "free market", that scarcity drives prices up. Apple intentionally creates that kind of scarcity, and it's possible that the same trick has been pulled here.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              I'm pretty sure Google is selling them for the same price regardless of whether or not they sold out. Here in the real world, there are more important, complicating factors than, "what's the most you can demand for this widget according to intersection on supply & demand".

              And sales volume for a Nexus device will likely be smaller than whatever Apple's new iPhone is. That's not good or bad, there are just a hundred Android devices out there to pick from.

              And more important - why do we care? Both kinds are

              • The sales numbers probably don't matter as much as the perception that everyone wants it. I know we all want to know these numbers, but they don't really matter when it comes to building demand around a product.

                The market impact of scarcity is not strictly measured in terms of sales price, retail or otherwise. In device markets, scarcity is a driver in consumer decisions and perception, the reason you want your device to be hard to get is because people will want it more (since everyone else wants it). This

          • Maybe not the Nexus, but android devices overall are smashing the iphone.
            Perhaps it's the choice, perhaps it's the open platform.

            I just prefer being able to root my phone and tablet.

            I unlocked and rooted my Nexus 7 just because I could. Then I decided to unroot and lock it again simply because it's so good as stock.

          • Yes... because Apple also only tend to boast that it's sold out.

      • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @10:44AM (#42011869) Journal

        Yep, it's an unlocked device and you're supposed to be able to root it without issue.

        which, I find very amusing...

        Slashdot supposed to be a place for geeks, and look what we have here ... Both the Slashdot Submitter and Slashdot Editor do not know that Google's Nexus devices are made to be rootable.

        How can Slashdot remains a geeky place when the editor ain't geeky enough?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:26AM (#42011191)

      Why is it news?
      Because the "reporter" lives under the iStockholmSyndrome and thinks that having access to hardware you bought can only be done through clever trickery.

      • In other breaking news, scientist reveal night follows day SHOCKER!
      • The fact the phone has been rooted is not news in the sense that this was a significant or difficult accomplishment. It is news in the sense that people are doing things with it, and this fact really just serves to build people's perceptions that the product is popular.

        Let's face it, the majority of people who will hear this fact are not going to understand that this is a non-achievement, or that the phone was actually designed to allow people to do this. The small number of people who actually understand w

    • by movrev ( 1901148 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:26AM (#42011195)
      From Wikipedia: "The Google-branded Android devices, the Nexus One, Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus, can be boot-loader unlocked by simply connecting the device to a computer while in boot-loader mode and running the Fastboot program with the command "fastboot oem unlock".[7] After accepting a warning the boot-loader will be unlocked so that a new system image can be written directly to flash without the need for an exploit."
    • Re:Why is this news? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Psychotria ( 953670 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:32AM (#42011213)

      Isn't this supposed to be dead easy?

      It's not news. Clueless journalist and an even more clueless Timothy for accepting this as a story. But, hey, what else should we expect?

      • by Psychotria ( 953670 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @08:06AM (#42011287)


        Status: Current
        Release: For general public
        Copyright: (C) 2012, McDaffy Duck incorporated, All Rights Reserved (R)
        Approved by: Timothy


        Today McDaffy -- a leading anti-virus/malware/knowledge vendor -- made a startling discovery. Researchers at McDaffy for months have been toiling over and reverse engineering code from myriad sources (although the source was not available.) McDaffy is disclosing this information in the interests of honest disclosure. Severe security flaws are found on Personal Computers and PCs.

        Background and Terminology

        Beginning in early 1986 McDaffy researchers began exploring the possibility of running arbitrary code on arbitrary hardware where not only was the "root password" was known but the hardware was directly available and accessible. After 26 years of careful research a talented intern hit upon the jackpot. Through a cunning combination of access to hardware, an open operating system, and 15 M&Ms he was able to inject carefully crafted code into the colonel.

        Colonel: The heart of a computer
        CPU: Cologne Prince(poofter) Unit

        Once the intern had impregnated the colonel with the tainted DNA (code) he had unimaginable access to the system. The colonel directs all orders of the computer. Orders of the user, I mean. Or something. Anyway this injection of sperm allowed the intern unimaginable power. He had zero day access!

        Zero day access: The time it takes to impregnate a colonel; in this case zero days


        The code was injected from the host (the intern) into the target. Target is a technical term for the colonel. This took 0-days (hence the term). The intern then inserted his CD into the Drive (CD = Crusty Doodle; Drive = Penis... err, or Vagina). Upon injection the Vagina immediately seized up, causing a terminal crash. Quickly removing the CD and inserting his USB (Unsatisfactory Satisfying Boobies, I see Boobies) into the vegena the intern immediately had rooted the thingy. And he was happy.

      • I think it's less about clueless reporters and more about corporate PR. Google wants people to think the phone is in demand, and they pollenate various news outlets with the story. There are enough people in the world who have no idea what rooting an Android device is that this sounds like something interesting, when really it's not. At some point, they can score more points by issuing additional news releases stating the first ones are bogus and the phone was designed to act that way.

        It's easy to understan

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes this is a completely stupid article. The title should be "Some dude installed a custom firmware on a Nexus 4 by following the documentation provided by Google". But then I guess it wouldn't generate clicks.

      Reading this summary I thought that someone had gained root without doing the oem unlock which, while not very interesting, would at least have used an undocumented way of achieving the result.

    • Well, unlocking the bootloader is not the same as rooting, which is why it's more news than it people give it credit for.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Same old procedure as other Nexus devices - "fastboot oem unlock", install CWM, install su.

        Other news that didn't make the cut: "Just hours after release hackers find a way to install non-Google approved applications on Nexus 4", "Just minutes after release enthusiasts figure out how turn Nexus 4 on".

      • Not, much more, the rest is the same as any nexus device, you boot an insecure boot image, this means that it does a boot running entirely from an image stored on the computer, all this image does is change a single flag in a config file to get the linux kernel to stop blocking UID 0, and adds the su binary, usually an apk of the configuration tool for that particular su binary and a copy of busybox so you have some shell tools. This is the same on any Nexus device.

      • Well, unlocking the bootloader is not the same as rooting, which is why it's more news than it people give it credit for.

        No this is neither news nor does it deserve credit. You want to unlock the bootloader on your Nexus 4? Use the same method as you do for any other Nexus device. Use the method that is in the official Android documentation. []

    • Yeah, I don't even understand.

      I'm definitely someone who prefers android devices over the competition but even I fail to understand why rooting a device that basically allows rooting is significant in any fashion whatsoever, and why it even should be in the news stream for slashdot.

      Then again, slashdot always has the "google is in trouble" articles submitted by MS/apple fanboys, so I suppose this is another layer of trash on top of those trash articles as well. In short, as usual slashdot is a mixed bag of

    • Weirdly, I found rooting my Nexus Galaxy slightly harder than my old HTC Desire. I had to install the Android SDK, which required the Java JDK, (but only the 32 bit version, 64 bit was right out), and then futz about in a shell pushing files to the device. The process on the Desire was, plug in phone, click button. Basically, hackers who root devices seem to have pride in their work and like to make things streamlined, whereas Google just made sure that it was possible and left it at that.
  • Rubbish (Score:5, Informative)

    by ConallB ( 876297 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:19AM (#42011161)

    Entering the command "fastboot oem unlock" using ADB is what enables custom firmware and bootloaders to be flashed. This is hardly a revelation. In fact, this is how you unlock many Motorola devices and others. Saying it has "already been rooted", as if there was some kind of elaborate hack or cleverness involved is simply wrong. Thats like saying by taking off your training wheels yo9u somehow rooted your bicycle.

    • by aneroid ( 856995 )

      In fact, this is how you unlock many Motorola devices and others.

      "Others" in this case. Nexus 4: LG.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Isn't android supposed to be open sourced? And doesn't Google provide instructions and the tools to root a phone? I was under the impression that it was praised for those reasons.

  • All Nexus are easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirJorgelOfBorgel ( 897488 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:23AM (#42011181)

    All Nexus devices can be rooted in 30 seconds or less .... by design.

  • Isn't Nexus the one Android device that is supposed to be open from the start?

    • It is, it's the reference Android model when there is a new (major) Android version.
      But now many other manufacturers allow their phones to be rooted (e.g. HTC, Sony) given they know you are doing so. For HTC phones, an easy hack is Revolutionary ( This is tanks to revolutionary that HTC allowed their devices to be rooted "legally".
      Sony allows to root their phones if you subscribe to their developer program too.

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @09:13AM (#42011507)

      Open and Rooted are two different things.

      The Nexus is not Rooted from the start.
      Rooted means that apps and the user may have superuser access to the system. Much like running as root in Linux this is generally not something that is needed for day to day usage. There's very few things that actually require root access to your phone. Some of the things I can think of is the ability to modify and delete system applications, write custom settings to the kernel (overclock, enable different schedulers etc), and modify system files like the hosts file. Some of these are used by things like adblockers, and as for the rest... well lets just say with a rooted phone you actually can damage the hardware if you do something wrong. Rooting often involves flashing a custom kernel to the phone. To do this requires an unlocked bootloader which many devices don't have and where a lot of the hacking really takes place (see next comment).

      The Nexus is Open from the start.
      What Open means is that there are no additional lockdowns over what is the vanilla Android experience. There's no carrier apps that can't be uninstalled, no customisations, and most importantly there's an accepted, endorsed and well documented method of unlocking the bootloader on the device after which you can effectively do whatever the heck you want to it including rooting, or even installing a completely different Android operating system like Cyanogenmod.

      The only thing here that I don't get is why this garbage that passes as journalism thinks this is a worthy story. Effectively the Nexus 4 has had the ability to be rooted long before it's release given how the latest JellyBean has kernels that incorporate root access in the wild since day one, and that unlocking the bootloader to install it is as easy as using ADB to send the command "fastboot oem unlock" to the phone, just like with every previous Nexus device.

      • There's no carrier apps that can't be uninstalled

        Of course there are junk apps.

        Google Now, Google Wallet, Gmail, Picasa... all cluttering-up the phone and untouchable by humans.

        There's very few things that actually require root access to your phone.

        Setting the MTU for a corporate WLAN. Loading TUN / TAP kernel modules to use a corporate VPN. See a pattern?

        • Somehow I'm struggling with the concept of buying a Google branded phone with Google services and then calling the Google apps junk. I noticed that you didn't mention Google Maps, is that maybe because you like maps and as such think everything is junk because you don't use it?

          This is quite different from say the Samsung App store which at the time when I purchased my Galaxy S has 2 (yes only two) apps in it. I also had Optus apps that did nothing other than redirect me to facebook's website. THAT is junk,

          • by Cederic ( 9623 )

            Somehow I'm struggling with the concept of buying a Google branded phone with Google services and then calling the Google apps junk. I noticed that you didn't mention Google Maps, is that maybe because you like maps and as such think everything is junk because you don't use it?

            Just because he thinks a different set of the default apps is junk to you isn't pertinent. What he has a problem with is the inability to uninstall them.

            I sympathise, my Transformer Infinity keeps trying to update some shit proprietary malware called Kindle that I can't uninstall.

  • All I can think of is so? Google has been know to give android phones
    to those that root and make that info pubic, this was before the cell phones public release.
    No cite but rooting a Motorola Xoom (Google's) I came across that tidbit on

    Google isn't Apple they don't care nor would they have a problem with it

    Here's how and it's 2 days old []

    • All I can think of is so? Google has been know to give android phones
      to those that root and make that info pubic, this was before the cell phones public release.

      Better yet, Google has been known to simply document [] how to unlock the bootloaders on their devices. This isn't even a case of giving the devices to hackers to hack, it's a case of someone writing the step by step instructions into a forum post using the officially endorsed method of rooting Nexus devices.

  • Missing the point (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Yes they are easy to root, but you still have to know what to do once the bootloader is unlocked, meaning flashing Clockworkmod, installing the superuser or supersu apk and such.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How is that a point?

      There are three steps here. Install stuff on your machine. Unlock bootloaader. Root/do whatever.

      These steps are not novel. Having done the same with a number of Android phones, I'm confident I can do this with my Nexus 4 (when the bloody thing arrives), in under a minute. That is not because I'm some elite haxor-- it's because the phones are MEANT to be easy to root. The headline implies that it was an accomplishment to do so, which is completely false.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I think the real accomplishment was actually getting the Nexus 4 from Google.

    • You do not need to install a custom recovery image like clockworkmod recovery to root.

  • You shouldn't release a product at this time of year if you don't want it rooted []

  • by csumpi ( 2258986 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @09:37AM (#42011595)
    you made it into pop culture history today:

    pulling a timothy: blatantly stating the obvious from an obviously false angle
  • In other words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kasperd ( 592156 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @10:20AM (#42011739) Homepage Journal
    You can own a Nexus phone, you just have to buy it. Unlike other phones, which are still owned by the vendor even after they have been bought by a consumer.
    • Not sure what you mean by that. I have an AT&T SGS II. It's running Cyanogenmod 10 and is unlocked.

      • by kasperd ( 592156 )

        I have an AT&T SGS II. It's running Cyanogenmod 10 and is unlocked.

        When I said "unlike other phones", it was not to be read as "unlike all other phones". Rather it was to be read as "unlike some other phones" or "unlike most other phones". I was merely pondering on the fact that it was considered newsworthy, that you can own a phone, which you have bought.

  • 0-day exploit!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fsmunoz ( 267297 ) <> on Saturday November 17, 2012 @11:15AM (#42012029) Homepage

    CONFIRMED: WIndows 8 0-day security BREACH, a certain Tim Black from MN has reported that he was able to log in as Administrator in a Thinkpad laptop he had bought just one hour before. The hack consists in introducing the password that he had previously defined!

    GROUNDBREAKING: we have received an unconfirmed as of yet report that one-year Ubuntu user Jane Leary in Corpus Christi was able to root a RHEL system with all security patches installed: the process is involved but includes entering a "password" that one knows into a "login" prompt. Redhat has not yet replied to this incident.

    STOP THE PRESSES: people who have lost all sense of actually owning the things they buy and are used to being prisioners in their little wall gardens are apparently so surprised that there are devices in which one can install whatever one likes that they have started reporting this as "1337 hackery". Some of them have posted their surprise on iTunes and on former technology-savy site /. (not to be confused with the one form the 90's).

    PS: this is why most people actually buy Nexus devices: not specifically by their specs, simply because the concep of having to go out of their way to install stuff on something that cost them money is absurd.

  • by davidshewitt ( 1552163 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @02:03PM (#42013093)
    ... due to lack of physical access. :-(
  • I believe for this article we need a new "+1 Not Redundant" moderation. Because going through and marking every post where someone felt compelled to ask "Well duh! WTH editors?" would be rather tedious, not to mention somewhat unkind since it is a very fair question.

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann