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CF.lumen performance driver

Source code for CF.lumen's performance driver. While that might be useful in itself, this release is really about the injection and hooking code, with the CF.lumen-related code serving as an example of this.

Library injection and function hooking with support for:

  • arm32
  • arm64
  • x86
  • x86-64
  • Android 4.0 - 9.0


Please see the LICENSE file for the exact details.

In summary:

Based on Simone evilsocket Margaritelli's ARM Inject (© 2015, BSD 3-clause).

Modifications and additions by Jorrit Chainfire Jongma (© 2015, BSD 3-clause).

Excerpts from The Android Open Source Project (© 2008, APLv2).

Credits are always appreciated if you use my code.

Spaghetti Sauce Project

This release is part of the Spaghetti Sauce Project.


CF.lumen is an Android (root) app that changes the colors on your screen, its original purpose was primarily to save battery on AMOLED devices, provide a red-only night mode that didn't destroy your night vision, and to provide f.lux-like functionality on Android. It has existed in various forms since the Android 2.x days.

In the 2.x days, Chainfire3D hijacked Android's entire GL rendering pipeline, by proxying the EGL and GL libraries. Some of its purposes were to run apps and games written with support only for specific GPUs to work on all the phones, and tweak shaders and select graphics settings. CF.lumen (CF3D Night Mode) was an add-on to that, tapping into CF3D's plug-in system.

Chainfire3D never made it into the 4.x era, as apps and games stopped being GPU-specific and started supporting most (if not all) of the hardware out there. The most used graphics tweaks (forcing MSAA for example) also became options in Android's developer settings, and the need to tweak individual shaders almost disappeared as well. CF.lumen was released from its Chainfire3D dependency and re-implemented as a library LD_PRELOAD'd into SurfaceFlinger, which required modifications to /system.

On 5.x and beyond, root itself moved away from modifying the /system partition, and apps soon followed wherever possible; CF.lumen was no exception. Since LD_PRELOAD could no longer easily be made to work, another solution had to be found. The answer was injecting the CF.lumen library into SufaceFlinger directly, and manually hooking the required (E)GL functions rather than letting the linker doing it for us (as was the case with LD_PRELOAD).

evilsocket's ARM Inject provided the base code necessary to perform this hijack. I restructured the code to suit my needs, and added arm64, x86 and x86-64 support. Over time, linker structures were adjusted to reflect changes in Android, while maintaining compatibility with older versions. It took quite a bit of effort to get all that working semi-reliably.

Android itself also gained functionality to apply color matrices to the rendered surfaces around this time, but the early implementations were not very efficient. Support for that functionality was named the compatibility driver, as though it was not the fastest, it was supported on all devices. The code released here was named the performance driver as it was significantly faster on many devices when it worked, though on some devices it just didn't.

Sources: Injecting/hooking

The injecting and run-time hooking code is fairly well separated from CF.lumen's specific code. See inject_main.cpp and libinject for the injector code, and hook_main.cpp and libhook for the hooking code.

Comments are sparse, but if you're messing with injecting and hooking, you should be at the level where you can read and understand the code itself. If not, this is the time to learn.

Update: I elaborate some more on how the injector works in the injectvm-binderjack repo.

Sources: CF.lumen performance driver

As stated earlier, this serves more of a working example on how to use the injecting and hooking functionality than that the code is particularly interesting by itself, but (skipping the injecting and hooking parts), here's how it basically works:

  • Android is forced to use GPU compositing: individual surfaces are rendered to the final framebuffer via GL calls (GPU resources used), rather than passing the individual surfaces to the display hardware that does this for you (essentially for free). Forcing GPU compositing is done by other parts of CF.lumen, it is not part of this code.

  • The driver hijacks the fragment shaders Android uses for this compositing stage, and injects code into them to reference our color matrix.

  • In the final compositing stage, these modified shaders are applied and the surfaces are shaded with the configured color matrix.

Why release this?

I have been less involved with (root) Android development for quite some time now, and I am not aware of the existence of any other injecting/hooking code for Android with this level of compatibility. It was always my intention to release these modifications of evilsocket's work to the public, but "life happens" and I didn't get around to it. It would be a shame for the work to be lost, I'm sure it could be useful to others.

At the same time, while the first Android internal implementation to apply color matrices was somewhat inefficient and also used GPU compositing, it has become more efficient in recent releases. On the latest devices, if the hardware supports it, it is even done without GPU compositing at all, directly in the display hardware (essentially for free, and also works with protected surfaces). The need for the performance driver in CF.lumen is thus dwindling quickly, and the benefits for me to keep the source to myself are disappearing. This conveniently saves me the time of having to write an example project for the usage of the injecting/hooking code as well (which really is what ultimately triggered the release of the code at this time).

Besides, recent Android versions (and before that, several OEMs) now have basic capabilities to provide f.lux-like sundown modes, reducing or eliminating the need for CF.lumen itself for many users. Of course there's always a group of users that likes to have CF.lumen's extended functionalities, but there's no denying CF.lumen's best days are behind it.


While all this has been heavily tested on 5.x-7.x, only basic testing has been done on 8.x and 9.0.


Android library injection and function hooking, with CF.lumen's performance driver as example




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