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Why another Superuser?

  • Superuser should be open source. It's the gateway to root on your device. It must be open for independent security analysis. Obscurity (closed source) is not security.
  • Superuser should be NDK buildable. No internal Android references.
  • Superuser should also be AOSP buildable for those that want to embed it in their ROM.
  • Superuser should also be AOSP embeddable, meaning a ROM can easily embed it into their Settings app.
  • Maintenance and updates on both the market and source repositories should be timely.
  • I want to be able to point users of my app to a Superuser solution that I wrote, that I know works, and that I can fix if something is wrong.
  • Handle multiuser (4.2+) properly
  • Handle concurrent su requests properly


Translations are very much appreciated, but please do not submit translations on Github! Instead, use the review submission process on CyanogenMod's gerrit instance.

Checking out the source

You'll need the "Widgets" dependency.

  • $ mkdir /path/to/src
  • $ cd /path/to/src
  • $ git clone git://
  • $ git clone git://

These repositories do not keep the actual projects in the top level directory. This is because they contain tests, libs, and samples.

Make sure the SDK Platform for API 19 is installed, through the Android SDK Manager. Install NDK Revision 9b from here.


In Eclipse, import Widgets/Widgets and Superuser/Superuser. It should Just Work (TM).


  • $ mkdir /path/to/src
  • $ cd /path/to/src
  • $ cd Superuser/Superuser

In this directory, create a file called This file is used by ant for custom properties. You need to specify the location of the ndk directory and your keystore parameters:


If you do not have a release key yet, create one using keytool.

Set up your SDK path (this is the directory containing platform-tools/, tools/, etc.):

  • $ export ANDROID_HOME=/Users/koush/src/sdk

Then you can build:

  • $ ant release


  • bin/ - Recovery installable zip
  • bin/Superuser-release.apk - Superuser Android app
  • libs/armeabi/su - ARM su binary
  • libs/x86/su - x86 su binary
  • libs/mips/su - MIPS su binary

Building the su binary

You can use ant as shown above, to build the binary, but it can also be built without building the APK.

Make sure you have the android-ndk downloaded with the tool "ndk-build" in your path.

  • $ cd /path/to/src/
  • $ cd Superuser/Superuser
  • $ ndk-build

The su binary will built into Superuser/Superuser/libs/armeabi/su.

Building with AOSP, CyanogenMod, etc

ROM developers are welcome to distribute the official Superuser APK and binary that I publish. That will allow them to receive updates with Google Play. However, you can also build Superuser as part of your build, if you choose to.

There are two ways to include Superuser in your build. The easiest is to build the APK as a separate app. To do that, simply add the local_manifest.xml as described below. The second way is by embedding it into the native Android System Settings.

Repo Setup

Add the local_manifest.xml to your .repo/local_manifests

Configuring the Package Name

The Superuser distributed on Google Play is in the package name com.koushikdutta.superuser. To prevent conflicts with the Play store version, the build process changes the package name to com.thirdparty.superuser. You can configure this value by setting the following in your vendor makefile or BoardConfig:

SUPERUSER_PACKAGE := com.mypackagename.superuser

Advanced - Embedding Superuser into System Settings

You will not need to change the package name as described above. Superuser will simply go into the package.

First, in a product makefile (like vendor/cm/config/, specify the following:


To modify packages/apps/Settings, you will need this patch. The patch simply references the sources checked out to external/koush and makes changes to XML preference files and the AndroidManifest.xml. It is a very minimal change.


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