Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Root Rockchip sticks/tablets from Linux

Since with every new device it becomes a nightmare (at least for me, that I seldom use Windows) to find the right Windows drivers for ADB access... I noticed that the rooting procedure (TPSparky Vondroid) relies only on the adb command and... that is readily accessible from Linux.

Hence this little guide came up as I put together the necessary little bits and has been tested with a RK3066 based tablet (RK3188 devices should also be rootable with this method, confirmed with Minix Neo X7).

1st Set up Linux ADB access to the device

This step is entirely done from the Linux PC (Ubuntu in this case) where the RK device is connected (through the USB). 

Please note that if your RK device has several USB ports, there will be only one that can be connected to the PC, usually marked as OTG or Slave.

1) Download the lightweight adb tools:
sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb
or, if you don't have Ubuntu, proceed to download and install the whole Android SDK :S

2) Open/create the following text file to let your standard user connect to the RK device:
sudo gedit /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules
and then add a new line with the following text:
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="2207", MODE="0666", GROUP="plugdev"
Of course make sure that your Linux user is part of group "plugdev" with the following terminal command:
groups user

3) Force a reload of the USB access rules to get the latest one on:
sudo udevadm control --reload-rules

4) Add RK devices USB Vendor ID to what adb may expect for your currently logged user:
echo "0x2207" >> ~/.android/adb_usb.ini

2nd Set up the RK device for ADB access

Unplug the RK device from the USB and go to its Settings page to follow this steps:

1) Go to Settings->Storage and click at the top right on the three dots

2) Select USB computer connection in the dropdown

3) Select "Mass Storage" check box and go back to Settings

4) Browse down in Settings and select Security

5) In Security Settings, select "Unknown sources"

6) Back in Settings, select Developer Options

7) In Developer Options, select "USB debugging"

8) Close settings, and any other open apps.

9) Using a known good USB cable, connect the RK device to the PC, you'll get "Connecting to USB" in the notifications area in Android, and a USB icon in the notification area. You Do Not want to select "Connect to Pc to Transfer Files", in the notification menu, just plug in the cable and let it be.

PS: If you don't get a connection you may have to go back into Settings and select USB, then click on "Connect to PC".

3rd Rooting the RK device from Linux

The following steps are just a COPY of those in "TPSparkyRoot.bat" with a minor fix for correct SuperSU installation.

These are to be done on the Linux PC:

1) Download the package with the needed su, SuperSU, busybox, and RootExplorer binaries

2) Extract the package into a folder, open a terminal and cd into that folder

3) Create a new text file (i.e. "gedit") and copy the following contents:

   echo "*---* RK device Root Tool based on work by sunnydavid *---*"
   echo "--- Plug in your device, make sure debugging is enabled in Developer Options"
   echo "--- This script will now copy files over to your RK device"
   adb shell mv /data/local/tmp /data/local/tmp.bak
   adb shell ln -s /data /data/local/tmp
   adb reboot
   echo "--- Reboot 1/3 - Press Enter once the device has rebooted (if USB debugging doesn't appear in the Android bar you may have to click Settings->USB->Connect to PC)"
   read -p "or CTRL-C to exit"
   adb shell rm /data/local.prop > nul
   adb shell "echo \"ro.kernel.qemu=1\" > /data/local.prop"
   adb reboot
   echo "--- Reboot 2/3 - Press Enter once the device has rebooted (if USB debugging doesn't appear in the Android bar you may have to click Settings->USB->Connect to PC)"
   read -p "or CTRL-C to exit"
   adb shell id
   echo "--- If the ID shows as 0(root) then continue, otherwise CTRL+C to cancel and start over"
   read -p "CTRL-C to exit"
   adb remount
   adb push su /system/bin/su
   adb shell chown /system/bin/su
   adb shell chmod 6755 /system/bin/su
   adb push busybox /system/bin/busybox
   adb shell chown /system/bin/busybox
   adb shell chmod 0755 /system/bin/busybox
   echo "--- Installing SuperSU"
   adb push SuperSU.apk /system/app/SuperSU.apk
   adb shell chown root.root /system/app/SuperSU.apk
   adb shell chmod 0644 /system/app/SuperSU.apk
   adb push RootExplorer.apk /system/app/RootExplorer.apk
   adb shell chown root.root /system/app/RootExplorer.apk
   adb shell chmod 0644 /system/app/RootExplorer.apk
   echo "Completing Root ..."
   adb shell rm /data/local.prop
   adb shell rm /data/local/tmp
   adb shell mv /data/local/tmp.bak /data/local/tmp
   adb reboot
   echo "--- Reboot 3/3 - Your RK device should now be rooted!"

4) Make the script executable with: 
chmod +x

5) Restart the adb server by typing:
adb kill-server; adb start-server
6) And now when typing the following terminal command:
adb devices
you should see the connected device listed (my tablet for example is named 12345678...)

7) Execute the previously created script ( ./ ) and follow the steps to the letter, including patiently waiting for the potential several-minutes-long pauses

PS: After every reboot you MUST check that in the Android status bar the "USB Debugging" message appears (so that there is adb connection with the PC), or else you'll have to go back into Settings and select USB, then click on "Connect to PC". Only then you can hit Enter in the script to let it go on.

That's it, your device should be rooted, all from within Linux!

DISCLAIMER: I've followed this instructions to root my own devices without any trouble. The rooting procedure itself is simply the very widely used TPSparky method. However I take no responsibility for any mishappenings that may arise from your trying it on your devices. That is entirely yours.



  1. Hello Sir,

    I think you have a typo, there is an extra " in the at the end of echo "--- Reboot 1/3 - Press....."

    Thank you for all your great posts.


  2. Confirmed working on my Zoostorm Playtab 10.1 (running Android 4.1.1)
    Note: had to type commands manually and had to skip lines "adb shell mv /data/local/tmp /data/local/tmp.bak" and "adb shell mv /data/local/tmp.bak /data/local/tmp".

  3. Thank you so much for this useful guide - it worked for me. I had put off doing this for such a long time, but had finally had enough of 'insufficient storage space' messages, and this enabled me to clear and freeze some system apps!

  4. Hi,

    First of all, thanks...
    But, I get error messages, just before the 1st reboot:

    failed on '/data/local/tmp' - Permission denied
    link failed File exists

    And then later on, I get a - "/system/bin/sh: can't create /data/local.prop: Permission denied" - just before the 2nd reboot.
    I'm totally NOT an expert in this stuff, so I followed all the instructions by the letter...
    I'm trying to root my Minix Neo X7.

    By the way, I didn't previously have any file named adb_usb.ini nor directory ".android/" under my home (~/). So I just created them.
    But I did see a device named 'GDX1Z39BMP' when typed adb devices.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  5. Thanks for trying to help: Can't find android-tools-adb. Is some special repository needed?