I am running Android Revolution HD 52.0 custom ROM (Android 4.3) with Koush's superuser on a Samsung Galaxy S3 GT-I9300.

In the hope of using some native shell applications on my phone for the purpose of backup and synchronization it with my GNU/Linux computers, I installed opkg from here: http://dan.drown.org/android/, and went on to install openssh and rsync. All of the new binaries are in /data/local/bin, and my own scripts are also in /data/local.

Using Jack Palevich's Android Terminal I am able to use rsync via ssh to push files onto my computers from my phone, but only when not logged in as root (ie when I haven't used the 'su' command).

When I run the scripts as root (after running su in the terminal emulator), I get the following error:

rsync: failed to exec ssh: Permission denied (13)

I get the same error message using adb shell + su.

The relevant line from the script is:

/data/local/bin/rsync --itemize-changes --verbose --human-readable \
--log-file=$local_path/log/nbbak-$(date +%F-%H-%M-%S).log \
--recursive --update --times --modify-window=1 \
--rsh="/data/local/bin/ssh -i $keyfile -p $port" \
$local_path/ $remote_path/ 

local_path is currently /storage/extSdCard. I have added the \ here for readability.

As I said, this operation (rsync put) works when using the script from Palevich's Terminal without su.

My questions are:

What is the problem? Is it about how Android assigns userids to processes? (As I understand it, new processes all run with their own userid. Is this what is happening here - is rsync not actually running as root, so it is not able to launch the ssh process as root either.) Or is something else going on? How could I troubleshoot this? I have tried running logcat, but don't know what I'm looking for.

What might the solution be with my current configuration?

I would like to run rysnc via ssh as root, as although it works in the terminal emulator without su, I am only able to push, not pull files that way, whereas I would hope as root that I could pull files too.

1 Answer 1


I'm going to attempt a self-answer although it is something of a Frame Challenge / XY problem situation.

I never found out what exactly was the problem with the configuration I had, however I was able to get what I wanted, ie fully integrated command-line ssh / rsync / bash scripting etc. by installing CyanogenMod 11 on my Samsung Galaxy S3 GT-I9300, as these and more command-line tools come as standard and are evidently properly set up so as to avoid the odd problems I experienced on my previous configuration.

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