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Posted 24 Sep 2014
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Beginner's Android Porting: Setting up a Stable Build Environment on Debian

, 24 Sep 2014
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Take some of the headache out of Android porting with a stable, consistent build environment.

Introduction

Avoid dependency conflicts and sandbox your Android development from your Debian GNU/Linux system by setting up your development environment in a chrooted environment. This is intended for the Wildcard category, as building Android from source did not appear to be covered elsewhere.

Background

This guide is part of an ongoing personal project to develop Free and Open-Source book on Android ROM porting, aiming to streamline and demystify the R&D process for ROM porting. The source for this guide(in MarkDown Extra) is available on GitHub at https://github.com/omr87169.

Android Development Environment Setup on Debian-Based GNU/Linux Distributions

*for the purposes of this book, all instructions taking place on GNU/Linux will explicitly show the use of sudo when a command must be run as root or a substitute user. This is largely in order to disambiguate the process of setting up a build environment.

Stabilizing and Isolating your Build Environment with debootstrap and chroot

Using chroot will allow you to work with a consistent build environment and avoid conflicting dependencies. Although it is not described in most Android porting guides, I find it to be an invaluable step in setting up my development environment. In order to do this, we shall use debootstrap to generate a minimal Debian installation in a directory on your computer, mount the necessary parts the underlying filesystem, and enter the new sterile environment using chroot. Lastly, we'll write some short scripts to automatically enter our build environment. This process may seem a little onerous, but it can save you some trouble if you take the time to do it.

Programs you will be using

First, set up some directories.

These directories will hold all the files you require for building your Android ROM.

<code>    mkdir -p ~/android/system
</code>

/android is the directory where we will store a few helper scripts for setting up and entering the build environment

/android/system is the directory where the stable chroot environment will be created.

Second, get some dependencies.

In case you don't have debootstrap installed already, install it.

<code>    sudo apt-get install debootstrap
</code>

debootstrap creates a minimal Debian install in a directory on your computer.

Third, run debootstrap.

Change directory to the helper script directory.

<code>    cd ~/android
</code>

Run debootstrap to create a Debian i386 install in the system directory.

<code>    sudo debootstrap --arch i386 wheezy system
</code>

Alternatively, create a Debian amd64 install in the system directory.

This command means "as root, boostrap a new Debian installation for the i386 architecture using the wheezy repositories in the directory under the working directory called system."

Fourth, mount /proc, /sys and /dev.

Next, you will need to mount some parts of the host filesystem in order to use the system you have just created.

<code>    sudo mount proc system/proc -t proc
    sudo mount sysfs system/sys -t sysfs
    sudo mount --bind /dev/pts ~/android/system/dev/pts
    sudo mount --bind system/dev /dev
</code>

Fifth, enter the chroot and allow it to draw from wheezy-backports.

Copy the local hosts file into the development environment

<code>    sudo cp /etc/hosts system/etc/hosts
</code>

Copy the locally mounted devices into the development environment.

<code>    sudo cp /proc/mounts system/etc/mtab
</code>

Now we're ready to enter the chroot. This time, we're just going to set up the wheezy-backports repository, update the installation, and quit.

<code>    sudo chroot system
    mkdir -p /home/android/
    echo "
    deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ wheezy-backports main
    " >> /etc/apt/sources.list
    echo "
    APT::Default-Release "wheezy";
    " > /etc/apt/apt.conf
    apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade
</code>

The wheezy-backports repository will be used supplementally to help you install software essential to working with Android ROM's.

Sixth, write some scripts to enter the chroot automatically.

We aren't configured to automatically start the processes in the chroot when you start the system, so each time, we'll have to re-mount the host filesystems and re-copy the host and mounts files into the chroot. Instead of doing all that, we're just going to create a script that will load you right into the chroot automatically.

Create a file containing the script to enter the chroot in the helper scripts directory.

<code>    echo "#! /bin/sh
    sudo mount proc ~/android/system/proc -t proc
    sudo mount sysfs ~/android/system/sys -t sysfs
    sudo mount -o bind /dev/pts ~/android/system/dev/pts
    sudo mount -o bind /dev ~/android/system/dev
    sudo cp /proc/mounts ~/android/system/etc/mtab
    sudo cp /etc/hosts ~/android/system/etc/hosts
    sudo chroot ~/android/system/ /bin/sh -c "cd /home/android && bash && CROSS_COMPILE=/home/android/arm-linux-androideabi-4.7/prebuilt/linux-x86_64/bin/arm-linux-androideabi- & echo "success ""
    " > ~/android/enter.sh
</code>

Make the file executable.

<code>    chmod +x ~/android/enter.sh
</code>

Finally, let's review the workflow for those new scripts.

To use the enter.sh script, you just change directory to the helper scripts directory and run ./enter.sh. Because it uses sudo, you will be asked for your password.

<code>    cd ~/android/
    ./enter.sh
</code>

Exit the chroot build environment

Leave the chroot.

Type exit.

<code>    exit
</code>

Installing the building dependencies

Next, we're going to install the build dependencies for compiling an Android ROM in the chroot.

Programs you will be using

  • apt-get
  • ln

Enter the build environment.

When you want to work on your Android ROM, you will need to enter your chroot development environment.

Now that you have your chroot environment set up, enter it.

<code>    cd ~/android
    ./enter.sh
</code>

Set up the build dependencies

Now just use apt to install the build dependencies.

For 386 build environments, install these packages.

<code>    apt-get install -t wheezy-backports bison flex git-core gperf \
    libncurses-dev build-essential squashfs-tools openjdk-6-jre \
    openjdk-6-jdk pngcrush wget zip zlib1g-dev lzma libxml2-utils \
    build-essential libesd0-dev libsdl1.2-dev libwxgtk2.8-dev libxml2 lzop \
    xsltproc zip schedtool locales
</code>

For amd64 build environments, also install these packages.

<code>    apt-get install libc6-dev-i386 gcc-multilib g++-multilib lib32z1-dev \
    lib32readline5-dev lib32ncurses5-dev 
</code>
Something to come back to, resolving libraries.

This is the first part of the process which may require some reasoning(although the use of the 386 chroot should mitigate most issues). Some distributions put libraries in slightly different directories on your computer. If you get an error when you are compiling your ROM that involves a missing library, this is probably the case. Resolving this issue will involve making a symbolic link in to the required library in the directory where the environment expects it to be.

for example, should you see zconf.h missing, you probably need to do something like

<code>    sudo ln -s /usr/include/x86_64-linux-gnu/zconf.h /usr/lib/zconf.h
</code>

Similarly, if libstdc++.so is missing,

<code>    sudo ln -s /usr/lib32/libstdc++.so.6.0.14 /usr/lib32/libstdc++.so
</code>

or libGL.so

<code>    sudo ln -s /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/mesa/libGL.so.1 \
    /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libGL.so
</code>

This command means as root, create a soft symbolic link to the required file in the directory where the compiler is looking for it.

Unfortunately, it's hard to determine where your particular build environment expects each of these libraries to be. I will do my best to document as many of these as possible in this document.

Installing repo

A few more programs need to be installed for you to obtain the sources and build successfully.

Something to come back to, apt-get only install of SDK and NDK

Parts of the Android SDK and NDK are already available as standard Debian packages, unfortunately it is not readily apparent how complete these tools are. for that reason, we'll be setting all of these tools up from source rather than using the apt packages. If anyone knows more about how to use the apt packages in lieu of installing the software from source, please let me know.

Let's install repo

Created by Google, repo is a tool which automates the downloading of a large number of git source repositories in an automated fashion using xml files called manifests. I will go into more detail about repo in the second half of this part of the book.

Installing repo is easy, just download the file to your /usr/bin directory.

<code>    curl https://storage.googleapis.com/git-repo-downloads/repo > /usr/bin/repo
</code>

Then, make it executable.

<code>    chmod a+x /usr/bin/repo
</code>

This installs repo directly into your path at /usr/bin/repo. The Android documentation does this differently, encouraging you to install repo into a folder under your home directory and add that folder to your $PATH to help you facilitate updates. In a chroot, that is not necessary.

Also the name is kind of bullshit. It makes it super hard to find people's forum posts about using repo as opposed to searching for other types of repositories. Way to think it through, Google.

Install the Android NDK and add it to yout PATH

You also need the Android NDK to compile your own ROM. The NDK generates binary code for arm devices.

In order to install the NDK, download it using wget. wget -O /home/NDK.tar.gz http://dl.google.com/android/ndk/android-ndk32-r10-linux-x86.tar.bz2 tar xvjf NDK.tar.gz CROSS_COMPILE=/home/android/android-ndk-r10/arm-linux-androideabi-4.7/prebuilt/linux-x86_64/bin/arm-linux-androideabi-

Installing adb, fastboot

You may wish to install adb and fastboot on your host computer and not in your chroot development environment. This can be done using apt, or by installing the SDK tools from source.

From outside the chroot development environment, run

<code>    sudo apt-get install android-tools*
</code>

Or, from inside the chroot development environment, run

<code>    apt-get install android-tools
</code>

A one-time script which does all this for you

<code>    #! /bin/sh
    mkdir -p ~/android/system
    sudo apt-get install debootstrap
    cd ~/android
    echo "Do you want to use an i386 or amd64 build environment?"
    select Arch in "i386" "amd64"; do
            case $Arch in
                    i386 ) sudo debootstrap --arch i386 wheezy system; a=i386;
                    amd64 ) sudo debootstrap --arch amd64 wheezy system; a=amd64;
            esac
    done
    sudo mount proc system/proc -t proc
    sudo mount sysfs system/sys -t sysfs
    sudo mount --bind system/dev /dev
    sudo cp /etc/hosts system/etc/hosts
    sudo cp /proc/mounts system/etc/mtab
    sudo chroot system
    mkdir -p /home/android/
    echo "
    deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ wheezy-backports main
    " >> /etc/apt/sources.list
    echo "
    APT::Default-Release "wheezy";
    " > /etc/apt/apt.conf
    apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade
    echo '#! /bin/sh
    sudo mount proc ~/android/system/proc -t proc
    sudo mount sysfs ~/android/system/sys -t sysfs
    sudo mount -o bind /dev/pts ~/android/system/dev/pts
    sudo mount -o bind /dev ~/android/system/dev
    sudo cp /proc/mounts ~/android/system/etc/mtab
    sudo cp /etc/hosts ~/android/system/etc/hosts
    sudo chroot ~/android/system/ /bin/sh -c "cd /home/android && bash && CROSS_COMPILE=/home/android/android-ndk-r10/arm-linux-androideabi-4.7/prebuilt/linux-x86_64/bin/arm-linux-androideabi-gcc & echo "success""
    ' > ~/android/enter.sh
    chmod +x ~/android/enter.sh
    cd ~/android/
    ./enter.sh
    exit
    cd ~/android
    ./enter.sh
    apt-get install -t wheezy-backports bison flex git-core gperf \
    libncurses-dev build-essential squashfs-tools openjdk-6-jre \
    openjdk-6-jdk pngcrush wget zip zlib1g-dev lzma libxml2-utils \
    build-essential libesd0-dev libsdl1.2-dev libwxgtk2.8-dev libxml2 lzop \
    xsltproc zip schedtool locales
    case a in        
            amd64 ) apt-get install libc6-dev-i386 gcc-multilib \
            g++-multilib lib32z1-dev lib32readline5-dev lib32ncurses5-dev 
    esac
    curl https://storage.googleapis.com/git-repo-downloads/repo > /usr/bin/repo
    chmod a+x /usr/bin/repo
    wget -O /home/NDK.tar.gz http://dl.google.com/android/ndk/android-ndk32-r10-linux-x86.tar.bz2
    tar xvjf NDK.tar.gz
    CROSS_COMPILE=/home/android/android-ndk-r10/arm-linux-androideabi-4.7/prebuilt/linux-x86_64/bin/arm-linux-androideabi-gcc
    echo "Install android-tools-* packages on the host machine or the build 
    machine?"
    select tools in "host" "build"; do
            case $Arch in
                    host ) sudo apt-get install android-tools*;
                    build )sudo chroot ~android/system apt-get install android-tools*
            esac
    done
</code>

Further Citations

Build Dependencies Installation,, Replicant Wiki, Replicant Project
Initializing a Build Environment, Android Developers Guide, Google

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroot

 

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The GNU General Public License (GPLv3)

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dkoksal
United States United States
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GeneralThanks! Pin
Kevin Priddle25-Sep-14 5:50
professionalKevin Priddle25-Sep-14 5:50 

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