Android-x86

Run Android on your PC

This page describes the latest information about how to build Android for x86 platform. To browse our source code, see

It is easy to compile Android for x86 platform from our git repositories. The built image should run well on real x86 devices as well as virtual machines (like qemu or virtual box). Just follow the following instructions. No additional patch is required.

The branches in Android-x86 tree

Since AOSP evolves very quickly, we have created different branches corresponding to different releases of AOSP:



Getting Android-x86 source code

Firstly, refer to the AOSP page "Establishing a Build Environment" to configure your build environment. For Ubuntu 18.04, install the following required packages:

sudo apt -y install git gcc curl make repo xmllint flex m4
sudo apt -y install openjdk-8-jdk lib32stdc++6 libelf-dev
sudo apt -y install libssl-dev python-mako syslinux-utils

Then pull down the Android-x86 source tree to your working directory by:

mkdir android-x86
cd android-x86
repo init -u git://git.osdn.net/gitroot/android-x86/manifest -b $branch
repo sync --no-tags --no-clone-bundle

Where $branch is one of the branch names described in the previous section. Note the projects created or modified by android-x86 are fetched from our git server. All the other projects are still downloaded from the repositories of AOSP.

If you have issues to sync from the git protocol, try the alternative http one

repo init -u http://scm.osdn.net/gitroot/android-x86/manifest -b $branch
repo sync --no-tags --no-clone-bundle

If you hope to keep syncing your tree with Android-x86 repository, just do repo sync. No need to do repo init again. However, sometimes you may see conflicts during repo sync. See the section "How to Solve Conflicts" for how to solve this situation.

Note: The Android-x86 repository is very big (more than 20GB for oreo-x86). If you encounter problems of sync it, it's likely a network problem or our server is too busy. Repeatedly run 'repo sync' until it succeeds without any error. Do not bother us with any of the syncing problem.

Building the image

Once repo sync is complete, you can build a cdrom iso image. You need Oracle java 1.6 (OpenJDK may not work) to build branches before (includes) kitkat-x86. Since lollipop-x86, java 1.7 is required and OpenJDK is supported. Since nougat-x86, OpenJDK 1.8 is required.

Note: Before froyo-x86 (included), you can build on either a 32-bit or 64-bit host. Since gingerbread-x86, a 64-bit build environment is recommended.

Choose a target

You need to choose a target for the x86 device you want to use/test. We provides several targets for different branches:


Unless you are trying to build an ancient branch, you should just use android_x86_64 for a 64-bit target, or android_x86 for a 32-bit target. They are the universal targets for all x86 devices.

Historically, you should use to use generic_x86 for eclair-x86 to ics-x86 branches. However, it may not optimized for a particular target device. Use eeepc for a generic x86 for donut-x86 branch or before, unless you have the particular devices supported by other targets.

If you are a developer, you can create a target based on android_x86 for your device. See this article for details. However, it's not recommended to do so unless you are a very experienced Android platform developer.

Using lunch commnd (recommended)

You can source the file build/envsetup.sh into your bash environment to get some shell functions to help the building:

source build/envsetup.sh

Now you can select a target by lunch command:

lunch $TARGET_PRODUCT-$TARGET_BUILD_VARIANT

where $TARGET_PRODUCT is any target described in the previous section, and possible values of $TARGET_BUILD_VARIANT are eng, user, userdebug. For example,

lunch android_x86_64-userdebug

Then you can build by m command:

m -jX iso_img

m command is equivalent to make, but you can use it in any subdirectory of the android-x86 tree. Replace X by the number of processors you have. For example, if you have a quad core CPU, replace X with 4:

m -j4 iso_img

Since froyo-x86, we also add menu selection to lunch command. Just type lunch, and you will get a list of available targets. Choose a target by inputting its number. Alternatively, just type lunch $number.

Building directly

You may specify the target to be built by TARGET_PRODUCT variable. For example, to build a live cdrom iso image for target android_x86, type:

make -jX iso_img TARGET_PRODUCT=android_x86

To generate a live cdrom iso for tegav2, type

make -jX iso_img TARGET_PRODUCT=tegav2

Then you will get an iso file out/target/product/x86/android_x86.iso, etc.

Using buildspec.mk

You can create a buildspec.mk in your android-x86 directory to remember a particular target product you build often:

TARGET_PRODUCT := android_x86_64
TARGET_BUILD_VARIANT := userdebug
TARGET_BUILD_TYPE := release
TARGET_KERNEL_CONFIG := android-x86_64_defconfig

With your buildspec.mk file in your android-x86 working directory, you can simply make by

make -jX iso_img

Build smaller image

Since marshmallow-x86, the generated Android-x86 core filesystem will be compressed by squashfs by default. Before that, squashfs is used only if you have squashfs-tools 4.0 (older version will not work) installed in your host. The generated iso file is much smaller (only about 30-40%). However, if you hope to disable it for some reasons, add USE_SQUASHFS=0 to make. You can put it to buildspec.mk:

USE_SQUASHFS := 0

Before froyo-x86 (included), If you hope to get a more smaller image, you may remove the debugging symbols by adding

TARGET_STRIP := 1

Since gingerbread-x86, the debugging symbols are stripped by default. So the option is unnecessary.

Testing

The generated image is located at

out/target/product/$TARGET_PRODUCT/$TARGET_PRODUCT.iso

You can easily test the iso file by a virtual box or qemu. On the booting screen, select the VESA or debug mode to boot.

Of course you can burn the iso to a CD disk and test it on a real hardware. On booting it will automatically detect your hardware and load necessary modules. If you have problem with the default frame buffer driver, you may try the VESA mode (select second item on boot screen).

Since honeycomb-x86, we supports the hybrid iso format. That is, the iso could be dumped to a usb disk directly. You may create a bootable USB disk by

dd if=out/target/product/x86/android_x86.iso of=/dev/sdX

where /dev/sdX is the device name of your USB disk. The feature is available for all iso files released after 2011/12/25.

For more details about how to use the iso or install it, see the installation howto.

Advanced

This section describes some useful information for advanced users. You may need good linux expertise to complete it.

Install to USB disk

For advanced linux users, you may create a bootable USB disk by hand. Here are the steps:

  1. Install grub to your USB disk
    •     find a linux machine with the latest grub installed
    •     partition your USB drive with fdisk or gpartd and mark the partition as bootable
    •     format that partition to ext4 (recommended) or vfat.
    •     mount your usb drive to /mnt
    •     cd /mnt
    •     grub-install --root-directory=. --no-floppy /dev/<your usb device node name>
    •     cd /boot/grub
    •     create your menu.lst based on the next section

  2. Add this section to menu.lst
  3. title Run Android-x86
        kernel /android/kernel root=/dev/ram0 androidboot.selinux=permissive SRC=/android
        initrd /android/initrd.img
    title Run Android-x86 (VESA mode)
        kernel /android/kernel root=/dev/ram0 androidboot.selinux=permissive vga=788 SRC=/android
        initrd /android/initrd.img
    title Run Android-x86 (Debug mode)
        kernel /android/kernel root=/dev/ram0 androidboot.selinux=permissive vga=788 SRC=/android DEBUG=1
        initrd /android/initrd.img

    Note androidboot.selinux=permissive must be added since nougat-x86. Besides, before marshmallow-x86, androidboot.hardware=<target> must be added to specify the target name of the built image. However, do not add this option since nougat-x86.

    Since kitkat-x86 the SRC= parameter may be omitted if the system image is in the same directory as the kernel.

  4. Create /android directory in the USB disk, and copy the four files kernel initrd.img ramdisk.img system.sfs (or system.img if you set USE_SQUASHFS=0) to it.

Then you can boot from the USB disk and enjoy Android. Note all data are saved to the ramdisk, so all will lose after power off. If you hope to save data to disk, see the next section.



Install to hard disk

Install to a hard disk is just the same as install to a USB disk. Even you do not need to create a new partition. Just copy android files into an existing partition, install grub to the hard disk (if not done yet), and modify the menu.lst.

People still ask, what if my hard disk is empty? How to install grub and copy files into it? There are several ways to do it. I provide two here:


Save data to USB/hard disk

We provide several ways to save data to your disk. You can choose one of them according to your situation:



Solving conflicts

There are several reason to have conflicts during repo sync, say


In this section we assume you have conflicts due to the upstream changed. That is, you don't have local modifications. If you do, you have to solve conflicts yourself. If you follow the procedures in this section, you may lose your local modifications.

Here is an example of a conflict in mainfest:

repo sync
remote: Counting objects: 71, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (41/41), done.
remote: Total 65 (delta 25), reused 28 (delta 9)
Unpacking objects: 100% (65/65), done.
From git://git.tarot.com.tw/android-x86/platform/manifest
     d53e6c1..2de7a11 android-1.5r2 -> origin/android-1.5r2
    * [new branch] android-1.5r3 -> origin/android-1.5r3
    * [new branch] android-sdk-1.5_r3 -> origin/android-sdk-1.5_r3
     d53e6c1..c544020 cupcake -> origin/cupcake
    * [new branch] cupcake-release -> origin/cupcake-release
     f4d79b1..6f7e0dd donut -> origin/donut
    + 7308d31...4a4f936 lan -> origin/lan (forced update)
    + b480a6d...d82496e local -> origin/local (forced update)
    + 11c9d96...84345fb master -> origin/master (forced update)
    + 5bcbf93...66e92cc mirror -> origin/mirror (forced update)
    + 9f3092f...665f9e8 ssh -> origin/ssh (forced update)
    + c6037be...d70927f ssh-mirror -> origin/ssh-mirror (forced update)
    + 00a823f...3ddaf66 test -> origin/test (forced update)
    * [new tag] android-1.5r3 -> android-1.5r3
    * [new tag] android-sdk-1.5_r3 -> android-sdk-1.5_r3
Fetching projects: 100% (128/128), done.
project .repo/manifests/
First, rewinding head to replay your work on top of it...
Applying: merge donut, change or add the projects to x86 port
error: patch failed: default.xml:3
error: default.xml: patch does not apply
Using index info to reconstruct a base tree...
Falling back to patching base and 3-way merge...
Auto-merging default.xml
CONFLICT (content): Merge conflict in default.xml
Failed to merge in the changes.
Patch failed at 0001 merge donut, change or add the projects to x86 port

When you have resolved this problem run "git rebase --continue".
If you would prefer to skip this patch, instead run "git rebase --skip".
To restore the original branch and stop rebasing run "git rebase --abort".

repo sync stopped due to conflicts. Since we don't have local modifications, just ignore it by git rebase --skip:

cd .repo/manifests
git rebase --skip
HEAD is now at 4a4f936 add branch for local lan
Applying: add platform/frameworks/policies/base to x86
error: patch failed: default.xml:18
error: default.xml: patch does not apply
Using index info to reconstruct a base tree...
Falling back to patching base and 3-way merge...
Auto-merging default.xml
No changes -- Patch already applied.
Applying: add branch for local lan
error: patch failed: default.xml:1
error: default.xml: patch does not apply
Using index info to reconstruct a base tree...
Falling back to patching base and 3-way merge...
Auto-merging default.xml
No changes -- Patch already applied.

If it complains about another conflict, do git rebase --skip again, until the rebase procedure completes. Usually it is enough, but if you hope to be absolute clean, you can ignore the current branch and checkout a new one like (suppose you're using oreo-x86 branch):

git checkout -t oreo-x86 m/oreo-x86

This may not be the best approach to solve conflicts, but should be easy enough for beginners. If you have better suggestions, just tell us.

Customize Kernel

If you'd like to customize the kernel for your hardware, read this article for details.