Android System Engineering
Android System Engineering: How to Build a Better Android OS
The fact that Android system is open source is one of its key characteristics. The complete operating system source code is accessible for free and includes the kernel, user interface, libraries, and important programmes. It follows that anyone (with the necessary technological know-how) may create Android from scratch and instal it using a suitable device. Various groups, some commercial and some enthusiast, have been able to create alternative Android distributions because to this flexibility. These are frequently referred to as custom ROMs, however custom firmware would be a better word.
You might be wondering how challenging it is to make your own custom ROM and do android system engineering, your own version of Android, given that you have all the required building pieces at your disposal. Yes, it is feasible. Continue reading to learn more.
Before entering the mysterious realm of Android System Engineering, we must take a step back and consider the size of the work at hand while tempering our expectations. This isn’t for you if you’ve never used Linux, have no expertise with programming, or even know what a makefile is. A whole operating system, Android. It is intricate and made up of several separate subsystems. It took time to create an operating system as sophisticated and practical as Android. That implies that you must start modest before making any modifications. It will require several hours of arduous labour and devotion to produce a radical alternative Android distribution. Making your own custom Android ROM may be a fulfilling experience if you’re comfortable writing code and have a basic understanding of makefiles and compilers.
Theoretically, any computer device capable of running a current operating system might be equipped with a customised version of the Android operating system. To make things simpler, we will continue to produce Android for Google’s Pixel smartphones. You must have access to and knowledge with Linux in order to create Android. Since you’ll be using the terminal frequently, you should be comfortable using shell commands. You might be possible to utilise a Linux virtual machine, but a dedicated PC is what I would suggest for android system engineering.
You will require a minimum of 400GB of storage and a minimum of 16GB of RAM, while 32GB or 64GB is advised. A contemporary 64-bit CPU with several cores is required. Google claims that Android system engineering on a 6-core machine with 64GB of RAM takes around five times as long as it does on a 72-core machine with the same RAM. I mistakenly attempted to construct it on a dual-core computer with a 10-year-old CPU during my testing. About 24 hours passed. acquire patience Making Android takes time. The source repository sync might take many hours (depending on the speed of your internet connection). A completely clean build also takes a while. You might have to wait 10 to 20 minutes for a build even after a little update. Everything is based on your hardware. Expecting your new version of Android to be functional right away is unrealistic.
Google services are not present in the Android open source project version. As a result, services including Chrome, Google Play, YouTube, and Gmail won’t be available. I’ll leave it up to you to find out how to flash these “gaps” in your modified firmware. Search for “instal gapps” as a tip.
Where to start when build your own Android ROM (Android system engineering)
The following is the fundamental procedure for building a custom ROM or in other words android system engineering. Android may be downloaded and built via the Android Open Source Project. After that, alter the source code to create your own version. Simply. Google provides good instructions for creating AOSP. You must read it once, then twice, then one more. Avoid skipping stages or speaking without thinking about what to say next. I won’t quote the building instructions precisely, but the fundamental procedures are as follows:
- Set up a build environment — including installing the correct development tools.
- Grab the source — this is done using the “Repo” tool.
- Obtain proprietary binaries — some of the drivers are only released in binary form.
- Choose a target — using the “lunch” tool.
- Start the build — using “m.”
- Flash the build onto your device — using ADB and fastboot.
Tips and tricks for the custom ROM build process
Although everything here appears straightforward, there are a few potential hazards. You may find the following notes I made during the procedure to be useful:
Build environment setup: The suggested build of Ubuntu is 18.04. You must instal a number of development-related packages, including gcc, git, python, and others. There is already a prebuilt version of OpenJDK in the Android master branch of AOSP, thus extra installation is not necessary. But previous iterations of Android demand a separate JDK setup. Make advantage of OpenJDK. You can find detailed instructions for setting up your build environment here.
Python 3: Deprecated Python 2 support. Python3 is required to build AOSP. This technique ought to resolve any error messages you may be receiving regarding missing Pythons. Between Python and the python3 binary, create a soft link:
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/python
Grab the source — Although it is a simple procedure of android system engineering, it might take hours. Such a large download only takes place once; subsequent gradual synchronisation with the main source tree. Use the -c (current branch) argument and the -jthreadcount flag as shown below to expedite the download:
repo sync -c -j8
Purchase proprietary binaries, which are self-extracting scripts. Run the self-extracting script located at the root of the source tree after unzipping the files for android system engineering. The vendor/ directory contains the installed binaries. Be aware that there are two sets of binaries—one from Google and one from Qualcomm—for many Pixel devices. You require both. Make sure to download the binaries in line with the AOSP version you are creating.
Choose a target: To get the right build name, go over this list of Pixel devices. For instance, you would use aosp redfin-userdebug if you had a Pixel 5.
Launch the build by typing m. With the -jN parameter, the build system may perform many tasks concurrently. The build system will automatically select an ideal task count for your system if you don’t use the -j parameter.
On your device, view the build: For your build to be flashed on a physical device for android system engineering, you need Google Platform Tools. The Android SDK platform utilities from Google are available, or you may use adb and fastboot from the./out/host/linux-x86/bin directory instead.
You will see the default version of AOSP when “fastboot flashall -w” has successfully installed it on your device. There are only a handful well-known apps and no Play Store or Google services. This is Android’s fundamental architecture. Nevertheless, congratulations are due. You succeeded in creating Android from scratch and installing it on a device. That is a successful step in android system engineering.
Once Android is installed and operational, the next step in android system engineering is that you may begin modifying it and building your own unique ROM. It becomes quite challenging at this point. You’re ready to tinker with the Android operating system’s internal workings, but there’s a problem: Android is enormous. More than 350GB of data, including source code, images, generated binaries, and tools, are stored in my working directory. There is a lot there. So simply get going. Here are two quick adjustments to get you started and on the path to becoming an Android firmware hacker.
Customize the messaging app
Changing one of the pre-built applications is a very simple adjustment in android system engineering. It would be expected that some of the main applications will be modified or replaced if a whole alternative Android distribution were to be created. Although we are only modifying it in this instance, the ideas still apply to modifications and changes that are more intricate.
The main apps are located in the./packages/apps/ directory, while the messaging app is located in./packages/apps/Messaging/. Edit strings.xml by digging around in res/values. You may change it using your preferred GUI editor or vi or nano if you’d rather stay on the command line.
All of the application’s English text may be found in strings.xml. The appropriate XML file for another language must be located in the res/ directory.
Find the location in strings.xml where the discussion list’s empty text is defined. Once you start… is the first line in the string. Change it out for your own string, like B. You can see it here if you start a new conversation.
Using the m command, start a new build after saving the file. Flash the build onto your device and restart when it is finished. Open the Messages app, then search for the new message. Obviously, this is a straightforward modification, but you may make any other modifications you like to the default applications.
A self-respecting modified Android distribution ought to include details about the ROM. We can alter the system’s attributes to do this. Navigate to the build/core/ directory and find the sysprop.mk file. Find the line that specifies BUILD DESC and edit it. Put AOSP++ at the start of the line after:= for a quick modification, as in:
BUILD_DESC := AOSP++ $(TARGET_PRODUCT)-$(TARGET_BUILD_VARIANT) $(PLATFORM_VERSION) $(BUILD_ID) $(BUILD_NUMBER_FROM_FILE) $(BUILD_VERSION_TAGS)
“Save the file, rebuild and re-flash the firmware on your device. Once you reboot, go to Settings->About Phone and scroll to the bottom to finish the android system engineering process of your very own android version”.
About the Author
Ahsan Azam is the author who specializes in avionics as well as research writing. The author has a keen attention to detail and is focused on providing interesting content to the readers.
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