Installing busybox (for Android) on BeagleBoard


BusyBox provides several stripped-dowUnix tools in a single executable file. It runs in a variety of POSIX environments such as Linux, and Android. Some of these tools are

  • ssty
  • su
  • gzip
  • ping
  • netstat
  • tar
  • arp
  • wc
  • microcom

Why is busybox necessary on a BeagleBoard running Android?

The default Android build does not have many useful tools like stty, so there it is where this swiss army knife comes to rescue.

Installing busybox

  1. Download ‘busybox’ from
  2. Connect to the board using ADB. ./adb shell
  3. Create a busybox directory inside data. mkdir /data/busybox
  4. Exit ADB. exit
  5. Push the downloaded file to the board. ./adb push busybox /data/busybox/busybox
  6. Enter Shell again. ./adb shell
  7. And change permission in order to let any app execute busybox. chmod 777 /data/busybox/busybox

ADB over Ethernet in BeagleBoard

Setting up device

First of all we need to ensure that we have an Ethernet connection up and running. Connect your PC to the Beagleboard using a USB to Serial converter. USB side on your host and Serial on the RS232 debug port of the Beagleboard.
Then connect using minicom (or any other term program) at 115200bps 8N1. This will let you access a simple linux shell. At the prompt type:
root@android:/ # netcfg
You should see something like

lo   UP
sit0 DOWN
usb0 UP

if not, try running netcfg eth0 dhcp or netcfg usb0 dhcp in order to obtain a connection.
Once the connection is established, we will change the ADB TCPIP port and then restart ADB Daemon (adbd)

root@android:/ # setprop service.adb.tcp.port 5555
root@android:/ # stop adbd
root@android:/ # start adbd

Setting up host

Back on your host machine, start ADB in TCPIP mode and then connect to your device like this

$ sudo ./adb tcpio 5555
$ sudo ./adb connect

Once you are connected you can check that everything is working running an adb command like:

$ sudo ./adb devices
List of devices attached device


$ sudo ./adb logcat

Android 4.1.2 Image for Beagleboard XM

This Image can be loaded into an SD Card (4GBytes min). It can run entirely from the SD Card, or the Android OS can run from a USB Flash, and U-Boot, X-Loader and the Kernel on the SD Card.

Configure U-Boot

For running entirely from the SD Card

Setup U-BOOT for Android and Kernel on SD Card


For running Android OS from a USB Drive

Setup U-BOOT for Android on USB and Kernel on SD Card


copy rootfs.tar.bz2 to USB Drive and untar (all these commands should be executed as Administrator)

Create SDCard

Note: Script not yet optimized for configuration with USB Drive (it is not necessary to copy rootfs to SD Card when booting from USB)
sudo ./ /dev/sdb MLO u-boot uImage boot.scr rootfs.tar.bz2

Files: Android Image for BeagleBoard xM

Loading rootfs from USB in Beagleboard

1) Format a USB Flash Drive with EXT4 File System
2) Decompress rootfs.tar.gz into USB Flash Drive
cp rootfs.tar.gz /media/USBDrive
cd /media/USBDrive
tar -jxvf rootfs.tar.gz
rm rootfs.tar.gz
3) Now we will tell the board to boot from USB

cp ~/RowboatTools/am37x/mk-bootscr/mkbootscr ~/RowboatTools/am37x/mk-bootscr/mkbootscrUSB

vi  ~/RowboatTools/am37x/mk-bootscr/mkbootscrUSB

change root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rw rootfstype=ext4 rootwait to root=/dev/sda1 rw rootfstype=ext4 rootdelay=30 rootwait
4) Build boot.scr
cd ~/RowboatTools/am37x/mk-bootscr/

5) Copy boot.scr into SD Card – Boot partition
cp boot.scr /media/boot
6) Unmount all drives and boot with SD Card and USB Flash Drive inserted
Later you can try formating the “rootfs” partition in the SD Card and restart the board. Don’t erase the partition, just the content.
You will find that running Android on Beagleboard from USB may be, by far, faster than from SD Card.

Building Android Jelly Bean (4.1.2) for Beagleboard xM

Jelly Bean on Beagleboard xM


  • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS – AMD64
    • A 64-bit OS is needed in order to build Android 4.x from source code
  • Dual- or Quad-core  (recommended) CPU
  • At least 4GB of RAM
  • 45GB of free disk space
  • Internet connection

Installing utils and libs

From a Terminal console execute
sudo aptitude install ia32-libs
sudo apt-get install git-core gnupg flex bison gperf build-essential
zip curl libc6-dev libncurses5-dev:i386 x11proto-core-dev
libx11-dev:i386 libreadline6-dev:i386 libgl1-mesa-glx:i386
libgl1-mesa-dev g++-multilib mingw32 openjdk-6-jdk tofrodos
python-markdown libxml2-utils xsltproc zlib1g-dev:i386

and then
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/mesa/ /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/

Installing Oracle Java JDK

  1. Download Oracle Java6 JDK from here (file: jdk-6u34-linux-x86.bin) to ~/Downloads
  2. In a Terminal cnosole execute
    1. cd ~/Downloads
    2. cp jdk-6u43-linux-x64.bin ~/
    3. cd ~/
    4. chmod +x  jdk-6u43-linux-x64.bin
    5. ./jdk-6u43-linux-x64.bin
    6. sudo mv jdk1.6.0_43/ /usr/lib/jvm/
  3. Add Oracle Java6 JDK to Ubuntu JVM list
    1. sudo update-alternatives –install /usr/bin/javac javac /usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0_43/bin/javac 1
    2. sudo update-alternatives –install /usr/bin/java java /usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0_43/bin/java 1
    3. sudo update-alternatives –install /usr/bin/javaws javaws /usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0_43/bin/javaws 1
  4. Select Oracle Java6 JDK as default JVM
    1. sudo update-alternatives –config javac
    2. sudo update-alternatives –config java
    3. sudo update-alternatives –config javaws

In this three last commands, select Oracle Java6 JDK as default, like in the example below

kimi@X-Server:~$ sudo update-alternatives --config java
There are 2 choices for the alternative java (providing /usr/bin/java).

Selection Path Priority Status
0 /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-amd64/jre/bin/java 1061 auto mode
1 /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-amd64/jre/bin/java 1061 manual mode
* 2 /usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0_34/bin/java 1 manual mode
Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 2

Installing REPO

Repo is a tool created by Google in order to admin git repositories easyly.
In a Terminal console execute

  1. mkdir ~/bin
  2. export PATH=~/bin:$PATH
  3. curl > ~/bin/repo
  4. chmod a+x ~/bin/repo

Initialize the repository

  1. mkdir ~/rowboat-android
  2. cd ~/rowboat-android
  3. repo init -u git:// -m rowboat-jb-am37x.xml                         (JB for Beagleboard)
  4. repo sync

If a warning telling you that there is a new REPO version appears. Stop the sync process and update

  1.  cp ~/rowboat-android/.repo/repo/repo  ~/bin/repo
  2. chmod a+x ~/bin/repo
  3. repo sync

Once the repo is successfully synced, you will see a message like this:

* [new branch]      rowboat-froyo -> rowboat/rowboat-froyo
* [new branch]      rowboat-gingerbread -> rowboat/rowboat-gingerbread
* [new branch]      rowboat-ics -> rowboat/rowboat-ics
* [new branch]      rowboat-jb -> rowboat/rowboat-jb
* [new branch]      ti-dsp     -> rowboat/ti-dsp
Fetching projects: 100% (261/261), done.
Checking out files: 100% (8843/8843), done.out files:  10% (949/8843)
Checking out files: 100% (24601/24601), done.ut files:  50% (12308/24601)
Checking out files: 100% (18021/18021), done.ut files:   3% (616/18021)
Checking out files: 100% (35638/35638), done.ut files:   1% (663/35638)
Checking out files: 100% (2088/2088), done. out files:   6% (134/2088)
Checking out files: 100% (974/974), out files:  34% (336/974)
Checking out files: 100% (667/667), out files:  18% (123/667)
Checking out files: 100% (2412/2412), done. out files:   4% (106/2412)
Checking out files: 100% (26958/26958), done.ut files:  24% (6516/26958)
Checking out files: 100% (81/81), done.
Checking out files: 100% (441/441), out files:  43% (194/441)
Checking out files: 100% (6505/6505), done. out files:   1% (108/6505)
Syncing work tree: 100% (261/261), done.


Cross compiling Jelly Bean for Beagleboard

Now we are going to modify the PATH variable in order to include the binary directory of the GCC compiler. The following command should be executed every time you open a new Terminal console and want to compile the code. Unless, you include the new PATH into your ‘.bashrc’ or ‘.bash_profile’ file.
export PATH=~/rowboat-android/prebuilts/gcc/linux-x86/arm/arm-eabi-4.6/bin:$PATH


X-loader is a small first stage boot loader derived from the u-boot base code to be loaded into the internal static ram by the OMAP ROM code. Because the internal static ram is very small (64k-32k), x-loader is stripped down to the essentials and is used to initialize memory and enough of the peripheral devices to access and load the second stage loader (U-boot) into main memory.
In order to build X-loader we will follow these steps
cd ~/rowboat-android/x-loader/
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- distclean
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- omap3beagle_config
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- -j4

the parameter ‘-j4’ will tell the make to use up to 4 threads to build the code. If you have a dual-core/two-threads CPU, use ‘-j2’. Omitting this parameter will also compile the code, but using just a single thread (which for x-loader or u-boot is not a big problem, but the Android source code can take many hours).
The result of this process is a file named ‘x-load.bin’ on the current directory. This file should be signed with a tool called ‘signGP’ before x-loader gets into the MMC card.

Downloading Rowboat-tools for Jelly Bean

cd ~
curl > RowboatTools.tar.gz
tar -zxvf RowboatTools.tar.gz

Signing x-load.bin

cp ~/RowboatTools/signGP/signGP ~/rowboat-android/x-loader/signGP
cd ~/rowboat-android/x-loader
./signGP x-load.bin
cp x-load.bin.ift MLO

Now we have a ‘MLO’ file which is a signed version of the binary x-loader, and this file can be used in the board.


Uboot is a universal bootloader program that developed for the loading and starting of embedded Linux systems. Uboot essentially can load a (linux) kernel from one of several locations, and start it with corresponding arguments.

cd ~/rowboat-android/u-boot/
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- distclean
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- omap3_beagle_config
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- -j4

The result of this process is ‘u-boot.bin’ file. And a successful build generates an output like this:

api/libapi.a post/libpost.a board/ti/beagle/libbeagle.a --end-group /home/kimi/rowboat-android/u-boot/arch/arm/lib/eabi_compat.o -L /home/kimi/rowboat-android/prebuilts/gcc/linux-x86/arm/arm-eabi-4.6/bin/../lib/gcc/arm-eabi/4.6.x-google -lgcc -Map -o u-boot
arm-eabi-objcopy -O srec u-boot u-boot.srec
arm-eabi-objcopy --gap-fill=0xff -O binary u-boot u-boot.bin

Building Android, Kernel and SGX

In order to build Android, its kernel and SGX (which provides the Hardware Acceleration needed by Android 3.x+)

cd ~/rowboat-android
make TARGET_PRODUCT=beagleboard OMAPES=5.x -j4

(This step takes aprox. 1 hour)
If this commad successed you will see something like this on the console

Installation complete!

cat >install
chmod a+x install
make[1]: Leaving directory `/home/kimi/rowboat-android/hardware/ti/sgx’
If you don’t see an output like this, try running the command without “-j4”.
If everything is Ok, then it’s time to create the root filesystem and compress it into a tar.gz file. (20 minutes. aprox)
cd ~/rowboat-android
make TARGET_PRODUCT=beagleboard fs_tarball -j4

Building Kernel and Android separately

It is possible to build the kernel and Android separately, and this is recommended once you have done a full build and you have modified only a small part of the code.

Builing the Kernel

cd ~/rowboat-android/kernel
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- distclean
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- omap3_beagle_android_defconfig
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- uImage -j4

This will generate ‘uImage’ (kernel image) in “~/rowboat-android/kernel/arch/arm/boot”

Builing Android

cd ~/rowboat-android
make TARGET_PRODUCT=beagleboard droid -j4

Again, in order to create the root filesystem, run

cd ~/rowboat-android
make TARGET_PRODUCT=beagleboard fs_tarball

Creating a bootable SD-Card

Once x-load, Uboot, kernel and Android are built, it’s time to create a bootable SD-Card with all this files.

Boot arguments

Edit boot arguments for am37x.
cd ~/RowboatTools/am37x/mk-bootscr
gedit boot.scr

Change mem=256M with mem=448M. This will increase the amount of RAM available in Android for applications.
Generate boot script

Putting all together

Format the SD Card into a single FAT32 partition. A +4GB SD Card is recommended, while the minimum amount of memory is 2GB.

mkdir ~/rowboat-image
cp ~/rowboat-android/kernel/arch/arm/boot/uImage ~/rowboat-image
cp ~/rowboat-android/u-boot/u-boot.bin ~/rowboat-image
cp ~/rowboat-android/x-loader/MLO ~/rowboat-image
cp ~/RowboatTools/am37x/mk-bootscr/boot.scr ~/rowboat-image
cp ~/rowboat-android/out/target/product/beagleboard/rootfs.tar.bz2 ~/rowboat-image
cp ~/RowboatTools/am37x/mk-mmc/ ~/rowboat-image

Execute the script

cd ~/rowboat-image
sudo ./ /dev/sdb  MLO u-boot.bin uImage boot.scr rootfs.tar.bz2

Change /dev/sdb with the path for your SD Card
If you don’t see anything executed on the console, may be has a hidden char that generates problem. Try opening the file with gEdit and copying the content to another file, for example Then make that file executable and try again.


Now you are ready to extract the SD Card, insert it into the Beagleboard and run Android. Be patience, the first start up can take several minutes. The second time you start up Android it takes minutes more or less.


Some SD Cards show a very poor performance. Most Kingston micro SDHC cards have this performance issue. San Disk micro SDHC or Sony micro SDHC are recommended.

Known issues

  • mmc0: error -110 whilst initializing SD card
Your are using a SDHC Card affected by preemption model in Kernel 2.6. Look to this post about loading “rootfs” from USB . This avoids the bug, and gives more performance & storage space.