Sunday, May 10, 2015

Android Linux Kernel module building/installation

Let's now show how to install a module into the just compiled Android kernel (see this post for more information)

For compiling the module, it's important that you use the same kernel source that is installed in your device. Otherwise, you cannot install the module.

a. Go to the code that contains an example of kernel module for Android (for instance, [your_code]/module/intercept);
b. Update the makefile to point to your kernel source code;
c. You need to set some env variables, including the cross-compiler. In this case, you can use the ones provided by the Android source, in the folder prebuilts:

   @desktop:$ export CROSS_COMPILE=[android_sdk]/prebuilts/gcc/linux-x86/arm/arm-eabi-4.7/bin/arm-eabi-
   @desktop:$ export ARCH=arm
   @desktop:$ export PATH=$PATH:/prebuilts/gcc/linux-x86/arm/arm-eabi-4.7/bin/
   @desktop:$ make
   (a kernel module file will be generated ([your_module].ko) and this is the one that we need to install in our rooted device)

d. Copy the .ko file to the device using the following command:

   @desktop:$ adb push [your_module].ko /data/local/tmp

e. Install the kernel module using the following commands:

   @desktop:$ adb shell
   @android:$ su
   @android:$ cd /data/local/tmp
   @android:$ insmod [your_module].ko

f. You might get some errors, such as "function not implemented". To check more details about what's wrong, you can check the log file by typing the following command.

   @android:$ dmesg

Friday, May 8, 2015

Some other tips on building your AOSP for development

As you need to implement your solution into Android system, you end up learning a lot about the different Android layers (kernel, OS and applications) and how to integrate them. I decided to add the following list with some tips, as these small things took me some precious time to get it solved. The list will be often edited:

#01 - Make sure that you're flashing the device with the proper kernel image

This is what happened to me: I had previously built the kernel (something like two months before). Then, I had to build the OS image from scratch, that is, cleaning up the previous build (with make clobber). When I used the command make bootimage, including setting the variables properly, the output always had the wrong kernel image (not the one that I had previously built, but the existing one in the directory prebuilts). The build process won't take too old kernel images. Therefore, make sure that the compressed kernel image is always new. Even if you don't make any change on the kernel source, do make again to generate a new file.