Porting guide

Setup your environment

Setting up your environment is necessary before starting the porting process.

Using Debian (Stretch or newer) or Ubuntu (16.04 LTS or newer)

Step 1: Installing required packages

If you are on the amd64 architecture (commonly referred to as 64 bit), enable the usage of the i386 architecture:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Install the required dependencies:

sudo apt install git gnupg flex bison gperf build-essential \
  zip bzr curl libc6-dev libncurses5-dev:i386 x11proto-core-dev \
  libx11-dev:i386 libreadline6-dev:i386 libgl1-mesa-glx:i386 \
  libgl1-mesa-dev g++-multilib mingw-w64-i686-dev tofrodos \
  python-markdown libxml2-utils xsltproc zlib1g-dev:i386 schedtool \
  repo liblz4-tool bc
What is repo?

Repo is a tool written by the Android developers for working on Android source trees. It downloads large numbers of git projects into a repeatable directory structure, important for something as complicated as Android. To do this, Repo uses a manifest, which is simply an XML document that tells it what to get and where to put it. You can find a full reference for the repo command here here, but we’ll mainly be using the repo init and repo sync commands (and repo diff and repo status for analyzing the changes made to the device-specific parts so that its easier later to commit them to a GitHub repo).

//TODO: Add instructions for installing build tools for other distros as well

Step 2: Create a new directory to download the Halium tree

mkdir halium && cd halium

This directory will be called BUILDDIR in the remaining part of the guide, when necessary, to avoid confusion.

If the target device has Android 7.1 or LineageOS 14.1 support, it’s recommended to select halium-7.1:

repo init -u https://github.com/Halium/android -b halium-7.1

If your device does not have Android 7.1 or LineageOS 14.1 support but has support for Android 5.1 or CyanogenMod 12.1, select halium-5.1:

repo init -u https://github.com/Halium/android -b halium-5.1

//TODO: Add notes about halium-5.1 and halium-7.1

halium-7.1 is based on LineageOS 14.1 halium-5.1 is based on CyanogenMod 12.1

Step 3: Download the source code

Note: the repo tool takes some time to download the sources. You need a little patience here. Execute the following:

repo sync -c

Specifying -c only downloads one branch, which makes the download a lot smaller since it won’t download all of the old branches, this will also result in a much faster sync time.

You can also specify -j[num] as it will fetch the files simultaneously. This defaults to 6 consecutive processes but bumping it to 10 makes a big difference on network with high bandwidth.

Prepare the Android tree

Put parts together

Now you need to put all the parts for your device together, and since our tree is based on LineageOS for halium-7.1 or CyanogenMod for halium-5.1 you can use the device files they provide.

Parts that are needed:

  • Device tree (e.g. from LineageOS)
  • Kernel source (e.g. also from LineageOS)
  • Vendor tree (e.g. from TheMuppets)

LineageOS and TheMuppets have a lot of devices already prepared, but it is not mandatory to use only their sources. Basically any tree capable of producing a working (Android) ROM should suffice.

You might have to check lineage.dependencies/cm.dependencies that is included in every LineageOS/CyanogenMod device repo for additional repositories.

Create a local manifest

The repo tool will accept additional repositories to be synced on top of the ones defined by Halium already. Since you are porting for a new device, you also need to do this work. After you have a working configuration your local manifest.xml can go into an issue in the Halium/projectmanagement repo .

Create additional entries for the repo tool to download the required parts automatically:

cd <BUILDDIR>/.repo && mkdir local_manifests && cd local_manifests

Create a new file called <VENDOR>_<CODENAME>.xml and open it in your favorite editor.

For the time being, add entries to the created xml file as follows:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!-- Example for a device with one specific vendor repo, and 2 repos for the device, a common and a specific one. At the end, a common kernel repo -->
  <project path="vendor/samsung" name="proprietary_vendor_samsung" remote="them" />
  <project name="android_device_samsung_smdk4412-common" path="device/samsung/smdk4412-common" remote="los" />
  <project name="android_device_samsung_i9300" path="device/samsung/i9300" remote="los" />
  <project name="android_kernel_samsung_smdk4412" path="kernel/samsung/smdk4412" remote="los" />
  <!-- Example for additional repos gathered from the dependencies files in the device or vendor repo -->
  <project name="android_hardware_samsung" path="hardware/samsung" remote="los" />
  <project name="android_external_stlport" path="external/stlport" remote="los" />


The remote properties “los” and “them” are shortcuts for the already defined remotes that Halium provides. They can be reviewed by looking into default.xml in the .repo/manifests directory (It is also symlinked to .repo/manifest.xml). Depending on which Halium branch you used, default.xml will be either set up for LineageOS 14.1 or CyanogenMod 12.1. You can create references to new remotes by adding the following snippet in front of any project definition:

  <remote name="new_remote"
        revision="refs/heads/<branchname>" />

It is preferred to add them to your local manifest, and leave the default.xml in its original state.

After your local manifest is finished, you need once again to call the repo tool to download the added parts:

repo sync -c

repo will detect most mistakes in your local manifest. Sometimes, if you misspelled an URL for example, you need to tell repo to overwrite already prepared local settings:

repo sync -c --force-sync

Modify the kernel configuration

Halium uses the systemd as the init system which requires various kernel config options to be enabled.

To check which config options needs to be enabled we use mer-kernel-check utility provided by mer-hybris.

git clone https://github.com/mer-hybris/mer-kernel-check
cd mer-kernel-check
./mer_verify_kernel_config <path to kernel configuration>

If you don’t know the path to your kernel config run grep "TARGET_KERNEL_CONFIG" device/<VENDOR>/<CODENAME>/BoardConfig.mk. It should be in arch/arm/configs/<CONFIG> or arch/arm64/configs/<CONFIG> depending on the architecture of your device.

//TODO: Mention that the config parameters CONFIG_IKCONFIG and CONFIG_IKCONFIG_PROC need to be set to y, otherwise Halium wont boot (or add them to the check script

Include your device in fixup-mountpoints script

First check if the codename of your device is already included in the <BUILDDIR>/halium/hybris-boot/fixup-mountpoints script.

If it’s not already included, you will need to add a few lines similar to following in the fixup-mountpoints script for all partitions that are mountable (i.e. have an fstype of ext4, vfat, f2fs or others). You can ignore the rest of the partitions.

To figure out the actual device node for the block device you can use following command:

readlink -f /dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/<blockdevicename>



First we need to initialize the environment using the envsetup.sh tool:

source build/envsetup.sh

This will give you an output that looks like this:

including device/samsung/maguro/vendorsetup.sh
including device/samsung/toro/vendorsetup.sh
including device/samsung/tuna/vendorsetup.sh
including device/samsung/manta/vendorsetup.sh
including device/samsung/crespo4g/vendorsetup.sh
including device/samsung/torospr/vendorsetup.sh
including device/generic/armv7-a-neon/vendorsetup.sh
including device/generic/x86/vendorsetup.sh
including device/oneplus/bacon/vendorsetup.sh
including device/lge/hammerhead/vendorsetup.sh
including device/lge/mako/vendorsetup.sh
including device/asus/tilapia/vendorsetup.sh
including device/asus/deb/vendorsetup.sh
including device/asus/flo/vendorsetup.sh
including device/asus/grouper/vendorsetup.sh

//TODO: This only works if either in halium-5.1 add_lunch_combo has been executed or in halium-7.1 breakfast has been used, see below comment

Choose you target

Now we need to choose the target to build using the lunch command:


The output of this command will look something like this:

You're building on Linux

Lunch menu... pick a combo:
 1. aosp_arm64-eng   4. aosp_mips-eng     7. cm_bacon-eng
 2. aosp_arm-eng     5. aosp_x86_64-eng   8. cm_bacon-user
 3. aosp_mips64-eng  6. aosp_x86-eng      9. cm_bacon-userdebug

Which would you like? [aosp_arm-eng]

Here you need to choose your device cm_[your device]-userdebug, example if you were to build the OnePlus One you would choose cm_bacon-userdebug or 9.

//TODO: LineageOS recommends the breakfast tool instead of lunch.

Building the system.img and hybris-boot.img

Halium will use the mkbootimg tool for creating the boot image. In most cases it is not on the local harddisk, so it can be built by issuing

mka mkbootimg

To build the system.img and hybris-boot.img - required for Halium - use the following commands

mka hybris-boot
mka systemimage

If you use make and not mka it’s recommended to set -j[num] to do parallel building, this reduces build time. NOTE this is not needed on halium-7.1 since it will calculate parallel building based on CPU performance.

Once you have hybris-boot.img and system.img built successfully you can move to testing this on your device.

//TODO: add testing instructions in this file

Booting the device

After you built hybris-boot.img it is time to test it out.

  1. Connect your device with a USB cable to your desktop.
  2. Start the device in bootloader (aka “fastboot”) mode.
    This is usually acomplished by holding some combination of keys on the device for a few seconds. On some devices this is Volume-Down + Power. The Lineage OS wiki is a good resource to check for this.
  3. Change to the directory where the boot images have been created with the command cout.
  4. Flash the kernel image with: fastboot flash boot hybris-boot.img. You can use fastboot boot hybris-boot.img to try to boot the kernel image without flashing, but that is not working for some devices.
  5. Next reboot into the recovery. You can use the latest version of TWRP recovery to deploy the rootfs and system.img. Please read the following guide for further information.
  6. Once done you can reboot the device.


Reading kernel logs

To find out what happened during an unsuccessful boot you can check the kernel log files. These can usually be retrieved from /proc/last_kmsg after rebooting the device into another, working system. A precondition for this is that you have a system that you can successfully boot, such as TWRP.

  1. Boot your newly built image
  2. Wait for it to fail
  3. Reboot the device into the working system.
  4. Retrieve the kernel log with adb shell cat /proc/last_kmsg > ~/last_kmsg
  5. Read ~/last_kmsg and find out what went wrong

Debugging via telnet

The hybris-boot image can offer you a telnet interface to access the system on the device even if it does not come up fully. To this end, the usb function of the device will be reconfigured to work as a network interface. While bringing this network interface up, the boot image will write a few debug messages. These debug messages are communicated via a clever hack of resetting the serial number of the usb connection. Once you see that the usb networking and telnet have been set up, you can configure the usb networking on your desktop and then telnet into the system.

The steps in detail are:

  • Execute this command to watch the changes in the usb serial number:
    while : ; do lsusb -v 2>/dev/null \ | grep -Ee 'iSerial +[0-9]+ +[^ ]' done \ | uniq
  • Boot your newly built image
  • Watch the output of the lsusb command above. It will put out lines like this:
iSerial                 3 01234567
iSerial                 3 Mer Debug setting up (DONE_SWITCH=no)
iSerial                 3 Mer Debug telnet on port 23 on usb0 - also running udhcpd
  • Determine the name of the usb network device on your desktop: dmesg | tail. You’re looking for a line similar to this:
 [ 1234.123456] rndis_host 1-7:1.0 enp0s20f0u7: renamed from usb0
  • In this example shown above, enp0s20f0u7 is the usb network device name. Use this for the USBNETWORK below
  • Check if the usb network device has a MAC address assigned.
$ ip address show dev USBNETWORK
6: USBNETWORK: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST> mtu 1500 qdisc noop state DOWN group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 00:00:00:00:00:00 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff

If it shows the link/ether address 00:00:00:00:00:00 as shown above, you will have to manually assign the MAC address,

ip link set USBNETWORK address 02:01:02:03:04:08

You can set any MAC address you want, it just needs to be a valid MAC address.

  • Configure usb networking:
sudo ip address add dev USBNETWORK
ip address show dev USBNETWORK
sudo ip route  add dev USBNETWORK
ping -c 2
  • Connect with telnet: telnet

Now you have terminal access to the system running from initrd.

The hybris-boot.img brings up the telnet interface if it detects a problem. Alternatively, you can use the hybris-recovery.img image which will always start telnet.


The hybris-boot image is based on work from the Sailfish OS and the Sailfish Hardware Adaptation Development Kit porting guide contains valuable tips.