Posts Tagged ‘Debootstrap’

Debian on Android/Atrix with Debootstrap (Part III)

July 22, 2012 1 comment

As an extension to my previous post I will now explain how to make all the stuff persistent. You then do not need to retype the whole stuff to start the VNCServer every time you restart your phone. Just put the following script into the folder /etc/init.d/ of your chroot:


export HOME=”/root”
export USER=”/root”

STARTCMD=”vncserver -geometry 960×540″
STOPCMD=”vncserver -kill :1″

case $1 in
        if [ -e /tmp/.X1-lock ]; then
            echo “VNCServer already running”
        echo “$0 start|stop|restart”
        exit 1

exit 0

Afterwards you are able to start and stop the VNCServer, with the commands

service vncserver start


service vncserver stop

This allows starting, stopping and restarting the server.
To actually start the server when you switch into your chroot, you have to autostart it. The following way is not best practice (don’t let a Linux guru know ;-)). But for us it is working:

echo “service vncserver start” >> /root/.bashrc

or (when you don’t want to get the “VNCServer started…” message everytime you log into your chroot)

echo “service vncserver start > /dev/null 2>&1” >> /root/.bashrc

When you call “bootdebian” in your shell, the VNCServer will automatically start and you can connect to it via your favorite VNCClient.
Have fun!


Debian on Android/Atrix with Debootstrap (Part II)

July 16, 2012 7 comments

When running Debian on Android in a chroot, you are bind to a Shell, but if you want a graphical user-interface to have a more comfortable usage experience you can also install a VNC server in the chroot and connect to it from the Android host system. This tutorial is an extension to my already published tutorial because someone asked me if I can write a little bit more on how to get the VNC Server to run. Here it is:

  • Follow my first tutorial (here)
  • Start the chroot environment
  • Before you execute the commands below keep the following things in mind,
    • You need around 38MBytes of free storage in your chroot
    • When first starting the vncserver you need to specify a password (Remember it!)
  • Now execute the commands to install the vnc server and a lightweight X-Window setup

    aptitude install –without-recommends lxde tightvncserver xfonts-base
    export USER=root
    vncserver -geometry 960×540

  • Switch back to Android and install the android-vnc-viewer
  • Start the app and put in the following settings:

    Nickname: *Whatever*
    Password: -the-vncserver-password-you-defined-before-
    Address: localhost
    Port: 5901
    Username: -empty-
    Color Format: 24-bit color (4bpp)

  • Make sure you set the port to 5901 not the default (5900).
  • You are done. With these steps you should be able to connect to the running VNC server inside the chroot.

Finally, here is a photo of my Atrix running LXDE:

Thank you, and have fun.

Debian on Android/Atrix with Debootstrap

April 2, 2012 1 comment

The Story

I have bought a new Smartphone. No, not the new and shiny Samsung Galaxy Nexus. An already a little bit older model, but still one of the most powerful devices out there, and a lot cheaper then the Galaxy Nexus, the Motorola Atrix 4G. My Nokia N900 served me well for the past 1.5 years, but now it was time for me to jump on the train called Android. But with my new Smartphone I don’t wanted to lose the possibility to use all my favorite Unix tools (e.g. SSH, SCP, RSYNC, etc.). So I decided to search for a guide on how to install Debian on Android. I found a lot, but non of them directly addressed on how to install Debian on Android/Atrix. So I decided to write a short guide for all the Atrix owners out there.

Rooting the Atrix

Before you start with the guide on how to install Debian you have to root your phone, otherwise this tutorial is useless for you. There are plenty of tutorials on how to do that, just bug google with “root atrix”. In other words, here I will not explain how to root your phone.

Debian Image

First of all we have to build a Debian image file, which we store on the Atrix to chroot into later. Just follow these steps to create an image. The parameter seek=xxxx defines the size of your chroot, so if you have enough space on your phone you can also create a bigger image. The command below will create a 800MB Debian image.

sudo -s
apt-get install debootstrap
dd if=/dev/zero of=debian.img seek=838860800 bs=1 count=1
mke2fs -F debian.img
mkdir debian
mount -o loop debian.img debian/
debootstrap --verbose --arch armel --foreign lenny debian
umount debian/
rm -r debian/

The debootstrap command will take some time, because it basically downloads the whole OS from the Debian FTP server.


On the Web I found a script to boot Debian on your phone, but for my Atrix it didn’t work out of the box. So I changed it to fit the Atrix’s system structure.

if [ $EUID -ne 0 ]
	echo "Becoming ROOT!"
	su -c bootdebian
	exit 1
echo "Mounting system as R/W"
mount -o remount,rw -t ext3 /dev/block/mmcblk0p12 /system
echo "Setting some stuff up.."
export bin=/system/bin
export img=/mnt/sdcard-ext/debian.img
export mnt=/data/local/debian
export PATH=$bin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/bin:$PATH
export TERM=linux
export HOME=/root
if [ ! -d $mnt ]; then
    mkdir $mnt
echo "Mounting the Linux Image"
losetup /dev/block/loop5 $img
mount -t ext2 -o noatime,nodiratime /dev/block/loop5 $mnt
mount -t devpts devpts $mnt/dev/pts
mount -t proc proc $mnt/proc
mount -t sysfs sysfs $mnt/sys
echo "Setting Up Networking"
sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=1
echo "nameserver" > $mnt/etc/resolv.conf
echo "nameserver" >> $mnt/etc/resolv.conf
echo " localhost" > $mnt/etc/hosts
echo "Mounting sdcard and emmc in /mnt"
if [ ! -d $mnt/mnt/sdcard ]; then
    mkdir $mnt/mnt/sdcard
/system/xbin/busybox mount --bind /mnt/sdcard $mnt/mnt/sdcard
if [ ! -d $mnt/mnt/sdcard-ext ]; then
    mkdir $mnt/mnt/sdcard-ext
/system/xbin/busybox mount --bind /mnt/sdcard-ext/ $mnt/mnt/sdcard-ext
echo "Entering CHROOT "
echo " "
chroot $mnt /bin/bash
echo " "
echo "Shutting down CHROOT"
umount $mnt/mnt/sdcard
umount $mnt/mnt/sdcard-ext
sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=0
umount $mnt/dev/pts
umount $mnt/proc
umount $mnt/sys
umount $mnt
losetup -d /dev/block/loop5
mount -o remount,ro -t ext3 /dev/block/mmcblk0p12 /system

Copy the quoted text and save it to the root folder of the internal memory of the Atrix (/sdcard) with the name


It’s important to keep the name, otherwise the first command where the script checks if you’re root will fail. Now start the terminal application of your choice on the Atrix. I use the Better Terminal Emulator (I think its worth the price for only 2.99). Start the second stage of the debootstrap process by typing the following text.

mount -o remount,rw -t ext3 /dev/block/mmcblk0p12 /system
cat /sdcard/bootdebian > /system/xbin/bootdebian
rm /sdcard/bootdebian
chmod 777 /system/xbin/bootdebian
/debootstrap/debootstrap --second-stage
echo 'deb lenny main' > /etc/apt/sources.list
apt-get autoclean
apt-get update

Now thats it, From now on you can call bootdebian when ever you need access to your Chroot. You can install everything with apt-get, the same as on you Desktop machine or Laptop.

Have Fun!