Android Installing Busybox Command Line Tools

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(Installing Busybox to filesystem: -- split into 2 sections (Installing busybox at run-time))
(Installing Busybox at run-time: -- warning about the dot)
Line 70: Line 70:
  target$ ./busybox --install .
  target$ ./busybox --install .
  target$ ./sh
  target$ ./sh
'''NOTE:  Don't forget the DOT at the end of the "install" step above!'''
===Make the Busybox shell the default shell===
===Make the Busybox shell the default shell===

Revision as of 19:27, 24 January 2012

This article describes how to install the busybox command line tools in the Android file-system. Please note that a pre-built version of busybox has been attached to this article if you would prefer not to build busybox yourself. Skip to Installing Busybox to filesystem if you select to use the prebuilt version. For the more information on the latest busybox environment visit:


Configure and Build

Download busybox-1.19.3.tar.bz2 from

Extract the busybox source

pc$ tar jxf busybox-1.19.3.tar.bz2
pc$ cd busybox-1.19.3/

Or if you prefer, you can get the latest version of busybox

pc$ git clone git://
pc$ cd busybox/
pc$ git checkout -b my_working_branch 1_19_3

Export path to where the cross-compiler is located on the host. For more information on setting up cross-compiler in environment visit: Cross Compilers

pc$ export PATH=$PATH:/<toolchain_folder>/bin/

Configure busybox

pc$ make menuconfig

In menuconfig set the following options

Busybox Settings --> Build Options --> Build Busybox as a static binary (no shared libs)  -  Enable this option by pressing "Y"
Busybox Settings --> Build Options --> Cross compiler prefix  -  Set this option equal to "arm-none-linux-gnueabi-"
Busybox Settings --> General Configuration --> Don't use /usr  -  Enable this option by pressing "Y"
Linux Module Utilities --> [ ] Simplified modutils
                           [*]   insmod
                           [*]   rmmod 
                           [*]   lsmod
                           [*]     Pretty output
                           [ ]   modprobe
                           [ ]   depmod
Linux Module Utilities --> [ ] Support version 2.2/2.4 Linux kernels
Linux Module Utilities --> [ ] Try to load module from a mmap'ed area
Linux Module Utilities --> [*] Support tainted module checking with new kernels
Linux Module Utilities --> () Default directory containing modules - Set this option to nothing
Linux Module Utilities --> () Default name of modules.dep - Set this option to nothing

You can also enable and disable at that time the tools that are needed/not needed. Example of tools that could be disabled: Print Utilities, Mail Utilities

Build busybox

pc$ make

Copying Busybox to filesystem

Once the busybox executable has been placed in the target file system you will need to "install" busybox, i.e. you will need write permission. Therefore it's recommended to place busybox in the system partition where you can use the "adb remount" command to get write permissions.

Create a busybox directory in the target file-system. For example:

pc$ mkdir -p $MYDROID/out/target/product/blaze/system/busybox

Copy the busybox binary to the /bin directory in the target file-system:

pc$ install -m 777 busybox $MYDROID/out/target/product/blaze/system/busybox/busybox

Add the busybox directory to the default path. Open the init.rc file:

pc> vim $MYDROID/out/target/product/blaze/root/init.rc

Add /system/busybox to PATH in init.rc:

export PATH /system/busybox:/sbin:/vendor/bin:/system/sbin:/system/bin:/system/xbin

Installing Busybox at run-time

Bootup the board with Android filesystem, remount system with read-write permissions

pc> ./adb remount

Install the busybox command line tools on the target by executing the following commands on booted filesystem:

pc> ./adb shell
target$ cd /system/busybox
target$ ./busybox --install .
target$ ./sh

NOTE: Don't forget the DOT at the end of the "install" step above!

Make the Busybox shell the default shell

Save the original sh executable by renaming it, and then create a soft-link to busybox sh:

target$ cd /system/bin
target$ mv sh
target$ ln -s /system/busybox/sh sh

Now when you open a shell using "./adb shell" you will have the full busybox capabilities immediately. The serial port shell will also utilize busybox when you power-up the board.

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