Android: Getting up and running on the iMX6

Robert Foss avatar

Posted on 27/04/2017 by Robert Foss

Getting Android up and running on the iMX6 platform using an open source graphics stack has been impossible up until recently, but now you can. Here's a guide through the steps.

Since the hardware very much matters this is going to be divided into a few parts, the common steps and the hardware specific ones.

This post is a bit of a living document and will be changed over time, and if you have any questions about it, please reach out through email (robert.foss at collabora.com) or irc (tomeu or robertfoss on #dri-devel on freenode).

mkdir /opt/android
repo init -u https://android.googlesource.com/platform/manifest -b android-7.1.1_r28
cd /opt/android/.repo
git clone https://git.collabora.com/git/user/robertfoss/android_manifest.git local_manifests -b android-etnaviv
repo sync -j10

mkdir /opt/imx6_android
cp /opt/imx6_android
git clone https://git.collabora.com/git/user/robertfoss/linux.git -b imx_rdu2_v4.11-rc3

# The mkimage tool is used even if you're not
# using u-boot it as a bootloader
sudo apt install u-boot-tools

# Fetch Kconfig, bootloaders and some scripts
git clone https://git.collabora.com/git/user/robertfoss/rdu2.git .

# This will destroy all data on /dev/mmcblk0 and
# create boot/system/cache/data ext4 partitions 
./setup_sdcard.sh /dev/mmcblk0

# Build android, the kernel, and flash it onto an SD-card

Hardware: iMX6 Sabre

Select correct dtb file for u-boot

nano uboot_android_boot.scr

# Uncomment the correct dtb file for your platform
setenv fdt_file imx6q-sabresd.dtb
#setenv fdt_file imx6qp-sabresd.dtb

# Run build script again, to make sure boot.scr
# is created and moved to the SD-card

Start Android

The SD-card can now be put into the middlemost slot and the device can be restarted.

Hardware: RDU2

Install the bootloader

# Depending if you have a >=13" version of the RDU2
# use the imx6qp, if <13" then use the imx6q


# Flash bootloader to SD-card
dd if=${BAREBOX} of=/dev/mmcblk0 bs=1k

# Put SD-card in the middle-most slot on the RDU2

# Install lrzsz, since it is used for a ymodem upload
sudo apt install lrzsz

# Connect to serial device /dev/ttyUSB2 and
# /dev/ttyUSB3 with minicom
# The numbering assumes the RDU2 is the only serial
# serial device connected
sudo minicom -s
    | A -    Serial Device      : /dev/ttyUSB3
    | B - Lockfile Location     : /var/lock
    | C -   Callin Program      :
    | D -  Callout Program      :
    | E -    Bps/Par/Bits       : 115200 8N1
    | F - Hardware Flow Control : No
    | G - Software Flow Control : No
    |    Change which setting?

# Connect to Quark console on /dev/ttyUSB3
# Set boot SD-card as boot source 
#HostBoot s 0

# Restart device, connect to barebox loaded just loaded
# from the SD-card on /dev/ttyUSB2
pic_setwdt 0 60

# Using the minicom quickly initiate a ymodem file
# of the same barebox image you wrote to the SD-card
# Be quick, the upload will timeout after a few seconds

# Write the bootloader to SPI NOR
erase /dev/m25p0.barebox
# Depending on your RDU2 type flash one of the following
cp barebox-zii-imx6q-rdu2.img /dev/m25p0.barebox
# Or
cp barebox-zii-imx6qp-rdu2.img /dev/m25p0.barebox

# Connect to the Quark console on /dev/ttyUSB3 again
# Set SPI NOR as the boot source
#HostBoot s 2

# Connect to the barebox console on /dev/ttyUSB2 again
# Edit configuration to automatically boot from mmc:
sedit /env/config
export global.boot.default=/env/boot/mmc
export global.bootm.image=/mnt/mmc1.0/android_zImage
export global.bootm.initrd=/mnt/mmc1.0/android_ramdisk.img.gz
export global.bootm.oftree=/mnt/mmc1.0/imx6qp-zii-rdu2.dtb
export global.linux.bootargs.base="console=ttymxc0,115200 console=tty0 rw rootwait ip=dhcp buildvariant=userdebug debug ignore_loglevel root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootfstype=ext4 rootwait init=/init printk.devkmsg=on verbose enforcing=0 androidboot.selinux=permissive drm.debug=0x00"

sedit /env/boot/mmc
detect mmc1
mkdir -p /mnt/mmc1.0
automount -d /mnt/mmc1.0 'mount /dev/mmc1.0 /mnt/mmc1.0'

pic_setwdt 0 60     # Disable watchdog


Start Android

The SD-card created in the common steps can now be put into the middlemost slot and the device can be restarted.


This work is built on efforts by a lot people:

  • Pengutronix who's been doing i.MX6 platform work.
  • Christian Gmeiner, Wladimir Van Der Laan, and the other etnviv developers.
  • Rob Herring at Linaro for getting the ball rolling with AOSP for Zii.
  • Andrey Smirnov for driver support for the RDU2 such as i.MX6 PCI, ARM PL310 L2 Cache controller, RTC, and other i.MX6qp driver fixups.

This post has been a part of work undertaken by my employer Collabora.


Original post

Comments (0)

Add a Comment

Allowed tags: <b><i><br>Add a new comment:

Latest Blog Posts

Virtme: The kernel developers' best friend


When working on the Linux Kernel, testing via QEMU is pretty common. Here's a look at virtme, a QEMU wrapper that uses the host instead…

Cambridge XMPP Sprint


Earlier this month, Collabora sponsored & hosted the XMMP Sprint, the first developer event in the XMPP community in a long time. Here's…

Testing Chromebooks with LAVA on kernelci.org


In addition to Collabora's work to add support in mainline Linux kernel for several Chromebooks, these platforms are now being continuously…

Quick hack: git reset upstream


Working with a git based project that has a defacto upstream repository means that you perioducally want to fetch the canonical master branch.…

En route to a robust GPU device selection in GL


A look at the work and motivation behind implementing the Khronos EGLDevice extensions in Mesa. These extensions allow users of open source…

Cross-compilation made easy for GNOME Builder


GNOME Builder is an Integrated Development Environment designed for the GNOME ecosystem. It most notably features a deep integration to…

Open Since 2005 logo

We use cookies on this website to ensure that you get the best experience. By continuing to use this website you are consenting to the use of these cookies. To find out more please follow this link.

Collabora Ltd © 2005-2018. All rights reserved. Website sitemap.