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Node.js on Android (English version)

This article is translate version from Japanese.

The original Japanese version is this article.

This article was translated by @jedschmidt.

Special Thanks @jedschmidt!!

And @jedschmidt was introduced by Tom Hughes-Croucher who is working in joynet.

Thanks Tom Hughes-Croucher!


I'm trying to make the recently popular (well, maybe not so recently) Node.js run on Android. So far, I've succeeded in getting it to run on the ISO1, a smartphone running Android 1.6, but only by doing the following.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Root the IS01
  2. Use qemu to build a Linux on an ARM environment
  3. Use the ARM Linux environment to build Node.js
  4. Copy the Node.js binary to the IS01

Rooting the IS01

This step requires root permissions on Android to get Node.js running, since we need to create a lib directory in which to place shared libraries.

To root the device quickly, we'll follow the directions in the MobileHackerz Blog: Getting Root Permissions for the au IS01, build 01.00.09(Japanese).

Following the directions there is an easy way to get root.

Things to watch out for:

  • Turn USB debugging on.
Settings => Applications => Development => USB debugging
  • Install ChainsDD Superuser.
Install it from the Android Market
  • Try repeatedly until it works.

Using qemu to build Linux on an ARM environment

Using qemu allows us to emulate an ARM CPU, and build a virtual environment. We'll install debian on qemu, and from there build Node.js. This will get us a Node.js binary that can run on an ARM processor.

For details about building the qemu environment, I used Himajime’s site for ARM emulation.

The procedures are as follows. I'm using Ubuntu 10.4.

Install qemu
$ sudo apt-get install qemu qemu-kvm-extras
Get and execute the image

Now we grab the installed Debian image file.

$ wget http://people.debian.org/~aurel32/qemu/armel/debian_lenny_armel_small.qcow2
$ wget http://people.debian.org/~aurel32/qemu/armel/initrd.img-2.6.26-1-versatile
$ wget http://people.debian.org/~aurel32/qemu/armel/vmlinuz-2.6.26-1-versatile
Run Debian on qemu

Execute the following command to start Debian on qemu.

$ sudo qemu-system-arm -M versatilepb -kernel vmlinuz-2.6.26-1-versatile 
-initrd initrd.img-2.6.26-1-versatile -hda debian_lenny_armel_small.qcow2 
-append "root=/dev/sda1" -m 256 -redir tcp:2222: -redir tcp:8124::8124

Keep the following in mind:

  • The above has been formatted to display, but should be executed on one line
  • Memory is allocated by specifying -m 256
  • Connections via ssh over port 2222 on localhost are enabled by specifying -redir tcp:2222:
  • Access over port 8124 is checked by specifying -redir tcp:8124::8124

Using the ARM Linux environment to build Node.js

We can build Node.js using the usual method. We could also use nave to manage multiple versions of Node.js, or build as-is from the source code.

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential libssl-dev curl
$ mkdir tmp
$ cd tmp
$ wget http://nodejs.org/dist/node-v0.3.1.tar.gz
$ tar -xvzf node-v0.3.1.tar.gz
$ cd node-v0.3.1
$ ./configure
$ make
$ sudo make install

The build options for the V8 engine need to be changed.

$ vi node-v0.3.1/deps/v8/SConstruct
# For node-v0.3.1, add '-march=armv5t' to 'CCFLAGS', around the 128th line.
    126 'gcc': {
    127     'all': {
    128       'CCFLAGS':      ['$DIALECTFLAGS', '$WARNINGFLAGS', '-march=armv5t'],
    129       'CXXFLAGS':     ['$CCFLAGS', '-fno-rtti', '-fno-exceptions'],
    130     },

Use tar to archive the Node.js executable and shared libraries, and move them to Android.

$ tar pcvf node.tar /usr/local/bin/node /lib/librt* /usr/lib/libssl.so.0.9.8
 /usr/lib/libcrypto.so.0.9.8 /lib/libdl* /usr/lib/libstdc++*
 /lib/libm.so.6 /lib/libm-2.7.so /lib/libgcc_s.so.1 /lib/libpthread*
 /lib/libc.so.6 /lib/libc-2.7.so /lib/ld-linux.so.3 /lib/ld-2.7.so

Get root on the terminal in Android, and execute the following commands:

$ su
# tar xvf node.tar
# /usr/local/bin/node --version



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