[Replicant] Anbox

Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli GNUtoo at cyberdimension.org
Mon Jun 21 02:33:36 UTC 2021

On Fri, 18 Jun 2021 21:50:13 +0200
"W. Kosior" <koszko at koszko.org> wrote:

> Hello,
> So my question is: does anyone know if a Replicant image can work with
> Anbox? Has anyone tried doing this? Does anyone know any "for" and
> "against"?
Beside Android x86 that was also mentioned, here are some more options:
- For development, using the Android emulators that are typically
  presents in Android source code might be a valid option. Though I'm
  not aware of anyone having tried to build Replicant 6 for such
  devices (goldfish is one of the emulators for instance). There is
  also some newer emulator that support some form of 3D acceleration if
  I recall well.
- There were also some project to provide hardware access to Android
  when using Wayland on GNU/Linux[1].

It would indeed be interesting to have some comparison between all the
approaches, but unfortunately we don't have anything (yet) on the
Replicant wiki about that. It's really interesting, even for Replicant
because if we're lucky we might even find cases where we could reuse
part of the the work done for these solutions within Replicant.

As I understand the various solutions have very different tradeoffs.

For instance with the emulators you can emulate some hardware, so for
instance you are able to provide the GPS coordinates yourself to the
emulator if I recall well.

So that is probably well adapted for development, but it will be
problematic if you want to run osmand on your laptop for instance
(assuming that your laptop has a GPS).

I'm unsure how much hardware access can the application have with
Andbox. For Android x86 the issue is that, if you run it in a VM, it
again might not have access to all the hardware. Or you might have to
dedicate the hardware to the VM. If you've got internet through a
modem, and that this modem also does GPS, that might be a bit tricky for

I've also tried to convert APKs to run in chromium with
archonpacket[2], but it didn't work at all, even if I also tried both
the releases from that official project and the f-droid APKs.

The issue with some of the solutions is also that it doesn't work well
on ARM smartphones and tablets, because they have less ram than x86
laptops. So it really depends on the people's use cases. 

In contrast, Libreboot laptops for instance can have about 3GiB for the
I945 thinkpads and about 8GiB for the GM45 thinkpads. 

So with 8GiB running an lxc/chroot or even a VM is less an issue than
with a Galaxy SIII that has only 1GB of RAM, or a Pinephone that has 2
or 3 GB of RAM.


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