Waydroid

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Waydroid is a container-based approach to boot a full Android system on a regular GNU/Linux system.

Prerequisites

CPU Requirements

The requirements depend on the CPU architecture. You can check table for more information.

You can check if you have the required CPU instructions with cat /proc/cpuinfo.

GPU Requirements

Waydroid currently works best with Intel GPUs. They should work out of the box.

AMD GPUs appear to have mixed results (in particular, the RX 6800 does not work); if Waydroid does not work you might also want to try the NVIDIA instructions below.

NVIDIA GPUs do not work currently, but there are 2 workarounds:

  • Switch to integrated graphic card if possible;
  • Use software rendering:
    • Make sure that you have already run waydroid init (see #Installation section)
    • Edit /var/lib/waydroid/waydroid_base.prop and set:
  ro.hardware.gralloc=default
  ro.hardware.egl=swiftshader
    • Restart the waydroid-container.service.

Wayland session manager

Waydroid only works in a Wayland session manager, so make sure you are in a Wayland session.

Note that even if you are in X11, many Wayland session manager supports nested session (so you can run it inside your X11 session), the simplest example is weston.

Kernel Modules

You need to run a kernel which comes with the ashmem and binder modules. They are not part of Arch Linux's default kernel (linux), thus you need to install a kernel which ships these modules.

You might also need to configure your bootloader to use a different kernel. Please refer to the wiki page of your bootloader how to boot with the new kernel. Booting into another kernel (version) is one of the few occasions when you have to reboot a Linux system. You should boot into the kernel with these modules before starting Waydroid.

To get a compatible kernel, you have multiple options:

Using Linux-Zen

The linux-zen kernel includes the necessary modules. This might be the most comfortable way, as you do not have to compile the kernel (which takes a long time) and will receive updated versions regularly.

DKMS modules

You can install anbox-modules-dkmsAUR and load kernel modules with:

sudo modprobe ashmem_linux binder_linux

Building a kernel

Alternatively, you can recompile the linux kernel — or other kernel packages (>=5.7) — with the necessary options. Also see Kernel#Compilation.

When setting compilation options, you have 2 options available; binder and binderfs. Instructions for both are provided below.

Using binder

The modules can either be compiled into the kernel (y), into modules (m), or not at all (n). Also, not all combinations in the configuration are possible, and some options will require other options.

The configuration options below will compile ashmem and binder as modules, while the last option specifies that there will be three devices created in the /dev/ directory, when the binder module is loaded.

CONFIG_ASHMEM=m
CONFIG_ANDROID=y
CONFIG_ANDROID_BINDER_IPC=m
CONFIG_ANDROID_BINDERFS=n
CONFIG_ANDROID_BINDER_DEVICES="binder,hwbinder,vndbinder"

When building a kernel from the AUR, one can update the configuration with the following steps:

  1. run makepkg --nobuild, which will download the sources, verify and extract them and run the prepare() function.
  2. edit the .config file (with the dot in the filename), which is located at the base of the kernel directory.
  3. at the end of the prepare() function was probably a command which regenerates the makefiles with information from the configuration, possibly make olddefconfig. Move that to the build() function, or execute it yourself.
  4. run makepkg --noextract, which will continue from the place where makepkg --nobuild stopped.
Using binderfs

The binder kernel module is known to cause some issues to several users. To address these issues, binderfs was created. One has to choose between the old and the new way when compiling the kernel. With the options below, one will use binderfs instead.

With the kernel sources comes also a simple script to set configuration options. It will not do dependency checks, just like when editing the configuration by hand. When being in the same directory where the .config file lies, one can execute the following commands:

scripts/config --module  CONFIG_ASHMEM
scripts/config --enable  CONFIG_ANDROID
scripts/config --enable  CONFIG_ANDROID_BINDER_IPC
scripts/config --enable  CONFIG_ANDROID_BINDERFS
scripts/config --set-str CONFIG_ANDROID_BINDER_DEVICES ""

When building a kernel from the AUR, it is enough to insert these lines at the right place in the PKGBUILD, usually in prepare().

Setup binder devices

Make sure you have the latest version of Waydroid package, and Waydroid will take automatically care of this.

Installation

Install the waydroidAUR package.

Afterwards init Waydroid, this will automatically download the latest Android image.

# waydroid init

Next start/enable the waydroid-container.service

Waydroid should now work.

Usage

Make sure that waydroid-container.service is running then run:

$ waydroid session start

The Waydroid session is now active, here are a couple of useful commands to interact with it:

Launch GUI:

$ waydroid show-full-ui

Launch shell:

# waydroid shell

Install an application:

$ waydroid app install $path_to_apk

Run an application:

$ waydroid app launch $package-name #Can be retrieved with `waydroid app list`

Network

The network should work out of the box, if its not you might need to allow the following rules through your firewall before running Waydroid session start.

Taking ufw as an example:

  • Dns traffic needs to be allowed:
    • # ufw allow 67
    • # ufw allow 53
  • Packet forwarding needs to be allowed:
    • # ufw default allow FORWARD

Troubleshooting

If you run into issues, take a look at the official Issue Tracker: Waydroid issue tracker

General tips

Waydroid is in rapid developement so if you face issues, here is a good list of steps to do first:

  1. Make sure your Waydroid package is up to date;
  2. Make sure you have the latest Waydroid image by running # waydroid upgrade;
  3. Reset Waydroid: stop the waydroid-container.service, run # waydroid init -f and start the service again.

Rotated apps are unusable

See https://github.com/waydroid/waydroid/issues/70

Click F11 to switch the current app to windowed mode.

Failed to start Clipboard manager service

Install python-pyclipAUR

Sometimes the physical keyboard does not work

Press Left Alt key.

Commands inside Waydroid shell outputs inaccessible or not found

On Arch based distributions there's a "bug" that may appear while working with lxc-attach that may cause this issue with commands inside waydroid shell like adbd or settings. A possible workaround for this would be replace the # waydroid shell command with # lxc-attach -P /var/lib/waydroid/lxc/ -n waydroid --clear-env.

WARNING: Service manager /dev/binder has died

See https://github.com/waydroid/waydroid/issues/136

You should enable PSI. Add psi=1 to kernel command line.

See also