Wednesday, June 15, 2011

ADB, Eclipse, and Android SDK the Easier Way

Update:  For an even easier installation process, use my 32-bit or 64-bit .deb installers.  Just double click on them and follow the prompt.

Outdated Information: (still works, but not as easy)

Easy Access Links: *** Please read the installation instructions at the bottom of the page. Also the long version is designed to talk you through every step of the process. The short version is for people that just want the abridged version that are comfortable with Eclipse or Terminal. ***

GitHub (if you know how to use it)

If my script has been helpful to you, feel free to donate to the cause.


  • 1.0.3 (6/18/2011) - Setup 99-android.rules automatically, created a symlink for ddms so it can be executed from anywhere -- has to be typed twice sometimes the first time it is run for some reason (multiple displays error).
  • 1.0.2 (6/17/2011) - ./android update adb wasn't launching properly.  *Should* now.  The script should end with Eclipse wanting you to install Android SDK Platform-tools.
  • 1.0.1 (6/15/2011) - ./android update adb added to script.  Eclipse interaction minimal.
  • 1.0.0 (6/14/2011) - Android SDK, Android NDK, Eclipse, ia32-libs automatically installed.  Eclipse and ADT require prompting.


Now that I've finished my first release of the script, it has gone through some testing on 64-bit and 32-bit Linux Mint 11 systems and the installer seems to work. Now I wasn't able to completely install ADB with this script because I haven't been able to figure out a way to configure Eclipse from within the script, nor do I know if it is possible. So there is SOME work that you will have to do. I started learning how to program about 5-7 days ago and that was when I set out to make this script. That said, there are bound to be some errors that arise that I probably cannot fix.


One thing I'd like to discuss is the logic of the script (skip ahead if you just want the download link and instructions). I wanted to make it so the script could be run multiple times on accident and error check itself. I also wanted to make sure that as long as you had the Android SDK or NDK that you would not encounter problems with them installing again on my script. This will also carry over to any other of my scripts that I plan to make that will call on either of these libraries.  The following files will be installed by the end of the script:  Android SDK, Android NDK, Eclipse, and for 64-bit systems ia32-libs will be installed.  An ADB environment will also be set up so that once the script has been run and terminal has been restarted you will be able to run ADB anywhere by simply typing "adb" after setting up Eclipse.

Things Changed on Your System and Instructions

  • To access Android Debug Bridge at anytime after the script has been run and your terminal reset (bash typed or terminal closed and opened) you can type the command "adb" from any location.
  • To access the Dalvik Debug Monitor, you can access it by typing the command "ddms" and if you get an error about multiple displays then type "ddms" again and it should start.
  • To reference the Android SDK to compiling something, it will be located in the following directory: /usr/local/android-sdk
  • To reference the Android NDK for compiling something, it will be located in the following directory: /usr/local/android-ndk
  • Eclipse is now installed and most likely located in Applications -> Programming.
  • 64-Bit Operating Systems had the package ia32-libs installed for compatibility reasons.

These instructions are for people that are able to more confident with Terminal and Eclipse.  The instructions are not overly complicated, but I have provided a more in-depth tutorial for those that need it.

  • Download the file
  • chmod +x
  • sudo ./
  • Install "Android SDK Platform-tools" and accept the licensing agreement.
  • *** Close all instances of Terminal once this is done or type bash ***
  • Test ADB in terminal by typing "adb" from any directory. (without quotes)


If you have a GitHub account then you can download the latest version of my code from this link.  That link should provide the latest version of my code when and if I need to make any changes.  The other link that will probably not be updated as frequently is this dropbox link.  If you're getting the code from GitHub, for the sake of this tutorial I will assume you know how to obtain the file.

Step #1:  Download the file and find it in terminal.

When you open terminal, you will need to find where the file is located.  If you're using Linux Mint 11 and Google Chrome, it is most likely going to be in the "Downloads" folder (case sensitive, no parenthesis).  We can change to this directory in terminal by typing "cd Downloads" (notice that the Downloads has a capital D).  You can list the file and directories by typing the "ls" command.

Step #2:  Grant executable properties to the installer.

Once the file has been found and you're in the same directory type the following commmand:

chmod +x

Step #3:  Install the file and go afk.

This part takes a long, long time depending on how fast your internet connection is.  Even longer if you have a 64-bit operating system (Don't worry!  The installer figures that out for you!) and has to do a lot of things right now.  You can either read ahead or go do something fun, I'd suggest the latter.  So to initiate this part type the following command and then enter your password:

sudo ./

Notice how there is a period and then a forward slash before  Very important to put those in there.

Step #4:  Install Android SDK Platform-Tools

The Android SDK Platform-tools contains the ADB.  Also, if you plan to do any developing in Android this screen will probably be of some use to you.  Start by selecting "Available packages" from the left side and then under Android Repository install the "Android SDK Platform-tools."

Android SDK AVD Manager Eclipse Linux Platform Tools

Accept the next screen and if you have a pop up that asks if ADB can restart say "Yes."  Close out of Eclipse if you are done with it.

Step #5:  Test ADB and Done!

IF YOU HAVE ANY OPEN TERMINAL WINDOWS RIGHT NOW CLOSE THEM TO REFRESH THE ADB ENVIRONMENT.  Open terminal and type "adb" without the quotes (it doesn't matter which directory you do it from).  You should see a bunch of commands go across your screen to indicate that it worked like below:

adb google sdk android eclipse ndk linux

If "adb" doesn't prompt anything, try typing "bash" first and then type adb again.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Just a little talk about a side project

Since I have been working more on Linux and Android together, I just wanted to keep people up to date on what I've been doing with my projects and the website. I managed to get the VLC source code compiled into an APK and working. It runs smoothly for various formats, I'd like to do a write up on how I got that working soon and also make an automated script to download the lasted script from their git repository. My hope is to allow the user to learn about it and also give them a quick alternative to updating their APK for the phone that they can swap out for the latest build of VLC while it's still in the alpha state.

The other thing I've been working on is automating as much of the Android SDK / Eclipse process as possible for people that want to start programming and are afraid to come to Linux. I want to do this because I love the idea of an open source community, be it in Linux or Android and really want them to thrive. Linux can be intimidating when you first start using it and can require you to format your computer every time you screw up your system. At least until you figure out the file system and then you can fix almost every problem pretty easily. Google however, seems to make it fairly difficult for a first time person coming to Linux to start programming and I'd like to try to bridge that gap by automating as much of the Eclipse set up as necessary to get more developers working on Android in a Linux environment. I don't know if I'll be able to automate everything required to get a system installed with ADB, but possibly one or two steps away and just requiring GUI interaction in Eclipse (I'm still researching this part, to see if I can do any of this).

In the mean time, if you'd like to make any suggestions for write-ups I'll gladly take suggestions in the comments section or on twitter at @ArchDukeDoug (still waiting for the title to be granted in any country, probably not going to happen). Suggestions allow me to help you and also help myself, so don't be shy with them. If I'm able to do them I will definitely try.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Auto-Mount Hard Drives in Linux

Since it has been a few days since I have made a post and I am working on trying my luck at bash script writing, I've been a little preoccupied. So I decided to do a short write up on auto-mounting (the easy way) hard drives. We're going to take a look at a program called "pysdm" located in the Software Manager:

pysdm Graphical Storage and Hard Drive Manager

When the program is installed, you can run it under Administration -> Storage Device Manager. This program will provide a graphical solution for editing your hard drives boot options, the owners, and various options. My problem is that I have two hard drives that are auto-mounted and one that is not. So I'm going to configure the one that is not. When you start the program up, you'll be greeted by the screen below:

pysdm Graphical Storage and Hard Drive Manager

Expand the trees for the hard drives and click on the partition listed on the drive. In my case, I'm going to be auto-mounting sdc1. When I click on it for the first time, it asks me if I want to prepare the hard drive, say yes. Click on "Dynamic Configuration Rules" for some information about your hard drive (model, vendor) and the ability to assign some custom rules. Back under General is where the assistant is though and that's the feature I'm going to be going over. Click on Assistant now for this screen:

pysdm Partition Assistant

When you're satisfied with the settings, hit apply and you've got a hard drive that auto-mounts. Simple!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sync Music to your Android OS Device in Linux with Banshee Media Player

I always had a hard time finding a way to sync my music and playlists easily to my Android phone in Windows. I tried using Doubletwist, Winamp, and even some strange AdobeAIR playlist editor. There was just never a clear cut way to go back and forth with my playlist. Once you figure out how to get Banshee and your Android phone on the same page, the two coexist wonderfully with only a few exceptions. "What are those exceptions?" You might ask. Or you may just skim past this and completely ignore this part and figure out that it's difficult to sync certain file types later. Those exceptions are that you have to edit a file with the MIME Type of the extensions that you want to add. I'll give you a sample of the file I used which includes as many of the MIMES as I could think of at the time and try to include an example in case I missed one so that you can add more to the list.

First thing we want to do is switch Banshee to daily build to get the most up-to-date version. To do this open up terminal and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:banshee-team/banshee-daily
sudo apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

If for some reason Banshee is not installed right now (it is by default with Linux Mint 11), you can install it with: sudo apt-get install banshee

Now connect your phone by USB to your computer and set your phone to USB Mass Storage. Open the root SD card directory with nautilus and create a new empty file (right click -> create document -> empty file) called .is_audio_player and edit it with gedit.

is_audio_player for android phone

In the empty gedit file put the following information (like above) into the text file:

audio_folders=Music/, Video/



Adding the file to the folder allows Banshee to see that your Android phone is actually a music player. Editing the contents of it will tell Banshee what file formats that the phone supports. The one format that I've had trouble getting to work are *.avi because they use different codecs and I get an error. Now start Banshee up and you should see your phone listed under "Devices" now.

Banshee Media Player Sync

You can import the music from your phone by right clicking on right clicking on the x GB Filesystem and selecting "Import to Library" and that will copy all of your files into the folders. Otherwise you could manually copy the folders from your SD card to the ~/Music and ~/Video folders as well as the playlists and import them into Banshee. If you're importing a playlist, you need to open the playlist with gedit and convert all of the backslashes (\) to forward slashes (/) with the search -> replace -> replace all feature. Once you've replaced all the slashes, try importing the playlist under File -> Import Playlist (try doing them one at a time if you have problems with them leaving songs out).

That's it.  Your device should now be capable of syncing to your Banshee Media Player.  It may take a little playing with to get the playlists set up for your device and your music set up in Linux and organized.  Your videos may also error out depending on if it is supported by the .is_audio_player.

** Extra Notes**

If your video is unsupported by Banshee, you can try adding the MIME-Type to the .is_audio_player by following the format: video/name or audio/name and you can find the name from looking up the extension on wikipedia.  For example:  audio/mpeg,audio/x-wav,video/mpeg,video/quicktime

I believe Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod) should all work out of the box with this program because of a plugin that comes installed by default.  I'm not 100% positive though, but under Extensions there is one listed for Apple Devices Support listing the three I previously mentioned.  I just am not sure what is required to set that up.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Setting up Thunderbird and Adding Google Calendar Sync

I am trying to slowly move away from Windows one program at a time.  So recently I realized that it was an inconvenience checking my school email and my Google email separately on their respective websites, as opposed to using Microsoft Outlook 2010 to keep my folders and calendar organized.  Luckily, Thunderbird (alternatively, Sunbird for just a calendar) is up to the task of handling my email and calendar needs.  Well, most of them anyway.

Things you will need before we get started:
Thunderbird from Software Manager.
xul-ext-lightning from Software Manager.
Google Account
Provider for Google Calendar - Thunderbird Extension

Once we have those things load up Thunderbird from your main menu.  You'll be prompted to enter some basic information about the email address you want to set up.  We'll enter a display name, our google account, and the password we provided.

Thunderbird Email Client Setup

With Gmail, Thunderbird will find the settings automatically and start downloading your email as soon as you hit create an account.  This will leave you with something that looks like this:

Mozilla Thunderbird in Linux

Now, I also need to add my school email address which is a little more difficult because it is an Outlook Exchange 2007 Server and Thunderbird can't quite figure out the settings by default.  So first we need to add another account by going to Edit -> Account Settings.  Go down to Account Actions toward the bottom left corner of this screen and click on "Add Mail Account."

You will now go through the same process of setting up the Gmail account, if it fails you will be asked to enter the correct ports and incoming POP3/IMAP and outgoing SMTP URLs and should see the screen below:

Failed Thunderbird Setup

Now that both of my accounts have been set up, I need to get everything a little more organized.  To sync the folders for my IMAP address, if they're not doing it already, right click on the name in the left window and select "Subscribe" and you should see your folders from your exchange server like so:

IMAP Thunderbird Subscribe

This will now filter your emails into the appropriate categories and restore your folders.  You'll also have two separate listings for your email accounts so that your emails do not get mixed up.

Now, we need to set up Google Calendar.  First we need to install the extension Provider for Google Calendar.  To do this, download it and then go to Tools -> -> Add-Ons -> Install and then navigate to the file (or search for it in Get Add-Ons).  Restart Thunderbird and go to Events and Tasks -> Calendar (or use the Thunderbird hotkey Shift+CTRL+C).

Google Calendar in Linux using Mozilla Thunderbird

So this is the basic calendar, but now we need to add our Google Calendars from their website.  Log in using your favorite browser and on the left side of the page you should see ~4 calendars listed by default.  We'll use US Holidays as the sample, but you can set up as many calendars as you want.  You just repeat this process for each calendar you want to add to Thunderbird.

Select the arrow to the right of US Holidays and then select Calendar Settings.

Google Calendar Settings

From here we want to click on the button "XML" and copy the address that pops up for the next part where we set up this Calendar.

Google Calendar XML Location

Return to Thunderbird and right clicking on the bottom left window anywhere below "Calendar" and select New Calendar -> On the Network.  Select Google Calendar and paste the link we copied from above into the location.  Enter your Google account information and then pick a name and color for this calendar.

Google Calendar Setup in Thunderbird

If you want to do this for your private calendar (, just use the private XML file and Thunderbird will be able to post changes to it.  They will appear on your Google calendar account and any device capable of receiving it such as a mobile phone.

Now all you have to do is test it.  I tested it from my Droid X -> Thunderbird and Thunderbird -> Droid X just to make sure I could get calendar notices going both ways.  It took probably 5-10 minutes for them to appear for me.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Native Applications for Windows and Linux

While discussing Linux with my wife for a while, she brought up something that a lot of Linux users are guilty of saying (myself included) and I wanted to bring attention to that with a post.  She said that we always make a comparison that we have programs "like" a Windows application and sometimes you need or want the real thing.  For example, you may have a lot of money invested in your iTunes account and are not too thrilled with the idea of switching to Banshee (though I ditched iTunes many, many years ago and like Banshee personally) and this is understandable.  For those of you that would like cross-platform applications I've decided to try and build a list of some that you have probably heard of and may be likely to use.

Web Browsers

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox takes the second highest percentage of the market share behind Internet Explorer, so there is a good possibility that you have heard or even tried this browser.  If this browser is a favorite of yours and you want it in Linux then you're in luck.  There is a good chance that it will come installed by default in almost any distribution that you choose to use.

Google Chrome is another browser that you've likely heard of fairly recently due to increasing popularity.  This browser features include the ability to sync your apps, passwords, preferences, themes, bookmarks, extensions, and autofill options across all computers that use your Gmail account.  

Opera is another browser available on Android/iOS/Linux/Mac/Window that is intended on allowing users to go between devices easily.  Other than that, I am not too familiar with this browser.

Productivity & Multimedia

Audacity - Sound Editor

Audacity allows the user to record live audio, edit sound files, splice audio, change speed and pitch, and many other features including the use of plug-ins.

Dropbox - Backup & Sharing

Dropbox is a program that runs in the background of your computer and allows you to synchronize folders between computers of the same account, share folders between friends, or have a public folder to share files with anyone (like the images I use for the blog).  They offer a free service of 2 GB up to 8 GB of storage before you can opt to pay a monthly fee for more.

FileZilla Client - FTP Client

The FileZilla client is a FTP client that is available across all platforms.  The server on the other hand is available on Windows only.

LibreOffice - Office Suite

LibreOffice is capable of doing many things that other office suites can do.  There are 6 programs in LibreOffice, some of which include: Writer, a word processer, Impress, for presentations, and Math, an equation editor.  I also recommend you check out OpenOffice, since both projects were originally designed by the same team prior to a falling out.

Gimp - Photo Editing

Gimp is a free photo editing program that a lot of you have probably used, particularly if you are not a serious graphic designer and just need to edit the occasional photo.  I'm not going to bash it though, some very impressive things can be done with Gimp if you take the time to learn it, but it does have a slightly higher learning curve than Photoshop in my opinion.

Inkscape - Vector Graphics Editor

According to their website: Inkscape is an "open source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format." - Office Suite

It is possible you have heard of this program or even used it before in Windows.  This Office Suite consists of a word processor, spreadsheet,  and presentation software.  If you've used this, I suggest you try out LibreOffice as well and see which of the two you like better since it is from developers.

Picasa - Picture Management

Picasa is a place where you can upload, edit, share, and manage your photos online.

Thunderbird - Email Client

Thunderbird is a cross-platform email client that works for many types of services.  It works for all your standard server types and can even be set up with an Outlook Exchange server, but has some trouble properly syncing some aspects of it.


Pidgin - Instant Messaging

Unlike many chat programs in Windows that support multiple clients, this one is both free and does not have any advertisements. Also, if your particular client isn't supported by default, then chances are that a plugin for Pidgin exists to support it. The supported chat networks are as follows: AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MSN, MXit, MySpaceIM, QQ, SILC, SIMPLE, Sametime, XMPP, Yahoo!, and Zephyr. Through the addition of plugins, you can gain access to Facebook IM, Skype, Twitter, Xfire and more.

Skype - Internet Phone

Skype has numerous features and the fact that it has a native client for Linux is definitely a good one.  It covers the spectrum of Internet phone calls, to video calling, and messaging.  

TweetDeck - Social Media

TweetDeck is available two ways currently in Linux.  You can install it as a standalone application with this tutorial or in the Google Chrome web app store for free.  This application helps organize all of your social media (Twitter, Facebook, Buzz, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and MySpace) accounts into easy to read columns and helps you keep track of when you have new messages.


KeePass - Password Manager

KeePass is a password manager that remembers passwords and stores them in a central database protected by a master key or key file.  To unlock your database, all you have to do is type the password or select the password file and your database is unlocked.  

TrueCrypt - Encryption Software

For the security-conscious out there, TrueCrypt allows you to encrypt folders, partitions, or storage devices and access them by entering a password of your choosing.

Media Players

Boxee is a media program that is capable of turning your computer into an on-demand home theater PC and providing you access to many services that you may subscribe to.  It also allows you to stream media from your hard drives to your TV/monitor should you choose to do that.

A benefit of VLC is the ability of it to play almost anything.  This is true of the Linux version as well and it is also a light weight video player.

If you want something a little more interactive and organized for your media, XBMC is a great application for when you want your computer to be act like a home theater.  If you would like help setting up XBMC to download cover art, (almost) automatic subtitle downloading then you can follow my tutorial here.