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Making a Headless Android Device (Oslo Embedded Meetup 2018)

Patricia Aas
Patricia Aas
Patricia AasC++ Programmer and Trainer at TurtleSec AS

This talk explores the options when trying to bing up a device using an Android Board Support Package (BSP) or AOSP. In particular the options when you don't want to ship a traditional Android device or you have an existing Embedded Linux code base, but all you have available is Android. Headless can mean both be an Android without Java and a device without a display, both are discussed.

Making a Headless Android Device (Oslo Embedded Meetup 2018)

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Making a Headless Android Device (Oslo Embedded Meetup 2018)
Making a
Headless-Android
Device
Lessons Learned
Oslo Embedded S/W Meetup, 2018
Patricia Aas & Johan Herland
Pictures from pixabay.com (CC0)
Patricia Aas
Vivaldi Technologies
Cisco Systems
Opera Software
Twitter: @pati_gallardo
Johan Herland
Cisco Systems
Opera Software
Git Dev Community
Twitter: @jherland
Outline
- Why?
- Architecture
- Devices
- Composition
- Gpu Access
- Lessons Learned
So… What do we know?
Making a Headless Android Device (Oslo Embedded Meetup 2018)
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Making a Headless Android Device (Oslo Embedded Meetup 2018)

  • 2. Making a Headless-Android Device Lessons Learned Oslo Embedded S/W Meetup, 2018 Patricia Aas & Johan Herland Pictures from pixabay.com (CC0)
  • 3. Patricia Aas Vivaldi Technologies Cisco Systems Opera Software Twitter: @pati_gallardo Johan Herland Cisco Systems Opera Software Git Dev Community Twitter: @jherland
  • 4. Outline - Why? - Architecture - Devices - Composition - Gpu Access - Lessons Learned
  • 5. So… What do we know?
  • 7. And why should you care?
  • 8. The Problem Full Android Using Google’s AOSP, or a more customized Android Board Support Package (BSP) from a chip vendor. Embedded Linux No Android parts. Typically based on glibc, busybox, etc.
  • 10. Important questions Do you have: - Existing codebase? - Upstream BSP? - 3rd party dependencies? What kind of device: - Display? - Single or multiple apps? - Custom H/W?
  • 12. Full Stack Android - Java App ecosystem - Graphics infrastructure - Supported by modern SoCs - Linux kernel w/Android features - Libc : Bionic Embedded Linux - Stable/well-known components - “Mix-and-match” - C/C++ or web apps - “Vanilla” kernel (or not...) - Libc : GNU glibc
  • 13. Bionic - Developed specifically for Android - Focus: small size and speed - Compatibility: - Almost all of C11 and POSIX - Some GNU/BSD extensions - C++ : “It’s complicated” GNU glibc - Used “everywhere” - Focus: - Application support - Standards compliance - Completeness - Compatibility: Yes ☺
  • 14. Platform Architecture - Embedded Linux Linux kernel Device drivers GNU glibc Libraries (SSL, SQLite, etc.) System utils (systemd, busybox)H/W abstraction (OpenGL, alsalib, etc.) Compositor (XServer, Wayland) Application framework (Qt, GTK) Apps Services/daemons (sshd, httpd) Your application
  • 15. Platform Architecture - Full Stack Android Linux kernel (w/Android features: binder, wakelocks, etc.) Device drivers Bionic libc H/W Abstraction Layer (HWC, etc.) Libraries (SSL, SQLite, etc.) Services (SurfaceFlinger, AudioFlinger, etc.) Android runtime (ART; previously Dalvik JVM) Android Application Framework Android Apps System utils (init, ADB, toolbox) Your application
  • 16. Platform Architecture - Headless Android based on Bionic Linux kernel (w/Android features: binder, wakelocks, etc.) Device drivers Bionic libc H/W Abstraction Layer (HWC, etc.) Libraries (SSL, SQLite, etc.) Services? (SurfaceFlinger, etc.) System utils (init, ADB, toolbox) Your application
  • 17. Platform Architecture - Headless Android based on glibc Linux kernel (w/Android features: binder, wakelocks, etc.) Device drivers Bionic libc H/W Abstraction Layer (HWC, etc.) Libraries (SSL, SQLite, etc.) Services? (SurfaceFlinger, etc.) System utils (systemd, busybox) GNU glibc Hybris? Your application
  • 18. Embedded LinuxFull stack Android Headless GlibcHeadless Bionic
  • 20. Display Composition - No display - Single full-screen app - Multiple apps
  • 21. No display Multi app Single app Embedded LinuxFull stack Android Headless GlibcHeadless Bionic
  • 22. No Display Traditional Embedded - Appliance / IOT No Graphics Integration No Composition
  • 23. No display Multi app Single app Embedded LinuxFull stack Android Headless GlibcHeadless Bionic Java app/service C/C++ app/service C/C++ app/daemon C/C++ app/daemon No bionic dependencies
  • 24. No display Multi app Single app Embedded LinuxFull stack Android Headless GlibcHeadless Bionic Java app/service C/C++ app/service C/C++ app/daemon C/C++ app/daemon OpenWRT et al
  • 25. Single full-screen app Single-purpose device : - Digital signage - Kiosk-style device - Videoconferencing endpoint Needs Graphics Integration No Complex Composition
  • 26. No display Multi app Single app Embedded LinuxFull stack Android Headless GlibcHeadless Bionic Java app/service One “home screen” app EGL Window/Framebuffer C/C++ app/service C/C++ app/daemon C/C++ app/daemon SurfaceFlinger/HWC SurfaceFlinger/HWC via e.g. Hybris Needs glibc/bionic bridge for graphics integration
  • 27. No display Multi app Single app Embedded LinuxFull stack Android Headless GlibcHeadless Bionic Java app/service One “home screen” app EGL Window/Framebuffer C/C++ app/service C/C++ app/daemon C/C++ app/daemon SurfaceFlinger/HWC SurfaceFlinger/HWC via e.g. Hybris Cisco Webex Board Cisco Webex Room Series Cisco TelePresence MX/SX Tesla Car OS? OpenWRT et al
  • 28. Multiple Apps Consumer Device : - Phone - Tablet - Smart TV Needs App Store (e.g. Google Play) Needs Complex Composition
  • 29. No display Multi app Single app Embedded LinuxFull stack Android Headless GlibcHeadless Bionic Java app/service One “home screen” app App Store (Google’s Play Store if CDD-compliant) Multiple apps composited by XServer/Wayland EGL Window/Framebuffer C/C++ app/service C/C++ app/daemon C/C++ app/daemon Multiple apps composited by SurfaceFlinger/HWC via e.g. Hybris Multiple apps composited by SurfaceFlinger/HWC SurfaceFlinger/HWC SurfaceFlinger/HWC via e.g. Hybris Needs glibc/bionic bridge Needs complex composition
  • 30. No display Multi app Single app Embedded LinuxFull stack Android Headless GlibcHeadless Bionic Java app/service One “home screen” app App Store (Google’s Play Store if CDD-compliant) Multiple apps composited by XServer/Wayland EGL Window/Framebuffer C/C++ app/service C/C++ app/daemon C/C++ app/daemon Multiple apps composited by SurfaceFlinger/HWC via e.g. Hybris Multiple apps composited by SurfaceFlinger/HWC SurfaceFlinger/HWC SurfaceFlinger/HWC via e.g. Hybris Kindle Fire Boot2Qt (1st version) Sailfish (Jolla), Ubuntu Touch Cisco Webex Board Cisco Webex Room Series Samsung Tizen, LG webOS Cisco TelePresence MX/SX Tesla Car OS? OpenWRT et al
  • 32. Composition Need to get pixels on screen - Compose just one window with OpenGL - Compose multiple windows using external composer / Hardware Composer
  • 33. The Hardware Composer Standardized Android porting API for rendering to the screen. Takes a set of surfaces and composes them to the full frame for the screen.
  • 34. LibHybris : Runtime Linker Magic
  • 35. What is LibHybris? Dynamically loads and links bionic libc and bionic linked libs into a glibc process Gives access to the bionic libs in a glibc process Creator : Carsten Munk
  • 36. Linux kernel (w/Android features: binder, wakelocks, etc.) Headless Glibc Android using LibHybris Your Compositor / GUI App LibHybris Bionic SurfaceFlinger / HWC OpenGL shared lib GUI lib GNU glibc Other libs
  • 37. A bionic GPU process? Pipe GPU commands over a local pipe to a bionic process that does the composition.
  • 38. Linux kernel (w/Android features: binder, wakelocks, etc.) Headless Glibc Android using a Bionic GPU Process + IPC GUI AppCompositor GUI lib GNU glibc IPC-GL client SurfaceFlinger / HWC OpenGL shared lib Bionic IPC Other libs IPC-GL server
  • 39. Chromium GPU Process Architecture
  • 40. Communication Architecture Renderer Gpu Process Browser Renderer IPC Channels Shared Memory Gpu Memory BuffersCommand Buffers
  • 41. Client Renderer / Browser - Write commands to shared memory - Update ‘put’ pointer - Signal GPU process @pati_gallardo
  • 42. Server GPU Process - Read commands from shared memory - Validate command and arguments - Make actual call@pati_gallardo
  • 43. Gpu Process Command Buffer IPC Channel Command Stream Ordering Barrier Unverified Sync Token Wait Sync Token Wait Sync TokenCommandCommand Command Command Command Command CommandVerified Sync TokenBrowser Renderer Renderer Command Command CommandCommand CommandCommand
  • 44. Not Exactly Cut A nd Paste @pati_gallardo
  • 45. Lessons Learned CC image courtesy of penjelly on Flickr
  • 46. Existing Codebase Porting to Java? Porting from glibc to Bionic? Rewrite to Android APIs? What about other APIs you use? - Do they exist in Android?
  • 47. 3rd-party dependencies? Port to Bionic? Really !? Will upstream accept the port? Remove deps if possible! What about alternative deps? Push towards glibc platform!
  • 48. Bringup & Maintenance Minimize custom hardware! Decouple customizations from upstream BSP/platform Keep changes out of the BSP - Above the Android APIs - Or below user space (kernel drivers, device tree)
  • 50. Avoid patches when you can! Minimize changes to the BSP itself Decouple your changes from the guts of Android
  • 51. Structure your patches! Patches across many different repos: - Common scheme for maintenance - Enumerate your current patchset - Integrating new upstream release: - Remove and Refresh
  • 52. Big Ball of Mud
  • 53. Plan for updates! AOSP / BSP : Every year 3rd-party dependencies : Varies Strict security policies (e.g. OpenSSL) Chromium : Every month Chip vendor : Hopefully never!
  • 54. Too many patches! - Can’t update Android version - Can’t update 3rd-party libs - Security pipeline clogged - Project stalled!
  • 56. No display Multi app Single app Embedded LinuxFull stack Android Headless GlibcHeadless Bionic Java app/service One “home screen” app App Store (Google’s Play Store if CDD-compliant) Multiple apps composited by XServer/Wayland EGL Window/Framebuffer C/C++ app/service C/C++ app/daemon C/C++ app/daemon Multiple apps composited by SurfaceFlinger/HWC via e.g. Hybris Multiple apps composited by SurfaceFlinger/HWC SurfaceFlinger/HWC SurfaceFlinger/HWC via e.g. Hybris Your code + 3rd-party dependencies built against Bionic Your code + 3rd-party dependencies built against glibc Bionic / Glibc bridge needed for graphics & composition
  • 57. No display Multi app Single app Embedded LinuxFull stack Android Headless GlibcHeadless Bionic Java app/service One “home screen” app App Store (Google’s Play Store if CDD-compliant) Multiple apps composited by XServer/Wayland EGL Window/Framebuffer C/C++ app/service C/C++ app/daemon C/C++ app/daemon Multiple apps composited by SurfaceFlinger/HWC via e.g. Hybris Multiple apps composited by SurfaceFlinger/HWC SurfaceFlinger/HWC SurfaceFlinger/HWC via e.g. Hybris