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General Terminal Editors

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by moutaindewdope, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. moutaindewdope

    moutaindewdope Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Jan 9, 2010
    Any1 been able to do fun and exciting things to improve the android experience and/or fix bugs using Terminal editors, and the programs stored in /System/Bin?

    I've been playing around with some of them basically just looking @ command syntax for the different programs. Some of them seem promising, and some of them look like they can make ur eris into a stylish paperweight

    One app i actviated was $ Toolbox, the only thing this did was echo back Toolbox! in the termina editor lol.

    Ive seen posts where ppl used dmesg to find out how the internal memory was partitioned.

    I'll admit i'm a total linux shell newb, but playing around with it is fun for me.


  2. erisuser1

    erisuser1 Well-Known Member

    Nov 11, 2009
    Here's a couple of tips that might make your life more pleasant.

    You said "terminal editor", so I am assuming you are using a terminal app on the phone; if you are already using "adb", you can safely ignore the first remark.

    1) Typing on the phone keyboard to enter Unix commands in a terminal emulator is painfully slow - a horrible experience, really. Go and install the Android SDK (available for Windows/Linux/MacOS) from Android SDK | Android Developers, and then use the "adb" program, as in "adb shell", to run a command shell on your phone (connected by USB), but allowing you to use your PC keyboard and a nice-sized window on your PC.

    2) Discover that downloading the SDK allows you to (also) run a full-blown phone emulator right on your PC - and that you "have root" on that "virtual phone". That means that you don't even need to use your Eris to "poke around on a live Android phone". You can even download Marketplace Apps (free ones, anyway) to the Emulator to fool with them.

    3) Some Linux/Unix applications have multiple personalities - that "toolbox" program has many of them. The way this works is that the /system/bin folder has "symbolic links" in it (which you can observe with an "ls -l" command) that all point to that "toolbox" program. Each of those symbolic links is named differently. When you start up "toolbox" by invoking it with a different name, it figures out "which name you called it by", and gives you the behavior associated with that program name. This is a pretty common trick for embedded- or tiny- Linux distros, although usually the application there is called "busybox" in those cases. It is done this way so that the many applications you need don't fill up small amounts of flash memory by repeatedly storing the same statically-linked code in many different applications. That also explains why it didn't do anything when you started it up using the name "toolbox" - that's the one name where it doesn't know what it's "own personality" is supposed to be.

    Also, bear in mind that those toolbox/busybox implementations are very stripped down to keep the size of the "toolbox" executable small, when compared to the full-featured version of the same programs running under Unix/Linux.

    Android is frankly not a very good way to learn about Linux/Unix - if you have some time and want to give that a shot, I suggest you install a pre-configured VMware Player VM (Virtual Machine) onto your Windows PC - saves a bunch of configuration and bother (you are running a full-up version of Linux as a "Windows App"). You can download a variety of pre-configured Linux VM "players" from the VMWare. One of the Ubuntu 8.04 LTS player machines should work well.



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