Archive for October 2010

Opkg is not limited to using packages from files; it is also capable of using apt-get style repositories, vastly simplifying the job of fetching dependencies and updating packages. I already have a repository set up, and it could be added as such

echo "src/gz inportb-android-froyo" > /cache/etc/opkg/inportb.conf

After doing that, we could refresh the package list

opkg update

Installing a package then becomes as easy as

opkg install name-of-package

And we could keep all our packages up-to-date using

opkg update; opkg upgrade

It’s also quite simple to set up a repository for distributing packages.

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Now that we have Opkg for Android, we could use it to install packages from local files or off Web servers. Installing a package is as simple as

opkg install path/to/package.opk

or, if it’s on the Web

opkg install http://host/path/to/package.opk

And to remove the package, we would go

opkg remove name-of-package

But what if we wanted to share our own software with others? In this case, we would create our own packages. An Opkg package is essentially a Debian package with fewer control fields. If you know how to make a Debian package, you should be well on your way. In general, a package is an ar archive containing a control tarball, a data tarball, and a debian-binary file. For example let’s have a look at the opkg-hello package:

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Well, almost. While one could theoretically install Debian packages on Android phones, it is generally a bad idea to install software designed for one system onto a different system. However, the Debian package manager is excellent for keeping track of software, and it would be nice if it could be used on Android as well. iPhone users already have access to this mechanism in the form of Cydia, so why not put it on Android too?

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