Build Android Apps on Debian using Only Debian Packages
If you’re an Android developer who prefers to use a Debian machine for home or work, then you may be interested in a guide published by the official Debian blog on how to build Android applications using ONLY Debian packages. At this time, you can build applications only if it targets API Level 23 with build-tools-24 as these are the only versions that are completely Debian at the time of this writing.
The steps to build an app using Debian only packages is quite simple and straight forward especially if you are an Android app developer. The guide careful to mention that you cannot use all features of the Android SDK just yet as libraries such as Android Support have not been converted to Debian only libraries. Also note that lint in this Debian version of the build-tools is still problematic, so its best to avoid it for now.
There are plans to add more API platform packages and build tools to the Debian backports in the future. The Debian Android Tools Team will be focusing their attention “on use cases that are poorly covered by the Google binaries” as Google’s existing binaries already cover most common use cases and are a lot of effort for the Debian Android Tools Team to port. Debian’s Android Tools Team is aiming to make Android 100% free like Debian already is, so working on areas that are currently not free is their main focus. They also plan on building the Android NDK and setting up support libraries that will be packaged and held somewhere online that allows users to enforce a fully free build of Android.
The guide finishes by requesting both testers and contributors, so if you are a developer looking for a new open source project or would like to test out and give feedback on the newly released toolset get in touch with them using their preferred communication channels.