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Re: Android port of Emacs

From: Thomas Fitzsimmons
Subject: Re: Android port of Emacs
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2023 11:49:29 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13)

Hi Eli and Po,

Eli Zaretskii <eliz@gnu.org> writes:


> Given these IMO significant downsides, I wonder whether we should
> maintain the Android support as part of the upstream project.  It
> sounds like a non-trivial maintenance burden that relies on a single
> developer.  Should we really commit ourselves to this additional work,
> from now on?
> An alternative would be for the Android support to be a separate
> project on Savannah.  Maybe in the long run this would be better?
> I think this deserves a serious discussion and a more-or-less
> agreed-upon decision, before we decide to land the Android branch and
> thus commit ourselves to supporting the Android port.
> Once again, apologies for bringing this up so late.  When the work on
> this port started, I had no idea the result will be anywhere near
> where it is today, or I would speak up much earlier.

FWIW, I'm already using Emacs on GrapheneOS (a distribution of the
Android Open Source Project whose add-on components are all free and
open source software) for at least viewing text files, with M-x
server-start.  Great work Po!  I'd like to see the port mainlined so
that I can easily build/use the same version from the same branch on my
desktop and mobile computers.

My main worry about the port, from a maintainability standpoint, is how
to cross-compile Emacs for Android using entirely free software.  (For
an extra challenge, my workstation is PPC64, so I can't use pre-built
x86-64 binaries.)  Po, are there steps I can take using a free toolchain
to generate an APK that I can try on my device?

I have seen other Android projects that claim to be buildable only with
Gradle which AFAIK is free software, but they are Java-only, but I
haven't tried myself.  Can Emacs be built using gradlew?  Is the NDK
required to build Emacs for Android?

(Note, I am not arguing that needing a proprietary SDK should preclude
the Android port's inclusion though, since AFAIK it is not possible to
cross-compile Emacs for Macintosh operating systems using only free


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