Can we install GNU utils on Android emulator?

Depending on emulator's platform (x86, x86_64, arm64, armabi, etc), can one install corresponding GNU utils build? I mostly interested in vim on emulator.

  • By GNU Utils, did you mean GNU core utilities? I couldn't find any reference to gnu-utils.
    – Andrew T.
    May 15, 2015 at 16:32
  • yes, I should have said coreutils.
    – Logan
    May 23, 2015 at 4:00

1 Answer 1


I don't think you can install GNU utils directly on Android, because Android is not GNU/Linux.

From Coreutils - GNU core utilities,

Introduction to Coreutils

The GNU Core Utilities are the basic file, shell and text manipulation utilities of the GNU operating system. These are the core utilities which are expected to exist on every operating system.

(Emphasis mine)

But Android is not GNU/Linux

Android is very different from the GNU/Linux operating system because it contains very little of GNU. Indeed, just about the only component in common between Android and GNU/Linux is Linux, the kernel. People who erroneously think “Linux” refers to the entire GNU/Linux combination get tied in knots by these facts, and make paradoxical statements such as “Android contains Linux, but it isn't Linux.”(*) Absent this confusion, the situation is simple: Android contains Linux, but not GNU; thus, Android and GNU/Linux are mostly different, because all they have in common is Linux.

(Emphasis mine)

...however, alireza7991 from XDA forum was trying to port them to Android.

Requirements: an ARM v7 processor with built-in NEON SIMD (scorpion, krait, exynose 4, exynose 5,...)


  • Be sure you meet the requirements!
  • Get the zip file (CoreUtils on Android v1)
  • Flash it via recovery mod
  • Reboot and enjoy


To avoid issues of having busybox and coreutils at same time, all utils are named in form : cu.${UTIL_NAME}. For example:

cu.echo "hello world!"
cu.chmod 644 /system/build.prop

Bugs: a few utils such as ls and uname are broken down till I fix them and add the correct one to repository. Some utils are missed. (currently we have 103 applets working)

Further reading: BusyBox Replacement on the Horizon? Meet GNU CoreUtils on Android

PS. If you want to use Vim on Android, why don't you use Vim Touch or Terminal IDE, or search "vim" on Play Store instead?

  • I do some feeble Android development as hobby, thus was looking for vim in emulator. not an app. it shall work in adb shell
    – Logan
    May 23, 2015 at 4:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .