I'm transitioning to one folder with many (txt-)files, adapting (letters instead of symbols, lowercase only, no spaces) Merlin Manns txt-setup. With cat, grep, head and other Unix-utilities, it's better than a folder structure.

I use this on Ubuntu, storing the files in my Dropbox-folder. I'd like to have the same functionality on Android, but have come up empty handed. They don't have to be the same tools, and if I can only cover part of the functionality, that's a great start.

How can I get this (or similar) functionality?


Busybox is a single utility that contains the functionality of many of the basic Unix tools. It's used on most embedded-Linux systems instead of having separate executables for each utility, which wastes space owing to code duplication.

There are several Busybox installers available on Google Play, and one on F-Droid. Custom ROMs often have Busybox built-in.

In addition, grep and cat (and a few more) are already built into Android. Android has its own Busybox-like called Toolbox, but it's a lot smaller (i.e. more limited) than the full Busybox.

You can access Toolbox commands (or Busybox commands once you've installed it) from a terminal emulator, in just the same way as any Unix system.

  • +1. Busybox brings everything OP seems to want and a lot more.
    – dotVezz
    Feb 13 '14 at 14:13
  • Android toolbox is a small set of utilities taken from NetBSD, whereas BusyBox provides a lot of most-used "almost fully" functional programs.
    – iBug
    May 17 '17 at 9:45

Busybox is not a full replacement. For example, i'm missing --binary-files in Busybox grep.

Alternatively, there's GNU CoreUtils on XDA-Developers.

  • 1
    Go get Termux if you want full grep and something else.
    – iBug
    May 17 '17 at 9:45

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