Lua on Android

Note: This post is out of date. If you'd like to run Lua on your Android device, please see my Android Scripting Environment project.

After messing around for two days trying to get Python running on Android, I decided to give Lua a try. It didn't take much to get the interpreter running (especially compared to Python which still isn't running for me). Here's a very small patch for Lua 5.1.4.
diff -r lua-5.1.4/src/llex.c lua-5.1.4-android/src/llex.c
< struct lconv *cv = localeconv();
> //struct lconv *cv = localeconv();
< ls->decpoint = (cv ? cv->decimal_point[0] : '.');
> ls->decpoint = '.';//(cv ? cv->decimal_point[0] : '.');
diff -r lua-5.1.4/src/lvm.c lua-5.1.4-android/src/lvm.c
< int temp = strcoll(l, r);
> int temp = strcmp(l, r);//strcoll(l, r);
You'll also need get the Android source and build it. Then grab agcc (a small Perl script) linked to from some brief instructions about compiling native code for Android. Here are some even briefer instructions for getting Lua on your G1 :)
  • Add agcc to your path.
  • Add mydroid/prebuilt/linux-x86/toolchain/arm-eabi-4.2.1/bin to your path (the Android toolchain).
  • Add mydroid/out/host/linux-x86/bin to your path (the Android development tools).
  • Build and install Lua.
$ make CC=agcc AR="arm-eabi-ar rcu" RANLIB=arm-eabi-ranlib posix
$ make INSTALL_TOP=$(pwd)/lua-android install
  • Copy Lua to your phone/emulator using adb.
$ cd lua-android
$ rm -rf man
$ adb shell
$ su
# cd data
# mkdir bin include lib share
# exit
$ exit
$ adb push . data
You can now either run Lua from adb shell or by installing the terminal emulator app and running it directly on your phone.

I fixed some bugs in the instructions. :)


  1. Why did you censor the brand of the phone?

  2. Actually, I censored the serial number. The phone in the picture is an early release that had serial numbers plastered all over it.

  3. Ah, that explains it then :) Thought it was a bit silly to censor "T-Mobile" or whatever.

  4. Just wondering, what is the real change in 128 and 155 in lvm.c? From what it looks like, Android is missing locale conversion... quite an odd thing to leave out for something I take it they want to be able to distribute outside of the US...

  5. I forgot to add -b to the diff command. The only change is to handle the locale conversion. C/C++ is not supported by the Android project. I assume they're handling all their locale support in Java instead.

  6. Thanks for the great article. After following all the steps, I ran into the following issue when I got to the step for building Lua:

    kelvin-soos-imac:lua-5.1.4-android ksoo$ make CC=agcc AR="arm-eabi-ar rcu" RANLIB=arm-eabi-ranlib posix
    cd src && make posix
    agcc -O2 -Wall -DLUA_USE_POSIX -c -o lapi.o lapi.c
    /Volumes/android-dev/mydroid/prebuilt/linux-x86/toolchain/arm-eabi-4.2.1/bin/arm-eabi-gcc: /Volumes/android-dev/mydroid/prebuilt/linux-x86/toolchain/arm-eabi-4.2.1/bin/arm-eabi-gcc: cannot execute binary file
    make[2]: *** [lapi.o] Error 126
    make[1]: *** [posix] Error 2
    make: *** [posix] Error 2

    Any idea why it can't seem to execute arm-eabi-gcc? (I'm running on a Mac BTW, and followed the build instructions for Mac OS at Android Source). Any help would be greatly appeciated!

  7. Kelvin, I would guess that you can't run a Linux executable on Mac OS. Presumably you need to use the compiler in the "darwin-x86" directory instead of the one in "linux-x86".

  8. Yeah! you need to use the compiler in the "darwin-x86" directory instead of the one in "linux-x86".

  9. Your patch saved my life tonight =D Keep up the good work.

  10. Hi Damon, can you point me to the Lua Android API docs. Much thanks


  11. @WA3YAY All documentation is available on the ASE project home page.