Getting ready to build ICS from Android Source Code – Heavy duty machines required !
By udayan On 23 Oct, 2011 At 06:03 PM | Categorized As News | With 15 Comments

The day ICS(Ice Cream Sandwich – Android 4.0) will be made open-source is not too far. Once it is out, developers around the world(including OEMs like HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericcson) will start building the source code and start rolling out the update for android devices. But what bewilders me is the need for workstations with no lesser than 16 GB RAM to build the source code(I am not kidding). Ice Cream Sandwich is a Vampire ;) that requires twice the amount of blood that GingerBread needed.

If you want to build Ice Cream Sandwich from AOSP(Android Open Source Project), these are the preliminary numbers that you should be looking at,

6GB of download.
25GB disk space to do a single build.
80GB disk space to build all AOSP configs at the same time.
16GB RAM recommended, more preferred, anything less will measurably benefit from using an SSD.
5+ hours of CPU time for a single build, 25+ minutes of wall time, as measured on a workstation (dual-E5620 i.e. 2x quad-core 2.4GHz HT, with 24GB of RAM, no SSD).
Never had I imagined that ICS would require such heavy-duty machines to build. Folks, its time to upgrade your machines !

About - Udayan is an Android enthusiast who lives in the city of Bangalore. He likes to blog about android, Apple, Microcontollers, Linux and so on. He is the founder of a unique tech community - TantraJnaan(Meaning Technology).Visit www.tantrajnaan.com to know more.


Displaying 15 Comments
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  1. VPS says:

    Oh wow! This is going to majorly affect small time developers or ones overseas who do not have access to that kind of hardware..

  2. Mytob says:

    Wow! That alot of resources!

  3. Ben Burns says:

    It’s really not that surprising, you’re building an entire OS. If you’re building multiple configurations, you’re building an entire OS multiple times. This isn’t unique to Android, either. OpenEmbedded (embedded linux build system) can have similar requirements if you’re building large images for multiple machines. The yocto project is the same way, too.

    “The build process using Sato currently consumes about 50GB of disk space. To allow for variations in the build process and for future package expansion, we recommend having at least 100GB of free disk space.”

    http://www.yoctoproject.org/docs/current/yocto-project-qs/yocto-project-qs.html

  4. TJS says:

    Where are you getting this information from? How do you know it’s true? Looking for information sources.

  5. udayan says:

    This is not a surprising fact for people who have previously compiled other operating systems from Source code. Building Gingerbread from source code requires a configuration that is half the scale of what is required for ICS. The source for this piece of information is the link posted above and I have confirmed this one of my trusted source in a company which makes android tablets.

  6. [...] Getting ready to build ICS from Android Source Code – Heavy duty machines required ! The day ICS(Ice Cream Sandwich – Android 4.0) will be made open-source is not too far. Once it is out, developers around the world(including OEMs like HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericcson) will start building the source code and start rolling out the update for android devices. But what bewilders me is the need for workstations with no lesser than 16 GB RAM to build the source code(I am not kidding). Ice Cream Sandwich is a Vampire that requires twice the amount of blood that GingerBread needed. [...]

  7. JohnH says:

    Now that the source code is out, here are some real numbers. The RAM requirement may be true for large machines, but with 3GB of RAM, and a quad-core-with-hyperthreading Lynnfield 860 @ 2.8GHz processor, it did compile in less than 3 hours (it died in the middle because of an improperly installed C compiler which had issues compiling 32 bit binaries on 64 bits, which contributed about another 1/2 hour to fix in that 3 hours). Yes, that wasn’t the 35 minutes JPQ had with his 8-core machine, but still acceptable. If I did this for a living, I would want a bigger machine, especially if I had more than 1 architecture to build.

    The 16GB of RAM is mostly to keep the downloaded source in cache during compilations, to avoid hitting the disk. It’s not absolutely needed for any compilation. With my 3GB of RAM, I only used 154M of swap. My machine actually has 4GB installed, but I have to limit it to 3GB because of a device which can’t support 64-bit DMA.

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