Android AOSP Can Boot Off Mainline Linux 5.9 With Just One Patch

Written by Michael Larabel in Google on 29 August 2020 at 10:02 AM EDT. 37 Comments
The Android open-source project "AOSP" with its latest code is very close to being able to boot off the mainline Linux kernel when assuming the device drivers are all upstream.

Google's Satya Tangirala and Linaro's Sumit Semwal presented at this week's Linux Plumbers Conference on the state of Android on mainline Linux kernels.

Linux 5.9 moved the mainline tree one step closer to booting with AOSP with the inline encryption patches being merged this cycle.

For being able to boot the mainline kernel "to [user interface] on AOSP/Master", for devices with fully upstream hardware support there is just one patch required. That patch is for the anonymous VMA naming support in the kernel. That patch has been available for a while but not upstreamed and over the past year has become a requirement for being able to boot AOSP. The patch dates back to at least 2013 but never followed through for upstreaming but at least recently there is work moving in that direction.

Unfortunately though most modern smartphones still require an assortment of driver patches and other work that haven't yet been mainlined or not necessarily even open-source. As a result, most modern Android devices need more than just the anonymous VMA naming patch to run off an upstream kernel.

The open-source Android kernel tree is currently carrying around 485 patches atop upstream Linux 5.9 due to a lot of hardware/driver-specific work and other patches that haven't yet worked their way through the review and upstreaming process. Among the areas where Android is carrying kernel patches they are looking at upstreaming are for GKI enablement, DMA-BUF HEAPS, DRM core patches, and more.

More details on the state of the mainline kernel for Android/AOSP via the PDF slide deck from LPC 2020.
Related News
About The Author
Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

Popular News This Week