Install ADB and Fastboot Android Tools

Rooting my Nexus 7 tablet required the installation of ADB and Fastboot. ADB stands for Android Debugging Bridge and enables command-line control of Android devices connected to a host machine while Fastboot is used to flash software to Android via USB. Both tools are provided by the Android SDK.

This is how I setup Android tools on my laptop running Debian sid.

Step 0

Configure Android for USB debugging and the host for MTP. This step confirms host is capable of detecting and mounting the Android device. Because things have changed in the latest Jelly Bean ...

Step 1

Debian has packages for ADB and Fastboot but they are slightly out-of-date even in sid. Android 4.2.2 now requires the RSA key fingerprint of the attempting-to-connect host to be confirmed before allowing ADB to do its stuff. Which requires the very latest version of ADB to even see the RSA confirmation request (I kept running into device offline output from the Debian-supplied ADB).

Remove the Debian-supplied Android tools if they are installed ...

$ sudo apt-get purge android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot

... and download the latest Android SDK (for my 64-bit host I chose and unpack. ADB and Fastboot are located in adt-bundle-linux-x86_64/sdk/platform-tools.

If you are running 64-bit Debian then enable multiarch to use 32-bit ADB and Fastboot (yes they are 32-bit even though packed in the x86_64 bundle) and install their dependencies ...

$ sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
$ sudo apt-get update ; apt-get install libc6:i386 libncurses5:i386 libstdc++6:i386

Step 2

Navigate to platform-tools and start ADB ./adb start-server.

I connect my Nexus 7 to Debian and now see Android requesting confirmation of the RSA key fingerprint ...

Allow USB debugging?

The computer's RSA key fingerprint is:

[*] Always allow from this computer


ADB now detects my tablet ...

$ adb devices
List of devices attached
STRING                device

Step 3

To permit running ADB and Fastboot outside of platform-tools I add the executables to $PATH by creating symbolic links in ~/bin ...

$ ln -s /path/to/adt-bundle-linux-x86_64/sdk/platform-tools/adb ~/bin/
$ ln -s /path/to/adt-bundle-linux-x86_64/sdk/platform-tools/fastboot ~/bin

The groundwork is now in place to dive into some Android mods and rooting!

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