Sbot on Android


We're contributors to the scuttlebutt project in our spare time. Scuttlebutt is incredibly exciting, we use it for our social media platform and doing business with other coops.

For a while now we've wanted to build a solar powered scuttlbutt pub that could be attached to a bouy or deployed in disaster areas. This avenue seems like a really viable option for re-purposing old android phones to help build a new solar powered distributed internet.

My phone

Samsung galaxy s5 cyanogen mod 13.0.

Linux Deploy

  • Install Linux deploy
    • Note: needs rooted android device. I've played with other alternatives like debkit etc but they use PRoot. PRoot simulates root access but we need ACTUAL root access.

Configure linux deploy

Some defaults need changing. This is just what I did, your mileage may vary.

Change distribution to ubuntu. Change the image size to something bigger than default (I went 5000mb) Tick the ssh box so that ubuntu has a ssh server. Then install (takes 10 minutes) Run


ssh [email protected]<ip in app title bar>

Password is found under the menu in the bottom right of the screen.

Install build tools:

sudo apt-get install build-essential python python2.7 curl

Install nvm:

curl -o- | bash bash nvm install --lts (could use more modern node probably) npm i -g [email protected] npm i -g node-gyp npm i -g scuttlebot (takes 15mins)


sbot server

Grow the fs:

I ran out of diskspace and had to grow the image: Grow the image by 1GB (make sure image isn't running)

adb shell
su root
cd <image-dir>
dd if=/dev/zero of=linux.img count=1 bs=1GB
e2fsck -f -y linux.img

Run a client:

I got patchlite running ok. It was a bit slow, possibly from the js crypto libs being slower than native.

Issues and where to from here

  • My sbot is crashing with bad block errors. This might be because the resize didn't work properly.
  • Hooking up sbot to run on image boot.
  • Try out running the built sbot in a proot image so we don't need actual root.
  • Investigate publishing prebuilt versions of the crypto libs.
  • Look at moving the sync js crypto to async to free up the ui.
    • could use webworkers
    • could work on doing it in the native layer.
  • Measure battery / cpu use. (important for making solar powered pub)
  • Investigate sbot api to see if it's easy to switch gossip / on and off to save power and bandwidth.
    • Sbot bandwidth counter and limiting will be needed for mobile.
  • Make a chroot dev environment that runs (half done but breaks coz no /dev directory)

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