Retro-programming: Android 1.0 development environment.

Step-by-step tutorial to retro-programming

Cedric Ferry
2 min readNov 29, 2023

This tutorial is a step by step to setup a vintage Android 1.0–1.5 development environment. If you don’t feel like following all the steps, you can get a VirtualBox image with a donation of your choice.

I wrote about Android retro-programming before, here and there.

Virtual machine

Download and install VirtualBox

Debian Etch

You can download the Debian ISO image on, you only need the CD image for Android.

Create a Virtual Machine for Debian

Menu “Machine” then select “New…”

Select the Debian ISO image, make sure it says Debian 32-bit.
You can leave the default setting for Hardware and Hard Disk

Install Debian on VirtualBox

Start your virtual machine and follow the installation wizard. You can leave everything to default.

Download the Android packages

Once the box reboots on the Gnome desktop, download the following packages.

You can use either the browser shipped with the distro or you can leverage the “Shared folders” of VirtualBox in the Settings (you will need to reboot).

Java 1.6

Download and install JDK 6 for debian from Oracle or any other mirror.

Run the bin file to install Java locally.

Eclipse Ganymede

With your OS and Java ready, you can download Eclipse Ganymede 32-bits from Eclipse website.

Unarchive the file, Eclipse will be ready to run.


Download ADT from, there are a few versions available. Launch Eclipse and open the Help menu and select “Install New Software…”

Click Add, in the top-right corner.
In the Add Site dialog, click Archive.
Browse and select version 0.8.x from the downloaded zip file.
Enter a name for the local update site (e.g., “Android Plugin”) in the “Name” field.
Click OK.

Android SDK

Download the Android SDK 1.0r2 and 1.5r3 from
Add the SDK to the plugin.
In Eclipse, open the Window menu > Android SDK and AVD Manager
Or Window menu > Preferences > Android > set the SDK Location

Some additional recommendations

While the SDK 1.0 and older ADT 0.7.x works, I would recommend going for SDK 1.5 (Cupcake) which introduces ASyncTasks and ADT 0.9.x. which has a slightly improved developer experience.

Happy coding!