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3 Open Source Alternatives To Install Linux on Android

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3 Open Source Alternatives To Install Linux on Android

Android is an operating system based on a Linux kernel, and as such offers its developers endless possibilities to do what they like with it.


However, there are some pending issues that have not yet been properly applied, such as the Android desktop mode. Although it is something that can be done for some time.

Part of the problems of this capacity is centralized in two things. The first, the Android interface and its applications, which are practical to use on a mobile, but too uncomfortable to use in desktop mode.

The second, the fact that the desktop mode is still Android for mobile, but in the large version. Neither Google nor application developers have adapted their software to offer a much more complete experience, in terms of options, to their users.

But there come the benefits of Open Source software. Because while Google is working on that, and Samsung did it at the time with the already canceled Linux on Dex, there will always be other people who get on the task. This is why we bring you 3 Open Source alternatives to install Linux on our Android mobile.

Termux, the user’s favorite sandbox

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From the official website, Termux is defined as a terminal emulator for Android and a Linux environment application that works directly, without the need for root or configuration. The best? It works like a sandbox.

Termux automatically installs a Linux system that allows us to do some basic things. Further, runs as a separate instance on Android, so we can continue using the mobile for something else without a problem.

Has APT packet support, so we can add more options quietly, such as adding a keyboard and mouse, applications adapted to desktop mode, an improved graphical interface (GUI), and even a full Linux distribution.

In short, we can use our Android device like a computer Pocket Linux. And it’s not just for Android, we can also install it in ChromeOS. The requirements? Only have Android 5.0 or higher, and an ARM SoC, because it is not compatible with x86 SoC, such as Intel Atom.

Features of Termux for Android

  • Compatibility with SSH to and from other Android terminals, as well as remote servers, through openSSH.
  • Compatibility with any shell interpreter (Shell), such as BASH, ZSH, FISH, etc.
  • It allows you to choose different text processors, as well as file browsers.
  • It is compatible with the latest versions of Git, Python, Ruby, Node.js, and Perl.
  • Add external devices to use desktop mode.
  • When installing a keyboard, we can configure our preferred shortcuts.
  • Execute almost any GNU / Linux command.
  • We can add new APT packages for more options.
  • It can be run in a floating window with the add-in Termux: Float.
  • With the complement Termux: Widget We can run small scripts from the Android home screen.
  • With Termux: Boot We can run scripts when starting our Android device.

Download Termux

UserLAnd, the commitment to simplicity

userland open source linux "width =" 700 "height =" 350

The spiritual successor of the extinct GNURoot, and the main competence of Termux. The Open Source UserLAnd project proposes the solution to run Linux from Android from simplicity and practicality.

Why? Because although it allows us to install a simple command line, its objective is to install complete Linux distributions on our Android mobile, such as Debian, Ubuntu, Kali, etc.

This is achieved through a simple graphical interface, which is very intuitive even for the most novice users. After installing the Linux distribution on our device, we can do everything we want as if it were a desktop version.

Features of UserLAnd on Android:

  • It is open-source and is available on GitHub for reference.
  • Run full Linux distributions on Android in a simple way.
  • It allows you to install and run Linux applications on Android as a normal application.
  • No root is required to install and use it.
  • Compatible with VNC sessions to have a better graphical interface (UX).
  • It has a built-in terminal with SSH support.
  • Available for free on Google Play Store and F-Droid.

The requirements to install UserLAnd are even more flexible than Termux, as it requires at least Android 4 KitKat, and is compatible with any SoC (both ARM and x86).

Download UserLAnd

Maru OS, mobile and computer on the same device

maru os android "width =" 700 "height =" 350

If we take a mobile with Maru OS installed, it will seem that we are facing an ordinary Android device. But when connecting the HDMI cable to a screen, and adding a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, the magic happens, because a full Linux desktop is made available to us.

Maru OS It is based on Debian and AOSP and is the closest to Microsoft’s vision of Continuum or the Bq Aquaris Ubuntu Edition. The idea behind the project is that we have a device that does not need to run Linux as a separate application within Android. If not, just connect the mobile to the necessary peripherals, we have available a whole ready to use the desktop environment.

As stated by the same developers on the official website, Maru OS are basically two operating systems, AOSP and Debian, which run under the same Linux kernel, using containers that handle the visualization of one or the other, according to the need of the moment.

Maru OS is a very interesting bet, but it has some problems regarding its competitors. Since it is not an application but an entire operating system, must be installed as a custom ROM. This will result in the loss of our data unless we make a backup, and it is a more complicated process than going to the Play Store alone.

Moreover, it is only available for three Android phones, the Nexus 5, the Nexus 5x, and the Nexus 6p. Something that plays very against this option, and a real shame, because the potential of the project is enormous. You can download it from its official website.

But hey, time is still happening, and developers writing codes and making interesting proposals. We, while, We are still waiting to have an Android desktop in conditions, which allows us to turn our mobile into a real laptop. Surely we are not far from it, much less with these three projects so good to install Linux on Android.

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