How to run Linux on an Android device

How to run Linux on an Android device

Access the Linux kernel on your Android smartphone or tablet

Did you know that Android devices are powered by a modified Linux kernel? Although the kernel is restrictive, it is possible to run Linux on Android phones and tablets.

The information below must apply no matter who makes your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Can you run Linux on Android?

With applications such as UserLAnd, anyone can install a complete Linux distribution on an Android device. You don’t need to boot the device, so there is no risk of damaging the phone or canceling the warranty.

With the UserLAnd application, you can install Arch Linux, Debian, Kali Linux, and Ubuntu on the device. This program installs additional layers on devices running selected versions of Linux, allowing you to connect to Linux sessions using SSH or VNC with the help of the bVNC application.

The Linux desktop does not always scale correctly. You may need to move the screen when working in windows.

How to Install Linux on Android

To run Ubuntu on an Android device with UserLAnd:

1. Download and install UserLand from the Google Play Store.


2. Open the UserLAnd application, then tap Ubuntu.


3. Tap OK, then tap Allow to give the required application permissions.


4. Enter the Username, Password and VNC Password for the Ubuntu session, then tap Continue.


5. Select VNC, then tap Continue.

At this point, UserLA and download assets are needed for the Ubuntu session. Depending on the speed of your connection, this can take a while.


6. You are redirected to the Google Play Store, where you can download bVNC (if you haven’t already). Tap Install, then tap the Back button on your device to return to UserLAnd.

If asked to give bVNC access to your Android file, tap Allow.

7. Tap Session at the bottom of the screen, then tap the plus sign (+) in the upper right corner.

If you see an option for Ubuntu listed, tap to start your Linux session.


8. Name the ubuntu session, select the application: Ubuntu from the Filesystem drop-down menu, then select SSH for Service Type. Tap Save (icon in the upper right corner) when done.


9. Tap Session, then tap Ubuntu to launch your Linux session.


How to use Linux on Android

The Ubuntu session opens to a desktop environment, where you can zoom in with your finger. From here, you can open the application by tapping the start menu in the lower left corner. To install a new Linux program using the terminal command, tap System Tools> LX Terminal.

To close the desktop and return to Android, tap anywhere on the screen, tap the three vertical dots that appear, then tap End.


Pros and Cons of Running Linux on Android

Linux is more flexible than Android. There are many tasks that you can do with Linux that you cannot do on Android, including application development, advanced image editing, and working in a real desktop environment.

That said, the small form factor of a smartphone makes it difficult to package an entire desktop GUI into a small screen. You must use your finger to move the mouse cursor, and you will not be able to use the mobile application while the Linux desktop is running.

Why hasn’t Linux been officially transferred to a mobile device?

In 2013, Canonical developed a mobile device that runs a special version of Ubuntu called Ubuntu Touch. It was a commercial failure, so the device was stopped. No other company has tried to release a Linux phone because of the challenges of the GUI. The desktop must be completely reorganized in order to function on the small screen.

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