Being a tablet, it makes a lot more sense to run Ubuntu on the ASUS Tranformer Prime than on a smartphone. Of course, that hasn’t stopped people from porting the popular Linux distro to the HTC Desire, for example, and for the old Windows Mobile devices, getting Ubuntu to work was a stepping stone for Android ports – a process probably best illustrated with the HTC HD2.
Anyway, forum member zedomax has created a step-by-step tutorial which explains how to install Ubuntu on the Transformer Prime. Due to limitations of VNC, which is used to connect to Ubuntu from within Android, the GUI is quite slow, but the command-line shell interface is working very well, helped in no small part by the quad-core processor found in the Prime which makes it run much faster than on a Samsung Galaxy Tab, as the dev notes.
However, you can get a lot done in shell – like, say, running a web server in the background, or even compiling Android kernels right from the Android tablet – so if you’re interested, check out the forum thread which also includes a video for your viewing pleasure.
January 14, 2012 By: Former Writer
Everyone that wants to be involved with development has got to start somewhere, and for users who own an Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4g Touch, there’s a place for you.
XDA Member shanenielson1234 has written a thorough set of instructions for the aspiring developer who wants to learn how to compile a kernel. This has been attempted before by others, but they include things like a script that does all the work for you which leaves the aspiring developers no room to learn and no room to modify.
This method is more complete and requires the users performing the tutorial to go through each step themselves in order to get a feel for how it is really done. It opens the doors for those who want to improve on that process by writing their own script or allows modification of files within the kernel, which is something a compile script just won’t let you do.
For the complete tutorial, download links to essential kernel compiling files, and discussion with users who have begun or completed this tutorial, you can find everything you need in the original thread. Before you begin, though, be sure you’re running Ubuntu (or some distro of Linux) or at least have it operational in a Virtual Box. Also, as part of the tutorial, you’ll be flashing your kernel to your phone after you make it and flashing kernels is always a little dangerous. So be sure you do the usual flashing preparation, such as creating a Nandroid backup, before you begin.
Sometimes, Windows just doesn’t cut it. Many developers use some distro of Linux for most of their work and, while better off than most Mac users, Windows has the capacity to cause mammoth headaches.
This is especially true for some Amazon Kindle Fire owners, who’ve reported having trouble with ADB and Fastboot drivers on Windows.
To rescue comes XDA Senior Member pokey9000 who has devised a method for getting around this and restore Kindle Fire owners to their headache free ways. He explains what it is exactly:
Firekit combines all the command line tools for Kindle Fire recovery with the Ubuntu LiveUSB. All you need is a USB stick and a PC that can boot off it. All files stay on the stick, so nothing on your PC is changed.
While this will require a little know-how about creating Ubuntu LiveUSB, once you get passed that, it’s a relatively simple process. After you create your Ubuntu LiveUSB and get the files on there, you can use the command line to do anything from restoring your Fire to fixing messed up partition tables. Here’s a full list of the commands (to be entered in the command line):
install_fff_twrp_from_stock: Install FFF and TWRP while in stock Android. Uses fbmode to reboot. Use this to get FFF/TWRP installed on 6.2.1 stock OS.
install_fff_twrp: Install FFF and TWRP while in fastboot. Good if you’re stuck in fastboot and you want FFF/TWRP.
fix_parts Restore partition table to stock while in fastboot. Do this if you’re in fastboot and your partition table is screwed up.
normal_boot: Set the bootmode to boot android and reboot while in fastboot. Try this if you’re stuck at the Kindle Fire logo.
usb_boot_twrp: USB boot TWRP without installing. Boot TWRP if your Kindle black screens when you try to power it on. Needs the USB boot mode trick.
usb_install_fff_twrp: USB boot FFF, install FFF and TWRP. Install / recover the bootloader and recovery if they are broken. Needs the USB boot mode trick.
usb_fix_parts_and_install_fff_twrp: USB boot FFF, restore partition table to stock, install FFF and TWRP. Fix everything if you screwed up the partition table and your Fire’s screen no longer turns on. Needs the USB boot mode trick.
If this powerful alternative to trying to get things to work via Windows is something you would like to check out, you can check out the original thread for additional instructions, a tutorial on its use and download links. It seems that pokey9000 is also planning to do more support for this, as he does have a to-do list at the bottom of the first post for things he intends to fix and improve on.
January 4, 2012 By: Former Writer
HTC Desire users are among the latest who can have that Ubuntu goodness on their phones.
XDA Senior Member zacthespack has been developing an app that runs a user through installing Ubuntu on their Android devices, most recently the HTC Desire. The app is pretty cool. Basically, a user downloads an Ubuntu image and the app will install Ubuntu via chroot within Android. And, as we all know, people who run Linux on their phones win. Always.
It’s a seriously awesome concept, but as with all great ideas and developments, testers are always needed. Says zacthespack:
Ok guys As this app becomes more stable I will be looking to create other apps to run different linux distros, so far im looking at fedora and backtrack, any others people would be interested in
So there’s the opportunity to possibly check out other distros and builds as well.
If this looks like something you can get into, HTC Desire owners can check out the thread dedicated for them here. Any other Android users who want to give it a try can check out their dedicated thread here.
The threads contain download links to various builds, the apps (both free and paid versions) and instructions on how to do everything. As with any operating system installation, there are some dangers so be sure to be careful!
It’s always a little exciting when a developer gets Linux working on a phone. It’s a development on Android phones that are a little underrated in terms of pure awesomeness.
USING THE FOLLOWING WILL VOID ANY WARRANTY YOU MIGHT HAVE LEFT AND MIGHT ALSO BRICK YOUR PHONE!
Seriously, don’t do this if you don’t wish to risk the data on your phone.
So, this is more for those thrill seekers who understand that they flash this at their own risk and no one is responsible for it but them. However, for those who are willing (read: daring) enough to try it, here’s some stuff ergoen has working:
I have succeeded to boot and get the wifi, X11 and the touch screen sort-of working.
The installation instructions are pretty difficult and in order to get this working it will require a lot of patience and quite a bit of know-how in Android and Linux so, to reiterate, this is for advanced users only.
If you would like to know more, see more and check out this highly experimental piece of work-in-progress, you can head on over to the original thread and check out the latest and greatest in the Ubuntu for the Optimus.
January 24, 2011 By: ElCondor
After the introduction of the XDA Phone Review, we asked you which phone we should review first. Not really surprisingly, the amount requests for an HTC HD2 review were huge. So, the choice was made to review the HD2, covering all three major OS’s that are available for this phone. We’ll compare the HD2 to other phones running the same OS, talk a bit more about the future of this huge development, and if it’s worth buying the phone now.
Five operating systems
As you probably know, the HD2 is probably the most popular phone ever when it comes to custom OS development. The developer base is almost endless, resulting in many new improvements to the user experience of the phone. It is now capable of running five mobile operating systems: Windows Mobile (which is the native OS), Android, Windows Phone 7, MeeGo and Ubuntu. There is no other phone that’s able to do this. There are a few reasons for that. First of all, the HD2 is a beast in terms of hardware. The hardware is good enough to support Windows Phone 7 and all other operating systems. Also, the extreme popularity made it a first priority target for developers. Thirdly, the native software is not locked down, allowing developers to replace it with other software.
Yet it took a while before these OS’s came out. The SD version of Android finally started to get serious attention when the first compatible HaRet came out. And then, in december, MAGLDR was released, offering NAND Android and Windows Phone 7. Microsoft’s new mobile OS was receiving massive attention, and people where anxiously waiting for it to run on their HD2. The release of WP7 for the HD2 can be seen as one of the most advanced hacks ever achieved to a smartphone.
Android and Windows Phone 7 experience
So, if you like Android, but also want to give WP7 a try, buying the HD2 could be a great idea. Both OS’s are running almost as fluid as on any other phone. I’m saying “almost”, because it always lacks true stable builds. You see, the Desire HD for example is born to be an Android phone, and the HD7 was born to be a WP7 device. The HD2 will always have to rely on software that’s created by third party developers, instead of the original software developers. Some functions that are dependent to services that are offered by Google or Microsoft, and, because it’s no official Android or Windows Phone 7 phone, these services can’t be used.
One example is that you won’t receive updates from the OS maker. For Android, this isn’t a problem at all since you will be using custom ROMs that are in many ways better than stock software. But we think that WP7 will be another deal. The upcoming update seems to be pretty significant, and as far as we know, getting the update to work on the HD2 will probably be pretty difficult. The new build will probably have new protection added to it (we already now ChevronWP7 won’t work on it), and even if it’s not, it will take a lot of work to port it.
Another thing is the way Microsoft tries to relock the hacked Windows Phone 7 build on your HD2, making it impossible to make use of the Windows LIVE services. These services are very important to have the full experience, so if Microsoft constantly locks everything up, you will probably not enjoy WP7. There are some ways to avoid this but you’ll never stop having to add several fixes and patches. So for now, we think the Windows Phone 7 builds aren’t ready yet for everyday use.
Comparison to competition
So, how about Android? Is the HD2 a true phone to consider if you’re looking for an Android phone? The developer base is huge, and we expect this incredible support to continue for a long time, since this phone is so popular. The native Android alternatives to the 4.3″ phone are the EVO 4G and the Desire HD. Hardware-wise, the EVO is better with its 4G, HDMI, front-facing and 8MP camera capabilities, and the Desire HD offers the unibody construction along with better performance under the hood. The EVO is also massively supported by the development community, with many ROMs being available.
If you want to use Windows Mobile, there is no question if you should use the HD2 or another phone. If you want the 4,3″ screen size and still have a thin device, this is the ultimate phone for you. Besides, you will always have the option to switch to Android or Windows Phone 7, which is something you can’t have with any other phone.
If you’re looking for a multi-OS phone and really want to hack everything on your phone, the HD2 may certainly be a phone to consider. Its hardware is still pretty decent, although the EVO 4G does offer a lot more features hardware-wise. If you want a large-screen phone solely for Android, it might just be an idea to wait a little longer until the first generations of 1,2Ghz phones come out. The Motorola Shadow for example, that has been released in China, would be a very good competitor to any big Android phone.
If you want a Windows Phone 7 device, don’t buy the HD2. The lack of support from Microsoft really makes it impossible to get all the features that are available. The HTC HD7, Samsung Omnia 7 or Dell Venue Pro should be phones to consider.
For the real poweruser, the HD2 is the ultimate device with its endless hacking possibilities, but if you want more stability, we suggest you look away and consider phones that are running native OS’s.
Much like with the XDANDROID project, which works on porting Android to much-loved Windows Mobile devices such as the Raphael, Blackstone, Rhodium and Diamond, various members of the forum have been working together to port the complete Ubuntu Linux distro to a range of handsets.
This originated with fatsal‘s port to Sony Ericsson’s XPERIA X1, but support and development has grown substantially and the operating system is now working (with varying degrees of functionality) on several other devices.
The port operates very similarly to that of Android. Users must put the relevant system files into the root of their SD card, and run haret.exe to boot into Linux. WiFi support should be fixed for all devices, but the touchscreen must be used like a trackpad to move the cursor. Obviously, calls and texts cannot be made through Ubuntu as it is designed as a complete PC OS, not a mobile OS.
For your own device, please see the respective thread, read the given instructions very carefully (as they differ between devices) and remember to download the appropriate zImage:
Rhodium users should also read the Wiki entry on Ubuntu for Rhodium
Don’t worry if your device isn’t currently featured: the project is still growing and it is very likely to span to other devices in the coming weeks.