Installing a Linux Distro on an Android device is always an interesting prospect. The idea of having an operating system like Linux, which is meant for real computers but can be run on practically everything, brings even more functionality to a device than it had with just the stock software. Its small footprint and low spec requirements make it just as good for most Android devices as Android itself.
For those carrying the Archos Gen8, your Ubuntu goodness is right around the corner. XDA Forum Member CalcProgrammer1, who’s brought Linux to tablets before, has been working on a build of Ubuntu to fully work with the Archos Gen8. Unfortunately, there’s still a ways to go, but users can experience most of what handheld Linux has to offer with the first release. Despite some problems with the wireless drivers and the occasional bug here and there, the Linux experience on the Gen8 seems to be pretty complete as, at the very least, the essential functions all still work.
In the words of the developer:
The display is working and the touchscreen works as well (calibrated correctly as I copied my calibration from my 11.04 install). It boots into Unity 2D which is the default. I’m having issues getting the wl1271 wireless module up, I have had it running once but NetworkManager said device was not ready despite being able to iwlist scan and see a list of AP’s and then connect to them manually.
So while there is still a lot of work to be done, a lot of work has already been done and Gen8 users are very close to have a fully functional Ubuntu to play with.
Check out the modification thread for additional information, some really fun modifications, and download links.
One of the most impressive things you can do with an Android device is loading an entirely different operating system. Being able to run something like Windows or Linux on a device not only looks cool, but can even bring some fun new features and functionality. Motorola Droid 4 owners now have the option to install some Ubuntu goodness as well. XDA Forum Member greekchampion04 has posted a method that will get the popular OS onto the Droid 4 using a VNC client.
The process is a little complicated, and involves pretty decent knowledge of command line and vi. You’ll also be required to install a bunch of free applications from the Android Market, and, of course, you’ll need a rooted Droid 4. After that, it’s just a matter of putting a few command lines in and tweaking some settings and you’re off to the races. Says the developer:
This is a fairly involved process… especially when it comes to editing the .sh file in vi things can get very frustrating and hard, but just take your time and you will get it.
You can check out the original thread for full instructions, some troubleshooting, and all the download links.
March 5, 2012 By: Will Verduzco
Undoubtedly the vast majority of us are excited about the prospect of running Ubuntu on our handsets. In fact, we’ve covered several methods for users to get a mobile taste of the popular Linux distribution in the past. However, none of these are as simple or powerful as what Canonical wishes to accomplish.
Running atop the same kernel, and side by side with the Android operating system, the integration possibilities are enticing. Join us in this XDA TV episode as James Bricknell inquires about the nitty gritty regarding what Canonical is calling the “killer app for multi-core phones in 2012.”
February 23, 2012 By: egzthunder1
Ubuntu and the infamous HP Touchpad. For those of you around the HPT scene, you know that this is likely a comparable device to the HD2 in terms of flexibility. The device runs WebOS natively, Android (all the way to ICS thanks to the good people at the Cyanogen team), and as of October of last year, Ubuntu. At that time, the port was far from being something anyone would dare installing as it was, for the most part, completely useless. Today, while the port is still in alpha stage, it has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of capabilities and features. XDA member BodenM has done a great job in turning this project into a reality.
If you look through the short thread, you will find other devs helping with the project as well, such as XDA member CalcProgrammer1, who recently announced that he got BT properly working. Other recent feats include the usability of Wifi and a much more responsive touchscreen among several other features. Unfortunately, the road ahead is still long and there are things like sound which still require a lot of work. But it is a project worth following. If you know anything that could help in getting this off the ground, please chip in on the thread.
Follow the instructions carefully in order to get this to run on your Touchpad and remember, this is an alpha, so don’t complain if something doesn’t work right off the bat.
IF YOU DIDN’T ALREADY KNOW, BY INSTALLING THIS, YOUR WARRANTY IS PROBABLY VOID! I won’t be responsible if your TP bricks, needs doctoring, catches fire, skins adorable puppies and kittens, BBQs your “crown jewels”, eats your children, starts WW3, explodes or commits seppuku!
You can find more information in the original thread.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
Thanks Virus for the tip!
As we are all aware, Android relies on the Linux kernel for its core services and to act as an abstraction layer between hardware drivers and the rest of the software stack. However, some of us aren’t content until we have a full Gnome interface and a cache of staple apps suck as Firefox, Thunderbird, and Open Office at our disposal. We’ve covered a couple of ways to load the popular Ubuntu in the past. However neither way was quite as hands-off as some users would like.
Thanks to a root-level application and a couple of images by XDA forum member zacthespack, we now have an incredibly user-friendly way to load one of the most popular Linux distributions on any rooted device running Android 1.6 or greater. Users can choose between two images—a 500 MB lightweight image with LXDE and other essentials, and a full 1.5 GB image with Gnome, LXDE, and several additional apps.
In the words of the developer:
I have working on a project in the form of an app, which guides you through the installation of Ubuntu within android via chroot. It includes a ubuntu 10.10 image I have been working on which includes lots of program to allow users to develop program/scripts etc within Ubuntu on there phone/tablet.
However I have I have yet to get much testing on this device and would like more feedback from users!
January 30, 2012 By: Former Writer
It’s hard to throw around some words in the Android development community. Some mods are superb, some ROMs get tens of thousands of users and their threads have millions of views. Some themes are universally loved and some things people just can’t imagine living without. Even so, there are very few releases that can be described as truly great.
So, as a result of my work, I would like to present the first ever Ubuntu Recovery. This will totally wipe your device. With the exception of the ROM Partition which contains serial information, every single partition will have zeros written to it then flashed with just enough to perform an initial factory reflash. Normally when you perform an update or flash of a device, it is simply formatted. A formatted device can be unformatted. A zeroed device cannot be unformatted. All information is overwritten with zeros.
This will also work if you’ve damaged the bootloaders or recovery partition.
The recovery will wipe your device clean sans some important ROM information and the parts that allow for a factory re-flash and could be helpful for those trying to restore back to 1.4.0 firmware on their Nook Tablets.
For additional information, screenshots, full instructions and even a nifty how-to on creating a recovery SD card, you can find everything you need in the original thread.
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.