Instructions for installing Linux desktop environment on Android devices
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Instructions for installing Linux desktop environment on Android devices


For self-employed people, they often like to travel while working. However, the only problem is that technology especially those who need to use computers to work. While there are many great tablets like the Surface Pro, they are “bulky” for inconvenient travel. In such cases, users want to turn the phone into a laptop. It is powerful enough and the 5.1-inch screen is large enough to see clearly. However, another problem that arises is software.

  • 3 Linux mobile operating systems you can install today

Most users prefer Android, but multitasking features are still relatively pure. Phones with Android N already have a multi-screen function, but what many users want is a full desktop environment to be able to surf the web while editing docx files, being able to browse files and drag , drop them into WordPress.

Running desktop environment on Android

It is no longer imagination. Android really lets you do all that. Android is so open and flexible that there are many ways you can get the full desktop environment up and running on your smartphone.

Ways to install a desktop environment on Android phones (without rooting)

Crossover for Android

If you are one of the lucky few to have an Intel-powered smartphone, such as Zenfone 2 or Lenovo K900, then you will be able to install and run an application called Crossover. This is really an application that allows you to install and run Windows software directly such as Steam, Microsoft Office and more. Programs running in windows can be dragged and resized just like running on a desktop computer!

Debian No Root

Debian No Root will install a version of Debian called Jessie or install a “compatibility layer” that allows you to run Debian software in a desktop environment. The distributions come with a terminal, which allows you to install additional software. Just enter sudo apt-get install iceweasel to get a Firefox based browser.

Debian No Root Software

There are compatibility issues here. Any phone running Android earlier than 4.4 will not allow you to uninstall and then reinstall. Also you will not be able to install any software from version 6.0 or above. This is because the developer doesn’t have new phones to test and can’t fix bugs.

Multitasking application

There are a variety of applications on the network that simulate the desktop environment. There is a great application called Multiscreen Multitasking, which has lots of small utilities in a single application and then places them in draggable windows. Basically, it only allows you to open webview and edit documents. You can do something like open the web page or save it as an editable image file. However, the Multiscreen Multitasking application seems a bit old. Also you can write code with Basic4Android application.

Multitasking application

If you do not want to use the application above, you can try Leena Desktop UI. It is quite similar to the above app but is more attractive and the browser supports Google Drive and Google Docs. This is also a launcher, so you can use it to launch regular apps. Sentio is similar and there are other options available online.

As you can see, there are lots of options to get desktop environment up and running on your device without having to root. Of course, if you have the new Samsung S8, you can try using DeX but you need an external monitor. Another option to stream desktop is to use software like Splashtop Remote. This is based on your computer and whether your connection is strong or not. Either way, there are lots of options and you can find the app that’s right for you.

DeX software

How to install Ubuntu and other Linux versions on Android devices

To do this, you will need a rooted Android device. Rooting Android is usually a fairly simple process but note that it varies from device to device. You can refer to the article Summary of some ways to root Android devices to refer to the ways to root your device.

Once your Android phone is rooted, you will need three apps:

  • Linux Deploy
  • BusyBox
  • VNC Viewer

First install BusyBox. BusyBox gives your phone access to Linux commands.

Open Linux Deploy and make sure it has root access. Now press the small download button at the top or bottom right of the screen. This will bring you to the options menu. Most of the settings here can be ignored but this is where you will choose Linux distributions like Debian, Ubuntu to Kali Linux, Gentoo, Fedora and more. Choosing the suite will change the Linux “taste”. You can try them all or find out and choose any distribution you like.

Select Enable

At the bottom, you can also choose your preferred desktop environment, which will change the look and feel of the application. Choose “Enable ” under the GUI to make sure you have a graphical interface to work with and check the GUI settings below to change things like resolution. For Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, 1024 × 576 resolution works best. Name your username “root“to gain access and record the password or change it to make it easier to remember.

Now click on the menu that looks like three dots and select “Install”. This process will take a few minutes but will install the entire Linux distribution on the device. Click on the “Start”To run in ‘chroot‘- mainly a small compartment on your device.

Terminal window

Finally, you will use the VNC Viewer to view the GUI. Upload it and set the address to “localhost: 5900”. Then enter the password you previously set.

Address setting

Now if you want to add more software, go to Terminal and type:

  • Apt-get install libreoffice – For LibreOffice
  • Apt-get install iceweasel –For Firefox
  • Apt-get install idle – For Python Idle
  • Apt-get install gimp – Names for GIMP
  • Apt-get install nautilus-dropbox – For DropBox
  • Apt-get install software-center – For app store, though it will not run on distribution.

There are many more ways, but the above may be enough for you to use the Linux environment on Android. You should also run ‘apt-get update‘after a period of use to ensure everything is up to date.

Install additional software

If needed you can equip a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to start working.

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