Author Topic: Installing a Linux distribution inside Android  (Read 248 times)


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Installing a Linux distribution inside Android
« on: December 21, 2020, 05:17:37 am »
This is another method of installing a Linux distribution on Android. I have found it a little bit easier and the final result more functional than the Devuan installation posted on February. The steps are based on this article It is assumed that Android allows root user access.

Here are the steps (the option names may be different depending on the language):
  • Prepare a microSD card: create at least one ext4 partition which is going to be used as a root partition for the newly installed system. You can also create a FAT32 partition to share data as well as other Linux partitions. After partitioning insert it into Cosmo.
  • Install following apps from Play Store: Linux deploy, XServer XSDL. The original article also recommends installing Busybox, but it seems to be not necessary.
  • Start Linux Deploy and choose the configuration button in upper right corner, set the following configuration options:
    - distribution: Debian
    - architecture: arm64
    - distribution package: buster
    - type of installation: partition
    - installation path: for example /dev/block/mmcblk1p2
    - filesystem: ext4
    - username: set a suitable value
    - password: set a suitable value
    - locale: set a suitable value, for example en_GB.UTF-8
    - custom mount points: yes
    - mount point list: add here entries for other partitions such as /home
    - SSH: yes
    - enable: yes
    - GUI: yes
    - graphical subsystem: X11
    - graphical environment: choose your favourite
  • Next, open the three dots menu o the right and select install, this may take some time.
  • After installation you should be able to start the system by selecting "▶ Launch"
  • Now you should be able to log in by ssh from other system in the local network or from Termux. Start XServer XSDL and enter this in the terminal to start Mate:
    export PULSE_SERVER=tcp:
    export DISPLAY=:0
Overall this gives access to a desktop-style Linux environment with its services, user interface and package manager while your Android apps continue running in the background. Compared to Gemian, at the moment of writing the battery seems to get drained less, although the GUI is a little less reactive.


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Re: Installing a Linux distribution inside Android
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2020, 11:38:25 am »
Can you drop your privileges to "normal user" account? This is one of those things that is missing in the Devuan-based approach.


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Re: Installing a Linux distribution inside Android
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2020, 11:20:35 am »
The bootstrap script creates one unprivileged user who can run sudo. The user name and the password need to be set in the configuration before starting the installation.