How to Easily Run Linux on Android Devices

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Your Android phone is already built on a Linux kernel, but you can optimize it and make better use of its multi-core processors and RAM size by running a full Linux distribution alongside your current operating system.

We can think of many reasons why you would want to have a decent Linux system in your pocket. You can, for example, use it for a LAMP server that can run web applications and serve web pages. If you’re a network administrator, you can install your favorite Linux tools and turn your smartphone into a mobile device for network troubleshooting or penetration testing.

If you’re reading this thread, you’ve probably used Linux before and know that it works on almost any device. Meanwhile, you have a phone in your pocket and you know it’s versatile. Can an Android phone run Linux?

Yes he can. Here’s what you need to know about running Linux on your Android smartphone or tablet.

Hey, isn’t Android really Linux?

Well, it is…and it isn’t.

Android is based on the Linux kernel, a software suite that interacts with hardware components. It’s basically what allows the operating system to communicate with the device, whether it’s a computer, a smartphone, or any other hardware.

Linux really should be called GNU/Linux. But over time, the word “Linux” has come to be used to describe the kernel as well as different operating systems (distros) interchangeably. This includes Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Gentoo and many more.

So, although Android actually uses the Linux kernel, it does not provide a desktop environment. This is what most users think of when they think of ways to install Linux on Android.

Why install Linux on Android?

So why would you want to install a Linux desktop environment on your Android phone or tablet?

You may want to run an app that is not available on Android. But in most cases, you’ll just want to access the kind of desktop environment that gives you the most powerful applications. You probably have an Android tablet that you want to take full advantage of, and installing Linux on it is a good way to do that.

Current Android devices have the perfect internal hardware for a PC-like experience, and installing Linux is a great way to enable it.

Of course, you might find that the tasks you want to do on Linux also work on Android. The only obstacle that might hold you back is the simultaneous multitasking of Android apps. Fortunately, this feature is supported by many modern Android devices with the latest OS versions.

Getting Linux to work on your Android phone or tablet isn’t easy. If you’re looking for improved multitasking, try upgrading to a recent version of Android instead.

Can my phone or tablet run Linux?

To run Linux on Android, you have several options. Which you should use is determined by whether your Android device is rooted or not.

In almost all cases, your phone, tablet, or even Android TV can run the Linux desktop environment. You can also install Linux command line tool on Android. It doesn’t matter if your phone is rooted (modify or tweak the Linux kernel, or the equivalent of jailbreaking on iOS) or not.

The following options are available for installing Linux on your Android phone or tablet:

To install Linux on Android without root:

  • Debian Noroot
  • UserLAND
  • AndroNix

To install Linux on a rooted Android device:

  • Using Linux Deploy
  • Install Kali Linux for Penetration Testing

There are several other ways that will give you a Linux or desktop-like experience on Android. We will also look at it.

Install Linux on Android Phone Without Root

First, we’ll look at three ways to install Linux on your Android phone or tablet without rooting.

How to Run Linux on Android with Debian Noroot

The best way to run Linux on your phone with minimal hassle is to use Debian Noroot. You need Android 4.1 or later to use this option.

The advantage of Debian Noroot is that it will install Debian Buster on your phone according to the compatibility layer. This allows you to run Debian applications without having to access Android. Considering how difficult it is to root some devices, this comes in handy.

The performance you get with Debian Noroot isn’t great, but it’s usable. To get the best results when installing Linux on Android, you should consider rooting your device first.

Download: Debian Noroot (Free)

How to Run Linux on Android Using UserLAND

UserLANd is an alternative to Debian Noroot, an Android application from the Play Store that offers a range of distributions. In addition to Alpine, Arch, Debian, Kali, and Ubuntu, this tool also lets you install apps.

You can install tools like GIMP, Firefox, and LibreOffice before installing Linux on Android. Just launch the app, accept the permissions, and select a distro to install. There is an option to view the installed Linux version via SSH (command line) or use the VNC application (desktop).

It is very easy to set up and use the app. So, if you are looking for a solution to run Linux on Android, try this option.

Download: UserLAnd (free)

How to Run Linux on Android with AndroNix

Eight distributions have been added to the application, this useful application also offers modded versions of some Linux operating systems to improve performance. The eight standard distributions you can use are:

  • Ubuntu
  • Kali
  • Debian
  • Camber
  • Parrot OS
  • Felt
  • Manjaro
  • Alpine

Among them, Ubuntu, Debian, Ubuntu and Manjaro have mod versions available for Android devices with ARMv8 chipsets and above.

To install Linux on Android using AndroNix, tap the distro you want to use, then tap Install. You will need to follow the steps to copy the command to the Termux window, as well as choose the desktop environment.

The video above shows the process in more detail. Just make sure you have Termux and a VNC app installed (like VNC Viewer). You will need VNC to use your Linux desktop of choice.

AndroNix is ​​free, but you can upgrade to the pro version which removes ads and offers additional (non-vital) features. This includes support for offline downloading of operating systems.

Download: AndroNix (Free, in-app purchases available)

3 More Ways to Run Linux on Android Without Root

How to Easily Run Linux on Android Devices - Android Linux

While we’ve covered some great options for running Linux on your Android device, there are other ways:

  • DeX: If you have a recent Samsung device, you have the option of switching your device to desktop mode using DeX. Although it’s not exactly Linux, it provides a desktop environment with a Linux kernel.
  • Remote access to another Linux machine, using the Splashtop app.
  • Termux: This app provides you with a command-line based Linux environment to run Linux apps on Android. So, it literally means running Linux on Android!

Root your Android phone and install Linux

For rooted users, or anyone who is happy to take the time to root their Android device, the Linux installation process is easier and faster.

How to Install Linux on a Rooted Android Device

If you have a rooted device, you can install different versions of Linux on Android using the Linux Deploy tool. It’s best to do this by first connecting your phone to a Wi-Fi network.

Start by installing BusyBox, which offers enhanced root functionality. Next, install Linux Deploy. On first run, press “To start upTo make sure root permissions are enabled, tapSettingsIn the lower right corner.

Use the list of options displayed to select your preferred distribution. Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Fedora and many more are available for installation. We used Arch Linux.

How to Easily Run Linux on Android Devices - Android Linux

You will need to check the box “EnableNext to the GUI to display the Linux desktop on your phone. Also be sure to choose VNC graphics subsystem. Next, check the screen resolution in the GUI settings and make sure you’re happy with the options offered by the desktop environment.

Finally, look for username and password entries. Write these details down or change them to something you can’t forget.

Go back to before this menu, then tap the three dots in the upper right corner and select Facilities Then Okay.

When you’re done, install VNC Viewer from the Play Store. In Linux Deploy, click “To start upTo run Linux. Next, open VNC Viewer and connect to localhost:5900 to view your Linux desktop using the credentials you entered earlier.

How to Easily Run Linux on Android Devices - Android Linux

Once it’s up and running, you can install Linux apps using Terminal the usual way.

our end: You now have Linux on Android! ??

How to install Kali Linux on Android (root required)

The Linux Deploy method above for running Linux distros on Android is probably the best way you’ll find. It offers good options for Linux builds including Kali Linux.

But do you want to use your Android phone or tablet as a penetration testing device? Although you will find many Android networking tools useful, the best option is a portable version of Kali Linux. Just follow the above instructions with Linux Deploy and select Kali Linux to install on Android.

Once installed, you’ll have a portable penetration testing solution in your pocket. You will be able to check the integrity of any network your phone is connected to.

The alternative, installing a custom ROM on Android

If you’re not sure if installing Linux on Android is a good idea, but want more features on your phone? You can just try a different version of Android.

If you don’t know where to start, find out how to install a custom ROM on Android.

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