Android: Applications to use a Linux Operating System on a Mobile

Android: Applications to use a Linux Operating System on a Mobile

Android: Applications to use a Linux Operating System on a Mobile

For every lover of «Informática» has always been a striking point, being able to achieve a perfect level of«convergencia» o «universalización» between the different «Plataformas de SW» of each device. That is, achieving run within a «Sistema Operativo»a different one or at least its applications. For that they have gone over time perfecting «Tecnologías de emulación y virtualización», either through «Máquinas Virtuales» o «Contenedores».

In some previous articles  of the Blog, we have also seen how the trend and effectiveness of achieving a «Sistema Operativo» cross-platform or hyper-converged, that is, a «Sistema Operativo» for all kinds of Desktops, Laptops, Mobile Phones, Tablets, and other smart devices. Being, the last possible case known in the world arena, that of Huawei Operating System, called Harmony OS. However, in this post we will focus on briefly commenting on current Applications to use a Linux Operating System on a Mobile with Android.

Android + Linux: Introduction

For us, «Usuarios de Linux», it has always been a curiosity and even a personal and / or community challenge, to be able to install any «Distro Linux», or our favorite or our own «Distro Linux» directly on a mobile device or tablet, or at least run it in a virtualized way on it.

For the second case, which is usually much easier to run for anyone with little or medium knowledge, are the following applications that we will mention below. In such a way that, with these applications, plus a few simple steps, practically anyone can use, in the simplest of cases, some benefits of some «Distros Linux» on a mobile or turn it into almost a complete computer by totally executing some «Distro Linux».

Android apps to run Linux

Complete Linux Installer

Complete Linux Installeris an official application of «Android», available at «Tienda de aplicaciones de Google para Android (Google Play Store)», last updated on 5th September 2016, and which is currently in its version 3.0 BETA and available for«Android» version 4.0.3 and later versions.

Basically, it allows you to install a«Distro Linux»fully functional within «Android», in such a way that it works the same as if it were to be installed on a physical computer. Therefore, if possible, if a keyboard and mouse can be connected to the mobile, they should be detected and recognized by the «Distro Linux» and run smoothly.

Step 1:

Its use is very simple. But, before being started, you must have activated the «Depuración de USB», located in the «Opciones de desarrollo», the «Menú de ajustes» de «Android». After installed and executed, you must press the option «Install Guides» which will show the different «Distros Linux» supported by our used device, which will vary depending on the version of «Android» installed and the device processor.

After choosing any of them, you must click on the button «Download Image», in order to continue choosing the size of the same, among those available, and finish by pressing the button. «From Sourceforge», to download the «Distro Linux» from said website.

Remember, when choosing the size of the «Distro Linux» You have to install, you should consider that the larger the selected size, the more complete it will be. And choose the appropriate one, based on the free space available on your device. If you want the most complete, always select the option «Download Large Image».

Step 2:

To use «Complete Linux Installer» It is also recommended to have previously installed 2 useful Remote Access applications and Call Terminal «VNCViewer App» y «Terminal App», which are installed directly from the same section called «Page 2» of said application.

So that once downloaded and unzipped the «Distro Linux» with the «Gestor de archivos» of your preference, on a particular route, preferably a «Tarjeta de Memoria SD» at least 8 or 16 GB, it is indicated to «Complete Linux Installer» said route, through the button called «Launch». Although, previously in the section called «Settings» and about the option called «Edit» the application must be told the path of the «Distro Linux» unzipped.

Once this step is completed, filling in the required steps, it is necessary to press the button called «Start Linux» to automatically start «Terminal App», which will ask us if we want to check the file of the «Distro Linux» unzipped. Step that we can skip, writing the «letra n» and pressing the button «Intro». Sometimes «Complete Linux Installer» When executed at this point, it asks to enter a password for the user account and / or indicate the resolution of the device's screen.

Step 3:

From this point, and at the end of loading the «Distro Linux», a line appears with the instruction «root@localhost:/ #», which indicates that we only need to access the «GUI» of the same through «VNCViewer App», since we cannot directly access this, since it is «Android», «Sistema Operativo» who is already using the «Entorno Gráfico» device.

Therefore, to finish we just have to start «VNCViewer App» insert the necessary connection parameters and which are generally summarized as:

  • Nickname: Linux Distro username
  • Password: Default password of the Linux Distro user
  • Address: localhost
  • Port: 5900

Then, finish by pressing the button called «Connect» so that the expected one appears «GUI» of the «Distro Linux». If necessary, it would be missing if necessary, click on the button options of «AndroidVNC» to configure the pointer control method, window scaling or keyboard shortcuts to improve the accessibility of the «Distro Linux» about «Android». For the rest, it only remains to use the «Distro Linux» at the user's discretion.


To make the most of «Complete Linux Installer» Linux Distros that come in live format are recommended and with everything possible already installed so that if necessary, do not install it. A good recommendation, in this regard, are DEBIAN, Ubuntu, MX-Linux and MilagrOS.


Android + Linux: GNU Root Debian

GNURoot Debian

GNURoot Debianis an official application of «Android», available at «Tienda de aplicaciones de Google para Android (Google Play Store)», last updated on August 3st, 2018, and is currently in different versions, depending on the version of «Android» in which it will be installed, not having full compatibility guaranteed, from version 8.0 onwards.

In cases where the version of «Android» not compatible with «GNURoot Debian» se recommended to use «UserLand», especially if they are modern versions of«Android», that is, version 8.0 or higher.

Basically, it allows or enables logging into a«Terminal de Linux»with permits of«súper-usuario (root)», so that they can be executed through said «Interfaz de Línea de Comandos (CLI)», the necessary command commands, and then install a «Entorno de Escritorio» and else «aplicaciones GNU» necessary or required.


It «App» often used in combination with XServer XSDL, since there is another, it will be in charge of allowing the visualization of the graphics of the Linux computer, that is, the «Interfaz Gráfica de Usuario (GUI)»In other words, it will simulate our monitor.

Its use is not very complicated, since once the first one is executed, you must proceed to update the «Sistema Operativo Linux» and install a «Entorno de Escritorio», preferably a light and simple one like «XFCE» o «LXDE», and the rest of what is necessary. And finally, raise the «GUI» of «Sistema Operativo». In short, the synthesized standard procedure would look something like this:

Step 1 - From GNURoot

  1. Run: apt-get update
  2. Run: apt-get install lxde
  3. Run: apt-get install xterm synaptic pulseaudio
  4. Switch to: XServer

Step 2 - From XServer

  1. Download: Fonts
  2. Set up: Resolution and DPI
  3. Wait: blue Pantallazo
  4. To return to: GNURoot

Step 3 - From GNURoot

  1. Run: export DISPLAY=:0 PULSE_SERVER=tcp:
  2. Run: startlxde &
  3. To return to: XServer

Step 4 - From XServer

  • Wait: Blue screen that will then disappear.
  • View and use: Desktop environment installed.

Linux Deploy

Linux Deployis an official application of «Android», available at «Tienda de aplicaciones de Google para Android (Google Play Store)», last updated on August 22st, 2019, and is currently in the version 2.4.0 and available for«Android» version 4.0.3 and later versions.

This app of «código abierto»facilitates quick and easy installation of a «Sistema Operativo GNU/Linux» on a mobile device with «Android». Since an average installation usually takes about 15 minutes.

Its creators recommend that the minimum size of the disk image of the«Distro Linux» to use with «GUI» is 1024 MB (1GB) and without«GUI» 512 MB (1/2 GB). And that when installing it on a «Tarjeta Flash» with the «Sistema de archivos FAT 32», the image size does not exceed 4098 MB (4 GB).

In addition, they advise that after the initial installation and configuration, the password for«SSH» y «VNC» is generated automatically. Being able to change it through the options «Properties -> User password" (Propiedades -> Contraseña de usuario)» or using standard tools from «Sistema Operativo» used, that is, the commands «passwd» o «vncpasswd».


This application also relies on the use of 2 other useful applications, calledBusyBox y VNC Viewer. Being the first, a set of tools that unlocks the mobile device «Android» to be able to use several «comandos de Linux» essential for «Distros Linux» work and run satisfactorily. And the second, a remote desktop application used to create the window within which the «Distro Linux» run within mobile device «Android».

Step 1 - Linux Deploy

After installing the 3 applications, and being executed «Linux Deploy» the following parameters must be configured in its configuration menu:

Bootstrap section

  • Distribution: Select the type of Linux Distro to use

GUI section

  • Enable: Enable the use of the Graphical Environment of the Linux Distro to use
  • GraphicsSubsystem: Select VNC
  • Desktop Environment: Select type of Graphical Environment of the Linux Distro to use

VNC Section

  • Width / Height: Select recommended 1920 x 1080 or higher for Tablets and 1024 × 576 or 1152 × 648 for Smartphones.

System section

  • User Name: Configure Username of the Linux Distro to use
  • UserPassword: Configure User Password of the Linux Distro to use

Main Menu

  • Install Option: Installation usually takes several minutes, depending on the speed of the mobile device used.

The installation process ends with the message «<<< desplegar» the button is pressed «OK» and it ends waiting for the message to be displayed «<<< Start» then go to the application of «VNC». Up to this point, the «Distro Linux» implemented and running.

Step 2 - VNC Viewer

Once the application is run «VNC Viewer», we must add a new connection by pressing the icon with the symbol «+» at the bottom right, and in the new option created called «Nueva conexión» the word must be entered «localhost» in the text box called «Address» and the name of our choice in the text box called «Name». Finally, we must press the button called «Create» to end.

To run our «Distro Linux» we just have to press our new connection created in «VNC Viewer» to run and use it.


UserLand is an official application of «Android», available at «Tienda de aplicaciones de Google para Android (Google Play Store)», last updated on 1August 2st, 2019, and is currently in the version 2.6.2 y available for «Android» version 5 and later versions.

Its creators claim that it provides an easy mechanism to execute a «Distro Linux» or simply a«aplicación de Linux» about «Android». Since it allows them to be installed locally or in the cloud. In addition, they offer the use of an excellent and powerful «CLI» capable of allowing the installation of packages, compilation of executables, use of text-based games, among many other things.

«UserLand» was created and is being actively maintained by the people behind the app «GNURoot Debian», so that in the near future it will be the definitive replacement of the same on the new versions of «Android».


When it starts «UserLand» for the first time, it presents a list of common Linux distributions and applications. When you click on any of these, a series of configuration indications appear that must be configured, so that later the «Distro Linux» or the «aplicación de Linux» be downloaded and configured. And later accessed and used through a Terminal or Remote Access application like the previous ones.

Although, in the installation process «UserLand» recommends the use of «bVNC (Secure VNC Viewer)» as a Remote Access application. And for a greater domain of this modern application you can access its official website at the following link UserLand.

Android + Linux: Conclusion


We hope you find this article extremely helpful for this attractive task of using a «Distro Linux» about «Android». Remember that there are some other applications that have performed the same functions over time, such as «DEBIAN noroot» and they are no longer active in the «Tienda de aplicaciones de Google para Android (Google Play Store)», but there are many others that are more similar, better or inferior, that you can also use with a little research by accessing the following link.

If you have ever or currently used any of the aforementioned or others, do not stop comment the article so you can share your valuable experience on the subject matter with the whole community.

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  1.   Cesar de los RABOS said

    Android is a Wednesday, it's like having Windows installed… stiff and full of garbage, rooting the phone is a drama and to flash this thing you have to use Windows!
    The store is the worst, a lot of Apps, all the same and almost none of them work.
    Definitely using the Linux kernel does not make it very Linux itself.

  2.   Fer B. said

    … .It would be very useful if the articles are dated, since I don't know if I am reading something recent or from 4 years ago.

    1.    Linux PostInstall said

      Greetings Fer! This article is dated 05/09/2019.