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How to Install Ubuntu on Your Android Phone

By Sara | Jul 29, 2010 | In Windows
Filed Under : ubuntu on androidubuntu install androidubuntu on nexus one

This tutorial will offer a full guide to help you install Ubuntu as a sub-system on your Android phone. To install Ubuntu will not affect your existing Android system, which can run in the background. The following will teach you how to install Ubuntu on your Android phone, and tell you why you should install Ubuntu to your Android Phone. It may sound a little difficulty, but if you follow all the steps carefully, you can install Ubuntu on your Android phone without any troubles.

Run Ubuntu on Your Google Nexus One and Some Other Android Phones

Why do you install Ubuntu to your Android Phone?

  • Once you have installed Ubuntu on your Android phone, including Google Nexus One, you can run native Ubuntu on your phone.

  • In the college engineering classes, student can use the Android Phone as a test device, instead of going to the lab to having dual-boot on their computer, when they are studying Ubuntu.

  • Web designers can use their Android phones as a portable web test server to test their new designs.

  • For the people who like open source, free code is priceless.

How to Install Ubuntu on Your Android Phone?

1. Download Ubuntu for your Android Phone. The latest version of Ubuntu is Ubuntu 10.04.

2. You should root your android phone. You can get the guide to root your android phone here.

3. Install the Busybox.

a. download the Busybox file, unzip the contents to the root folder in your SD card.

b. Open ADB shell, and enter the following command:
cd /sdcard
sh ./

The Busybox will be installed. You can verify by a command cp. If you have some errors, you should do each command manually in the

4. You can run Ubuntu under Chroot, which is the ability to run other operating systems under your current system, Android. But you can only chroot other operating system made for your system's architecture.

5. Copy the files we need for chroot to the root folder of your SD card, under the name "Ubuntu", including image files of Ubuntu ARM, which is basically root filesystem that can be mounted to Android phone with the command mount, chroot boot /launch file (bootubuntu), setup script file (, fsrw, unuonfs and mountonly.

6. Make sure to "Turn off USB storage" on your Android phone to access the SD card from ADB Shell.

7. Go to "Settings->Applications->Development" to check the option USB Debugging mode.

8. Install Android SDK on your computer. Go to the directory of it and load up ADB Shell.

9. If you see a "#"symbol in the ADB Shell, you can begin booting Ubuntu.

10. Enter "su" to access to superuser mode.

11. Enter "cd /sdcard/ubuntu" to take you to the directory where you have copied Ubuntu file to it.

12. Enter "h ./" to run set up script. When you change your script file bootubuntu, you should run it.

13. Enter "bootubuntu" to chroot or boot in your Ubuntu on your Android.

If you get the "localhost" sign , it means you have already installed Ubuntu on your Android phone. If not, you should reboot your Android phone, and carefully follow the step from 8 to 13 again.

How to get X11 GUI up and running on Android phone?

1. Download and install Android VNC Viewer to your Android phone.

2. Use Ubuntu apt-get installer to install some files. Go to the terminal of the chrooted Ubuntu.

3. Enter the command "apt-get update" to update the Ubuntu packages.

4. Type "apt-get install tightvncserver" to install TightVNCServer.

5. Enter "apt-get install lxde" to install the LXDE.

6. Enter the following command:
export USER=root
vncserver -geometry 1024X800

You can set your password here to VNCserver.

7. Use cat command to add the following to /root/.vnc/xstartup file:

cat > /root/.vnc/xstartup
xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid grey
icewm &

Once finished, press "Ctrl+D" twice and then press Enter key.

8. Run the Android VNC app on your Android phone, input the password you have set, and set the port to 5901

9. Tap on connect and voila, and you will have a cool Gnome Ubuntu screen.

10. You can setup your chrooted Ubuntu to make your VNC server run everytime you start the chrooted Ubuntu.

a. Concatenate the file you have made front and /root/.bashrc to a new file called temp:
cat front /root/.bashrc > temp

b. Copy the new file temp over the existing /root/.bashrc.
cp temp /root/.bashrc

c. Exit Ubuntu back to Android shell to check if it's working Exit

d. Boot the back up of Ubuntu

11. You can use Terminal Emulator app to start the Ubuntu chroot by typing the following commands:

Following the steps above, you can successfully install Ubuntu to your Android phone, including Google Nexus One.


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