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[HOWTO] All-in-one solution for Ubuntu 10.10 Linux on Android

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By fire314, Junior Member on 20th February 2011, 05:54 PM
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Links to Ubuntu 10.10 Image and Startup Script (around 1.5GB download):



MD5 Sums (in case any of the downloads corrupt)

Open with 7Zip or similar to unzip.

What is this?
An ubuntu 10.10 maverick (with LXDE window manager) machine in your pocket. Perfectly usable from the phone itself using a VNC client, this allows you to install any ubuntu software onto your phone and have it with you always. Coupled with the (potential) ability for your phone to be hooked up to a television with TV Out (works with the Nokia TV Out cable available on eBay), and for (supposedly any) HID-compliant bluetooth keyboard and mouse to be linked up to the phone (requires Android 2.2), this really does become a PC in your pocket.

- android phone
- superuser + busybox

- 3.5GB virtual machine image (ubuntu.img) with ubuntu and certain applications pre-installed (listed below). The image is resizable with uec-resize-image, although FAT32 (the most likely format of your SD Card) has a maximum file size of <4GB.

- A script to boot into ubuntu from android (

- A script to start the VNC Server and other startup commands. This is contained within the ubuntu.img file at /root/, accessible and modifiable once ubuntu.img has successfully booted.

How to boot:
- Place and ubuntu.img in the same directory in your SD storage.
- Enter a terminal and enter 'su' to become a superuser (root).
- Navigate to the directory where you placed the files (e.g. "cd /sdcard/external_sd/ubuntu").
- Execute the script by typing "sh".

Tip: Some android terminal emulators (e.g. better terminal) allow you to specify an initial command that is run as soon as you launch the application. Multiple initial commands can be defined by pressing return between each command when you define it, so for example the initial command:

su <return>
cd /sdcard/external_sd/ubuntu <return>
sh <return>

will boot you into ubuntu and start the VNC server as soon as you launch the terminal application. All that remains is to VNC into it before you can start using it.

Note: I have noticed that some android apps with process/activity management options (e.g. Spare Parts) possibly interfered with the running of Ubuntu and would kill "inactive" shell emulators (even when they were just idling) - thus killing the idling ubuntu environment. Also, I found it to be at its most stable after a fresh reboot of the phone.

How to connect:
Once you have booted the image (see instructions above), you simply need to fire up your VNC client of choice (androidVNC or pocketcloud VNC are good options), and simply add a new VNC server with address localhost, port 5900, and password 'ubuntu' - then hit connect.

- androidVNC has the advantage of pinch to zoom and generally feels nicer - set colour to 24bpp when adding the connection, and Input mode to touchpad once connected (this sometimes resets and needs re-doing at the start of a session).
- pocketcloud VNC has the advantage that no intermediate text input window is required when doing text input and may be preferred by some people.
- It has been suggested that the Dingul hangul keyboard is good for direct access to common command line characters such as / and * etc. It is however in Korean but can be set to use a QWERTY keyboard.

What software is pre-installed?

Base System (with all updates as of 19/02/11:
Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick) Core
LXDE (Lightweight Windows-like GUI) with tightvnc server.

Applications (with all updates as of 19/02/11):
Firefox, Thunderbird, suite, GIMP Image Editor, Emacs Text Editor (geared towards programming), C and C++ build-essential, Java JDK, Python, TeXlive and TeXmaker LaTeX editor, Transmission BitTorrent Client, eVince PDF Viewer, File Manager, Terminal, Image Viewer, Leafpad Text Editor, Synaptic Package Manager and Ubuntu Software Center with all repositories enabled (Ubuntu Software Center is pretty and well organized - but bloated and slow), SSH server, Gnash (GNU flash player/plugin for Firefox - as there is no official generla flash pluging for armel CPUs)..

Obviously, you are free to add and remove apps as you see fit (through Synaptic or Ubuntu Software Center)..

I hope people find this useful, and that it works without too many problems.

Martin Rhodes (, fire314 @ XDA).

Note: If anyone ends up creating a custom ubuntu.img using rootstock, remember to create the directory /data/local/tmp within it as this is where the linux system will be expecting to find its temporary directory if booted (chroot'd) from android - and it is not there by default.
Last edited by fire314; 6th April 2011 at 09:44 AM. Reason: Include screenshot
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7th March 2011, 07:12 PM |#2  
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Ok so say I want to call my girlfriend or text her. Will it include GSM/3G, or do I have to use regular Android for that? And Android won't be gone? I have a Galaxy Tab. Really want something different than Android on it, but I want it to function as a phone aswell, since it's my primary phone
I'm from Norway btw:P Don't know if that matters.
8th March 2011, 04:07 AM |#3  
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the 4th link doesnt work could you post another ? thanx
8th March 2011, 05:07 PM |#4  
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Originally Posted by imazighen

the 4th link doesnt work could you post another ? thanx

Same here.

Can you please post the only?



Here another howto, with a working link:
Last edited by ttf; 8th March 2011 at 05:16 PM.
8th March 2011, 07:42 PM |#5  
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I'm very interested.

How much space i need in the sdcard?

And..Can you rescue the link from megaupload?

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9th March 2011, 12:11 AM |#6  
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I am also very interested in this but am also unable to download the fourth file. I checked out the link provided by ttf above but that version will take a little too much work for me.

9th March 2011, 07:10 AM |#7  
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Now link are working. I'm downloading
9th March 2011, 10:13 AM |#8  
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"Please wait while booting ubuntu.img this can take some time..."

I'm stuck.

EDIT: Sorry..But this is my error. I'm waiting for a confirmation message but there isn't. After i tried to connect VNC and it works!.
How can i shoutdown Ubuntu now?
Last edited by legolas93; 9th March 2011 at 10:17 AM.
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9th March 2011, 12:07 PM |#9  
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that's interesting. I use Ubuntu both at work and home, so I would surely love this
9th March 2011, 01:14 PM |#10  
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@Syntex123 - You VNC (Remote Desktop) to the Ubuntu FROM your android device, so basically, you access it through a VNC Client on your android, just like any other app - you can switch back and forth between android apps (including of course the one that you make calls from etc.)

I believe there are numerous threads on ubuntu for the galaxy tab, just search "ubuntu on galaxy tab" in the forum search bar.

@Legolas - the file is 3.5GB, but can be resized from within another Linux machine using uec-resize-image. To shut it down, just type 'exit' in the terminal emulator that you started it from and wait.

@ Everyone

The fourth link not working is a general error probably caused due to heavy load. Try again later if you experience it..

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