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What phones can run GNU/Linux?

All about android phones.
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Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:10 pm

What phones can run GNU/Linux?

Post by i_amlegend »


I would like to buy a mobile phone, that can run a GNU/Linux distribution. I prefer a distribution, where a long lifetime can be expected, something like OpenWRT for phones.

I've read about the Nokia N9, but it seems, that Meego's development has stopped (no more activity for more than one year). And when I run the installer of the SDK, it stops with an error message: it seems that openSUSE is not supported, only Ubuntu and Fedora. So I don't know, if N9/Meego is the right option for me.

What other phones do you know, that can run GNU/Linux?

Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:11 pm

Re: What phones can run GNU/Linux?

Post by i-conica »

Yes, of course!

1.) I would like to have maximum control over the software, even if I won't use it. That means, being able to recompile the kernel with other options/patches, being able to install other software as easily as on my PC.

2.) GNU software, especially Emacs should be available without problems.

3.) Meego seems to be a good GNU/Linux distribution. The problem is just, that development has stopped, so probably no updates can be expected in the future.

4.) I like OpenWRT very much: a GNU/Linux distribution for routers (and more), that offers always the latest and greatest packages (also the Linux kernel) for my old Asus routers. Version control, bug tracker, easy configuration/building/flashing and so on. Just great. It would be nice, if there was something like this for a phone.

5.) I've bad experience with Maemo: the latest update for my N810 was in 2008. If I want more recent software, I need to hack (I *like* to hack, but for the moment I've a lot of other things to do...)

6.) The problem with Android is, that a big part is not open source, and it's controlled by commercial companies, that can stop support from one day to another. There are already a lot of devices out there, that can run only Android 1 or 2, but no later versions. And from the little information that I have about this OS, I'm not sure, if it will be easy to install my favorite software (e.g. emacs, common lisp, crond...). Perhaps Android is the right choice for me, and it's really open and I can do all things, just like on my PC, and I'm just not yet aware of it.

My future mobile phone (my first one), I would like to keep it several years. Perhaps it will be the N9. From what I read on the web, it seems, that Meego is a good OS: open and free enough, rpm-packages and so on. But I'm afraid, that I'll never be able to install anything newer than Meego-1.2 on the N9, just because support has stopped.

So here my 2 main questions:

- Is there any chance, that in a few years, there will be Meego (or other GNU/Linux) updates for the N9?

- Is there something similar to the couple N9/Meego on the market today?

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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:11 pm

Re: What phones can run GNU/Linux?

Post by i017535 »

I think your examples of Android phones that can't run new versions are not exactly Android's problem ... it's the hardware manufacturers putting ridiculously low amounts of memory in, and so on. I have an old computer with 16MB of RAM - runs Windows 95 perfectly well, but I can't install any Linux distro on it - that's not Linux's fault though.

An openwrt for phones would be a good thing ... but I don't know about the N9 in particular. Maybe we have to ask why Meego has stopped ...

I don't know about the N9, but if we look at tablets in general, we're going to start seeing GNU/Linux distros that support them. KDE Plasma Active springs to mind.

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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:11 pm

Re: What phones can run GNU/Linux?

Post by i020590 »

OMG. I like and use EMACS but I cannot conceive of using it on a 4" touch screen, or trying to program on one.
Obsolescence is just a lack of imagination.

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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:11 pm

Re: What phones can run GNU/Linux?

Post by i0null »

You can do a lot of other things with Emacs. I use applications, where I only need the mouse sometimes, no typing (e.g. Org mode or Gnus).

And when I need to edit files, I'll connect to the phone with ssh from my PC (big screen and big keyboard).

Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:12 pm

Re: What phones can run GNU/Linux?

Post by i18nde »

lets see
Emacs on a phone touchscreen ????
that is almost as bad as using VI on a phone .

partly wrong

Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:12 pm

Re: What phones can run GNU/Linux?

Post by i2landscape »

Nokia has abandoned MeeGo for windows.
For mobile field now there is a new project called Tizen, hosted by Linux Fondation.

You can try more info here:
Lots of different ways to live and lots of different ways to die. But in the end that doesn't make a bit of difference. All that remains is a desert.

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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:12 pm

Re: What phones can run GNU/Linux?

Post by i3rianl »

I'd recommend a Google Galaxy Nexus (https :// play.google .com/store/devices/details?id=galaxy_nexus_hspa). It's only $350 if price is important to you, yet is still a high-end smartphone. It has a huge community, which will support it for years, just like the original Android phone, the HTC G1 is able to run the current version of Android. There's projects currently trying to port Debain fully to the phone, but currently you can chroot into a few different Ubuntu environments, and use VNC to use LXDE, which seems to come with most. You could also use botbrew, which allows you to install many common *nix packages (botbrew .com) on mostly any Android device. As said above, Cyanogenmod will be your best bet for a separate type of Android (Usually called a ROM); it's fully open source, and will not drop support for the phone until the hardware becomes so outdated it can't run the most recent version of the OS as smooth as it could with the one it shipped with, though other groups usually will port newer versions once Cyanogenmod support is dropped. Also, for all you saying emacs on a phone is bad, I love it!

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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:13 pm

Re: What phones can run GNU/Linux?

Post by i6shot »

As far as I am aware, only the Google API is closed source in Android. The entire OS can run without them.

I have seen that you can run Ubuntu on some android phones

I don't know much about it though.

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