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Debian running on Android, without rooting your phone

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Run Debian on top of Android with a single click.

No root required! Should work on any high-end device! Unleash full unrestricted desktop environment onto your mobile device! Instant frustration guaranteed! (unless you're using mouse or stylus).

This app is NOT full Debian OS - it is a compatibility layer, which allows you to run Debian applications. Your phone is NOT rooted during installation. Also, this is NOT official release.

There are several limitations:

  • It cannot mess up your Android device, because it's a regular well-behaved Android app, which does not need root access.
  • No audio support. Some time ago PulseAudio was somewhat supported, but now it's broken.
  • No OpenGL support. It's possible to add it but it's a huge chunk of work, and I will not be doing that.
  • No access to the device hardware. That means you cannot re-partition SD card, you cannot burn CD-Roms, you cannot run ping or sniff your network etc.
  • No ability to move app to SD card, so you will need a lot of internal storage.
  • Most servers such as SSH or Apache won't start, because they all need root features. You can use tightvncserver instead of SSH, and wbox instead of Apache as a simple file sharing web server,

How does that work.

The Debian graphical shell is launched using PRoot, the ultimate Linux virtualization solution: Then it launches XSDL X server to render it to screen.


You'll need Android SDK and following packages:

sudo apt-get install autoconf automake debhelper build-essential libtool qemu-user-static debootstrap pxz schroot apt-cacher-ng

The scripts for creating Debian images are located in directory "img". To prepare image, run these scripts:

git submodule update --init --recursive
cd img
sudo ./
sudo ./
cd ..
sudo mount -o bind . img/dist-debian-buster-arm64-v8a/img/mnt
sudo chroot img/dist-debian-buster-arm64-v8a/img
apt-get update
apt-get install gcc
cd mnt
cd img

That should build used to speed up drawing speed, and prevent Debian from messing up with Android security features.

Proot is precompiled, taken from here:

The XSDL X server is in an external repository - to compile it, follow instructions here: then install resulting .apk file on your Android device, and run it.

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