Introduction: Install GNU/Linux on Your Android Mobile Phone

Picture of Install GNU/Linux on Your Android Mobile Phone

GNU/Linux has become one of the best operating systems , but it is known by its security and customization.  In this tutorial we will set up few things that can automatically prepare and mount all of our systems. In this instructable , we will run Ubuntu distribution.

What you need:
- Android phone
- 3.5GB SDCard (or more)
- root access (there are instructables for that)

- full backup (this is SAFE , however you are moving big files and running lots of operations so you want to be 100% sure)

*DISCLAIMER* Even though this process does not make any damage ,  I am not responsible if anything happens to your Android phone during the process of installing or running Ubuntu.

So weready to start.

Step 1: Install Busybox Libraries

Picture of Install Busybox Libraries

ENSURE that you have rooted your phone. Almost on every device you can do it by checking if you have the Superuser app. (However , in some procedures you might have rooted your phone without having that app).

We want the busybox libraries which can help us interact with the android system. You can download busybox installer from Play Store (or Android Market) by going here and downloading that. Navigate to the Install Busybox tab and press the "Install" button.

Once it is installed we are ready to continue to the next step , installing the terminal.

Step 2: Installing Terminal , and Checking If Everything Is Properly Working

Picture of Installing Terminal , and Checking If Everything Is Properly Working

Before we install the terminal , we should tell Android that it should let us install app that is not coming from Play Store. At the moment , Play Store does not support terminals so you cannot find the app.

To tell Android that it should let us , navigate to Settings->Applications. Check the "Unknown sources" and agree if it asks you something.

Now we are ready to install the terminal. Press here and download the file. Click it and install it.

Once it is installed , you should open the Terminal app. Type the word "su". It will ask you for root access , and you should give it so it has rights to run scripts (which we will later use to launch Ubuntu).

To properly test if your terminal and busybox libraries work , type "busybox arping --help". If it prints some text and you see lots of parameters like -f -q -b it is working. If not , check if your phone is rooted , check if busybox is properly installed and check if terminal has permissions.

If it is OK we can continue.

Step 3: Downloading the Scripts and the Ubuntu System

Picture of Downloading the Scripts and the Ubuntu System

If you finished all the work from step 1 and step 2 you shouldn't be worrying. The next few steps are very easy. Start by plugging your phone on the computer. You should enable USB mount which will open your SD card on the computer (most of you who ever moved music/APKs from computer to Android know this).

You should create a folder called "ubuntu" in your SDcard. Then , you should download this and this. Those are zip files which contain 2 important stuff: the launching script and the ubuntu filesystem. If you open the first zip you will find img file , and if you open the second you will find sh file.

Uncompress both of the zips and move the files in the "ubuntu" folder. Now you should have 2 files in the folder. Most of the needed processes are finished.

Step 4: Running the Ubuntu System

Picture of Running the Ubuntu System

Go back to the Terminal app and write "su' again. Then write "cd /mnt/sdcard". To confirm everything is working try to write "ls" and see if you can recognize your folders (you might find the ubuntu folder as well).

To start our ubuntu write "cd /ubuntu" and then "sh". This will execute many procedures which are trying to set your system. It will request to enter a resolution. Use numberxnumber format to express it. For example: 600x400 is the proper format. For the best appearence and performance i suggest 800x480. Now everything is done.

The ubuntu system is running , however we can't see it. To see it , we must use AndroidVNC. We can download it from Play Store. Set this info:
 -nickname: user
 -password: ubuntu
 -adress: localhost

If you don't want to damage Ubuntu system , always write "exit" in terminal before you finish your work or shut down your phone.

Press connect and you are done. You can move and do what you want :)


SiddheshD1 (author)2016-12-23

invalid argument

Beast99k made it! (author)2016-12-17

Nice Post

This is how Installed Kali-Linux On My Galaxy S7

TharinduG7 (author)2016-08-04

i got may errors like no such file or directory,Invalid argument

when running the sh y?

i have root my samsung tablet.

AntonioS135 (author)TharinduG72016-09-05

If you don't know how to solve that, why would you try installing linux?

AronJ2 (author)AntonioS1352016-11-09

To learn, if no one tried where would we be. condescending pr**k

KyanW1 (author)2016-08-27

i have no root acces

BioTekk (author)2016-07-29

Terminal dont work....he stoped anytime i try to open

NehaK32 (author)2016-06-12

cant load sh files no file directory error

PainCutter (author)NehaK322016-07-07

sh some/script/somewhere/to/

AdeHarry (author)2016-01-11

how do I check if my phone is rooted

VandaH (author)AdeHarry 2016-05-13

download an app from Google play - Root Checker (

SérgioF27 (author)AdeHarry 2016-03-23

if you need to are not...

SureY2 (author)2016-04-19

I did everything as in the texts...but not successful......while executing the sh file...its showing no such file or directory

OmP20 (author)2016-03-09

I am using a57 micromax I don't know to open vnc pls help

OmP20 (author)2016-03-09

I am using a57 micromax I don't know to open vnc pls help

OmP20 (author)2016-03-09

Now I am stuck in opening Ubuntu in vncvnc I have given 600*400 it ask me to select1-lxde 2-gnome and I selected 1

BenB9 (author)2015-04-15

Hi, I'm stuck in the last step, I'm a SU, I verified on root checker but when I use the terminal to launch I got a "permission denied" (followed by many errors which I assume is normal because I can modify anything without permission).

Anybody else got the same problem ?

Thanks !

OmP20 (author)BenB92016-03-09

Me to help me

OmP20 (author)2016-03-03

i stuck with lost step cd /ubuntu if i type it shows no such file or directory pls help

tejeswar.yogesh (author)2015-03-19

i wanted the LINUX no this

Android is linux.

SasukeU4 (author)archer15952016-02-27

after typing sh i got many errors

Dubois.Yaen.Pujol (author)2014-12-17

hello, false title, it's not Linux it's Ubuntu a drivate from Debian. I don't want Ubuntu tio be confused with GNU/Linux as ou do. Ubuntu becomes as Microsoft : a money firm.


I've used Ubuntu for 5 years and never had to or was asked to pay them a dime

EricS21 (author)terryrhodesjr2015-03-17

You two are actually the ones that are factually incorrect, and Dubois.Yaen.Pujol is correct. First of all, when you talk about a "Free" operating system, you are not talking free as in beer, you are talking free as in freedom. I suggest you start educating yourself by reading here: Secondly, Ubuntu is not a "free" distro. It doesn't have the FSF endorsement, because it comes shipped with a large number of blobs. Furthermore, it has a number of repository packages that prefer "nonfree" versions, where there are free versions able to complete the same tasks. Now, while Ubuntu is built on a gnu/linux derivative called debian, it is not gnu/linux. I am not a librepurist, I am just commenting on the fact that Dubois.Yaen.Pujol is using the correct semantics - while you two sound like truck drivers that found an Ubuntu CD under their seats.

archer1595 (author)EricS212016-02-21
Have you ever paid for desktop Ubuntu? No, no you haven’t.

What your talking about are included packages.

I rest my case.

Microsoft windows shouldn't be compared to Ubuntu. And mention a time you have been requested to pay for anything ?!!!

I'm sorry to inform you that your are totally mad.

oidion23123 (author)2016-01-03

But this is just like running ubuntu on virtualbox on a desktop computer!

It would be nice if someone figured out how to like, flash linux into a phone.

archer1595 (author)oidion231232016-02-21

Someone did. It's called ubuntu touch, look it up.

MayankS13 (author)2015-09-02

Great article thanks!

Just had one question! If we use other distributions(like Kali), will we be able to use Android side by side?

karnalgirish (author)2015-08-30

when i execute the scripts i got error, what do i do.

kldpsh7 (author)2015-03-13

Only a white screen.

kldpsh7 (author)2015-03-13

Where could i find .img and .sh file for kali or backtrack

RajeshY (author)2015-02-26

hi is any one their

md.khalid.3705 (author)2015-01-06

terminal app is crashing

kevin.pyro.39 (author)2014-10-14

the .sh file unzipped perfectly for me but the image file refuses to unzip, and if I try to move it into my SD card it tells me that the device either is disconnected or not responding when i can still move other files to and from it with no problem, what should I do to fix this?

Tanmay Das (author)2012-11-08

So it uses ubuntu inside android like a virtual machine. Am I right??

PhillipW (author)Tanmay Das2014-09-21

No, actually it is not emulating it. It is extending existing Android kernel, but both android and ubuntu will be running simultaneously. Pretty neat. It's running an x server session which is what linux normally does. The VNC thing lets it use a desktop view of the OS since android doesn't have a traditional desktop client.

umursengul (author)2012-11-09

First the same question with Tanmay Das; why "Ubuntu but not Backtrack?" or "can we install Backtrack?"; and third thanks for all the information. This was awesome!

filipd (author)umursengul2012-11-09

The distro doesn't matter. You can check out the download links and you can find other distros enabled for Android.

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