Samsung Is Bringing Desktop Linux To Its Smartphones

Samsung wants to bring the full power of desktop Linux to its smartphones.

The mobile giant has this week announced the ‘Linux on Galaxy’ project that, it says, will give smartphones the capability to “run Linux-based distributions on mobile devices”.

So if you dream of using the smartphone in your pocket as a desktop Linux PC, you’ll be pleased to know that Samsung clearly shares it.

The ‘Linux on Galaxy’ Project

‘Linux distros will run on the same Linux kernel that Android uses’

Linux on Galaxy will, based on the information currently available, be distributed as an app. It will be able to run multiple operating systems (likely including Ubuntu).

“Linux on Galaxy [enables] developers to work with their preferred Linux-based distributions on their mobile devices. Whenever they need to use a function that is not available on the smartphone OS, users can simply switch to the app and run any program they need to in a Linux OS environment,” Samsung explains a press release.

Linux distros run on the exact same Linux kernel that Android uses. With no virtualisation or emulation involved performance (theoretically) should be excellent.

‘With no virtualisation or emulation involved performance should be excellent’

But the true power will be unlocked when used with the Samsung DeX desktop dock accessory. This allows compatible phones to connect to an external display, a mouse and keyboard, and other peripherals.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 phone already allows users to use Android apps on a larger screen with a “desktop” style Android UI when docked with the DeX.

But while Android is great as a smartphone (and tablet) OS it’s not so hot as a desktop one.

Samsung says its users want “the convenience of their mobile device but also sometimes need the tried-and-true desktop computing environment, especially when it comes to interacting with productivity tools and entertainment contents that are best viewed on a larger monitor”.

And what better fit than desktop Linux.

samsung dex linux galaxy


Not Public Yet

‘Linux on Galaxy’ is still in the early stages of development. There’s no word on which devices the initiative plans to support, so I wouldn’t suggest rushing out to buy something Samsung branded just yet.

If you’re interested in tracking the progress of this project you can sign up to get notified when it ‘goes public’.

But it’s Promising Stuff

Motorola, Microsoft and Canonical all tried, and failed, to bring “convergence” to the masses.

Could smartphone giant Samsung succeed where they failed?

Let us know what you think in the comments.