Debian running on Android, without rooting your phone
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pelya Merge pull request #37 from Uhucream/master
add submodule: proot-src-by-termux
Latest commit afd0f72 Dec 21, 2017

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 emdebian-archive-keyring realpath pxz
echo deb unstable main | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/emdebian.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install g++-4.7-arm-linux-gnueabihf
mkdir ~/bin
cd ~/bin
ln -s /usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc-4.7 arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc
ln -s /usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++-4.7 arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++


git submodule update --init --recursive

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

Busybox is precompiled, taken from this repository:

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

cd img
sudo ./
sudo ./
sudo ./

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.

There are two patched Debian packages in directory pkgs with their patches, used to improve GIMP drawing speed and fix a crash at start in Inkscape, you will need to create Debian chroots for armhf and i386 arhitecture, and build these packages from inside these chroots.