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Paul Sokolovsky

What is ChDistro for Android?

It's a way to run "real" Linux distribution (aka "distro") alongside native Android OS, using feature known as chroot. Chroot essentially confines another distro to some subdirectory tree, making that distro see it as a root directory (/) of its own file system. This way, a distro has full control of its file system, and at the same time, Android OS is well protected from changes a distro makes.

Read more [Intro]...

Quick Start

  1. Pop up an SD card out of your device, and insert into a desktop computer - it will be easier this way.
  2. Create a directory on SD card which will contain everything related to chroot environments - let's call it "chroots".
  3. Download ubuntu-small-jaunty-armel.img.7z and uncompress it into chroots dir.
  4. Download chdistro script into chroots directory.
  5. Insert the card back into the device.
  6. Download and install ConnectBot with support for external keyboard.
  7. Download and install Hacker's Keyboard to be able to type commands even with a virtual keyboard.
  8. Start ConnectBot, choose "local", start the session.
  9. Go into root mode by typing "su".
  10. Figure out mount point of your card. For most devices, that's /sdcard. If yours is different, use that instead below.
  11. Run "cd /sdcard/chroots".
  12. Run "sh chdistro ubuntu-small-jaunty-armel.img"
  13. That's it, you're in Ubuntu! Run "cat /etc/issue" if you don't believe your eyes ;-).

Now you have full-fledged Linux terminal session. You can compile software with gcc, hack with python, install new software with "apt-get install", and do it all comfortably in Midnight Commander (mc).

Quick Start with GUI

  1. GUI is not pre-installed in ubuntu-small-jaunty-armel.img, so install one you like. We recommend to start with LXDE, as its pretty light and fast. Run:
    apt-get update
    apt-get install lxde
  2. You will run X11 VNC server. Start tightvncsever, input access password (this is required only on first run).
  3. Install Android VNC Viewer to access VNC server from Android. Enter the same password as for the server, set port to "5901", and Color Format to "24-bit color".
  4. Once connected, first open menu, "Input Mode" -> "Mouse Pointer Control Mode".
  5. That's all, enjoy X11 environment! To right-click, double-tap instead (may require some training to do with a finger).

Read more detailed [Installation] instructions...

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