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Old 02-15-2011, 07:46 PM   #1
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Debian on an Android phone: newbie questions

Hi All,

I consider getting an Android phone (say HTC) and installing debian on it. Can someone please help with a few newbie questions:

1. when installing debian does it live side-by-side with android or does it replace it? is it installed on the internal flash memory?.

2. is it possible to make phone calls when debian is running?

3. when debian is running does it use the same desktop as on the desktop PC, for example xorg+gnome or does "live" inside the android graphical environment?.

4. are most of the i386 packages available for the android processor? for example, can I install openoffice, xpdf, etc?

5. is it possible to use a usb to ethernet adapter in debian mode to connect to the internet via an ethernet cable (if wifi is unavailable)?.


Last edited by rob_L; 02-16-2011 at 01:23 AM.
Old 02-15-2011, 11:12 PM   #2
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I can't answer in details to each questions, but here's an overview:

Android is like a middleware that runs on top of Linux.
See Android System Architecture.

Linux takes care of the low level things drivers, network stack... and Android is taking care of the high level parts.

So the way I understand it you would probably be able to run Android on top of Debian for ARM, but applications such as OpenOffice won't run in your device.

If you only want to run Debian on the phone with X server, it might be possible if you find a Debian port to your phone. In that case, you should also be able to run your applications, but you may need a keyboard and mouse to use it...

For the USB to Ethernet Adapter it should be possible, as long as it is supported by the linux kernel.
Old 02-15-2011, 11:59 PM   #3
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thanks. this video shows ubuntu with openoffice on HTC so it seems possible:

I'm not clear if debian/ubuntu live side-by-side with android or replace it. I'm also not sure about the usb2ethernet dongle as this needs to be supported by the hardware. just guessing here.
Old 02-17-2011, 10:37 PM   #4
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It will most likely leave your kernel intact but completely replace your stock rom, also your going to have to root your phone first which will void your warranty. And not every phone can get it. The only one Ive heard can get it is the old htc g1, but i dont know for sure. (rooted droid x, overclocked, gummyjar 2.5 rom)
Old 02-17-2011, 10:38 PM   #5
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Also if your worried about losing anything on your stock phone you can create a backup with bootstrapper and titanium backup will back up your apps
Old 08-26-2011, 12:27 PM   #6
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check out Debdroid

Last edited by craigevil; 08-26-2011 at 01:31 PM.
Old 08-28-2011, 01:26 AM   #7
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This is interesting stuff.

Last edited by mike11; 08-28-2011 at 01:28 AM.
Old 08-29-2011, 09:06 AM   #8
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Thanks for replying.


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