Zac Powell, the lead developer of the Complete Linux Installer app which allows you to install Linux alongside Android on your smartphone or tablet, has launched a new indiegogo project to turn your Android device into a full Linux desktop computer. The current Complete Linux Installer allows users to install popular distributions like Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora on an Android phone and then boot Linux as an app. Once Linux is booted you can connect to the desktop using VNC or by switching away from the Linux window and starting a VNC Android app. The main prerequisite too all this fun is that your device needs to be rooted.
The new Linux on Android indiegogo project aims to further the convergence between desktop and mobile by improving the Complete Linux Installer to support the Linux desktop over HDMI or on the device screen as well as allowing both operating systems to access the storage of the other. Other integration features will be the ability to play audio from Linux via the device’s speakers and view the Android notifications from within Linux. Further Zac wants to make it possible to send emails and text messages from within Linux via accounts setup in Android.
This level of convergence is similar to what Canonical are attempting with Ubuntu for phones, but the approach is very different in that you actually keep Android on your device, you don’t need to switch completely over to Linux. To do all this Powell will create a custom Android ROM with the right hooks to allow the Linux guest operating system to access things like the notifications and the device’s audio subsystem.
The initial funding goal is very reasonable at just £1500 which is about $2500 USD. For that Zac will create an open source Android ROM with Nexus 4 support and all the integration features listed. The next levels of funding at £2000, £3000, £5000 will basically add support for different devices starting with the Sony Xperia Tablet Z and then the Nexus 5, 7 and 10.
Powell is confident that once the money is raised he can deliver the goods as the Linux on Android project has been running for almost two years and currently has 60,000 active installs via the Complete Linux Installer app. This isn’t a new project with an unproven track record, the indiegogo project aims to improve something that already works and make it even better.
Donation levels are very reasonable. For £2 (around $3) and you get a donation key to unlock the extra features in the current app (which removes ads and allows Linux to boot on startup). For £10 you will get early access to the next version and for £40 (around $65) you get a swag bag plus a donation key and early access to the next version.
What do you think? Will you donate?