Canonical unveils Ubuntu dual-boot installer, works with select Android devices

by: Andrew GrushDecember 23, 2013


While the mobile flavor of Ubuntu is interesting, it’s certainly not quite ready to be used as a daily driver for most folks. Thankfully, it is possible to run Ubuntu without losing access to Android. Probably one of the most popular methods for doing this is to utilize MultiROM, a special multi-boot mod that makes it possible to switch between multiple OSes, including different Android ROMS, Firefox OS or even Ubuntu.

Looking for something a bit more official? Today Canonical took to its blog to introduce a new Ubuntu Dual Boot installer. This installer allows users to switch back and forth between Ubuntu and Android with relative ease, simply by selecting a special app inside of Ubuntu and Android that handles the rebooting and switching process.

While switching operating systems seems painless enough, installing this feature is a whole other story. Canonical makes it clear that Ubuntu Dual Boot is not meant for regular end users, and is targeted at advanced users and developers. In order to get the dual-boot feature working you’ll need a PC running Ubuntu and will need to be comfortable with using command line in a terminal. Of course if you’re an active Linux user, odds are this won’t be that big of a hurdle.

Bottom-line, Canonical says there is little room for mistakes and that users should be “intimately familiar with re-flashing [the Android recovery partition] in case something goes wrong”.

If you do feel confident enough to give this a try, keep in mind that the dual boot method has only been tested using a Nexus 4, though Canonical notes that “in theory” it should work with other (unlocked) Ubuntu-compatible Nexus devices like the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 (2012).

For more details on what’s all involved, be sure to head on over to Canonical’s blog. Just remember, things can and do go wrong when it comes to modding and flashing — so proceed at your own risk.

Has anyone tried this multi-boot feature yet, if so what do you think?

  • Luka Mlinar

    OPPO hit the jackpot with the dual but CyanogenMod. Here’s hoping Ubuntu partners with some mobile manufacturer to do the same. It would be a step up over what OPPO did. I would love a a phone like that.

    • Luka Mlinar

      BTW there is no reason OPPO couldn’t do it as a separate line.

    • Ivan Myring

      I think really what they are aiming to do is get OEMs to make Ubuntu phones and others with android and Ubuntu for android (basically full Ubuntu, for when you connect your phone to a monitor)

      • Luka Mlinar

        I know but i would never buy a Ubuntu phone. A dual-boot on the other hand i would buy without a seconds hesitation.

  • MasterMuffin

    I’d wait for 14.04 before doing anything

  • NeedName

    I’m watching Ubuntu Touch however, they still have a ways to go. . . and not sure how devs will feel about supporting it.

    Would much prefer them doing something like Jolla & BB did with android, develop their own android runtime.

  • Arturo Raygoza

    I hated dual booting in desktops and don’t want to live thru that anymore. sorry Ubuntu there’s no reason for me to risk trying u ouy