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Samsung is working on an app that brings Linux distros to Galaxy smartphones

By midian182 ยท 14 replies
Oct 19, 2017
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  1. Back when Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S8 in March, it showed off a new feature alongside the handset: DeX. Essentially, this is the Korean company’s version of Microsoft’s now-defunct Continuum. It allows users to turn their phones into a desktop computer, complete with monitor, keyboard, and mouse, using a special dock.

    As was the case with Continuum, there’s still little incentive for using the dock over a real PC. But Samsung is offering Note 8, Galaxy S8, and S8+ owners a compelling reason to buy a device: Linux on Galaxy, an app that lets users run Linux distributions on a Galaxy handset.

    As Linux software and apps are designed to be used with a keyboard, mouse, and large display, users will get the most out of Linux on Galaxy by using a DeX dock.

    The app appears to be aimed primarily at developers who want to carry their work around with them. Samsung says it will let them “code using their mobile on-the-go and seamlessly continue the task on a larger display with Samsung DeX.”

    "Linux on Galaxy gives smartphones the capability to run multiple operating systems, enabling developers to work with their preferred Linux-based distributions on their mobile devices," explained the phone maker.

    "Whenever they need to use a function that is not available on the smartphone OS, users can simply switch to the app and run any program they need to in a Linux OS environment, utilizing the same Linux kernel that powers the Android OS."

    No word yet on a release date—Samsung is still working on the app—but anyone interested in Linux for Galaxy can sign up for alerts about availability here.

    Additionally, Samsung said it has teamed up with major game developers to add DeX support for mobile games, including Vainglory, Survival Arena, Eric Froemling's BombSquad, Lineage 2 Revolution, and Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition.

    Permalink to story.

  2. penn919

    penn919 TS Maniac Posts: 239   +117

    I consider android a linux distro

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,559   +670

    Kinda cool... but I doubt all that practical in the long run. Mobile hardware keeps getting closer and closer to being able to truly compete with a desktop system. I look forward to the day that I can just plug my phone into a dock on my desk and start using it as my desktop system.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,367   +1,390

    I wouldn't want to write a business report, master's thesis or term paper on it.
  5. GregonMaui

    GregonMaui TS Enthusiast Posts: 83   +22

    Why not? is the quality of the report depending upon the author or the device used? I can't speak for Android (I use iOS, which very clearly has apps allowing the author to prepare the quality work necessary for business reports, master's theses and term papers. I, in fact, used an iPad with less power than current versions of smart phones to do just that), but I have every reason to believe the apps are just as good or better than iOS apps. So what then is the basis of your complaint?

    Screen: Seems like Samsung has done that well
    keyboard: Bluetooth keyboards have been available for smartphones since iOS 4, so take your pick of very good ones.
    Storage: Use the cloud, Luke, and hey NAS works fine as well, oh and didn't Samsung add that removable storage thing?
    Trackpad: I do hate reaching across a screen to touch it when using like a laptop, but hey maybe Samsung fixed that, or it is only a minor inconvenience at best.
    Speed: current geekbench multi-core scores for iPhone: 10100, Samsung: 6500, Intel Core i7-6660U: 6882

    I for one would like a pocket computer about the size of a smartphone that could be used like a laptop with quality accessories.
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,367   +1,390

    Not capability or horsepower, but the lack of a keyboard and sufficient screen size to see the page formatting -- it's called human factors. When is the last time you wrote a 100 page document???
    senketsu likes this.
  7. GregonMaui

    GregonMaui TS Enthusiast Posts: 83   +22

    I did a little bit of research for you to augment your comments:
    The Samsung Galaxy s8 has up to 4k screen resolution. "Samsung DeX lets you connect your Galaxy S8/S8+, Note8 to a monitor, keyboard and mouse for a desktop experience powered by your phone." - http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/apps/samsung-dex/. didn't I mention keyboard in my original comment - oh yes I did. Apparently both wired and bluetooth btw. I personally recommend the apple bluetooth keyboard - excellent feel.

    So the alt-facts of screen size and lack of keyboard are debunked.

    If your salient point is, however, that Samsung seems to lack the skill to create a feature and actually make it usable -- point taken! It is possible this does not work well for reasons as simple as lack of polish on the software.

    When was the last time you actually researched the subject for a 100-page paper? Just saying.
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,367   +1,390

    I WRITE proposals and specs of >= 100 pages.
    we have a 21" Mac and have been using it and it's predecessors since '89 - - personally, I dislike the Apple KB :grin:

    My Dell laptop runs just fine and gives me HDMI output for presentations, so I'll decline your offer for the Galaxy s8. It's a total solution and I don't need bits and pieces to cart about when I travel - - I can even write/polish the work while on the airplane.

    Yes, cellphones are ubiquitous and subsuming, but one size does not fit all.
  9. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,367   +1,390

    FYI: No one can't debuke anyone's opinion or personal preferences unless you have the knack of walking on water.
  10. GregonMaui

    GregonMaui TS Enthusiast Posts: 83   +22

    debunk not "debuke".
    Screen size and keyboard is not an opinion it is a technical fact. You made two incorrect factual assertions which can be and were corrected.
    I actually share your opinion the this is not a solution I currently want. But I could in the future with the right implementation
    The conversation is simply: is it technically feasible! No one is casting aspersions upon your opinions.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,559   +670

    I'm not sure if you picked up on that... I said desktop system, as in, a full size monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
  12. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,367   +1,390

    I did not assert that there was or was not a KB available - - I was asserting that w/o additional addons, I would never attempt to use a virtual KB to write a large document.

    "Samsung DeX lets you connect your Galaxy S8/S8+, Note8 to a monitor, keyboard and mouse for a desktop experience powered by your phone."​

    But as yet, as a native standalone device, it is still incapable w/o attachments.

    You seem bent on an assertion that the Galaxy S8 is a one-size-fits-all device.
    "Mobile hardware keeps getting closer and closer to being able to truly compete with a desktop system"​
    but it is not there yet, so no thanks.

    Let's a agree to disagree - - my laptop is a far more flexible mobile solution than any existing cellphone today. To me you have debunked nothing and have your fingers in your ears to understand or appreciate anything other than yourself.

    Just don't pretend the Galaxy S8 is a business solution.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,559   +670

    Did you even read my first post? I was saying that tech is getting closer to being able to provide a solid one device fits all solution, but admitted we aren't there yet. I know we aren't, and I know this phone isn't either. It's going to happen at some point, but right now you pretty much have to have two devices. But I imagine a future where we can just have one "smartphone" if you will, and it will be able to wirelessly "dock" with ANY large display, along with a keyboard and mouse. That is what I want to see, so that w can have the experience we want with whatever is available.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
  14. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,367   +1,390

    I'm ALL FOR CHOICE (y)
  15. woofer

    woofer TS Enthusiast Posts: 35   +6

    I am wondering how this is different from the various linux-on-Android apps already available in the Android Playstore? Is the differentiator the Dex hardware interfacing and alteration of the UI from mobile to desktop mode ala Motorola's Bionic with Lapdock "terminal" and Webtop Linux-on-Android software?

    I really liked that package back in the day as it let me do lightweight PC mode computing with linux, which has been my go-to desktop/notebook choice for years anyway. For short trips it was easier to tote along the Lapdock instead of a bulkier notebook PC, and use the bigger screen and keyboard/touchpad (still wanted a Trackpoint instead, but can't have everything...) when I wanted. I even shared with son and wife a couple football games with the ESPN Android app in the hotel room that were not available on the hotel's TV.

    I was really annoyed with Google, after they acquired Motorola Mobility, for not allowing the updating of Webtop on the newer Droid Razr HD, so the Lapdock just looked like a big phone screen instead of having Webtop's more PC-like UI. I have suspected ever since that Google was "protecting" its nascent Chromebooks from this potential competitor by killing off the Webtop/Lapdock alternative. At least the Lapdock still is usable for my Raspberry Pi's and Lumia 950 running Continuum on Windows 10 Phone ;-}

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