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Linux on Cell phones

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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August 18, 2010 6:16:06 PM

This is mainly out of curiosity so there is no rush but if anyone could tell whether there is a good open source or free linux that could be used as an operating system on a cell phone and still retain the abilities of the phone such as calling and texting through the service provider instead of just wifi and if there is, what would be a recommended cell phone with good enough specs to run the os?

More about : linux cell phones

a b 5 Linux
August 18, 2010 6:33:35 PM

It's out there already. It's called Android. And it's quite popular.
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August 18, 2010 6:41:58 PM

Yessir, Android is Linux. Actually, you can also root an Android phone and get full access to the Linux terminal and everything. Unfortunately, it doesn't have feature a full-fledged desktop, as it is mobile.
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August 18, 2010 6:52:19 PM

Thanks for the comments but thats not what I was getting at. I guess my question was incorrectly worded. Plus i don't think android is open source or free but i might be wrong. It wasn't a practical question, it was more for knowledge, can you, yourself, not a cell phone with linux preloaded, install a version of linux, which is open source, onto a cell phone while retaining its capabilities as a phone and if so what is the minimum hardware that cell phone could have to run that linux?
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a b 5 Linux
August 18, 2010 7:07:49 PM

luciped said:
Plus i don't think android is open source or free but i might be wrong.

It's both open source (under the Apache licence) and it's free. It's a Linux especially designed for running on mobile phones, which is exactly what you want. To run on a mobile any Linux is going to have to be tailored to the platform. I would doubt that you could install Android, or any other Linux, on other proprietary mobile phones.
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August 18, 2010 7:14:37 PM

so basically if I wanted linux on a cell phone my only option would be to buy an android phone because there are no other operating systems that can work on a cell phone and if there were it would only work on a specific cell phone because the platform on each phone would be different so i can't even install android on a cell phone that wasn't specifically made with that in mind. Meaning that even though android is technically open source you have to buy their phone to use it.
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a b 5 Linux
August 18, 2010 7:20:51 PM

luciped said:
even though android is technically open source you have to buy their phone to use it.

No "technically" about it. Android is open source. If you are clever enough you can make the necessary modifications to make it run on your mobile phone. But be aware that that is not a trivial task; you have to have intimate knowledge of the hardware of your phone (which can be pretty trick with a proprietary design) and you need to be pretty good at low level programming - you may need to throw in a smidgen of assembler programming as well.
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August 18, 2010 7:25:38 PM

ok thanks every one for your posts
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August 18, 2010 7:25:47 PM

Best answer selected by luciped.
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a b 5 Linux
August 18, 2010 7:52:30 PM

luciped said:
so basically if I wanted linux on a cell phone my only option would be to buy an android phone because there are no other operating systems that can work on a cell phone and if there were it would only work on a specific cell phone because the platform on each phone would be different so i can't even install android on a cell phone that wasn't specifically made with that in mind. Meaning that even though android is technically open source you have to buy their phone to use it.


Android is not the only option.. people seem to forget Maemo and all the fuss about the death of symbian

http://maemo.nokia.com/

That's very much linux under the hood.

I recently joined the Android club... and I just found the guide on how to install Debian on top of Android with my handset :o 

As for Android on non intended HW it's just a question of skills:

http://gizmodo.com/5533312/iphone-3g-shown-running-andr...

Have a google, you'll be surprised just what can be done... try Palm for a start.



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August 18, 2010 8:16:39 PM

ok thx i might buy an android phone some time in the future but for now this was all hypothetical
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a b 5 Linux
August 18, 2010 8:32:33 PM

Although many embedded devices run Linux, it's not trivial trying to install a different setup, but it often can be done. And, as audiovoodo said, if it can be done then someone will do it! (And sometimes they'll do it even if it can't be done.)

Smart phones are still developing rapidly, so give it a year or two and who knows what they will be like. Just avoid the ones who try too hard to lock you out (you know who I mean Apple). It's too much like hard work, and we shouldn't support those manufacturers anyway.
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