We should have included a footnote in the title. You can say that [Thomas Polasek] installed a full version of Arch Linux on his Nook Color, but there’s one caveat. It’s running on top of the Android kernel and his proof-of-concept uses a second computer to get it up and running. But there’s potential for that to change moving forward.
Unlike previous attempts to run a Linux distro on Android, this does away with using a VNC to show the desktop. [Thomas] is commandeering Android’s frame buffer so that it can be used by the X desktop without needing to set up display drivers. To start off he installed a ROM based on CM7. A couple of Android apps give him the functionality needed to get the Arch Linux distro running from the SD card. This is accomplished by tunneling into the tablet via SSH, and using the ‘chroot’ command to make it active. The hope is that this can somehow be automated by a script.
A female to female USB coupler was used to connect the keyboard and mouse to the Nook. It looks like LXDE would be useless without them; touch control is not yet implemented. Those shortcomings aside, everything seems to be running pretty fast in the video after the break.
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[Jay Freeman] has a rather exhaustive tutorial on how to set up a Debian environment on your T-Mobile G1. The first major issue with this is that getting root level access through telnetd is being patched. It certainly is a security issue that needs to be fixed, but a user shouldn’t have to root their own phone to begin with. While the G1 comes with some Linux tools, they’re limited. [Jay]’s goal was to create a familiar Debian environment on the phone. It takes a few tricks, but if you’re familiar with the command line, you shouldn’t have any problems. Debian already has ARM EABI support, so creating a working image isn’t a problem. The image file is stored on the SD card and mounted using the loopback device. The G1’s kernel has module support turned on, so [Jay] created an ext2 and unionfs kernel modules. [Benno Leslie]’s Android version of busybox is used to perform the actual mounting. Once mounted, you just need to chroot into the environment to start playing with native Linux apps. [Jay] takes this a step further by using unionfs to make the Android and Debian environments share the same root. This is really a great how-to and it’s nice to know that modules can be added to the kernel.