We have come a long way as an industry and if this is not one of the biggest milestones in personal computing, I don’t know what else qualifies. Over the past decade of smartphones being around, we have seen an exponential increase in the power that our smartphones pack. I mean, flagships from the past few years spot more RAM and processing power than most laptops out there, but the small form factor has always been a hindrance to the utilization of this power. I mean you can only do so much on a 5.5-inch display.
Samsung has launched its “Linux on Dex” app in beta and is inviting geeks and tinkerers to register and help test and develop it. The app lets owners of specific Samsung devices “run” a full Ubuntu desktop on their device alongside Android.
The Beta that was showcased at the Samsung Developer Conference 2018 is currently compatible with the Galaxy Note 9 and the Samsung Tab S4. there’s a chance that more Dex-supported devices will be compatible, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one. Mid-range and entry-level devices are also out of the picture as Linux on DeX as a feature has a minimum requirement of 4GB RAM.
Linux on Dex
Linux on Dex runs a custom version of the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS release. The system image is 3.6GB and when installed, expands to 13.6GB. The desktop is the full GNOME layout that we’ve all come to expect from Ubuntu.
To use Linux on Dex, you will first need a compatible handset and the Dex station dock. This will provide the whole setup with a USB port, Ethernet and HDMI Out for video output. You will then need a mouse, a monitor, and a keyboard to get going.
How to install Linux on DeX
- Sign up for the private Linux on DeX beta program here.
- Ensure you have at least 8GB of storage remaining on your Note 9 or Tab S4
- Once you are accepted to the Linux on DeX beta program you will receive a link to download the Linux on DeX application on your Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or Galaxy Tab S4 device.
- Open the application and download the official Ubuntu build for Samsung DeX devices to your local storage.
- Once completed you can assign storage limits before launching directly into your Ubuntu desktop.
What can you do with Linux on DeX?
- Download your source code from Git repository and run and maintain your code base
- Manage and monitor your server using server CLI
- Create C/C++/Java projects using your favorite IDE
- Enjoy a true desktop PC experience using an Android-powered device.
Samsung is really onto something here, to convince us that DeX can bridge that mobile-to-desktop gap. It ran smooth and browsing the web in the full version of Firefox seemed to be absolutely no problem. Support for apps like Steam is not here yet as it isn’t fully supported. This would have been great to install a few Linux compatible games and have a proper PC gaming option in your pocket — with a few additions.
Featured Image courtesy of 9to5Google