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Samsung discontinues its Linux on DeX beta

Samsung's DeX mode. (Source: Wikipedia)
Samsung's DeX mode. (Source: Wikipedia)
DeX is Samsung's proprietary facility that converts one of its Galaxy flagships into a desktop PC on connection to a monitor. One environment supported by the mode in Android 9.0 (Pie) is GNU/Linux. Unfortunately, its beta program will come to an end with the roll-out of Android 10.

Samsung DeX was introduced with the Galaxy S8 series as a facility that expands the UI of those phones and its successors into a desktop environment. It may prove worthwhile for many users, particularly as it no longer depends on separate-purchase accessories such as the DeX Pad. Samsung had also offered the opportunity to run Linux through this connection. However, it is now abandoning the beta in question.

This DeX function existed as a beta and enabled the user to run a certain modification of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for ARM64. It was mainly directed at developers, who may have been able to build Android apps using their premium Galaxy smartphones and a monitor. It is compatible with Android 9.0 (Pie); however, that seems to be as far as it will go.

Samsung has reportedly suspended the Linux on DeX beta. This is apparently connected to the migration to One UI 2.0, the OEM's official skin for Android 10. The beta will be incompatible with this ROM; furthermore, the Korean company has allegedly stated that rolling back to One UI 1.0 (based on Pie) will not be possible on Galaxy devices. 

In other words, fans of Linux on DeX will presumably have to choose between this facility and an upgrade to One UI 2.0. However, those still on Pie can download the beta's APK should they wish to test it out prior to a more widespread roll-out of the new smartphone OS.


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Deirdre O Donnell, 2019-10-21 (Update: 2019-10-21)