Samsung's Linux on DeX will let you run desktop Linux on your Android phone
Samsung’s upcoming folding-screen smartphone made headlines when it was announced earlier this week, but another exciting piece of news slipped under the radar. Samsung’s DeX might finally be useful, thanks to Linux on DeX.
Linux on DeX is a new feature coming to Samsung mobile devices that lets them run desktop Linux apps on an external monitor. The Linux on DeX app, which was announced at Samsung’s Developer Conference, essentially allows users to run a full desktop Linux distro within a container. The feature is designed specifically at Linux app developers and hopes to create a portable development environment that fits in a pocket.
Right now, Linux on DeX will be limited to Samsung Galaxy mobile devices, and the beta will only be available on the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Tab S4. Also, since these devices run on ARM chips, only apps that are compiled for ARM 64-bit processors will work. Samsung worked with Canonical to get Ubuntu 16.04 LTS running in Linux on DeX, which will be the only officially supported distro during the beta.
Since this is a full desktop environment, Linux on DeX will take up quite a bit of space on your device. Samsung said the disk image for Linux on DeX (specifically Ubuntu) is 3.6 GB but suggested that users have at least 8 GB of free space and 4 GB of RAM unallocated. Once a Linux image is downloaded into the Linux on DeX app, users will only need to connect their mobile device to an external monitor and launch the Linux on DeX app to get Linux running. Of course, since the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Tab S4 both use USB Type-C, users can hook up an adapter to connect a mouse and keyboard as well.
These are exciting times, especially for those that have been craving an “all-in-one” computing device. DeX was not as fully featured as many had hoped, but it may have just been a stepping stone to something that has long been a pipe dream. Leave it to Samsung to do what other companies never could.
Linux on DeX is currently accepting applications for the beta program from now until December 14th. The first build of Linux on DeX will be available for download starting November 12th to those accepted to the beta program.