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Hi, I am looking mobile phone with fully functional bash terminal and the capability to install and run Linux applications. Especially ssh would be nice, but also nmap, a command ...
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  1. #1
    Linux User Daan's Avatar
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    Question On which mobile phone can I install Debian?


    Hi,

    I am looking mobile phone with fully functional bash terminal and the capability to install and run Linux applications. Especially ssh would be nice, but also nmap, a command line client for my music playing daemon, etc.

    Which phone has such capabilities?
    OS's I use: Debian testing, Debian stable, Ubuntu, OpenSuse 12.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

  2. #2
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Rooted android phones can do that. Most are using ARM processors, so you should be able to install Debian Etch on them (I use that on embedded ARM systems), but you need the virtual keyboard stuff and that I don't know about. The boards I work on have RS-232 ports that I can use for console I/O. However, most of the smartphones I know have WiFi capabilities that if you can install and boot Debian, then you can configure it to also start the network and xinetd with telnet or ssh enabled. At that point you can connect via telnet from your workstation to access it as you work to get stuff running on it.

    Anyway, the preferred phone right now for this sort of hacking is the Google Nexus One. They have stopped selling it directly to the general market, but if you register an Android development account, then you can buy one directly from Google. Only problem is that right now they are backordered from the manufacturer, HTC. Price for the unlocked phone is $530 USD.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  3. #3
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    FWIW, I have a Nexus One - actually I have two. One tuned for T-Mobile, and one tuned for AT&T. They both have the same radios and cover all the GSM and 3G frequencies, but they differ in their power amplifiers. So, if you get the T-Mobile one, you will only get EDGE data speeds (about 200kbps) with an AT&T account, and vice-versa. Either with 3G will get you up to about 2mbps data speeds when you are in an area with good coverage. They have an 800x480 display, WiFi, Bluetooth, micro sdhc slot (up to 32GB - comes with 4GB chip), and user-replaceable battery. It is a really nice phone.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  4. #4
    Linux User Daan's Avatar
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    500 USD is a lot of money for me, especially because I do not know how well I get it working.

    Here's a web page that gives instructions for installing Debian on an Android G1:

    Debian & Android Together on G1 - Jay Freeman (saurik)

    "This does not replace Android. This also gives you access to the full plethora of programs available in Debian and let's you continue using your phone as it was intended to be: as an Android device with all the capabilities thereof."

    Android is an OS right? How would you have two OS's running simultaneously on a single machine?

    I once had Debian running in a chroot, on a NAS with an ARM processor. So that would one way I guess.
    OS's I use: Debian testing, Debian stable, Ubuntu, OpenSuse 12.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

  5. #5
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Android is a branched version of Linux. As you have found, you can install debian over the phone and not impact the phones operations, provided you get all of the device drivers included in the kernel build. FWIW, my Android Nexus One running Android 2.2 (Froyo) is running the 2.6.32 kernel, which should work just fine with all of the rest of the debian applications, libraries, etc. So, you will still be running a single OS, but it will be something of a hybrid - part Android and part Debian.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  6. #6
    Linux User Daan's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot, that's useful information. A phone that runs Linux and has many people hacking it, that's what I need indeed.
    OS's I use: Debian testing, Debian stable, Ubuntu, OpenSuse 12.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

  7. #7
    Linux User Daan's Avatar
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    Here I see how easy it is to intstall Debian on a rooted or dev G1:

    YouTube - Debian Linux on Android Installation Captured on Video

    Do you know, which Android phones have been rooted or hacked and have had Debian installed? Is there some community site that keep track of that?
    OS's I use: Debian testing, Debian stable, Ubuntu, OpenSuse 12.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

  8. #8
    Linux Engineer GNU-Fan's Avatar
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    Do you know about the OpenMoko project?
    They are some smartphones built specifically for it.
    Debian GNU/Linux -- You know you want it.

  9. #9
    Linux User Daan's Avatar
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    OpenMoko (a free Linux based OS for smartphones) looks interesting, although form openmoko.org I get it's pretty much in a beta phase. Their phone (Neo Freerunner) is not very expensive either (275 euros).

    However, getting a phone with a contract from a provider saves money on the phone. For instance, Vodafone.nl offers me the HTC Desire or HTC Legend for free with a 2 year contract for 21 euros a month. Without a phone the same contract would be about the same price. The Desire is an Openmoko supported device as well.

    BTW, Vodafone.nl also offers the Google Nexus one for free with a 2 year contract at 25 euros a month (with some more minutes/sms's than with the 21 euro a month contract).

    So the HTC Desire seems to be the a good choice: it is hackable (although I have not found anything on installing Debian on it) and it can have OpenMoko. Also it has a nice screen.

    The HTC Legend is hackable as well. Advantage of this phone is that it has an aluminum casing and is generally a bit sturdier (or so I have read). However, it's screen has less pixels and its processor less GHz than the Desire.

    About Openmoko on the Desire: instructions on Openmoko on HTC-Dream - Openmoko are "to boot an Openmoko user space". What does that mean? Will I end up with dual boot system?
    OS's I use: Debian testing, Debian stable, Ubuntu, OpenSuse 12.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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