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My Favorite Command For Ubuntu Touch/Tablet

Ubuntu

Published on 22 February 2013 02:26 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu
8 Comments

Here's some more details on my adventures with the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview after experimenting with it for a little more than 24 hours on the Google Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 devices.

As already shared in Ubuntu Touch/Tablet Is Using SurfaceFlinger, this Ubuntu Touch/Tablet/Phone preview is very close to Google's Android. The lowest levels of this new Ubuntu mobile platform are made up of Android via CyanogenMod 10.1. CyanogenMod 10.1 comprises the lower layers of the platform, including SystemFlinger as its system compositor rather than X11/X.Org, Wayland, or DirectFB.

While Canonical is pulling in portions of Android/CyanogenMod, its the lower levels and not Dalvik for the Java Virtual Machine bits. So while there's pieces of Android, it is not enough to Android applications on Ubuntu. Without a traditional display server like X.Org used by Ubuntu on desktop, standard Ubuntu applications also will not run from this mobile edition of Ubuntu. The Ubuntu Touch interface is written in Qt5/QML to run on Android.

The Ubuntu pieces to this mobile operating system are running within a chroot jail. So for those that may be experimenting with this new developer preview release, here's my favorite command... When connecting to a device running this edition over the Android Debug Bridge (adb), run the ubuntu_chroot shell command. This will bring you into the Ubuntu chroot on the device.

My Favorite Command For Ubuntu Touch/Tablet

When you enter this Ubuntu chroot, you're brought into the familiar Ubuntu Linux environment where you can utilize apt-get for fetching more Ubuntu ARM packages, and can escape the Android/CyanogenMod layer.

I've noticed using adb to this Ubuntu developer preview is rather buggy and losing connection often, but fortunately once in this Ubuntu chroot you can install an OpenSSH server and remotely connect to the Ubuntu-powered devices. It's working just fine on both the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. After running an SSH server, you can remotely connect in through the phablet user and drop down to root.

My Favorite Command For Ubuntu Touch/Tablet

Within this Ubuntu chroot, the Phoronix Test Suite will happily run to allow for an onslaught of Ubuntu Linux benchmarking from these Google Nexus devices.

Another interesting item to note is that while Canonical is using SystemFlinger on the display side, they are not using AudioFlinger, the audio layer to Android. Rather than using Android's AudioFlinger, they are using PulseAudio. On the kernel side, the Nexus 7 (Tegra 3) image is using the Linux 3.1 kernel while the Nexus 10 (Exynos 5) image is on the Linux 3.4 kernel.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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