Samsung has launched its “Linux on DeX” app in beta, and is inviting early adopters to register to help test it out. Previously known by the ‘Linux on Galaxy‘ title, the Samsung Linux on DeX app lets owners of specific Samsung devices “run” a full Ubuntu desktop on their device alongside Android. The feature is currently compatible with the Samsung Note 9 and the Samsung Tab S4.
When it was first demoed at last year’s Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco, Linux on DeX generated significant buzz within the developer community by presenting a simple and convenient way to use Samsung DeX to build apps within a Linux development environment.
The combination of Samsung DeX and the Linux on DeX app adds new levels of flexibility to developers’ work by allowing them to connect their Galaxy device to a monitor using just an HDMI adapter, and instantly enjoy a fuller computing experience when on the go.
Linux on DeX frees developers from their desks by allowing them to access a PC-like Linux development environment anytime, anywhere. The app enables them to work on both Android and Ubuntu-based Linux distributions. Samsung provides a modified version of Ubuntu for Linux on DeX users, and has been working closely with Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, to provide the best experience.
The “Linux on DeX” app is an Android app that allows a secure container to be created inside of it, within which an Ubuntu image can be added. Ubuntu still runs on top of Android kernel and inside the Android user-space.
The hybrid approach allows some nice integrations to take place. For instance, Linux can read/write to folders and files on Android (so you can tweak a selfie in GIMP, for instance) and both Android and Ubuntu share a clipboard. It also means you can use the phone’s touchscreen as a mouse.
Linux on DeX runs a modified version of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. The image is a 3.6GB download and uses around 13.6GB of storage when installed inside the container. Linux on DeX runs full screen, though you can access the Android task bar by mousing up to the top or bottom of the screen.
Linux on DeX will be available as a private beta beginning on November 12. Users who are interested in joining the beta program may register here now.