back to article Samsung shows off Linux desktops on Galaxy smartmobes

Samsung's shown a little more of its plans to run fully-fledged Linux desktops on its 8-series Galaxy smartmobes. Samsung teased the idea of Linux on its flagship phones in October 2017, promising that Linux would run in your hand or, if you use its DeX dock, in full desktop mode on a monitor. Now it's released the video below …

  1. DainB Bronze badge

    Still waiting

    for a totally obvious design featuring x86 CPU that can run desktop OS, preferably Windows, while docked and mobile phone interface overlay when not.

    1. Phil Kingston

      Re: Still waiting

      you'll be waiting till there's a capacious enough battery to run such a device.

      1. DainB Bronze badge

        Re: Still waiting

        There were plenty of Atom-based x86 compatible phones few year ago and they were running just fine, unfortunately no one released Windows version of them.

        1. Michael Habel

          Re: Still waiting

          Ok forget Windows.. Has there ever been any real work done to port anything like BSD, or a proper Linux to those Atom powered Devices.

          Hell it's depressing as Hell that Canonical ended up going with some no-name brand, and only sold their Phones in some British DIY Shop that traditionally doesn't sell those types of things (e.g. Phones). Thus further insuring their utter failure.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Still waiting

            Sailfish (full Linux for phones and tablets descended from Nokia's work) has been ported and runs well. The unfortunate Jolla tablet was the main example, but there are other, more successful, options out there too.

          2. DainB Bronze badge

            Re: Still waiting

            If you ever tried to use ssh from touch screen device you would never want to use anything that runs Linux on a phone or even tablet.

        2. Teiwaz

          Re: Still waiting

          unfortunately no one released Windows version of them.

          Manufacturers dodged a lemon there, given the tepid commitment from MS.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Phil Kingston

        "While docked" implies that the battery does not matter.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still waiting

        "you'll be waiting till there's a capacious enough battery to run such a device."

        Windows has outperformed Linux on the desktop on battery life tests ever since Windows 7 though so the issue is simply one of using a low power x86 CPU.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still waiting

      MS were the first to do this with Continuum.

      But then they fucked everything up.

  2. Michael Habel

    Knowing Samsung they'll make all the right noises about it coming out in some future update. That everyone will end-up hanging on their Phones for the next 6 - 8 Months for. Only to learn that this will be an exclusive feature of the Galaxy 9 Note. (And, that will be if someone in Seoul actually gives a toss about a feature, that arguably 99% of their userbase couldn't give a rats behind about.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      While I don't think Samsung gives much of a toss about Linux on their phones, they're very keen on DeX because it's something that nobody else has. And I think they're also smart enough to see that the developers market is big enough to keep the proof of concept going. If they get the volumes then they can expand the DeX eco-system.

      If they pull this off then Samsung will be the company that killed the company laptop.

      1. Michael Habel

        Replacing the Company Laptop? Yep talking of a real slice of Pie in the Sky stuff here... Implying I want to use a 5lb re-education tool to hammer up a Nail to hang my Pictures on the Wall. But, in this case it would be in reverse..

        Just 'cause you might be able to replace your Laptop wit a Phablet... It's probably still not entirely desirable to actually do it.

    2. anoco

      It will probably work on the S8, but barely. Overheating after two minutes. But the S9 will be a lot better and run 10x longer. Only with the S10 you will finally be able to get things done.

      1. admiraljkb

        FYI - The DeX dock has a fan on it to prevent overheating the docked phone. I got one to just play around with. Turns out, for normal (non-dev) usage, it can already replace a laptop in an office setting, even without Linux mode. BUT - undocking closes apps, so re-docking doesn't go back where you started. That gets annoying when you redock after taking the phone out for a quick coffee run or bio-break. As a result, I'm back to the laptop until that gets fixed.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will it blend?


  4. jake Silver badge

    So in theory, it'll run Slackware?

    Am I reading that right?

    If so, I might finally see a reason to get a so-called "smart" phone ...

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: So in theory, it'll run Slackware?

      In theory, yes. As with all phone hardware a lot of the drivers are only available as binaries.

      Want a phone that promises to be able to run Linux? Then look at the Gemini.

      1. Ropewash

        Re: So in theory, it'll run Slackware?

        Also this. (If it ever gets past vapour stage.)

  5. oomwat

    May be a long wait ;)

    I note that they don't show it compiling anything at any point!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not convinced - at all

    As far as I can tell from the reporting, it is not running Linux as a base OS, which would be the only reason for me to be interested. It appears to be running Linux in a sort of VM-alike shell, but that means it still starts from an Android foundation - the exact thing I am *not* interested in because that's building on quicksand.

    I hope I'm wrong.

  7. Robert D Bank


    a look into the future, 40m Indians doing Agile development on their phones, deploying from the toilet. Oh..

    1. DainB Bronze badge

      Re: Agile

      Deploying from the toilet ? In India ? Do they have that many toilets ?

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Agile

        Toilets are a shared facility. You've just got to try and make sure that you are a morning kind of guy. Late afternoons tend to be "difficult" moments and not conducive to good coding...

  8. Dr Mantis Toboggan


    What is this? 2007?

    1. Richard 22

      Re: Eclipse

      It's a good demo of running a massively bloated, heavyweight application. If you can run eclipse, pretty much anything should run...

    2. Daniel von Asmuth

      Re: Eclipse

      This will make programming easier: you just write your code by pencil or fountain pen and use the little camera to scan it. Siri Cortana will recognise simple spoken commands, like "make".

    3. sola

      Re: Eclipse

      They had IntelliJ IDEA installed as well (icon on desktop).

      Would have been nice to see it started in the video and demonstrate some editing in a bigger project with lots of Java files to see how well it runs.

      Eclipse looked like snappy though for the bloated shit it is.

      Those ARM SOCs are becoming pretty powerful.

  9. Matthew 3

    Maybe they've seen the Gemini PDA?

    That's a smartphone that's already running Linux and has a proper keyboard too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe they've seen the Gemini PDA?

      Looking forward to this for network support out of hours. Won't need to carry my laptop everywhere. They are shipping in January

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "at least now we know it's more than advanced than mere announcementware"

    Really? A "concept demo" could be a pure simulation or video mockup.

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    “use classic IDE desktop IDE for native ARM development.”

    There are plenty of ARM boards that enable that. Let's get down to the real use case: bypassing Android apps that demand access to everything, all the better to slurp you with.

  12. DagD


    finally, I can run an IDS on my smartphone. awesome!

  13. Trigonoceps occipitalis

    Samsung's still not saying when Linux on Galaxy will debut

    "We'll let you know just as soon as we've sorted the data slurp."

    Regards, Sammy XX

  14. Jim-234

    I hope they actually release it soon, it was one of the reasons I just ordered the DEX

  15. JassMan

    I hope by Linux they don't mean Tizen

    I have a Samsung Z3 Tizen phone but in reality you get all the worst bits of Android and none of the good bits of a TRUE Linux. Even Android apps which it claims to run, have to be re-packaged in a special wrapper to make them run on an App Compatibility Layer which locks you in to getting everything from the Samsung Tizen store. I still haven't found a single useful app which has survived more than 3 weeks before I removed it because of bugs/unwanted annoying "features". Some apps, once installed are impossible to remove and keep insisting there is an update available, but, on clicking update report "service unavailable".

    One of Samsung's justifications for having a severely locked down version of Linux is that it makes it more secure. They seem to use this supposedly heightened security as a reason for not updating any of the core parts of the OS.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: I hope by Linux they don't mean Tizen

      Tizen's raison d'être is it needs less RAM to run.

    2. admiraljkb

      Re: I hope by Linux they don't mean Tizen

      It is effectively running a chroot environment. Android is already running on top of Linux. This just presents a different user environment.

  16. Paul Chambers

    I loved my old first gen nokia communicator....but when considering any device such as this ?I apply two criteria:

    How does it compare on price and function to my phone and my Think Outside Bluetooth keyboard, and my circa £200 Acer S3?...and.....Under what circumstances would carry it in preference to those?

    I've not bought any of the various options I've considered, yet.

    I'd love something that compared with the Acer s3 at that sort of price point, but suspect I'll have to buy at least one new battery before that comes to pass.

  17. AlexGreyhead


    "Announcementware" <-- I like this word =o)

  18. beavershoes

    Who can not afford more than one computer?

    I have like nine computers. From a phone, laptops, desktops, tablets (multiple), an Android projector computer for presentations. Who needs to use the same work computer for home? They are so cheap now a days. I watch TV on a 55 inch screen plugged into my MacMini. I do not want to use my phone for that. I have a MacBook Pro for work. I do not want to use my phone for that either. Multiple computers is fine with me. They are so cheap now a days.

  19. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

    What for?

    While hobbyists (which include a lot of IT people) might want to tinker about with Linux on a small device, most people want to use their phone as a communications device. Linux to them is a big ho hum. But it just shows that Samsung want to pander to the IT hobbyist people, probably because lots of people go to them and say "you are a computer expert, what should I buy", "Oh Samsung because it runs Linux". But that is a silly answer.

  20. skalamanga

    Hope Huawei does it with the Mate 10 pro, as their desktop implementation doesn't lock the phone down while in use. Using the phone as a trackpad makes the experience so much more complete.

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