How to install a Linux desktop on your Android device

Have you ever wished your Android phone or tablet could replace your entire computer? That’s now possible — you can install a Linux or Ubuntu desktop environment on virtually any modern Android device thanks to some clever workarounds. You don’t need to root your phone and you can even use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (and maybe an external display) for a powerful desktop-like experience. And even though the experience doesn’t match a real Linux computer, it’s more than usable in a pinch and worth trying out.


To install a Linux environment on your Android device, you can use the Debian NoRoot or UserLAnd apps. If you choose the latter, you’ll also get to choose between various distributions like Kali Linux, Arch, and Ubuntu. While neither app installs a full operating system, they do offer a complete desktop environment and the ability to run many popular Linux programs.


Debian NoRoot: One-click Linux desktop

debian noroot android

Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

Debian NoRoot offers one of the easiest and least complicated ways to access a Linux desktop on Android. It’s a free app that you need to install via the Play Store. If you haven’t heard of Debian, it’s the flavor of Linux that the popular Ubuntu distribution is based upon. This guarantees compatibility with a wide range of Linux apps and the apt package manager.

Debian NoRoot is pretty lightweight and should run on most Android smartphones and tablets. It’s not the complete Debian operating system — instead, its developer describes it as a “compatibility layer, which allows you to run Debian applications.” How is this possible? Well, Android runs a modified Linux kernel, making it somewhat related to our end-goal. Debian NoRoot also includes all of the basics, including a desktop environment and a terminal application. All in all, it’s a perfect starting point for experienced and novice users alike.

Debian NoRoot lets you access a full-fledged Linux desktop with a simple download from the Play Store.

Once you’ve installed the Debian NoRoot app on your Android device and open it for the first time, it will present you with a list of display resolutions and font scales. Select the default options here, and it will eventually bring you to the desktop.

From this point on, you can immediately get to installing additional Linux programs and apps. We’ll explain how you can do this via the terminal in a later section. For now, consider plugging in a keyboard and mouse since the on-screen touch keyboard can take up a big chunk of your screen’s real estate.

Related: What is a kernel and why does it matter on Android and Linux?

Living brain-cell biocomputers are now training on dopamine

Current AI training methods burn colossal amounts of energy to learn, but the human brain sips just 20 W. Swiss startup FinalSpark is now selling access to cyborg biocomputers, running up to four living human brain organoids wired into silicon chips.

Four human brain organoids, each with around 10,000 living human brain cells, wired into a biocomputing array

Four human brain organoids, each with around 10,000 living human brain cells, wired into a biocomputing array

The human brain communicates within itself and with the rest of the body mainly through electrical signals; sights, sounds and sensations are all converted into electrical pulses before our brains can perceive them. This makes brain tissue highly compatible with silicon chips, at least for as long as you can keep it alive.

For FinalSpark’s Neuroplatform, brain organoids comprising about 10,000 living neurons are grown from stem cells. These little balls, about 0.5 mm (0.02 in) in diameter, are kept in incubators at around body temperature, supplied with water and nutrients and protected from bacterial or viral contamination, and they’re wired into an electrical circuit with a series of tiny electrodes.

These two-way electrodes can send pulses of electricity into the brain organoids, and they can also measure the responses coming out of them. And that’s really all you need to start taking advantage of nature’s greatest computing machines; neurons habitually search for patterns, seeking order and predictability … <continue>

Scientists Built a Functional Computer With Human Brain Tissue

There is no computer even remotely as powerful and complex as the human brain. The lumps of tissue ensconced in our skulls can process information at quantities and speeds that computing technology can barely touch.

Key to the brain’s success is the neuron’s efficiency in serving as both a processor and memory device, in contrast to the physically separated units in most modern computing devices.

There have been many attempts to make computing more brain-like, but a new effort takes it all a step further – by integrating real, actual, human brain tissue with electronics.

It’s called Brainoware, and it works. A team led by engineer Feng Guo of Indiana University Bloomington fed it tasks like speech recognition and nonlinear equation prediction.

It was slightly less accurate than a pure hardware computer running on artificial intelligence, but the research demonstrates an important first step in a new kind of computer architecture.

However, while Guo and his colleagues followed the ethics guidelines in the development of Brainoware, several researchers from Johns Hopkins University note in a related Nature Electronics commentary the importance of keeping ethical considerations in mind while expanding this technology further.

Lena Smirnova, Brian Caffo, and Erik C. Johnson, who weren’t involved with the study, caution, “As the sophistication of these organoid systems increases, it is critical for the community to examine the myriad of neuroethical issues that surround biocomputing systems incorporating human neural tissue.”

The human brain is kind of jaw-droppingly amazing. It contains an estimated 86 billion neurons, on average, and up to a quadrillion synapses. Each neuron is connected to up to 10,000 other neurons, constantly firing and communicating with each other.

To date, our best effort to simulate the activity of the brain in an artificial system barely scratched the surface.

Is “OI” The New AI? Biocomputers Could One Day Run On Human Brain Cells

Could computers of the future run on human brain cells? A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University certainly think so. In a paper published in the journal Frontiers in Science, the team outline their plans for ‘organoid intelligence’, an emerging multidisciplinary field looking to develop biocomputers that operate with human brains cells. Such a development could not only massively expand the capabilities of modern computing but also open up new fields of study.

Organoids are tiny, self-organizing 3D tissues that are typically derived from stem cells, and mimic the main functional and architectural complexity of an organ. It is possible there could be as many types of organoids as there are tissues and organs in the body. To date, scientists have produced organoid cultures for intestines, liver, pancreas, kidneys, prostate, lung, optic cup, and the brain, and it seems more may be on the way. 

These tissues provide unique opportunities for scientists to study human diseases that do not rely on traditional methods associated with animal models. The reliance on animal models has historically led to a bottleneck in treatment discovery as there are biological processes that are specific to the human body and cannot be modeled on animals. The development of organoids promises to overcome these limitations. Yet the team at Johns Hopkins University are taking the research into organoids in a completely different direction. 

“Computing and artificial intelligence have been driving the technology revolution but they are reaching a ceiling,” explained Thomas Hartung, a professor of environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Whiting School of Engineering, in a statement. “Biocomputing is an enormous effort of compacting computational power and increasing its efficiency to push past our current technological limits.”