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The downloaded distro can then be unpacked and launched using the simple menu system in the main GNURoot app, which does all the hard work and eventually places you in a command-line terminal emulator (see ‘Launch a distro with GNURoot’ instructions at the end of this post).

You’re then all set to go and should be able to install any packages from the distro’s repo in the usual fashion, using the relevant package manager, such as apt-get or yum.

From this terminal window you can install and launch programs to run within windows on the desktop.

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So, if you’ve got an ageing Android phone or tablet kicking around, why not give it a try?If you can’t wait for the launch of the official Ubuntu smartphones (the first models are supposedly due later this year), don’t want to shell out for a new phone anyhow, or would prefer to use a different version of Linux on a portable device, there is an alternative.It’s possible to run a variety of popular Linux distros on a standard Android smartphone or tablet – everything from a simple Busy Box toolset right up to a full distribution with a desktop environment.The Android app can be downloaded in APK from from the project website: an ISO for the desired distro and you can then run it in a virtual machine created by the app.

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