Nexus 7

A lot of people love the idea of having a full-blown desktop version of Ubuntu on their Android tablet, including the folks at Canonical. Today we see that they have released a semi-official installer to do just that -- install Ubuntu (a special build based on 12.10) right to your Nexus 7, as a full native install.

It's also pretty easy to do -- they provide a PPA repo for the installer an dependencies, and all you need to do is type a few commands, have fastboot set up and working, and find the USB cable that came with the device. Of course your bootloader has to be unlocked, but that's easy enough to accomplish when you've got a Nexus device. 

The Nexus 7 is the official reference device for Ubuntu development on ARM touch devices, and the purpose of this is for users to run and find bugs. Don't go thinking the install will be perfect, as there's a list of things that need attention. Rotation doesn't yet work, there are some scrolling issues, Bluetooth isn't working, and the camera isn't active. Nothing that can't be overcome, but know ahead of time what to expect.

Don't get me wrong, I think this is great, and that Ubuntu is a great choice to run on a small tablet. I am a little miffed that a so-called developer preview is only available as a one-click application, specific to Ubuntu. I may think Ubuntu is a good choice for my tablet, but I don't think it's the best choice for my desktop. I would have liked to see the images and scripts delivered in a package that advanced users could use without installing Ubuntu on their computer. Hopefully they can address this and let everyone play.

Full instructions, and notes about known issues and tester protocol can be found at the source links.

Source: Ubuntu (1), (2),; via OMGUbuntu


Reader comments

Install Ubuntu on your Nexus 7 with Canonical's installer


Would love to see this but Google should fuse ChromeOS with Android like this on the next release.

I installed this a few hours ago and the installation was fast and easy (flashing back is easy too). It's just a preview so not everything works well, but I like the potential. Connected a mouse via 'OTG cable', in my opinion, was easier than using the touchscreen. Couldn't really multi-task that much as the sytem became bogged down pretty quickly. it seems like (eventually) you'll be able to do almost anything you can do on the desktop version. I already flashed back to stock (again, not everything works well) but I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on the progress of this.

I'm not sure about the 'behind the scenes' details, but when I installed it, it pretty much ran just like ubuntu on my desktop did.

Now we're talking. Love to see a full, easy to install version on the Nexus 10 (you know it's coming).

I love Linux, of course (and use it on all my machines), but am not particularly fond of the Ubuntu distribution. Still, having such options sounds exciting and more power to them for taking this on.

Sounds like it would be even more interesting on the Nexus 10, with a much larger screen and twice the memory.

My dream device would be a powerful tablet with keyboard (or ultrabook with rotating/collapsing touch screen) running Linux proper AND an Android emulator (or sub-machine) in that so I could have the best of both worlds running at the same time. I know, seems like an odd combination, but that is what I want, damnit!

But Android already running on Linux envriament, it's just need more files and little reconfig and bang, you got Linux desktop :p

Not quite. Android is running the Linux kernel, and lots of similar GNU tools. But it doesn't have X (which is a HUGE difference) or use X applications and isn't really multiuser and such.

Wow, this is awesome, the Nexus 7 just got even more attractive :) Only problem is the low storage on it. 32 GB version might be OK though...

It is so strange, it almost seems like Ubuntu has been optimizing Unity to work well on touchscreens in addition to desktops, yet at the same time they are *forcing* the use of text entry to search for all menu items, etc, and text entry is the thing tablets do worst...

Excellent. I was looking for an excuse to buy an additional Nexus 7 or a Nexus 10. Having full blown Ubuntu is definitely a good enough reason to have two tablets :)