Quick tutorial

1: Warnings

This software is not beta anymore. The main interface is now considered as stable; the registered part is still beta and under debugging (main features are implemented, but we are still discovering bugs).

We are releasing version 3.3 because many users are asking us to publish a fix for old known bugs, bugs we have fixed weeks ago. But some parts are not fully functional yet; especially the registered section.

You shall not use this software randomly, or change arbitrary settings in the setup menu. Misuse, or misconfiguration can end in severe damages on your phone. Damages can be random data loss, data change, or, more probably wipe of partitions (if you are lucky, it will wipe your user /data, and-or /sdcard ; it can also wipe /system, forcing you to re-flash your ROM, or even the complete partition table of the phone what will brick it). Follow strictly our guidelines; do not change parameters if you have any doubt; do not alter default setting if the setting title is unclear to your mind.


Normal use of the application should not delete anything. Default settings are tested and shall work straight away . More details on the public website.

2: Introduction

This software aims at providing a Linux like chroot environment to Android users, on their mobile phones.

There are many ways to install and use this software. This small tutorial will only describe the main approach. The idea is to create a big file that will be mounted via the loop feature, then, we will chroot inside it, and call debootstrap to install the Debian distribution inside chroot.

This environment presumes that you are running Android as UNIX compliant system, with a Linux kernel underneath.

3: Quick steps

This tutorial assumes fresh install of the package, and original default config. The default config will produce several warnings. We chose the default settings assuming that you may not have 500MiB free in your user /data, so the loop file is created in /mnt/sdcard . The interface will warn you when leaving this default setting, because accidentally (or voluntary) ejecting or mounting the SD card via USB may make the chroot environment go wrong. No data loss is expected outside the chrooted environment. You can ignore those warnings as long as you do not remove your SD card, or plug USB in "Disk Drive" mode.

If some step fails, retry it twice. If a step fails three consecutive times, quit the application by pressing the back button several times, and restart it. If the same error occurs after restarting the application, please send us a bug report.

  1. make sure you installed the *optional* dependencies (SuperUser (almost mandatory; tested with v3.0-b3), ConnectBot or adb or any other local shell system).
  2. go in Setup menu
  3. leave the default settings about installation in block and loop in the first section (Installation type)
  4. look at the chroot point ( /data/local/mnt/Linux by default; it's created the first time you start the Installer). It's the folder where chroot will be done.
  5. look at the loop file name ( /sdcard/Linux.loop by default ; change it to /data/local/Linux.loop if you want the chroot to not crash when remove SD card)
  6. look at the loop file size (500 by default; 300 strict minimum; as much as you want if you have room)
  7. leave the other parameters as they are (do not use BLOCK mode without loop mode, do not change any setting in the CONFIGURATION section; misuse of those settings can lead to where you don't want to go)
  8. exit (or back)
  9. click create target loop (takes 2mn to write 500M on class 4 card)
  10. click format target loop (50s)
  11. click mount loop
  12. click install distribution in loop. Installation should take between 15 and 50 mn depending on your Internet connection speed, and phone specifications (Flash and CPU speed). Installation process will temporally disable screen saver so that the phone will stay awake, and Internet connection will not be automatically disabled or put in sleep mode.
  13. click Update launcher script.
  14. You can now connect to your phone using any local console, via ConnectBot or adb shell
  15. type linuxchroot in this console
  16. you are now in a standard GNU/Debian environment, created via debootstrap. Network is already configured; you shall type aptitude update, then you can install any package you want.
  17. Read messages carefully, and read the full tutorial on our website. URL is given in the About pop-up

Setup panel is inaccessible when installation process is running, or when the distribution is mounted.
When installation is completed, it is possible to uninstall the Android package LinuxInstaller, and keep using the distribution, or, install a second distribution alongside. Details are explained on the website.

4: Registration

You can optionally register on the website to unlock more features. These features will help you installing the distribution more easily, with less need for local console (ConnectBot or adb). Registered version can virtually allow you to perform a full install of Samba and Apache without any kind of console. Detailed configuration of those software will require you to log in the chroot environment via any kind of console. Guided installation of SSH will help you a lot :)

After registration on the website, you shall enter your login and password in the configuration menu; initial validation is automatic. When registration is confirmed inside the software, a new "Distribution management" icon will be available in the main menu. It will allow you to install ssh, and the main LAMP applications from within the phone GUI without having to use any kind of terminal. When installation is completed, the use of terminal is required to ... have fun :)
The free part of the software is stable (but may still contain some bugs). The registered part is still beta and under heavy development. Registration will not remove ads.

5: Reporting a bug

When you think you have had an issue, an abnormal behaviour, or had an explicit error message, you can enter the console ( Menu > Console ), then Menu again, and Mail. Then select your email software (E-Mail or Gmail are preferred), all fields will be filled automatically (send to support@galoula.com , subject, and attachments), try to type a short explanation on what you have seen on screen, which steps leaded you to this, what you wanted to do, where you actually clicked. Then click on send button.

Background data collection (if you enabled "Send debug logs") will send to the dev team a short anonymous report about your phone configuration (hardware model, Android version), and which stages ran successfully, or failed. This helps us to determine the most frequent issues, and sort them by device type. This is a light process, uses low network bandwidth, and does not help us fixing issues; only to determine which errors affect the more people.

6: Version

This Quick tutorial is version 1.0 written on august 20th 2011 by DoubleHP, for LinuxInstaller 3.3 . Updated august 24th 2011.

Full tutorial, and contact details on the project main page. URL is given in the About section.

The good use of potentially dangerous settings is explained there.

This document is the property of Gaël Perron. Copyright © 2011 Gaël Perron.