How to Install Linux on DeX

Samsung has brought Linux support to the DeX ecosystem. DeX was a great way to get a full-screen desktop experience without the need for a standalone PC. However, it was not a real desktop. Samsung is changing that by introducing Linux support that will allow users to use a full blown Linux operating system. Samsung has brought Linux support along with almost all the features you will need to get started with Linux. With Linux on DeX, you will be able to carry your entire computer in your pocket. This is great news, whether you’re a developer or a user who simply prefers the Linux operating system. In this article, we’ll show you how to install Linux on Dex on supported devices so you can experience the future right now.

Update: owned by Samsung Shut down Linux in DeX Beta. This is the last chance to test this app as it will be retired in February 2020.

Use Linux OS on Samsung DeX in 2020

Necessity

  • Only a few devices are currently supported. We’re using the Galaxy Note 9 (Exynos) in our tests. Here is the list of supported devices:
    • Galaxy Note 9
    • Galaxy Tab S4,
    • Galaxy S9 and S9+
    • Galaxy S10, S10e, S10+, S10 5G
    • Galaxt Tab S5e
  • Type-C – monitor with HDMI connector. It is recommended to use Samsung’s own connector for better performance.
  • You can use the Note 9’s screen as a mouse and keyboard for navigation. Of course, you can connect a wireless keyboard and mouse if you want a full desktop experience.

Installing Linux on Samsung Dex

  1. Download the latest version of Linux from the DeX Beta app (Free) From APKmirror. For some reason the Play Store link is currently broken and not working. However, you can sideload the app from APKmirror, it’s totally safe to use.

2. Install and open Linux on DeX Beta. Tap the plus button at the bottom and select Download from Server. Now scroll down and tap the “Download” button. The application will start downloading the required Linux image. It’s a big file, around 4GB, so make sure you’re connected to WiFi. Download Linux3. If you encounter any problems while downloading the image file to your mobile device, Download to your PC first. After downloading, Extract the zip file and import the .img file into the LoD folder on your phone. Now, open the Linux on DeX app, tap the plus button and select Browse.

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Linux on Dex 24. Here you will see the .img file, Tap on it and give the container a name. Now tap on “Create”. The Linux container is now ready to be used in DeX.

Linux on Dex 3

Using Linux on DeX

1. Now connect the smartphone to your monitor using the Type-C to HDMI connector. Samsung DeX will start automatically on the monitor. If you don’t have a wireless mouse and keyboard, you can use Samsung’s display to navigate DeX.. Open the app drawer in DeX and click Linux in the DeX Beta app.

Linux on DeX 4

2. After that, click on the container you named earlier. and then click the RUN button. If you want to go back to DeX, just hover your mouse at the bottom of the screen for 2-3 seconds, you will get the dock and from there you can close Linux and switch to DeX.

Linux on Dex 5

Note: the default username is “dextop” and the password is “hidden”.

How is the overall Experience?

Frankly, Linux on DeX is pretty responsive, and I was surprised to see this kind of performance on a beta channel. To give you some perspective, Linux runs in a container that is part of the DeX ecosystem and loaded into an app on the Note 9. There are a lot of layers, but it performed quite well. There was intermittent lag, but common apps ran quickly without much lag.

Linux Terminal

So far, it seems like a good alternative for students or developers looking to get started with Linux. To clarify, It runs Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with built in Android Security Policy. If you’re just starting out with software development, you can discover a lot of things. For starters, You have access to Terminal. If you are interested in Android development, there is IntelliJ pre-installed. This version also comes with Geany text editor and Visual Studio Code which is awesome. Alternatively, you can install Vim or any text editor you want. There is a lot of flexibility for developers.

LLinux on DeX7If you’re not a developer, you’ll find most of the essential apps here. There’s Chromium and Firefox that work pretty well for web browsing. YouTube worked really well with small frame drops. Note that the sound will come out of the Note 9’s speaker, but you can connect and use external speakers if you want. Users can use the terminal to install the packages they want. However, you may find compatibility issues with the software. We tried installing VLC using the terminal and it installed, but it couldn’t run because ARM wasn’t compiled. Samsung has already stated that only 64-bit ARM embedded apps will work.

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Linux on DeX 8However, there is no reason for consumers to be discouraged, as they can use normal Android apps while running Dex and boot Linux in DeX when they want a complete desktop experience. Basically, it’s a complete package and I’m not sure why Samsung isn’t marketing this feature heavily. You can have a PC-like experience with absolutely great performance. It definitely looks like the future. Well done Samsung!

Enjoy Linux on DeX

Samsung has done a great job of packing a full desktop OS on its smartphone. The Linux on DeX program is currently in beta and will definitely get better over time. When DeX was first released in 2017, performance was choppy and didn’t exactly feel like a desktop experience.

However, with a few revisions, DeX has become a viable and exciting product to use. Powerful processors, high-speed storage, and wider adoption of ARM will make Linux on DeX a great alternative for future use. So what do you think? Are you going to try installing Linux on your Samsung device? Let us know in the comment section below.

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