How to Run Linux on Android

by January 13, 2016 3 comments

You can do something more with Android running tablets and smartphones. You can convert them into virtual machine running platforms. There is an app available in the Google Play Store and called Limbo PC Emulator. It is basically a QEMU emulator designed for Android. It’s free to download and can be used for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.


  • Android phone/tablet
  • Limbo PC Emulator
  • DSL Linux OS

Follow the steps given below to run small Linux OS on your tablet. Here, we trying to run DSL Linux OS, but you can also run some other light Linux OS. Windows XP and newer Ubuntu, and all other large OS are NOT supported due to their heavy usage of the SD card and CPU. We have also tested Windows XP, but it shows some lags.

Step 1: Download ISO image of Dam small Linux from their website This Linux is just about 50MB in size.

Step 2: Plug in and mount your Android tablet as a USB Mass Storage device, then copy the ISO image to the location of your choice.

Step 3: Download Limbo PC Emulator app and install it. After installation fire it up.

Step 4: Tap on Load VM option and enter the name of your virtual machine. Then tap on User interface select SDL, in CPU Model select core2duo(64 bit) with 4 cores as shown in the screenshot.


Step 5: You can select different CPU and RAM size options. For myself, I set memory size to 800 MB and CPU model to Core2Duo mode, it depends on OS. We are using ISO image so assign it to CDROM option and create a Hard disk space for installation at Hard Disk A option. Also, set Boot from Device option to CD-ROM.


Step 6: In Sound card configuration option select all. And leave all reset of setting and advance configuration as it is.


Step 7: Now in the beginning of app you must have seen an option Start. Just go and tap on Start option to start your virtual machine.


Step 8: Your OS will boot and a very first screen will show up. Double tap on Installs to HD as Debian option to install the Linux.


Step 9: The installation of the OS will begin. Wait for few minutes as the performance or speed of installation and OS depends on the configuration of the tablet or Smartphone.


Step 10: Finally we have our full-fledged Linux desktop in our Android tablet. To save the state of the virtual machine, you can click on the menu button which is at the top right side of the screen as shown in the screenshot.


3 Comments so far

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  1. AJit
    #1 AJit 1 March, 2016, 14:03

    i downloaded the iso file installed as instructed, but whenever i click on menu (3 dots) to save the state emulator stopped working. my androids configuration is 1gb ram, 4gb internal. what options should i select to run linux on my android?

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  2. hanumanict
    #2 hanumanict 9 February, 2017, 02:27

    Hi Can you show us how to install Ubuntu on Limbo PC? in android device.
    Please let me know by email ( when you have already to show.
    I home you replay me back soon. I always waiting you to know how to install.
    cause i have many problem while installation.
    Please hurry up… ^^__

    Reply this comment
  3. Arish
    #3 Arish 16 May, 2018, 16:31

    Can I get the correct image of Debian Linux for Limbo. I can understand what their website says and which one to download for my Android.

    Reply this comment