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DebianRunner: Running Desktop Applications on Android Smartphones

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Title: DebianRunner: Running Desktop Applications on Android Smartphones
Author(s): Gupta, Abhishek; Preston, Kurt; Rodriguez, Alejandro
Contributor(s): King, Sam
Subject(s): operating systems Android smartphones
Abstract: The Android operating system runs atop the Linux kernel, yet lacks the ability to natively execute standard Linux desktop applications. Though efforts have been made to enable this functionality, all approaches to date require a user to switch to a separate desktop environment, resulting in a substantial loss of interface consistency and usability. This paper describes DebianRunner, an Android application designed to execute in a custom, root- enabled Android build. It unlocks desktop Linux capabilities by mounting the full Debian Linux distribution into the file system, and provides a tool to simplify the installation and execution of Linux programs from within Android. Though functional, DebianRunner suffered from poor performance as a result of limited RAM in the HTC Dream used for testing. However, more powerful phones should be better able to exploit DebianRunner’s functionality, and the most of techniques explored in this paper would be applicable to other rooted Android phones.
Issue Date: 2010-10-27
Genre: Technical Report
Type: Text
Language: English
Publication Status: unpublished
Peer Reviewed: not peer reviewed
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-10-28

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