How To Install Ubuntu Linux on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

UPDATE: This is for older Honeycomb, please do not try on ICS! (Will have an updated version soon!)

Do you have by random a Galaxy Tab 10.1? Did you know that you can run Ubuntu OS side by side along with Android OS? Linux OS can run pretty smooth on Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Galaxy Tab 10.1 is considered as the perfect device to run Ubuntu. In this post, you are not going to learn how to replace Android OS completely but to install and run Ubuntu in the background or like on a virtual machine along with Android OS.

You may ask:

Why should you want to run Ubuntu on Galaxy Tab 10.1?

Android is based on Linux and it’s very similar to it, but still you can not run native Linux programs on Android. So if you want to run applications that work only on Linux, you should install a Linux OS. By installing Ubuntu on your Galaxy Tab 10.1 you will be able to run Linux programs.

This may sound a stupid reason if you don’t like Linux OS but for a huge community out there this a big deal. There are many people who use Linux nowadays for various reason, so having the chance to run it on a Tablet can be huge.

Also, it could be fun to have two operating systems on the same device. You can use it for various reasons such as educational purposes and much more. So without further ado let’s learn how to install Ubuntu on Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Ubuntu on Galaxy Tab 10.1

How to install Ubuntu on Galaxy Tab 10.1?

First of all, you need a rooted phone. If you haven’t rooted yet, here is a cool infographic with the best rooting tools.

Also, you should have a Custom Recovery installed on your device such as TWRP or CWM.

Insall a File Manager like Root Explores or ES File Manager. Both free on Play Store.

Download the right files

Download and unzip it. You should get a folder named “ubuntu”

Download and install Android SDK on your computer and install adb drivers.

Get busybox on your Android device.

Step 2:

Copy the ubuntu folder you downloaded and unzipped earlier over to root folder of the Galaxy Tab 10.1

Step 3:

  • Open a command prompt window. Go to START > Search > Run > and type ‘cmd’
  • For Linux and Mac, open a shell.

Type the following code to enter adb directory:

  • cd \adb

Then type this code”

  • adb shell

Your Galaxy Tab 10.1 should be now in shell. If not then you should install the proper USB drivers for Galaxy Tab 10.1.

After the device is in shel type the following code:

  • cd /sdcard/ubuntu

Next type:

  • sh

You might get errors but there is nothing to worry. Go further and type:

  • bootubuntu

If you get Ubuntu Linux shell at this point, you’re done. Ubuntu is running on the background of your Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The next step now is to install some Ubuntu packages and VNC Server for GUI.

Step 4:

Type the code below:

  • apt-get update

It will update all the packages. Another optional step is to install SSH by typing:

  • apt-get install openssh-server

Now we should set up a VNC server so we can visually access our Ubuntu Gnome dektop. Type the following code in the command prompt window:

  • apt-get install tightvncserver

To install tightvncserver type:

  • export USER=root

and after that type:

  • vncserver -geometry 1280x800

You can set up the VNC server password here. It starts the VNC server and you can log in using any VNC program from a computer or from your Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Step 5:

The next step is to log in to Ubuntu on the Galaxy Tab 10.1. To do this download “Android VNC Viewer”. Set the IP  address to “”, enter the password you put earlier and set the port to 5901.

Congratulations! You should now be using the Ubuntu desktop. To get the best of it, you can use a bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

How to fix keyboard issues

When you connect a bluetooth mouse, it may encounter problems and below you will learn how to fix it.

Type the code:



  • cat > $HOME/.vnc/xstartup

Then copy and paste the code below:

  • #!/bin/sh
    xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
    xsetroot -solid grey
    #x-terminal-emulator -geometry 80×24+10+10 -ls -title “$VNCDESKTOP Desktop” &
    #x-window-manager &

Then click Ctrl + D two times and press the Enter button.

Basically I added the line “export XKL_XMODMAP_DISABLE=1” before “/etc/X11/Xsession” to fix the keyboard mapping.

Also you can edit the file $HOME/.vnc/xstartup with your favorite text editor too.

Note: You may have to reboot your device and start Ubuntu again.

How to restart Ubuntu on Galaxy Tab 10.1

When you turn off you device completely and reboot, also you need to restart the Ubuntu if you want to use it. To do this type:

  • adb shell

Then simply change the directory to ubuntu:

  • cd /sdcard/ubuntu

Next run:

  • bootubuntu


Just to make sure kill the instances of VNC server.

  • killall Xtightvnc

Then run the following command:

  • vncserver -geometry 1280x800

Be careful to use a small leter “x” because sometimes when you copy and paste it changes.

Until now, only browser is a bit laggy but everything works. It might be a bit slower but it really works. Maybe when the device will come with better specs, like dual core 2Ghz processors, Ubuntu might run smoother.

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