Debian Lenny on Android Phones

Nov 12, 2008

Thanks to a hack a few days ago, BusyBox has been running on the T-Mobile G1 mobile phones with Google's Android platform. Now Jay Freeman, alias saurik, goes a step further: in his blog he describes how to install Debian Lenny by way of root access on the device.

All is well, according to Freeman on his website, because Debian already supports ARM EABI. EABI stands for Embedded Application Binary Interface developed by ARM to be the interface port for the same-named 32-bit microprocessors.

Freeman established a special hacker's mailing list to discuss the G1. The steps to your own Debian phone, however, are not trivial. Among other things you have to add a filesystem to the kernel and pack root into a filesystem image that you then mount on Android's 16-Gbyte FAT.

Beginners beware of such experimentation, unless you inherited a trust fund. Parts of the world where G1s are not yet available can only watch as those that do have them promptly turn them into bricks. The next updates to the device are already on the way, so Freeman advises users to play with it "while you still can." Unfortunately saurik's website doesn't show pictures of the result of his successful hack.

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