Termux – Run Linux On Android Devices, No Rooting Required!

Termux - Run Linux On Android Devices

The other day I was searching for a simple and easy way to run Linux on Android. My only intention was to just use Linux with some basic applications like SSH, Git, awk etc. Not much! I don’t want to root the Android device. I have a Tablet PC that I mostly use for reading EBooks, news, and few Linux blogs. I don’t use it much for other activities. So, I decided to use it for some Linux activities. After spending few minutes on Google Play Store, one app immediately caught my attention and I wanted to give it a try. If you’re ever wondered how to run Linux on Android devices, this one might help.

Termux – An Android terminal emulator to run Linux on Android and Chrome OS

Termux is an Android terminal emulator and Linux environment app. Unlike many other apps, you don’t need to root your device or no setup required. It just works out of the box! A minimal base Linux system will be installed automatically, and of course you can install other packages with APT package manager. In short, you can use your Android device like a pocket Linux computer. It’s not just for Android, you can install it on your Chrome OS too.

Image source: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.termux

Termux offers many significant features than you would think.

  • It allows you to SSH to your remote server via openSSH.
  • You can also SSH into your Android devices from any remote system.
  • Sync your smart phone contacts to a remote system using rsync and curl.
  • You could choose any shells such as BASH, ZSH, and FISH etc.
  • You can choose different text editors such as Emacs, Nano, and Vim to edit/view files.
  • Install any packages of your choice in your Android devices using APT package manager. Up-to-date versions of Git, Perl, Python, Ruby and Node.js are all available.
  • Connect your Android device with a bluetooth Keyboard, mouse and external display and use it like a convergence device. Termux supports keyboard shortcuts .
  • Termux allows you to run almost all GNU/Linux commands.

It also has some extra features. You can enable them by installing the addons. For instance, Termux:API addon will allow you to Access Android and Chrome hardware features. The other useful addons are:

  • Termux:Boot – Run script(s) when your device boots.
  • Termux:Float – Run Termux in a floating window.
  • Termux:Styling – Provides color schemes and powerline-ready fonts to customize the appearance of the Termux terminal.
  • Termux:Task – Provides an easy way to call Termux executables from Tasker and compatible apps.
  • Termux:Widget – Provides an easy way to start small scriptlets from the home screen.

To know more about termux, open the built-in help section by long-pressing anywhere on the terminal and selecting the Help menu option. The only drawback is it requires Android 5.0 and higher versions. It could be more useful for many users if it supports Android 4.x and older versions. Termux is available in Google Play Store and F-Droid.

To install Termux from Google Play Store, click the following button.

termux

To install it from F-Droid, click the following button.

You know now how to try Linux on your android devices using Termux. Do you use any other better apps worth trying? Please mention them in the comment section below. I’d love to try them too!

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  • wbgreene333

    You’ve forgot to mention what is perhaps the best part, Termux-API which lets you use node-red and mqtt to interface Android and Linux based IOT devices. Details here:
    https://nodered.org/docs/platforms/android

    Its great, but requires Android 5+

    A cheap Android phone (I use $60 BLU Studio G2) and service (I use Ting), Termux, Termux-API and node-red is a fantastic way to get your IOT devices talking to the outside world via SMS and/or Email without exposing your IOT network to the Internet. This has replaced an Adafruit Fona cellular modem and is much more robust.

    • SK

      Never heard about node-red. I will look into it. Thanks.