81% of all smartphones are powered by Linux

Update 22 July 2019: Now 86 percent as per the latest report.

No, I have not used any misleading blog title. Smartphones powered by Linux really dominate the smartphone market. Some of you will be scratching your head at this point (stop it, you’ll be bald) while others are full of The Sound of Music – “The Hills Are Alive!” Like Linux Proud! Read on and I’ll provide some pudding, full of proof 81% 86% of all smartphones are powered by Linux.

Too often when I meet people outside of work, especially socially, they often ask: “What do you do?”. When I inform them that I’m a Linux Sysadmin, many people reply “I really don’t like Linux because I heard the word can’t open or edit files.” * or “You mean the desktop OS that has all the text and no GUI?”** or even “Linux, what is that???” To which I often say with a strange look on my face… “You are using Linux on your smartphone right now”. Yes indeed, as most of you reading this know, Google’s Android (and Chrome OS) are based on the Linux kernel.

Linux OS distribution of Android

Android is an operating system based on Linux kernel, Or as Google’s developers say”Android is built on the open Linux kernel, [link includes video], As of November 2013, current Android versions include a kernel based on the Linux kernel version 3.4.10. Android versions older than 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) were based on the Linux kernel 2.6.x. there is one Informative video about Android Architecture Where Google states that there are more architecture changes to the Linux kernel of Android that are outside the typical Linux kernel dev cycle. Google’s open-source chief, Chris Dibona refers to Android as “the one”Linux desktop dream come true“. Now that we have confirmed Android as a Linux distro, let’s look at its major popularity.

Linux runs 81% 86% of all smartphones

recently Study [previous link broken, see updated report here] Demand IDC Turns out that Google’s Linux distro has solidified itself in the smartphone market. The study, released in November 2013, stated that a total of 261.1 million smartphones were shipped during that quarter and 81 percent of them were Android. Take a look at the chart below for more information on the current smartphone market situation by top four smartphone OS distributors.

smartphone market share

Ubuntu joins with Ubuntu Phone in Linux smartphone OS battle

Ubuntu CEO Mark Shuttleworth, Confirmed this month that ubuntu will enter smart fone And Gun Shot OS battle too small. Because of the popularity and usability of desktop smartphones, this is what Ubuntu sees for its future. There is no doubt that this is a significant market for the port as Ubuntu can help create an easier bridge to cross for all other Linux distros, albeit by hype and awareness.

Imagine having the same options as a desktop to buy any smartphone and install the Linux distro of your choice! Don’t know about you, but I yearn for that day. to be able to run arch linux on me Moto X With a touch specific desktop-environment created by where (smartphone version). Yes, it’s a lot more complicated than that. However, I am sure you will agree that this is a step in the right direction and with more interest, the various components required for more distros to enter the smartphone market over time will be reduced and streamlined . have a look at Ubuntu Touch OS Below

Ubuntu Touch for Smartphones and Tablets

Ubuntu Touch (previously Ubuntu Phone) is a mobile version of the Ubuntu operating system that was originally developed by Canonical Limited but now being developed by ubiports community, It is primarily designed for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Ubuntu Touch is 100% community driven and free.

Librem 5 – Security and Privacy Focused Linux OS Smartphone


purismThe company known for making amazing Linux laptops with a focus on privacy and free software, ran successfully crowdfunding campaign They raised $1 million more than Target for a new smartphone called the Librem 5. Based on Debian Linux, the Librem 5 smartphone is focused on security by design and privacy protection by default. Free open-source software and running a GNU+Linux operating system. The Librem 5 phone will be the world’s first IP-native mobile handset, using end-to-end encrypted decentralized communication.

Access Linux on Your Android

You’ll have more access to Linux a implicit device But for the fun of it use the default Android OS and see what version of Linux kernel your Android has installed. I want to make sure it works for all readers, so note for most (probably all) that you can check the Linux kernel version on your Android smartphone by going to “Settings” > “About Phone”.

Another method that gives you a lot more useful data (screenshot below):

Step 1) Go to google play store, Find and installAnTuTu Benchmark,

Step 2) Launch AnTuTu, bypass the intro screen and select the “Device information” option from the top right.

Step 3) Scroll down to the “OS” section and there you will find which version of Linux your phone is running on the right side of the “Kernel” information. Which from my Moto X should look something like this:

moto x device info screenshot

If you have a rooted Android, you can usually just installandroid terminal emulatorThen launch it and type the following command:

uname -a

Which would output something like this from my rooted Samsung Galaxy S2 running Cyanogenmod OS lineageos.org,

android terminal emulator

Of course, there are a lot of cool things you can do on a rooted Android with Terminal Access. Here is a simple example where I have used htop Commands to view system resource allocation (can then kill apps, launch apps, etc., among other commands):

Samsung Galaxy S2 Htop

Linux on smartphones = more power to users

I am really happy to see how the Android army has invaded the smartphone market. Especially because it’s so open, so that power-users and developers alike have the freedom to explore, develop and break new ground like never before! I look forward to seeing Ubuntu have a place in this market and hope that within the next 3 – 5 years other Linux distros will have similar offerings outside of desktop. Ultimately, I hope that more smartphone users become aware of Linux and thus embrace its power and the community that comes with it on their desktops – in place of or at least in addition to their Windows and Mac desktop solutions. More power to users!

* Linux can actually open and edit Word files, Excel spreadsheets, etc. on desktop, tablet and smartphone.
** There are more GUI options available for Linux (eg. Proverb, where, xfceetc, etc) than any other OS.

Leave a Comment