Google’s Nexus 7 is quite the versatile device, as it is capable of running various flavors of Linux and Chromium, as well as its native Android operating system.
We’ve already seen Ubuntu loaded on the device, with Canonical even coding an official tool that allows Linux enthusiasts to more easily install the OS on Google’s tablet. The utility requires an unlocked bootloader, a computer running Ubuntu and a USB cable to connect the Nexus 7 to your PC.
And now prolific Bodhi Linux developer Jeff Hoogland has released a utility that allows Linux fans to install the lightweight flavor on Mountain View’s $199 tablet.
As Liliputing’s Brad Linder points out, Bodhi for the Nexus 7 is still a work in progress. Meaning, while the touchscreen and user interface (UI) works, the audio isn’t fully functional yet.
Nevertheless, the OS does feature a touch-friendly app launcher, neatly arranged app icons, toolbars at the top or bottom of the screen, an on-screen keyboard and desktop-style apps in resizable windows.
It should be noted that Hoogland also offers Linux ports for a number of other devices, including Samsung’s stalwart $250 Chromebook – which is powered by the company’s ARM-based Exynos Cortex-A15 processor.
Fortunately, the install process is still fairly straightforward. First off, the Chromebook must be placed into developer mode, which effectively wipes out local data while keeping the operating system intact.
You then connect to the internet, activate a terminal, download and run the Bodhi installer which painlessly walks you through the rest of the process – much like installing Ubuntu via the ARM ChrUbuntu utility.
Now once Bodhi is up and running, you’ll have an ARM-powered Chromebook with Google’s cloud-centric Chrome OS and Bhodi Linux. Best of all, you can switch between the two operating systems simply by entering a terminal command.
The Chromebook can be returned to its factory default by exiting developer mode and having the system reset itself.
It should be noted that although Bodhi runs well on Samsung’s $250 ARM-based laptop, the current build lacks support for hardware-accelerated graphics, which will undoubtedly affect some games and certain applications.
Nevertheless, Linux aficionados may want to give Bodhi a try, if only for the experience. Plus, the OS should be just fine for running non-graphics intensive apps.