Debian on Smartphones/Tablets

Please add some valuable information to help this project move forward. :)

This page is about tracking every initiative to fully or partially install the system on mobile platforms:


Debian is the universal operating system. Thus, it needs to run on smartphone/tablet hardware. This wiki page is a tool to help bring Debian to mobile platforms.

It would be great if Debian could run on many kinds of smartphone hardware: iPhones, Android capable HW, Windows Mobile HW, etc.

The software should allow dual booting, into both Debian and any software that came with the hardware.

Debian on smartphones should have GUI capabilities, appropriate to the hardware capabilities.

It would also be great if Debian could run applications written to be native to the original OS for the hardware. This will enable Debian to serve the many people in society who want to easily use those applications.

Debian might benefit from having its own User Interface, or UIs, based on progression from the desktop Debian UIs - ex, GNOME or KDE. It would be great if the GNOME, KDE and other GUI communities could come to agreement on a common UI for Debian, to save unnecessary duplication of development effort, both of the Debian UI, and application software for Debian. Also to save the users from having to learn unnecessary extra UIs.

Origin and Purpose

To get this wiki page started, see the original message I sent suggesting this project. It includes some reference URLs, to help seed thinking on Debian on smartphones development.


Many people made useful replies to that email, and it would be great if they would add their suggestions of software components, foundations, and URLs thereof to this page. If we all take a few minutes to make contributions to this page when we have something valuable to add, this page will grow to be a great resource for us all. So, please take a moment to add something valuable to this page right now, or when you have the opportunity. :)

This page could use contributions like: Links to component software (embeded debian, GRUB, UIs, etc).

Software developers can write software for the many parts of this system and put links on this page to those components.

Writers can produce articles about Debian on smartphones in emails to the relevant Debian mailing lists, blogs, web pages and for the general media.

Artists can create the graphics and multimedia for Debian on smartphones.

Packagers can put it all together so people can download and install it on their smartphones.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for thinking. Thanks for all contributions you make. Let's all work together to enable Debian to fulfil its promise as "The Universal Operating System". :)


To chat about Debian on mobile devices, please join the #debian-mobile IRC channel on

other discussions will be appropriate to have on the following lists instead:


Here are some people interested in running Debian on smartphones.


IRC nick

Hardware owned

Willing to


Paul Wise


OpenMoko FreeRunner

Offer advice

Linux mainline support for the FR, QtMoko in Debian

Didier Raboud


OpenMoko FreeRunner

Get paid to work towards Debian on Mobile devices :-p

Sicelo Mhlongo


Nokia N900

Help with testing

Working Debian on N900 with UMTS/GPRS access

?Alishams Hassam


OpenMoko FreeRunner, Google Nexus One

Help maintain wiki, file bugs, test new things

Mainline FR support, QtMoko in Debian, Debian on the Nexus One, SHR on a Debian base



Learn software development.

Port low-level stuff to a device.

Package some middleware.

Package a user experience.

Package applications that can deal with small screens and touch input.

Build images for users to flash onto the device.

Get hardware to developers.


At various stages you will need to learn some of the following. This can be done at the same time as working on Debian for smartphones.


Pick a specific device. Get support for it into a bootloader (u-boot/etc), mainline Linux. Ask relevant teams to build linux/bootloader packages that work on your device. Port the debian installer to the device.

This is most of the work. It is important to get your changes into Linux/u-boot mainline otherwise Debian will not be able to support your device since the Linux kernel team for Debian will not add non-mainline drivers/patches to Debian kernels and therefore you won't be able to support Debian on the phone you care about. It will be made easier since the Android drivers probably already exist and can be ported to mainline Linux. Some hardware vendors will be violating the GPL and not releasing drivers/patches. You might be able to get the code by contacting them or getting the SFLC or involved.


Pick some middleware, join the packaging group for it or package it for Debian and look for some sponsors.

Existing middleware includes FSO (in Debian), oFono (in Debian), pyNeo, Android/MeeGo/Maemo.


Pick a UI or create a new one, create a team, start packaging it for Debian and look for sponsors.

There are numerous existing FLOSS UXen for smartphones and similar devices. As the universal OS, Debian should aim to support several of these.


Start an index of touch-screen friendly apps and package some of them. Most of them will be ?OpenMoko ones since that was the first free software friendly phone. So read their wiki and related sites a lot.


Talk to the Debian installer, live and CDs teams about building daily, weekly and release images that people can flash onto their phones. This could significantly change the way Debian images are built so it will require a fair bit of discussion first.

Other tips

If you can get hardware into the hands of kernel developers that would help a lot. You might find some hardware manufacturers who are willing to give out some free samples to developers.

Software Layers


GRUB u-boot ?OpeniBoot




Running original OSs:

Other Native Linux non-Android Ports to Android Phones:

Native Ubuntu on Nexus S

Apparently, Ubuntu can run natively on a Nexus S. Maybe we can learn from this effort and port debian natively to multiple devices:

HTC Linux

HTC Dream ( The T-Mobile G1 Phone )

HTC Linux Device List

Processor Technologies



Cell Phone Companies


Hardware & Smartphone Manufacturers product models/names


Android ROM developers







Motorola Droid

Report of booting to a native copy of debian:


Nokia N9: Hardware adaptation and other pointers at Nokia N9 wiki page.

Nokia N900: See pkg-n900 wiki page.

Nokia N800/N810




Samsung ROMs


Wikipedia Samsung M910 Intercept

CPU Samsung ?S3C6410 at 800 MHz
Memory 256 MB RAM
Storage 512 MB ROM

Qualcom radio, learned from discussion with Qualcom tech person.

Carriers Sprint, Virgin Mobile (US) Compatible networks CDMA EVDO Rev. 0 (Sprint), CDMA EVDO Rev. A (Virgin Mobile)[1]

Samsung SPH-M910 Intercept Specs
Detailed Technical Specifications of Samsung SPH-M910 Intercept

Samsung ?S3C6410 RISC Microprocessor
devices based on ?S3C6410
Samsung ?S3C6410 RISC Microprocessor Simplified Technical Specifications

Type: ?S3C6410 Manufacturer: Samsung Year Released: 2008 Predecessor: 32bit Samsung ?S3C6400 Characteristics CPU Structure (complexity): RISC Width of Machine Word: 32 bit Primary (RAM) Data bus: 32 bit Instruction Set Supported Instruction Set(s): ARMv6 CPU Core: ARM1176JZF-S Clock Frequencies Recommanded Minimum Clock Frequency: 533 MHz Recommanded Maximum Clock Frequency: 800 MHz Caches Level 1 cache: 16KiB data cache / 16 KiB instruction cache Technology Semiconductor Technology: CMOS Minimum Feature Size: 65 nm Contacts: 424 pins Supply Voltage: 1.1 V Additional Details Special Features: 16/16KB I/D TCM, 2D/3D Graphics Acceleration (OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0), ARM ?TrustZone, AHB/AXI bus, 32 channel DMA controller, Instruction and Data Memory Management Units, 32KB secure boot ROM
Related Page:
Datasheet Time: Feb 13, 08 18:44:05


Similar to Samsung Moment SPH-M900

Samsung SPH-M900 Moment Specs

Detailed Technical Specifications of Samsung SPH-M900 Moment
Samsung Galaxy S 4G Repair Manual
Samsung Galaxy S 4G Teardown
Nexus S Repair Manual
Nexus S Teardown




Many of the smartphone tasks are handled by the FreeSmartphone.Org (FSO) team:

Openmoko's FreeRunner is so far the device best supported:

Nokia's Maemo is based on Debian:

Also there is an ugly alternative to install Debian is to run it in a chroot dir: