- History of Linux on PDAs and Smartphones
This list is limited to devices reasonably well supported by a mainline kernel:
- Pine64 PinePhone (see distributions below)
- Purism Librem5 (in development, mass-market release slowly ramping up since Q4/2020)
- Motorola Droid 4
- runs Maemo Leste and postmarketOS.
- Nokia N900
- shipped with Maemo 5, supported by Maemo Leste and postmarketOS
- and many more, see the TuxPhones “Can My Phone Run Linux” database.
- Pine64 PineTab
- Various x86_64 tablets
Ultra Mobile Somethings
- Dragonbox Pyra (Wikipedia)
This list is sorted alphabetically.
- Arch Linux ARM, unofficial PinePhone images
- Debian based
- ExpidusOS, images
- Fedora, Mobility initiative, unofficial images
- Gentoo: Wiki article
- LuneOS (webOS continuation), builds
- Manjaro ARM for PinePhone:
- Nemo Mobile, Pine Phone builds,
- NixOS mobile
- openMandriva: images
- openSuSE/slem.os, images, gitlab
- postmarketOS, images
- Replicant, Free Software Android. PinePhone wiki page, not builds yet. GloDroid offers (not as free) Android images for PinePhone already.
- SHR (Stable Hybrid Release, dormant? github seems active).
- SailfishOS, unofficial flashing script
- Ubuntu based
- Yocto Project (“creates custom embedded distributions for you”)
- PinePhone multi-distro demo image (17 distributions in one)
Mobile optimized Linux Software Lists
- LINMOBapps – merge requests welcome!
- Mobile GNU/Linux Apps – the origin of LINMOBapps. (I am working with cahfofpai, the author of this list that LINMOBapps is based on, on something that’s going to be better than the current lists. Actually, cahfofpai does the heavy lifting, I just work on keeping my list current, while MGLapps will stay as it is.)
- Flathub on Mobile, a list of mobile Flathub apps.
- awesome floss mobile
- The Mobian Wiki has a nice list of Apps. It applies to all Phosh based distributions and has nice information including the App ID (which you will need to scale apps properly with
scale-to-fit), although you might have to take a different route to get the software installed.
- Purism has two lists, depending on whether the software is in their PureOS repos:
- Open-Store.io: The UBports app store.
- OpenRepos.net: Collection of Mer and Sailfish apps.
History of Linux on PDAs and Smartphones
- 2000: Agenda VR3 PDA (Wikipedia)
- 2001: GMate Yopy (Wikipedia),
- 2002: Simputer (Wikipedia),
- 2002: Sharp Zaurus SL-5500 (Wikipedia)
- Sharp would continue to produce many more Linux powered PDAs till about 2005.
- 2005: Nokia 770 Internet Tablet (Wikipedia)
- In addition to the named devices and their followups there were ports of Linux to devices like Windows CE/Windows Mobile based devices, booting via
haret, mainly by projects like linuxtogo.org and handhelds.org. Other victims of linuxification were Psion Revo PDA and later ARM based Palm PDA. See also The Linux Documentation Project and the memento of tuxmobil.org.
- 2005: Motorola E680 running the Motorola EZX platform, limited availability to Asia. The later A780 model (Wikipedia) featuring GPS for navigation was released to Europe, too. The EZX phones, of which only the A910 (Wikipedia had WiFi, were target devices of the OpenEZX project (Wikipedia), which worked on adding mainline Linux support (at the time 2.6) to the EZX family of devices.
- 2006: Trolltech Greenphone (Wikipedia), developer device
- 2007: OpenMoko/FIC Neo 1973 (openmoko.org): The first smartphone hardware made specifically with the intention to run FOSS GNU/Linux software.
- 2008: OpenMoko FreeRunner (openmoko.org): Iterative improvement on the Neo 1973, sold in larger quantities. The not that fast ARMv4 processor was not the main problem, as the added graphics accelerator turned out to be a graphics decelerator as it could not handle the 480x640 pixels of the 2.6” display.
- 2008: HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1 (Wikipedia): first commercial Android smartphone)
- 2009: Nokia N900 (Wikipedia): Nokia’s first Linux smartphone running Maemo 5 (Debian based with a GTK2 interface).
- 2011: Golden Delicious/Open Phoenux GTA 04 (openphoenux.org): An attempt to equip the old OpenMoko hardware with newer, TI OMAP3 based boards.
- 2011: Nokia N9 (Wikipedia) is being launched using “Meego”, which is really Maemo 6 “Harmattan”. It uses a Qt 4 based GUI instead of the GTK2 based user interface of the N900.
- 2013: Neo900, a project to re-power the Nokia N900 with more RAM, a slightly faster chip and LTE connectivity gets announced. Their latest blog post from March 1st, 2018 thanks PIA for support supposedly helping the project to continue.
- 2017: Purism start a crowdfunder for their Librem 5 smartphone, with an estimated ship date of January 1st. The hardware specs weren’t finalized at this point, evaluation boards have the Freescale/NXP i.MX6 chip.