[Official update is live] Samsung confirms Linux on DeX support for Galaxy S9

New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….

Samsung introduced DeX with Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, back in 2017. The South Korean giant envisioned DeX as the answer to the missing desktop UI of Android. Users need a special docking hardware, namely ‘DeX Station‘, to dock the phone and connect peripherals like a monitor and keyboard-mouse combo to enjoy the seamless desktop like experiences.

Well, it really did not work out well. The adoption rate was pretty low – mainly due to the reason that very few third party apps were actually compatible with the new UI. A major target audience was the developers, but little software support failed to attract them too.

Skip to Samsung Developer Conference 2017, Samsung introduced Linux on Galaxy. Harnessing the popularity of Linux among developer community, Samsung wanted to bridge the gap they did earlier.

Samsung DeX’ s user experience is also applicable to developers. Although it’s in trial phase, Linux on Galaxy is our innovative solution to bring the Linux experience on PC to mobile, and then further onto a larger display with Samsung DeX. Now developers can code using their mobile on-the-go and seamlessly continue the task on a larger display with Samsung DeX.

Installed as an app, Linux on Galaxy gives smartphones the capability to run multiple operating systems, enabling developers to work with their preferred Linux-based distributions on their mobile devices. Whenever they need to use a function that is not available on the smartphone OS, users can simply switch to the app and run any program they need to in a Linux OS environment.

Samsung even showed a video demo of running popular apps like Firefox, GIMP or IDEs like Eclipse on the environment:

Eventually Linux on Galaxy was renamed to Linux on DeX, as Samsung wanted to emphasize on the ‘DeX’ brand. The transition was made exactly one year later, on 2018’s SDC.

https://youtu.be/SgMHhrO8d8s

Together with Canonical, Samsung worked hard to bring a familiar Ubuntu 16.04 LTS based desktop to the users. The Linux on DeX app is available as private beta, but thanks to APKMirror sideloading is not impossible.

Since the beginning, only officially supported devices are Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Tab S4 (excluding the US LTE model). The hardware and software requirements are thoroughly enforced. Thus porting the feature to other devices is kinda difficult.

Now hold your horses! Galaxy Note 9 shares almost similar configurations with S9 and S9+. And Galaxy Tab S4 is nothing but a tablet variant of Galaxy S8 family. Moreover, the groups share a hugely common codebase.

Considering these, community members speculate that the restrictions are partially intentional. To maintain the exclusivity of current flagships, OEMs often do this. (meh!)

xkcd_repair_or_replace
Image source: xkcd #2033

Galaxy S9+ users are reportedly successful to sideload v1.0.43 (or newer) version of the Linux on DeX (LoD) Beta app and deploy the Linux container image manually.

Over at the Note9 forums here someone posted a newer version of the Linux on DeX beta (1.0.43). This one works on the S9+ as well! I’ve at least tested terminal mode to work and I’ve used it a bit.

EDIT: Graphical mode works too!

(Source)

Linux on Dex working on S9+!(S9?) from GalaxyS9

Users need to upgrade to One UI based Android Pie (beta) builds before trying out LoD, as it looks like mandatory prerequisite. Both the US/LATAM (Snapdragon) and Exynos (International) variants of S9+ should work, as posted by users.

While S9+ users are enjoying both terminal and GUI based Linux container on their phones, S9 users are still craving for it. Although worldwide rollout of One UI based Android Pie for S9 family has been started already, Linux on Dex is still incompatible with the regular S9.

samsung_s9_pie_lod_incompatible
Image source: reddit

Now code_exec, a junior member of XDA forum contacted Samsung Support (UK) regarding the issue and got a worthwhile reply:

samsung_s9_lod_email
Image source: code_exec

With regards to your concern, please be advised that Linux on DeX is only compatible with Note 9 as of the moment, this is not on the hardware specification reason, it is on the software system of the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 differences, for now our engineers are still developing this feature further so the Linux on DeX will be compatible with S9

In the above context, it can be safely assumed that S9 support is internally under testing. Adding S9+ compatibility on the LoD app is just the beginning of broader rollout.

There is no word on bringing Linux of DeX support for Galaxy S8/S8+/Note 8 for now.

What is your experience with Linux on DeX? Let us know by commenting below.

Update (April 22)

The latest beta update (v1.0.51) of Linux on DeX app adds official support for Galaxy S9 and S9+ running Pie based One UI.

linux_on_dex_1.0.51_changelog

Besides S9 lineup, Galaxy S10 family and Tab S5e are now officially supported as well.

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Kingshuk De

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.