You Can Now Run Arch Linux Natively On Pixel C, Here's How

Google's Pixel C tablet has some killer hardware under the hood, and thanks to XDA user Samt434, that killer hardware is able to run Arch Linux natively. Most implementations of Linux on Android run through an emulator or interpreter, but this method installs the ARM version of Arch Linux directly to the Pixel C's internal drive, and has to wipe out Android entirely in order to make the device a Linux machine. A lot of things are still broken, but the fact that it's booting at all is a minor miracle. If you would like to install this build despite that, Samt434 has provided a tutorial showing exactly how to do it, along with the files you'll need.

This strictly pre-alpha build of Arch Linux ARM comes with all of the bits and bobs necessary for it to run, which means that those familiar with the normally notorious piecemeal OS can breathe a sigh of relief. Since this is Arch Linux, of course, those who are so inclined can mess around more and try to get things running that aren't already by playing with packages, changing the kernel, and the like. The flashing procedure is fairly simple, but it does involve completely wiping the device to destroy any trace of encryption, and will require a computer. Since Arch won't work encrypted at this time, even those who manage to get their Arch Pixel C running on a daily driver worthy level may do well to avoid using it as such for security reasons.

The laundry list of things not working is pretty long here. The UI is very slow, as you'll notice in the video, because the GPU is not enabled, so hardware acceleration doesn't work. The network interfaces aren't all there, so Wi-Fi is out, meaning you'll have to use a USB Ethernet adapter for networking. A USB SIM adapter and modem may provide LTE, but this was not tested. Proprietary Google driver blobs in the kernel are all bugged, resulting in some weird glitches. There's also no sound in the current version. This could all potentially be fixed with some tweaking and liberal use of open-source, community-made drivers, kernel blobs, and applications, but it's just as likely that the community hasn't made the things that the Pixel C needs to work properly just yet. That being as it is, this build is probably best suited to developers looking to either push this project in particular further, or work on things involving Arch Linux ARM or the Pixel C in general.

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Daniel Fuller

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Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]
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