October 19, 2017 // 10:52 a.m.
Samsung has announced that its Android-based Galaxy S8 smartphone will, when coupled with the Dex docking system, run a full desktop version of the GNU/Linux operating system - picking up the convergence dream where Canonical had unceremoniously dropped it.
The idea of a high-end smartphone which can be docked to external devices to double as a fully-functional desktop computer is not new: Back in 2013, Canonical, the corporation behind Ubuntu Linux, announced the Ubuntu Edge, a top-end device running a version of its operating system capable of switching between small-screen smartphone and big-screen desktop modes at will. Sadly, the company missed its funding goal by a country mile - possibly entirely deliberately, given the device never existed except as a low-cost, non-functional, solid-plastic 'prototype' - and when the first Ubuntu Phones finally hit the market they did without the much-vaunted convergence feature. Although efforts in that direction continued briefly, the Ubuntu Phone platform itself was put out to pasture in April this year.
Samsung, though, believes the concept of an all-in-one device that slides into your pocket has legs, and has announced that it is picking up the gauntlet with the launch of Linux on Galaxy. Using a Galaxy S8 and the company's Dex desktop docking station, Linux on Galaxy will allow users to run a fully-fledged desktop Linux build - including Ubuntu Linux. While not as transparent as the original convergence concept - Linux on Galaxy exists as an application which is executed to load the chrooted Linux desktop OS, separate from the underlying Android operating system - the company still claims it greatly expands the functionality of both the phone itself and the Dex dock.
Samsung is presently trialling Linux on Galaxy as a closed beta, and is taking sign-ups for the public launch on the official website.