Ubuntu Now Running on the Nook Tablet

It's been just over a month since the Nook Tablet shipped and not a whole lot has happened it after that first few weeks. It got rooted fairly quickly, with a full Android market coming soon after. And we discovered that you can install apps, but a few days ago B&N took that away. Well, today I have something new. This week the Nook Tablet got its first taste of Ubuntu.

This particular flavor of Linux is only distantly related to Android, but it's popular among hackers and it has a sizable development community. There have been previous projects to port it to the Nook Color, and those projects have had varying degrees of success.

The project is still in the early stages, and while Ubuntu is running on the Nook Tablet, it's not using the hardware directly. Instead it's running in an app in the Nook Tablet's original Android firmware, and getting it running is still a fairly complicated process. In order to actually use Ubuntu, first you have to have a hacked Nook Table, a terminal app installed, and more.

You'll need to start the OS and a VNC server from the Nook Tablet's terminal, and then open a VNC window on the NT. When you maximize the window it will look like you're running Ubuntu.

Unfortunately, it's not much use at present because the extra layers of software running in the background slow it down significantly. A lot of Ubuntu apps like Firefox work, but Ubuntu itself is of little or no practical use thanks to lag.

But the developers are working on it. They're hoping to get Ubuntu running well enough that they can crash the underlying Android and keep using Ubuntu. This trick would give it access to the hardware and let it run faster. If they can get that trick to work then it would also let them do the same for Cyanogen Mod.

via XDA Forums

About Nate Hoffelder (11476 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Ubuntu Now Running on the Nook Tablet

  1. I live in new zealand, What should i choose between kindle fire and Nook tablet and Kobo vox – Can you tell me?

    • They have their pluses and minuses. The Vox is available locally, but it’s also less powerful and more expensive. And Kobo’s CS still sucks.

      But if you get the KF or NT, you’ll need to sneak around the restrictions. You’re in NZ so they don’t want you as a customer.

      If you don’t want to hack the tablets, then ask yourself if you want a more open device (KF) or better quality and more capable hardware (NT)?

      You might want to hack the latter 2 in order to get the best value, so at this point I would go with the Kindle Fire. It doesn’t have quite as good hardware but it has also been thoroughly hacked, unlike the NT. You can find a complete replacement firmware for the KF based on Cyanogen Mod. The KF also looks easier for the end user to hack, too.

  2. We need a native GNU/Linux, not VNC over Android…

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