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Anbox – The project that wants to integrate Android Apps into Linux desktop distros

All the people who have not looked deeply into the question have this question. If Android Linux, why don't Android Apps run in desktop distros like Debian, Ubuntu, Manjaro, Fedora, etc?

In addition to answering this question, today you will meet the project Anbox, which has exactly this goal.

Android Anbox - Run Apps on Linux Desktop This week I received several messages about the Anbox, whether by email, Facebook, Twitter, channel and even in person, believe it or not, this software has caught the attention of people for its proposal. Briefly taking the technical side, Anbox allows you to run Android applications on your desktop Linux distribution "almost" natively.

Honestly, as long as it works well, I don't care about the technical definition of native or no, the same goes for Wine with Windows Apps.

As I do not like to simply put things "out of nowhere" here for you, I decided to do several tests before, but before we talk about it, let me answer the question raised at the beginning of the article. If Android is also Linux, why doesn't your distro run Apps from the "little robot system?"

Structure of an Android system Let's see from the image above that was taken directly from the Android site, what is your Desktop distro similar to with Android? If you looked at the red brick, the Kernel, then you got it right. If you follow Diolinux on the YouTube channel, on social networks, etc., must have realized what the most repeated phrase should have been: "Linux a Kernel"Nothing but that. Well, in fact that's right, Just to emphasize.

Linux distributions are operating systems (for desktops, smartphones, servers, IoT, etc.) that use the Linux kernel as a design base. The so-called "Desktop Linux" follows a certain pattern that goes beyond simply using the Linux kernel only, but other libraries, tools, graphics servers, sound servers are common across distros, so programs running on Ubuntu often run. in Fedora, programs that run on Manjaro usually run on openSUSE and so on. Many of these tools originate from the GNU project (and many others, too), such as Bash himself, which is very popular in many (almost all) districts, including Apple's macOS.

The different Android. It also uses the Linux kernel, as well as its desktop distro, but what comes above the kernel is different from a common "Linux desktop" system. These are different libraries and frameworks, and since Kernel by itself runs nothing (the function of Kernel bridging applications and hardware), we have this incompatibility. Just because Ubuntu and Android share the same kind of kernel doesn't make them run the same kind of application. Simply put, basically that. The Smartphones Kernel is also commonly built only with the device drivers and features that the Smartphone itself has, trying to optimize the system and make it faster, so that the Android that Samsung uses on Galaxy you can install on Moto Z, and vice versa, with this rule being true for almost any manufacturer, I'm just giving an example.

The same is true between macOS applications and BSD kernel systems, although Darwin (macOS kernel) has its reasons in BSD, the "running part" of different system applications, leading to incompatibility.

Now that comes Anbox

Anbox is a very clever name that expresses compactly how the project works. Anbox, Android in a Box Since the operation of the project consists of using a container to run the system.

When I first read about Anbox, I remembered the Shashlik, do you remember? But reading a little more about the project I found that they work in very different ways. While projects like Shashlik are others available for Linux to run Android Apps like Genymotion (Genymobile), where an Android system with its own emulated kernel and applications are run this way, in the case of Anbox, it promotes a different abstraction layer using the system kernel itself, which, according to the developers, ensures a better integration with the system itself.

Anbox does not virtualize Android, it simply creates this compatibility with the features needed to make Apps run on the distribution's own Linux kernel.

This video was produced by Anbox developers themselves and shows what the program would work like in practice.

It didn't work out so well … at least for me

Alright, as it is on the site itself, Anbox is still an alpha, so there's a lot of work to come yet, but I really couldn't even get it right, I installed it, but the program just doesn't run.

Theoretically, Anbox was tested on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS through Snap packages and so it should work, by the way, this is the main distribution form of the program. No Shell Script, no deb or rpm, no PPA, no Flatpak (for now), just via Snap.

Well, I tried … I swear!

I used Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, I used Ubuntu 16.10, Ubuntu 17.04, Deepin 15.4 RC2 and Manjaro 17, I tried to use Snap package on all and had the same result, nothing.

How Anbox code is on Git, the Arch guys already "moved the chopsticks" and we have a version of Anbox's AUR, look for the "anbox-git" package, but this one didn't work.

So, I invite you to test, if you make it work, it would be great if you shared through the comments your results and how you did to run Anbox too.

Theoretically, you need to install snap:

sudo snap install anbox-installer

And once installed, you need to run it:

anbox-installer

or:

snap run anbox-installer

You will need to enter the number "1" in the Script to choose the install option and then you will need to type in uppercase "I AGREE" to accept the program terms, if all goes well, you will have Anbox in your system menu. Until here I have always arrived, but I could never open it.

Anyway, a project that promises, if we can get this integration to be great, many more applications will be available for Linux in destkops as well.

It's worth keeping an eye on, see you next time!

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