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26 May 2009, 10:10

Karmic Koala to run Android applications?

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The Ubuntu Developer Summit, currently running in Barcelona, is reported to have three sessions dealing with Google's Android operating system, fuelling speculation over what Karmic Koala, Ubuntu 9.10, will offer in the way of Android compatibility. A specification page on the Unbuntu Wiki for the Android Execution Environment, suggest that the plan is to allow Android applications to execute in their own chroot'ed environment with the non-X11 graphics of the mobile operating system being modified to display either via the X server, or through some other display mechanism. To a user, this would probably appear as a desktop window which contains an Android desktop.

Other parts of the plan suggest there would be tools to allow APK files, Android Package Files, to be installed from the Ubuntu host operating system. According to the specification, open source Android implementation cannot access the Google Application Marketplace, so the host operating system would have to manage that.

The plan also notes that Wi-Fi, network and USB management applications within Android would be removed to prevent conflicts. Without seamless integration with the existing desktop, the utility of a mobile operating system in a window is questionable, though it would be possible to integrate it as a "layer" over the desktop in a style similar to Apple's Mac OS X Dashboard. It may be possible to use the technology in a notebook/netbook remix, but the question would then be why use Ubuntu when the Android OS is already open sourced.

What the long term plan for this technology, and when, or if, it will be integrated with mainstream Ubuntu, will probably be decided at the Developer Summit. Officially, Canonical has said nothing about Android, saying just that it expects the developer summit to focus on key projects for Karmic Koala.


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