Install Ubuntu on Xoom – Mount Linux OS on Tablet

Xoom Ububtu LogoSo, how many of you thought of upgrading the firmware on your Motorola Xoom? So, quite a few of you, right? So, let’s check out how you can install an all new operating system in your Motorola Xoom right away. If you are having Motorola Xoom, then let’s check out on how you can install a PC based operating system which is none other than the king of Open source, Ubuntu. With the help of simple instructions, you can easily update your Motorola Xoom with the latest Ubuntu. But before proceeding to the updation process you will have to make sure that you have created a backup of all the data on your computer as in an unlikely event you may lose all the data in your Motorola Xoom.

Motorola XoomPre installation instructions:

Please note that we are not responsible in any manner if anything goes wrong with your Motorola Xoom and this upgrade instructions are only for developers or beta testers who are comfortable with the rooting and testing new things.

Ensure that Xoom has a minimum free space of 2.5GB as the files which will be installed in the Xoom will be of 600+ MB but will expand an up to 2.5GB of size.

Procedure to install Ubuntu in Motorola Xoom:

First up you will have to root your Motorola Xoom and after that you will have to download Ubuntu.zip

So, now as soon as you download the zip file, you will have to extract the files of this folder to AndroidSDK/tools/

Next up, you will have to copy the files which are Busy box as well as the installbusybox.sh files to the root of the SD Card in your Motorola Xoom which you can do that manually by connecting the Xoom with the computer with the help of USB Cable. Also, make sure that you have enabled the USB Debugging Mode in your Motorola Xoom which can be done by going into the Settings > Applications > Development. You can also copy the files with the help of ADB Push which can be done by following the below instructions,

  • In Mac, open the terminal window first and after that just change the directory to AndroidSDK/tools after which just type in /adb push busybox /sdcard.
  • After this type in /adb push installbusybox.sh as well as /sdcard.
  • Next up type in /adb shell so that you will get the access to the device.
  • Now, you need to type in the “su” so that you can now get the super user privileges, please note that if you get any errors or notification like ”Permission Denied” then that means that your Motorola Xoom is not at all rooted, so you will have to re root the Motorola Xoom.
  • After getting the super user privileges, now you need to type in “cd/sdcard” which will change the directory to the device’s SD Card and then you can access your SD Card and then you will have to type in sh installbusybox.sh

That’s it as soon as this process is completed, you will now have to enter the command as “cp” and need to check whether it displays anything, if it doesn’t display anything then you will have to enter the command as “/adb reboot” and then you will have to enter in the command as “cp”.

So, now once the Busybox is installed successfully, you can now move the files into the Ubuntu folder without the two files which are Busy box and installbusybox.sh. If you are comfortable with the adb push then you can follow the below mentioned commands.

  • In the terminal window, you will have to enter the command as /adb push fsrw /sdcard/Ubuntu after which it will open the folder of Ubuntu.
  • Now, type in /adb push mountonly /sdcard/Ubuntu and as soon as the data transfer is completed it will notify the same on screen.
  • After this type in /adb push ubuntu.sh /sdcard/Ubuntu and after that /adb push ubuntu.img /sdcard/Ubuntu. Now, after this command it will take quite a while as the file size is very huge and may even take up to a maximum of 45 minutes, so you are advised to be patient as if you interrupt the process then there is a high probability that you may lose all the data.
  • Now, type in the commands, /adb push unionfs /sdcard/Ubuntu which will tell you once the data transfer is finished.

Now, you again have to go to shell and then need to type in the following commands, but for first up going into the Shell, you need to type in /adb shell.

  • Type in the following commands




  • Now, after keying in the commands which are mentioned above, you will see some errors as it gets to “To enter the Debian Linux Console type in ‘boot ubuntu’”, you should be good and there you go after this you will see that the Ubuntu is successfully installed in your Motorola Xoom.
  • But this doesn’t stop here, you need to now gain the access to the installed Ubuntu, so let’s check out on how you can do so. So, for that, type in bootubuntu after which you will see a line which will say “root@localhost:/” after that the ububtu will run and now enter su bootububtu command and then enter the command again as bootubuntu.

Procedure to Setup Ubuntu on Motorola Xoom after installation process:

Now, when you are still seeing the message that is root@localhost entry which means that you have now got down at the Ubuntu’s terminal from the previous Android’s terminal program. Now, just like any other Android operating system version, ubuntu too has its own set of updates, to get these or to set the updates in ubuntu its very simple. Just type in the apt-get update.

  • Since Android is the main operating system on here and Ubuntu has nothing to display on, we are going to output X windows (The GUI Linux OSs) to VNC. Type in apt-get install tightvncserver
  • Once tightvncserver is installed, type in apt-get install lxde after which just type in export USER=root
  • Type in vncserver -geometry 1280×800 (Resolution of the Xoom’s display. You can experiment to find a resolution you like.. you can type this command whenever to change the resolution)
  • After this it should ask you for a password for your VNC… you can use something simple like 123 since you are the only one who can access it since it is only on your device.
  • Now, next up you will have to make some setting changes so that the VNC Experience turns out to be better and speedy which can be configured by keying in the below commands.

Type in cat > /root/.vnc/xstartup
Type in #!/bin/sh
Type in xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
Type inxsetroot -solid grey
Type in icewm &
Type in lxsession

  • Press CNTRL+D, and then enter the below mentioned commands as mentioned below

cat > front
export USER=root
cd /
rm -r -f tmp
mkdir tmp
cd /
vncserver -geometry 1280×800

  • Now, next up type in CNTRL+D again, and enter the below mentioned commands as it is,

cat front /root/.profile > temp #Thanks David Tangye

cp temp /root/.bashrc

  • Now you can exit out of the Ubuntu terminal which can be done by typing exit in the terminal.
  • Now, after this the Motorola Xoom will be rebooting and after that from the Android Market Place you will have to download the VNC application which is Android VNC and also additionally you will have to download the app called Terminal Emulator Pro for 4$ or Android Terminal Emulator which is the free application.
  • Now you can use the ADB shell again, but I suggest doing this on the device using one of the Terminal Emulators.

cd /sdcard/ubuntu

su (If the Superuser app asks for permission, press yes)


  • OK, you should see the same thing as you did on your computer screen. Now go back to your homescreen, and  open your VNC client.

Now, in the Nickname spot, put ‘Ubuntu’ or whatever you want.

In the password spot, put whatever you put for a password earlier.

Leave the address blank.

Set the port at 5901.

  • Set the color format to 256 colors (1 bpp) for the best results.Then you press the Connect button, and you are on Ubuntu!

So, in this way you can configure the two operating systems in your Android laden Motorola Xoom simultaneously but this could be dangerous if the things are not properly configured or commanded properly by the above method as also this voids the warranty. Don’t forget to configure the Internet Settings for accessing the Internet as well as the 3G settings as without that you wont be able to surf the internet and for the controls on ubuntu, just tap the same to make use of Click option, double tap on the icon to enjoy the option of right clicking and also you can switch the Ubuntu On and Off by clicking the home button or even with the help of task manager you can flip between the two different OS.



  1. Zach

    May 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    thanks so much it worked great! i only have one problem .. my keyboard is off. for example i input text saying test and it comes out to be ll7p and stuff like that is there any code i can put in or download to make the keyboard work?



    • Neal Pradeep

      May 26, 2011 at 5:58 am

      @zach i guess in the next update patch it will be fixed!

      • Zach

        May 31, 2011 at 10:25 pm

        ok thank you 🙂

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