Tired of running Android on your Google Nexus 7 tablet? You could give Ubuntu a try… or you can take SlateKit Base for a spin. This weekend the developers launched a technical preview of the Linux-based operating system for Google’s 2013 tablet.

SlateKit Google Nexus 7 (2013)

SlateKit is really aimed at developers looking to build their own custom tablet user interfaces. But it already supports basic tablet functions thanks to its built-in web browser, lock screen, and on-screen keyboard.

The browser is based on Chromium, the root filesystem is based on Ubuntu 14.04, and there’s support for hardware-accelerated graphics.

The goal is to provide a sort of blank slate system that lets developers create their own tablet user interface using JavaScript, Qt, or HTML.

Theoretically the software should be able to run on most other devices that run Android 4.4 KitKat, and developer Ping-Hsun Chen is working on creating an installer that works with devices other than the Google Nexus 7 (2013) tablet.

You can read more about SlateKit at the project’s github page and at the developer’s website.

via Phoronix

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10 replies on “SlateKit Base is a light-weight Linux OS for the Google Nexus 7 (2013)”

  1. Struggling to turn linux into a usable Tablet OS? Well, why not stick “Developers” in the title and get other people to do it for you! 🙂

      1. Technically correct but Android only uses the Linux Kernel and is otherwise very different from desktop GNU/Linux distros as Android doesn’t make use of GNU at all…

        Mind, most people think of GNU/Linux desktop OS when referring to Linux… Since the root filesystem is based on Ubuntu 14.04 it means this does have more to do with GNU/Linux than something like Android…

        1. The desktop has absolutely nothing to do with Linux. I have been able to run X-Windows on a Windows desktop since Windows for Workgroups 3.11. You can run the Gnome desktop on Windows. You can run KDE on OSX. The Kernel IS Linux, everything else is just software you run on a Linux system.

          I understand what you are saying, but Android is a Linux based OS. Redhat, Ubuntu, Debian and Android are Linux systems that use different desktop interfaces and file system configurations.

          1. No, Android actually runs on top of the Linux Kernel…

            But ever heard of Windroy? It’s Android that uses a Windows Kernel instead of the Linux Kernel… And that’s just one example to show Android isn’t really tied to the Linux Kernel…

            Besides, a OS is typically more than just a Kernel… So there is a difference and we shouldn’t over emphasize Android’s association with Linux, especially when people are thinking of GNU/Linux when they refer to a Linux OS and those distros make far more use of the Kernel than Android does…

          2. Technically speaking, Linux is just a kernel and the kernel Android uses, is Linux. But I think you know that.

            It’s true that the “Linux” that most people refer to and think about, is usually a distribution which typically brings together the Linux kernel, GNU userland, an X Window environment and window manager like Gnome or KDE.

            Android is a Linux distribution. If you change the kernel an Android is using, for a non-Linux kernel, it is no longer an Android.

            Popular belief should not be preferred over facts. Just because people think Ubuntu IS Linux, does not make it so. Ubuntu and Android are both Linux distributions.

          3. “But I think you know that.”

            Yes, as stated in my first reply to brwtx but there are reasons for the distinction regardless…

            “Popular belief should not be preferred over facts.”

            True, but what is considered to be the common interpretation by the majority can be considered the default interpretation… Just like previously made up words can become official words if it comes into common and consistent usage and thus officially recognized…

            So we can’t just dismiss what people are actually referring to, even if they are technically using the wrong words to describe what they mean…

            Besides, what you need to call something a OS is the following…

            -Kernel

            -Device Drivers

            -User Interface

            -System Utilities
            Only when all four are accounted for do you have a OS and the first distinction is because people are referring to a whole OS and not just one of its components…

            Another reason for distinction is because Android mainly runs all apps in a, Dalvik, process Virtual Machine and most Android apps are actually platform agnostic!

            So you can’t just dismiss the fact that Android isn’t really tied to the Linux Kernel… Even if you change the Kernel, you may need to change the name but it will still be able to run the same Android apps with just a driver adjustment likely needed…

            Originally, Android was using a separate fork of the Linux Kernel anyway… It’s only much more recently, barely two years now, that they finally switched to the official mainstream version of the Linux Kernel but they never had to change app support, etc. when they did so… despite switching to an essentially different Kernel…

            But you can’t say the same for most GNU/Linux distros that are far more integrated from top to bottom with every part of the OS… and thus another reason for the distinction as we can’t just ignore how these OS differ just because they share a common component…

            Over simplifying things and just calling them all Linux distros ignores the fact they’re not fully compatible with each other… You can’t just run Android apps on a GNU/Linux distro and you can just run GNU/Linux apps on Android…

            You can far more easily find cross compatibility of apps between the different GNU/Linux distros than between a GNU/Linux distro and Android, despite using the same Kernel…

            Android is also a mobile OS by design, which means it’s more basic and designed for different range of devices…

            While GNU/Linux distros are mainly designed as desktop OS’s… which returns us to the original comment that started this conversation and what was actually meant by that comment was obviously referring to the desktop Linux distros… besides, which the article is about getting a GNU/Linux distro running on a tablet!

            So it was in context…

          4. You’d agree that the specific term in “Linux OS” is Linux and that OS is generic?

            When someone refers to a “Linux OS”, regardless of whether they are aware of it or not, the Linux portion of Linux OS refers to the kernel used and the kernel used in a “Linux OS” and an Android, is Linux.

            It is the OS remainder which differs dramatically, but the Linux portion is still Linux.

            It is important that this distinction is not lost to popular belief for the same reason you mention non-Linux kernel “Android”. If I take an OS that people refer to as a Linux OS and replace the kernel with something other than Linux (like GNU Hurd or GNU/kFreeBSD), then although it might look like what other people refer to as a “Linux OS”, it’s not Linux.

            It’s only Linux if the kernel it runs is Linux and the kernel Android runs is Linux yeah?

            So when someone says, “You know Android IS a Linux OS, right?”, I wouldn’t argue with them and say “Android only uses the Linux Kernel”, because in reality Linux is only a kernel.

          5. No, because the person who tried to make that point was ignoring what the first person, and the article, we’re actually referring!

            You can’t dismiss the actual context with the semantic technical interpretation that obviously wasn’t being referred to!

            Sure, it would be technically right to spell it all out but most people abreviate or just assume everyone understands the context when it already had been spelled out previously…

            Thus, like it or not, the term Linux isn’t always used to just refer to the Kernel but also the type of OS and in this case it is referring to a desktop OS!

            It’s like confusing a conversation of Windows 8 by referring to all NT Kernel products like Windows Phone… Despite the conversation being about the desktop…

  2. That’s pretty cool right there. Best of luck to the devs.!

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