Ubuntu Touch is mobile version of the popular Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution that’s optimized for phones, tablets, and other small touchscreen devices. Like many mobile Linux distros, it also allows you to run some Android apps if you install Waydroid to run Android in a container.

Now you can run some Windows apps as well, thanks developer Codemaster Freders, who has released an Ubuntu Touch package called Winebox.

Codemaster Freders (@fredldotme)

The utility gets its name from its components Wine and Box64. Wine is a free and open source Windows compatibility layer that’s been allowing users to run some Windows applications on Linux, Mac, and FreeBSD systems for years. And Box64 is a utility that allows some x86_64 Linux software to run on devices that have ARM processors.

Smoosh them together and you can get some Windows applications designed for computers with Intel or AMD chips to run on phones, tablets, and other devices with ARM processors.

Codemaster Freders says Winebox is a “prebuilt Wine environment driven by box64 on Ubuntu Touch.” It does have a few prerequisites – you’ll need a device running a version of Ubuntu Touch with binfmt_misc support added to its kernel, and you’ll need to install xwayland(-hybris). But once those requirements are met, you too should be able to run… Microsoft Notepad and other lightweight Windows apps in Ubuntu Touch on a device with an ARM64 processor.

I wouldn’t expect resource-intensive apps or software designed for larger screens to work very well, but Winebox does open the possibility of running some lightweight Windows apps and games on a mobile Linux device.

Ubuntu Touch officially supports dozens of phones, tablets, and other devices including many that originally shipped with Android thanks to Halium, a tool that combines the Linux kernels provided by device venders with Android drivers. That sets Ubuntu Touch apart from some other mobile Linux distros like postmarketOS or Mobian, which use a close-to-stock Linux kernel, but allows it to run well on a wide range of supported hardware.

via @[email protected] and Codemaster Freders (1)(2)

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7 replies on “Now you can run some Windows apps on Ubuntu Touch phones (emphasis on some)”

  1. Meh! UT has enough, decent, native apps – like Jotit – to not need lightweight Windows apps running (poorly) through a container.

    Marius posted a Tweet recently saying that he’d got Lomiri – the UT UI – working on Debian. I personally think this is the way ahead for Linux on mobile. So far as I know though, some basic issues still need to be sorted out, such as power management, wake-up and drivers for some proprietary things.

    With Debian at its heart would come a wealth of open source apps, which could be used as they are when the device is connected to a monitor (convergence mode).

    1. For the sake of nostalgic lols and meager profit Ubuntu Touch should sell off its user’s personal data to Amazon.

      1. Yes… sadly it’s decisions like that (and Mir, and Snaps and not allowing the Unity Gui to be generally available to other distros etc. etc.), plus their general attitude towards open source, which has made the Linux ‘community’ distrust/dislike Canonical somewhat. Hence I was suggesting that Lomiri on Debian was a good move.

        I guess that Lomiri on Debian on ARM wouldn’t be a huge step, so a Lomiri mobile experience ought to be possible too.

        1. Ubuntu Touch hasn’t been a Canonical project for quite a few years now. It is carried by the UBports community.

          1. You can’t wriggle out of the reality that Ubuntu Touch is built on Canonical’s Ubuntu… Canonical has to live with the legacy of the decisions they’ve made (and continue to make) : the Linux community distrusts them.

            There’s an argument to be made that UT will attract more developer attention now Lomiri’s built on Debian or Alpine / PostmarketOS… We’ll see. I certainly hope so.

      2. Ubuntu Touch does not track its users, so there’s no personal data to sell.

    2. Having Lomiri in Debian is also way to have in being included in future versions of Ubuntu, thereby freeing the UBports project from having to host those packages.

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