maanantai 11. huhtikuuta 2016

Testing MaruOS - turning Nexus 5 into a PC


There was an invitation of beta test of MaruOS for Nexus 5 in mailbox. Unfortunately I had no Nexus 5 phone which is the only device supported at the moment. Off I went and purchased one in the neigbourhood.

Download link of MaruOS took me to a web page with two different install packages. One with install script and an other one with manual install (images only). Flashing Nexus phones is familiar to me. However I wanted to give install script a go.

Flashing Nexus 5

It took only ~ 10 minutes to flash MaruOS on Nexus 5. The instructions in Ubuntu Linux terminal window were clear. There was no chance to fail. The phone was first rooted, next developer mode was accepted twice. Finally MaruOS was ready to run. At the moment MaruOS is the only OS in my Nexus 5. I'm planning to install TWRP and MultiROM which make it possible to multi-boot many operating systems in one phone.

What's it like? 

MaruOS is like any other custom Android ROM out there. You can see the difference compared to other ROMs if you happen to own a Slimport adapter. With a full-HD monitor, a HDMI cable and a Slimport adapter Nexus 5 turns into a fullblown Linux Desktop PC (Debian). Yes, you can run all your favourite Linux apps using your phone! Your Nexus 5 phone is your PC!

How is full screen mode turned on? When HDMI cable and Slimport adapter are attached there is a note on the screen of Nexus 5. After that simply use remote control of your TV and choose the right source (i.e. HDMI). I don't know if MaruOS supports hotplugging. Maybe you don't have to first turn phone off, attach wires and then turn phone on again? I haven't tried that just yet!


Make sure Nexus 5 is attached to power supply. When running Debian on big screen battery might drain in no time. There is no sound available at the moment. It's ok since MaruOS in in early stage (version 0.22).

My hardware and expenses:

Nexus 5 (used, 120 €)
Microsoft bluetooth keyboard and mouse (used, 30 €)
Deltaco Slimport adapter (outlet, 12 €)
HDMI cable (3 €)
Samsung 55" fullHD TV (new, been around for a year)

Bluetooth Microsoft keyboard and mouse paired

sudo su, then apt-get update

apt-get install hardinfo - it's a Debian Linux!

After some tweaking åäö characters appeared!

My Nexus 5 is also my PC!

Samsung 55" fullHD TV as monitor

1 kommentti:

  1. Hi Sakari,

    Thank you for the great write-up on Maru OS, and thank you for picking up a Nexus 5 just to try out the beta! I'm glad you can now use your Nexus 5 as your PC.

    And yes, you can hotplug your Nexus 5 to an HDMI display while the mobile side is running and Maru Desktop will start right up! Hope you get a chance to try it out soon.

    I hope to improve battery life and audio support in future versions so your experience with Maru will be even better.