Android Made on Linux, but why doesn't the PC Linux software run on Android? & Why doesn't the Android app run on Linux?

If you are a bit of a tech geek type, I hope you know that the Android operating system is dependent on Linux. But the funny thing is that the Linux system running on our computer and the Android system is very different. You can't run your computer's Linux application on an Android phone, or you can't run an Android app on a Linux computer system, but why? Let's try to find the answer in a little more detail.

Linux VS Android

Linux kernel

First of all, it is important to have a good idea about Linux. Because most people know Linux as an operating system (but Linux is not an operating system, Linux is a kernel), they say they have Linux installed on their PC. But installing Linux on a PC means installing a distro on Linux. In fact, Linux is not an operating system, it is a kernel, and a kernel is required for every operating system to run. 

The kernel basically helps to establish the relationship between the system software and the hardware. In other words, the core of the Linux-based operating system is Linux.

The Linux distro run on the PC contains the Linux kernel and some special Linux software. It has its environment for running Linux software and has an X graphical server. Other Linux distros, including Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, etc., also have separate software installed and the Linux kernel.

For example, GNOME desktop environments have a desktop interface available in various Linux districts. Suppose you have a server-friendly Linux distro installed on your system. There is no desktop interface because the server runs using commands. Now, you must install the desktop interface if you want to get a desktop in it.

Android is built solely on the Linux kernel but does not have separate Linux software installed to run Linux software. Google uses Linux as the kernel of their operating system because Linux is open-source. That's means it is customizable.

Google customizes their Android as their own. And using the Linux kernel means they don't have to create any more kernels on their own. Moreover, Android doesn't just use Google alone, many companies use Android on their phones, and they want to add some of their features there. Since Linux is open-source, it can be customized If you want.

Android vs Linux

Now Android is built on Linux, but it is not like the separate distros of Linux. As mentioned earlier, the desktop distro has more different types of software installed, but not Android. When Android boots, it boots in Linux, but after booting, Android runs its virtual machine, capable of running software created by Java. I mean, you can say the same thing, Android is a virtual machine running on Linux.

To illustrate further, let's take an example: Suppose your computer is running Windows 10 operating system. That means that it is possible to run any Windows software on your system. But now, suppose you have installed virtual machine software on your computer and installed Ubuntu in the virtual machine.

Now think about the whole thing. Your virtual machine is running on Windows operating system. But you can't use Windows software on Ubuntu installed inside the machine; you can't use the Linux software on Windows either. Virtual machines create an entirely different environment and behave like an independent computers. Similarly, even it's built on Android Linux, and it does not support desktop Linux software. Again, the Linux distro does not support the Android software. 

Because all Linux distros are designed to run for Linux software, it does not have a virtual machine installed to run Java applications. But one thing in common between Android and Linux distros is that it supports terminals

That means that you can provide various Linux commands to Android. But for most Linux commands to run, Android does not need to be rooted, as the terminal requires root permission to run correctly. Suppose Android virtual machines are installed on the Linux distro. In that case, it will be possible to install and run Android software on Linux computers quickly. 

As you can see on Windows computers, a program called Bluestacks runs on a virtual machine and helps you run Android applications on your PC. Google's Chrome OS is also built on Linux, but it does not have an X server, so it is impossible to run Linux software. Chrome OS, like Android, is very close to other distros of Linux.


With some improvements there, it will be possible to run Linux software. On the other hand, Ubuntu Mobile OS is just like Linux; here, you will find features like using desktop Linux on mobile.

Last word

Hopefully, after reading this article, you have got clear answers to all the questions in your mind, why it is different from Linux even after working on Android Linux. Linux's desktop distro and Android are two different things because they are used differently. However, if you want, you can efficiently run Android software on your computer. Just like Android, it is possible to run any PC software by installing a virtual machine. In the following article, I will describe how to build your operating system on the Linux kernel.

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