Is Android genuinely just Linux?

Is Android Linux? Is one of those irritating questions that seem like it has to have a sincere ‘sure’ or ‘no’ solution, but these are three phrases that the Android and Linux groups had been debating for years.

There are factors that have made it especially hard to attain a definitive answer in this long-going for walks debate:

People regularly use the phrase “Linux” to refer to a number of associated, however distinctly different things.

There’s no universally typical definition approximately what makes a bit of software Linux.

In this newsletter, I’m going to solve the confusion surrounding the exclusive types of software program a person may also have in mind after they use the term ‘Linux,’ earlier than running thru all of the arguments that unavoidably creep in, in every “is Android Linux” debate.

The Linux kernel. This is a small, but vital part of a working system. The kernel is chargeable for interfacing with a device’s hardware, imparting services to the rest of the machine, and appearing tasks together with coping with the tool’s CPU and reminiscence. The Linux kernel, like any kernel, can only function as a part of a much wider working machine. It’s impossible to have a running device that is composed entirely of a Linux kernel. Since Android is a whole operating device, we will right now rule out classifying Android as a Linux kernel.

A Linux distribution, or distro. This is a working device that incorporates the Linux kernel and additional software program which includes utilities, libraries, and a GUI, plus pre-hooked up applications which include net browsers, text editors, and music gamers. Even if this extra software becomes designed especially to run at the Linux kernel, it’s not part of the Linux kernel. When discussing operating structures that use the Linux kernel, the phrases ‘distribution,’ ‘distro’ and ‘operating system’ are interchangeable. Since all and sundry can take the Linux kernel, upload their very own software, and create a whole working machine, there are limitless Linux distros presently to be had.

GNU/Linux. The majority of Linux distributions are a mixture of the Linux kernel plus GNU software program, which has led a few people to argue that we need to all be relating to Linux distros as GNU/Linux. This is an entirely different debate, so as to assist preserve things easy I’ll be using the terms ‘Linux distribution’ and ‘distro’ during this article – simply note that there’s a strong hyperlink among the Linux kernel and GNU software program.
While there’s nowhere near as plenty confusion surrounding the time period “Android,” there are still awesome traces of the Android operating system.

The first is the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), that’s the mission wherein Google launch the Android source code. While it’s far possible to apply this supply code to construct a functioning running device that you could deploy on a telephone or pill, the give up end result could be lacking functionality that maximum customers count on from their Android revel in, maximum significantly Google Mobile Services (GMS). GMS is the gathering of Google apps and APIs that, for many customers, are an essential part of the Android experience, within the identical way that iTunes and the App Store are an essential a part of the macOS revel in. AOSP is open source, however, the enjoy that your ordinary quit-person expects from Android, isn’t supplied by AOSP.


The Android working machine that ships for your regular Android cellphone or tablet are essentially an AOSP base, probably with a few producer adjustments, and with the addition of a great amount of proprietary code.

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Most of the arguments for and towards classifying Android as Linux apply to both interpretations of Android, but there are some times wherein the solution differs, relying on whether you outline Android as AOSP, or as the working gadget that ships with your typical Android phone or tablet.

Why Android is Linux
There’s absolutely simplest one argument in favor of classifying Android as Linux, but it’s a strong one: every Android telephone or tablet consists of a Linux kernel. You may even see what model of the kernel is established on your tool, through commencing its ‘Settings’ app and navigating to ‘About Device > Software info.’