Using the command-line on Google Android, and other useful apps.

Posted: April 17, 2012. At: 9:24 PM. This was 5 years ago. Post ID: 3174

Terminal Emulator app for Android.
Terminal Emulator app for Android.

This terminal emulator application for the Google Android operating system allows the user to execute various commands on their Android devices. The command set is fairly restricted, but the ability to access the Linux command line on Android makes up for this. You may use the cat command to view the contents of files such as the /system/etc/hosts file. I typed this command:

echo "" >> hosts

but I got the error that it was a read-only file-system and it could not write to the file. I guess I need to root my device and install a proper Linux installation to be able to properly use Linux on an Android device.

Winamp for Android is the best media player for music on Android, far better than the default media player that the Telstra T Tab comes with. The Winamp player supports playlists and various music formats as well.

Tune in radio for Android is the best way to listen to the radio online whilst you are doing other things on your Android device. The local stations near you and many others will be available for online streaming.

The Telstra T Tab homescreen.
The Telstra T Tab homescreen.

Opera Mobile is the best web browser for Android, I can use my WordPress website in it just fine to upload screenshots from my tablet to the media library. The web apps and the terminal emulator would benefit from having a bluetooth keyboard available for your Android device to make typing faster and easier. There is a Linux install app for Android that gives you a minimal install of Linux, that might have a more complete feature set than the terminal emulator application. The Linux installer application allows you to install Debian or Ubuntu on an Android device. This requires a fair amount of space on your device depending on how many Linux applications you installed. This would be a good way to extend the functionality of your Android device.

Linux installer for Android.
Linux installer for Android.

The Linux installer can even run Lubuntu which would be a very fast and usable desktop on a mobile device indeed and there is no need to remove your Android installation to install the Linux distribution of your choice. With the terminal emulator app installed you can use the df command to see how much space is available on your device. An example below.

The df command in the terminal emulator command will not allow you  to use parameters like the df -Hla command in Linux, but it is still very good. To copy text, press and hold over the text and then tap on the Select Text option and then drag to select the text you desire, it will be automatically copied to the clipboard. But using the command-line on a mobile Android device elevates it above a Symbian phone.

# df
/dev: 212548K total, 20K used, 212528K available (block size 4096)
/sqlite_stmt_journals: 4096K total, 0K used, 4096K available (block size 4096)
/system: 163840K total, 144020K used, 19820K available (block size 4096)
/data: 179200K total, 144492K used, 34708K available (block size 4096)
/cache: 98304K total, 79884K used, 18420K available (block size 4096)
/sdcard: 3858432K total, 3345408K used, 513024K available (block size 32768)

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