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Is Android based upon Linux?

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migrated from Nov 29 '11 at 14:20

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Yes, here is the source code download and what you need to use it.

From the wiki:

At Google, the team led by Rubin developed a mobile device platform powered by the Linux kernel which they marketed to handset makers and carriers on the premise of providing a flexible, upgradeable system.

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The short answer is Yes.

The longer answer is... Android uses a modified Linux kernel to run the basic operating system functions. However, Android does not use the same libraries that you would see in a typical desktop Linux system (basic libraries such as glibc), so you can't just run any program on Android that you can on other Linux systems. Besides the fact that some of the libraries are different, Android does not provide a very easy way of running applications that are not build on their Java-like API they call the "Andoird Platform"

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Sorry, this might be nitpicking. That "Java-like API" is called Dalvik. – supercheetah Oct 24 '09 at 17:04
Actually Dalvik is the runtime that executes the Java-like code, similar to the Sun JRE. The API is the set of libraries that allow you to interact with the Andorid system. ( – heavyd Oct 26 '09 at 12:44
Whats the Andoird Platform? xD – Wuffers May 10 '10 at 22:08
Android was developed on the Embedded Linux Kernel 2.6. "Embedded" is the keyword here. It's the exact same kernel that OpenMoko used, WebOS used, Meego used, and thousands of other embedded linux based projects also used. And as HeavyD already said, do not expect to find the same software stack on an Embedded Linux system that you'd normally expect to find on what you'd consider a normal PC (or even a server rack). – Stephan Branczyk Sep 27 '11 at 7:14

Yes! It helps to talk about "android the platform" and "android the OS"

  • Android the Operating system: This is Linux. it runs the linux kernel so it very much is linux. The standard libraries are a little different and you as a user or developer of an android app wont have anything to do with this "linuxey" side of things*.
  • Android the Platform: This is a Java-based-desktop platform that you can write applications for. It uses the Dalvik** VM to run specially packaged java jar files containing your code. This is the part of the android phone you see and interact with every day*

*unless you root your device. then you have access to everything.
**Dalvik is also a cute little 'town' in Iceland with some great glaciers, two ferries to wonderful islands and no good coffee bar.

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