So, I read somewhere recently (I read it here) that you can install Linux (in my case, Ubuntu) onto an Android running phone by rooting the device and overriding the software. I'm going back and forth on whether this would be something I'd like to do, as I have a Sony XPERIA Model C5303 that is beginning to fade and will probably be replaced soon.

What I want to know before attempting this is two-fold:

1) Can I ever reinstall the phone software if I choose to do so?

2) Is there a way to avoid rooting the device and booting from an SD card? I have a 32gb micro-SD for my phone that should have no problem with it, but I can't imagine a way to select a different bootable volume without rooting.

Thanks for any help, and if anyone else has done this before, let me know how it went - I'm still debating whether or not to do it. Also, is it possible on my device?

1 Answer 1


You need to root it and to unlock bootloader to install any custom OS. You can omit the bootloader unlock part if you find OS which will support the locked one, but you will miss the potential custom kernel features, because it will need to use the stock one. To do the actual unlocking, refer to this guide by Sony: http://developer.sonymobile.com/unlockbootloader/unlock-yourboot-loader/. Beware, though, you'll probably cause bootloop when you unlock BL, so you'll need to flash ftf to boot into the device again (refer to 1)). Also, as far as I remember, you won't be able to download official software updates until you re-lock BL again.

Regarding Ubuntu, there doesn't seem to be an Ubuntu build available for Xperia SP, so you need to build it yourself. According to the Ubuntu site, that shouldn't be hard considering there is a working Cyanogenmod build, but it's not something I'd consider 'basic'. Because I think it falls out of scope for this community (correct me if I'm wrong), I won't go into details, but I'll leave this here if you'd like to know about the process: https://developer.ubuntu.com/en/start/ubuntu-for-devices/porting-new-device/. You can find many (if not all) needed sources by following links on XDA forums here. For example, CM12.1 sources (unofficial, could be slightly unstable) are here.

1) Yes, you can download flashtool and flash appropriate ftf file. This will erase all data on phone (SD card excluded) and leave you with factory version of OS with unlocked bootloader

2) Not as far as I know

P. S. Android is based on Linux, just like Ubuntu, it's just that factory versions have some limitations so regular users don't destroy their devices. If you'd just like to unlock 'full potential', you can grab a custom ROM from XDA and enable root. They usually have nice additions, including themes, tethering, terminal emulator and much more other customization options (depending on the selected ROM).

  • Would there be similar methods for other phones? I might attempt this on another phone.
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 19:15
  • Here are the devices that Ubuntu Touch supports: wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Devices On every Xperia device, the procedure will be quite similar, just search XDA forums for resources. On non-Xperia devices, I'm not sure, the steps will probably be roughly the same, but the procedure may differ (e.g. ftf files are unique to Sony, flashtool as well). Again, consult XDA for any device-specific help.
    – Luke
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 19:51

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