Android is based on Linux and has a Linux kernel underneath. Is there any way I can use shell commands and interact directly with the Linux system? E.g. A shell app that has access to the Linux system?

4 Answers 4


Yes there is,

Check out the application Better Terminal or Android Terminal Emulator both are support from 1.5

  • Don't forget that as TheCottonSilk noted in their answer that you'll need busybox in order to access most of the usual Linux commands!
    – Logos
    Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 4:09

If you have a wireless network set up I can recommend to connect via SSH. It allows you to access and fully manage your Android in a few minutes. For Linux or Putty users there is no difference to a standard terminal using SSH besides some specific Android commands. Moreover, some file managers such as Nautilus support the SSH protocol so you will have the flexibility of a shell and additionally the comfort for file operations using a graphical file manager. I liked SSH so much that I have written a small how-to for Android (in German). I know, it might not fully apply to your question but can be considered while working with an additional computer and an Android phone.

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An easy to use SSH server is SSH Droid, available in the Google market.

  • Do you mean set up an SSH server on the phone? That may be more trouble than it is worth.
    – Zhehao Mao
    Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 13:31
  • I installed SSHDroid in no time and it is definately less complicated than setting up the Android SDK / ADB shell (check my tut). If you are experienced with SSH you will appreciate it for accessing the phone.
    – n3rd
    Commented Jun 30, 2011 at 0:03
  • Huh, I had no idea. I would read your tutorial, but I don't know German :-).
    – Zhehao Mao
    Commented Jun 30, 2011 at 0:14
  • I am going to add an English translation in the near future.
    – n3rd
    Commented Jun 30, 2011 at 9:36
  • How exactly does it work? Does the SSH connection go over the USB cable?
    – Zhehao Mao
    Commented Jun 30, 2011 at 13:10

Recently I had similar requirement, and I found 'busybox' utility. The terminal emulator apps are useful however those support very few commands. However 'busybox' gave me access to most of the generally used Linux commands.

Here is how I used it.

  • 2
    Even if you used busybox, you still need a terminal emulator to actually run busybox on. They're complementary.
    – Lie Ryan
    Commented Dec 21, 2010 at 2:15
  • Yes, very true..I agree. Commented Dec 21, 2010 at 9:21

The Scripting Layer for Android also includes a shell.

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