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Why openSUSE, Arch, and elementary each need a mobile distro

My reasons may be selfish, but that doesn't mean more options for mobile Linux wouldn't be good for everybody.

By Bryan Lunduke on Mon, 12/02/13 - 1:57pm.

Whenever a new Linux-powered phone ships, I get excited.

New version of Android is available on a new handset? Excited. Maemo-powered phone (like the N900)? Excited. Ubuntu Phone and Jolla? Definitely very excited.

This got me thinking about how much I'd also love to see an Arch-powered phone…or an openSUSE-powered phone. Heck, I think the elementary os guys would make a gorgeous phone system. In fact, I can't think of a single big Linux Distro that wouldn't get me jumping up and down for joy if they announced their move into either the phone or tablet space.

After thinking that through, and voicing it to a friend, I immediately felt a bit silly. I mean, really, how many Linux-based distros do we actually need powering the portable devices of the world? Shouldn't I be happy with one?

And, well, I am. In fact, if we only had one Linux distro running on phones and tablets, I would be quite happy with that.

But, the reality is this: I’ve been spoiled by Desktop Linux. I have spent so many years enjoying the wide variety of Linux distros available for my trusty old x86 desktops and laptops that I yearn for that same experience on my mobile devices.

What self-respecting Linux user doesn't install at least a small handful of different distros every year? Right here in front of me I have Android, Ubuntu and openSUSE, all coexisting happily with each other. Truth be told, I wouldn't mind having a good reason to have an elementary, Arch or Gentoo rig running right now as well. And, within the next few weeks, I'm sure I will have just that.

I want that with my mobile devices.

When I had the chance to install Ubuntu Touch on my first-gen Nexus 7, I was thrilled. Not just because what the Ubuntu team is doing is excellent, but because it gave me a chance to explore, and enjoy, the different ways I could use the same device. All with Linux.

I suppose what I am saying is this...

The Fedora, Arch, openSUSE and elementary teams need to make a version of their systems for tablets and phones. Because I want to see what that would look like. So. You know. Chop chop.