Running Manjaro ARM with Plasma Mobile on a non PinePhone

Hi there,

So I’ve been using Manjaro in my laptop and in my RPI 4 for years now and after I saw the Pinephone Manjaro edition I though how cool it would be to have a privacy respecting and versatile phone.

Unfortunately, although the price of the PinePhone is reasonably low, due to shipping and the fact that my old phone still works I will not be buying one, at least until this one dies out. However I remember that I had another phone laying around, the Xiaomi Redmi 5A, and, according to wikipedia, it’s an ARMv8 processor (aarch64) which means it’s the same architecture as my RPI 4 which is currently running Manjaro.

I’ve yet to understand how do I root this cellphone and get rid of all the crap the comes preinstalled - guides regarding the matter are appreciated as there’s a lot of tutorials online but they all provide very weak explanations and sometimes are very different from one another - but when I do find a way of installing my own OS from scratch, just like I did in my RPI, will Manjaro Plasma Mobile be able to run on said cellphone? Are the repositories the same as the ones available for my RPI?

One more of a conceptual note, how does a cellphone differ from any other device? If I want to install a Linux based OS on a computer, it only matters it’s architectures and the drivers it uses, so why do I see so much stuff online regarding rooting phones and installing custom OS’s considering that Android is based on the Linux kernel, so it should be as simple as wiping a partition, installing a new bootloader and then installing whatever OS you desire.

Thank you for your time and hopefully this is the right place to ask all of these questions.

You can always install a custom ROM, with or without Google Apps (GApps), and root your device with Magisk. There are some available for your device based on Android 11 already.

That’s great information, that forum seems to include a lot of ROMs, but none of them seem to be Manjaro ARM, does that mean it’s not supported on my phone? Because that was really my goal, to have the same experience as the one I have with my RPI where I can install packages from the AUR even, if it matches the same architecture or it’s built from source obviously, essentially having a RPI with a desktop environment with touch screen support.

I dont think you can install Manjaro ARM on your phone atleast not without heavily modifying it. In the link I provided all the ROMs are based on Android Open Source Project (AOSP) as far as I know.

Flashing a custom ROM/kernel without Google’s trash and rooting your phone is your best bet and it is really nice actually.

Ah alrighty then, out of curiosity why am I not able to install Manjaro on my phone? In my mind the only thing that mattered was the processor architecture, which as I said it’s the same as my RPI, and the drivers, which shouldn’t be a problem.

Why are phones so picky with the OS you can install on it while computers are not?

For the same reason that you cant install the Manjaro ARM Khadas Vim1 package on the Khadas Vim2 or Vim3. When the hardware differs, even when it’s just a litttle bit, there needs to be some tinkering under the hood for it to function. That’s how I see it but I’m just a noob so take it with a grain of salt.

No Plasma Mobile will not be able to run on devices which uses Halium to run Linux.

For this you will have to follow the Halium Project

I have also answered a similar question here

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