Nexus 4 Linux Phone

Yes, you read the title correctly. I’ve been playing my old Nexus 4 running Ubuntu Touch (ubports) Linux. Not to spoil the ending but I’ve been both impressed and underwhelmed by running Linux on my old cellphone.

Blame a rainy day and COVID-19 for this experiment. Running Linux on your phone these days is also appealing to anyone try escape the loss of privacy of Google Android and the walled garden of Apple iOS.

Other than some minor issues, I was able to flash the old phone from the Windows GUI installer. I did run into trouble with a bad USB cable, how frustratingly common, but I never did get the ubports installer to auto-detect the phone even though Windows 10 could see it. I moved ahead in manual mode and everything installed smoothly.

I have the phone up and running on Wifi but I’m trying to decide if it’s worth installing a SIM card. The user interface is impressively clean and straightforward to use and the online app-store is a very nice feature. That said, the available applications are very limited and very many are known to be buggy. Finally, my Nexus 4 is old and it’s battery has one foot in the grave so the experience isn’t going to be great. I plan to poke around Linux on this phone for now just to experiment. Maybe, down the road I’ll invest in a newer phone for Linux and take his experiment much further.

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