The Sort Of Software that will Not Run, on my Linux Tablet

In this posting I wrote, that I had installed Linux in a chroot-environment, on my old Samsung Galaxy Tab S, First Generation tablet, which remains an Android-based tablet. I did this specifically using the apps from the Google play store, named ‘GNURoot’ and ‘XSDL’, which do not require root.

Here, I gave a compendium of Linux-applications which do run in the resulting Linux guest-system.

I think that I need to point out a broad category of Linux applications that will always remain poor choices:

  • Audio Editors,
  • Video Editors.

The problem with any Audio Editor, is that it will eventually need to input and output Audio – not just edit sound files – and any Video Editor, needs to give a preview of all its video-clips – not just edit video files. This seems like a silly thing to write, but is non-trivial in my present context.

I have taken a Linux engine – GNURoot – and connected it to an externally-supplied X-server emulation – XSDL. The pipeline between these two Android apps is very narrow. It consists of X-server protocol – which is excellent and rendering text and GUIs, of shared memory at its maximum, and of a PulseAudio server, visible on the Linux side as such, but collectively running on the Android side as an SDL client.

I have no way to provide OpenGL or SDL on the Linux-side. What this means, is that virtually any non-linear video editor will want to see both installed on the Linux side, while neither is provided.

And sound / wave-file editors usually rely on ALSA or JACK as their sound-server. Few work with PulseAudio as their server, because quite frankly, PulseAudio is fine for desktop-notifications, but for little else.

I know of one sound-file editor, which can connect to a PulseAudio server with minimum of overhead, and that is called ‘mhWaveEdit’. It has a rather quaint, minimal GUI etc.. I have not tried to install it on the Linux guest-system, and one reason is the fact that by itself, a sound-file editor is a rather useless thing. Its use would need to be combined with several other types of software, before any practical result can come of it.

Additionally, in order for Linux Audio-Editing applications to come to fruition, they need the support of two more features, which the Android host is poor at providing,

(Edited 10/03/2017 : )

  1. Kernel-Level MIDI-Support,
  2. (This particular Editor only provides basic operations itself, such as cutting and pasting, splitting tracks, and balancing levels, but can host external plug-ins, which would provide more-complex operations.)

The second of these needs could eventually be met under Linux, by installing lots of LADSPA plug-ins. But this is a lengthy process, and starts to take up a lot of storage on the guest-system.


(Screen-Shot taken from Linux laptop named ‘Klystron’. )

And I think that the Android Kernel is lacking in its MIDI-Support.


Further, there exists a hypothetical Linux Video-Editing application named ‘LiVES‘, which can output its sound with PulseAudio, while outputting its video preview – apparently – with no plug-ins selected. If we were to try to take seriously installing these, then another observation comes to mind:

They will each install the client-side libraries, for ALSA and JACK, while LiVES will additionally install the client-side libraries for SDL, just in case the given interface is supported by the host, even if in practice, most of those protocols are not supported (on the Linux tablet). This will at the very least add bloat to an otherwise sleek Linux-setup.


Hence, if we want a video / audio editing system which receives its instructions in a textual, or in some syntactic way, then ‘ffmpeg’ and ‘gstreamer’ are the vehicles to provide those. And I have installed both on the so-called ‘Linux tablet’.

If I need real audio- or video-editing, I have the great advantage that I can just install those as paid-for Android apps, as long as there is enough space free on the Android host-device. Hence, I’d hesitate to put too much storage into Linux-based applications, for purposes better suited by Android, on this device.

On my pure Linux computers this is all very different, where the access to the display device is unlimited, as well as to my sound devices, and where I have a full Linux Kernel, and full Linux Session-Management.



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