This post is an introduction to one of the best FOSS software available on Android: Termux

It’s way more than a simple terminal emulator, in fact it’s a mini Linux distribution with its own package manager, a growing repository with tons of applications (you can also compile software by yourself btw).
Just to name a few:

  • Editors: Emacs, Vim, Nano, Micro, Joe, Zile, Ne, etc.
  • Programming: Php, Perl, Python, Node-js, Ruby, Lua, etc.
  • Multimedia: FFmpeg, mpv, cmus, mpd, ImageMagick, etc.
  • Shells: Bash, Zsh, Fish, etc.
  • Other: sed, tar, git, tmux, gnuplot, taskwarrior, htop, byobu, etc.

Here is the repo:

As you can see there are plenty of software to make your android smartphone a great alternative to laptops or desktop PCs.
Also mind that you can connect a keyboard (and mouse if needed) either bluetooth or via a OTG adapter (check this post about it).
This is a great alternative when considering the difference in Watt usage if comparing a smartphone to a desktop PC (check out how much my PC consumes here).

Now let’s talk a bit on how to manage all these packages:

  • To list all the available commands type:



    then press enter, all these arguments can be passed to manage the applications

  • To search for packages rune:
    pkg search

    for example to search for a text editor:

    pkg search editor
  • To install a package run:
    pkg install

    or even shorter:

    pkg i

    for example to install tmux, ffmpeg and gnugo:

    packages i tmux ffmpeg gnugo
  • To remove a package:
    pkg uninstall gnugo
  • To upgrade all the packages run:
    pkg upgrade

    you can also upgrade just specific package(s)

    pkg upgrade vim emacs
  • To list the installed packages run:
    pkg list-installed

As you can see Termux has nothing to envy to a Linux distibution.. Sure it lacks a huge amount of software but still many things can be done with it.
And btw this is a killer application for anyone who has no PC or is constantly on the road.
Here you can learn bash and many other UNIX and GNU/Linux basics that work the same way in a full feature GNU/Linux, BSD or even on OSX.

With the difference that you can easily carry all this in your pocket!

I personally love to plug in my keyboard and use a text editor, to write this post I used micro, just to try out something new.
This is definitely my favourite alternative to a desktop PC, just going out with mah smartphone and then plug in a USB keyboard anytime I need to write something that’s going to end up on the net.
Easy, Lightweight and cheap on energy costs!

On the next posts I’ll take a look on some specific applications :)