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Difference Between Android and Linux

Android vs Linux

Android is an open source operating system developed for mobile devices by Google.The original developer of the Android software, Android, Inc., was purchased by Google, Inc. in 2005. It has been developed based on the Linux 2.6 kernel. The Linux operating system was developed in 1991 as an open source operating system for desktop computers by Linus Torvalds. The Linux operating system was developed as the MINIX operating system and did not support 32-bit features with Intel 80386 machines. Although Android is developed based on Linux, the operating system does not completely use the standard Linux kernel. Android architecture supports only two types of architecture at this point in time, viz: x86 and ARM. However, the Linux kernel supports different types of architectures including the x86 architecture which is most commonly used in desktop/laptop/server systems. The Android system uses x86 architecture for Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and an ARM platform for mobile phones.

While developing the Android operating system, a few features were added to the Linux kernel which include: an alarm driver, kernel debugger, logger, power management, and Android shared memory driver. These enhancements were built on top of the standard Linux kernel.

The Android operating system has had many updates since its release. Every single update to the operating system includes few bug fixes as well as some new features. Each new version of the Android operating system is released under a unique name based on a dessert item. These versions follow an alphabetical order, for example; Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, etc. The future version of Android is going to be called Ice Cream Sandwich releasing in Q4 2011. The Linux is distributed in various flavors which include: debian, ubuntu, knoppix, gentoo, pacman, RPM, fedora, red hat enterprise Linux, mandriva Linux, slackware and slax based. The ubuntu-based distribution has several variants such as; Edubuntu, Gobuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Netbook, Ubuntu mobile and Ubuntu Server edition.

Most of the Linux distributions use the GNU C library to cater to the library routine needs. The Android Operating system has its own C library known as Bionic which is designed to provide quick execution paths and to avert edge cases. The library includes contents from C BSD library and the original source code of Android. In addition, Android, Inc. has developed its own Dalvik Virtual Machine as opposed to a Java virtual machine which uses its own bytecode instead of the Java bytecode.

The storage media used by Android is known as Yet Another Flash File System (YAFFS). The flash memory is used because of the space constraint in mobile devices. The flash memory also offers fast read access time and better resistance to kinetic shocks than the traditional hard disks. The flash system used in Android is a NAND type. A standard Linux system uses magnetic drives rather than the flash memory. The Ext3 is the most widely used file system in the standard Linux system. In Android operated devices, the power waste reduction is managed by its own Linux Power Manager as opposed to Advanced Power Management (APM) or Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) features employed in Linux.


1. Android is an open source operating system developed by Android, Inc. which is now

owned by Google, Inc. whereas Linux is developed as an open source operating system under the GNU project by Linus Torvalds and many others.

2. Android is developed for Mobile Internet Devices and mobile phones whereas Linux is developed for desktops/laptops/servers.

3. The Android operating system has its own C library called Bionic whereas Linux systems use GNU C library.

4. The Android systems use flash memory instead of hard drives while the standard Linux systems use magnetic drives.

5. The Android systems have their own power manager whereas the Linux systems use APM and ACPI to manage the power.

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  1. Linux isn’t an OS its a kernel and Android uses it as ITS kernel…..so the issue here is GNU/Linux vs Android/Linux or just GNU vs Android

    • Kernel is a bridge between Software & Hardware. The main function of kernel is to manage the computer’s resources. Allowing programs to run and use these resources. Linux Kernel is the same thing “Linux Os(Desktop OS)”
      Android (MobileOS) USES a “MODIFIED” Linux kernel 2.6.

      • Linux kernel is NOT the same as what you refer to as Linux OS. There is not such thing as Linux OS. It is actually the GNU/Linux OS. Linux is just the kernel and Linus had no direct hand in the development of the GNU system which is the nest the the kernel sits in. To say that “The Linux operating system was developed in 1991 as an open source operating system for desktop computers by Linus Torvalds.”, is just 100% false.

        Linus developed the kernel. The GNU project developed the rest of the system. The GNU/Linux operating system was packaged independently by other people using both the GNU projects system and the Linux kernel. Those packaged systems became known as distributions. You really should update your article to reflect these facts.

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