The Linux-based mobile operating systems and Linux phones are getting better with each passing week. The best instance is that of a recent milestone of 200 device support achieved by postmarketOS and also it’s successful running on the iPhone 7 by Project Insanity.
Adding to the same, here’s a new achievement shared by Danct12 from the DanctNIX community via a Twitter post. He posted a picture of PinePhone successfully loading several operating systems using PineLoader, a new multi bootloader for PinePhone.
PineLoader: Multi Bootloader For Linux Phones
If you have installed multiple OS on your computer, you may know that a bootloader is a program that runs when you turn on your system. It loads and shows all available operating system kernels on your device.
In the case of mobile phones, some OEM manufacturers ship a locked bootloader to restrict other OS installations. But once you unlock the bootloader, you can load the custom ROM or even a multi ROM to install and boot multiple operating systems.
Danct12 used a Pineloader which also uses the same concept for Linux PinePhone to boot multiple supported mobile operating systems. Using Pineloader, he loaded four Linux-based mobile OS — Ubuntu Touch, postmarketOS, Sailfish OS, and Huong Tram Linux (his own Arch-based distro).
— Danct12 (@RealDanct12) May 11, 2020
To select the OS, he uses volume up and down and the power button to select the desired one. Once he selects the OS, it uses kexec system call to load and boot the selected OS kernel. It also includes busybox software suite that provides several Unix utilities in a single executable file.
Broadly speaking, it looks like a big event for the Linux ecosystem that is advancing every day to influence the Android dominated mobile market. PinePhone multiboot feature could definitely open a new pathway to allow users to run their multiple favorite operating systems on the same device.
And who knows, if all goes well, we may even be able to multiboot it with Android. If you’re a developer who also wants to participate in this project and contribute on your part, you still have to wait until Danct12 makes source code public. Or, you can also directly contact him through his team’s discord channel here.