Using an android tablet to hack Linux

Have you ever considered using your Android tablet of smart phone for managing your Linux machines? I have, and a recent trawl of the play store turned up a fantastic little utility called ConnectBot.

Connect bot is essentially a command line interface that connects to your Linux box over SSH just like from a terminal on your Linux workstation, or PuTTY in Windows. From here you have full access to the command line of your connected Linux box, and basically any task you can do through SSH is possible through this utility.

There is one minor problem though, and that is the Android keyboard. Put simply, it’s rubbish for this job. Never fear, because others have come up against this problem and there is another nifty Android app called Hacker’s Keyboard that gives you an almost fully fledged QWERTY keyboard complete with symbols accessible from the shift key and cursor keys to help you navigate around that man page.

The final part of the puzzle should be a running X-Server. Whilst I have found one for Android, and have installed and configured it, I have found it to be somewhat unreliable at present. It’s still in beta at the time of writing, but will get better I’m sure. If you want to try it out, you can find it here on the play store, and a walk through to get up and running on this link.

Why would you need all this, I hear you say? Well, you can do stuff like moving files about on that headless media server tucked behind the TV, updating a machine from the living room whilst watching TV, installing software or tweaking configurations without having to plug in a monitor, keyboard and mouse. For example, I have a nasty tendency to forget I have headless machines running when I go to bed, and hate having to pull out the laptop to turn them off, but I’ve always got my phone on me – so out it comes and a quick login followed by “halt -p” sorts me out from the comfort of my bed đŸ™‚

See, it’s practical, good fun and best of all it gains you some serious Geek Points!

For Linux enthusiasts in Mansfield and the surrounding areas