Run Debian on N900 or Nokia Internet Tablets
By on December 23rd, 2009


Maemo OS is built mostly on Debian. Hence, it is quite possible to run Debian on Maemo based devices. Here’s how:

Prerequisites :

  • The Bundyo-Benson-Build – download here.
  • 1.3 GB free on one of your memory cards (this includes the built-in 2GB on the N810). After installation, it goes down to 1 GB.
  • Internet connection on your phone.

Instructions :

  • Open Application Manager.
  • Install the easy-deb-chroot package you’ve just downloaded.
  • Click on the Debian chroot icon and type in the following code –  apt-get install localepurge; localepurge
  • Run the Debian Image Installer from your Extras menu.
  • The actual image file will start downloading.
  • Installation will begin automatically
  • Reboot your phone when you get the congratulation message.

That’s all there is to it. It’s quite easy to follow if you keep the following warnings in mind:

  • DO NOT fall short on memory space. 1.3 GB is a bare minimum. Keep more space free if you can.
  • This is Debian that you are running on a Mobile device. It’s expected of it to under-perform. Some apps like iceweasel lag a lot.

Tested on : N900, N810, N800

Problems : Don’t try it directly on OS2008. Upgrade or downgrade to a different OS first and then install debian.

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Author: Arnaw Kumar
Arnaw is an undergraduate who is really into hacking and modding cell phones. For him, nothing gets better than an S60 and a chance to ruin it.

Arnaw Kumar has written and can be contacted at

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