Linux On Your iPad? Yes, You Can

If you love your Apple iPad but wish you could run your favorite 'nix applications on it, StarNet Communications has an app for that. If you've been dying to see Flash apps on the iPad, the company's got a fix for that, too -- and none of it involves a hack that would anger ole' Steve. StarNet on Thursday released iLIVEx. It turns the iPad into an X terminal that runs Linux and Unix apps hosted on remote servers.

The folks at StarNet say iLIVEx will give users LAN-like performance when accessing remote apps, even over 3G connections, because it relies on the speedy X11 protocol. Connections are secure, too, by way of SSH encryption.

If you have an iPad but have not yet developed a taste for Linux, StarNet has an app for that, too. When you buy iLIVEx you'll get a free account that lets you run a virtual Linux desktop. It runs on the iPad but can also be run on a Mac, Windows or Linux PC. With the virtual desktop you gain access to apps hosted on StarNet's cloud Linux server. These give iPad users functions they can't get natively such as:

  • The ability to view Flash. The cloud apps include a Firefox browser which lets iPad users see Flash-based Web sites and applications. (Hulu anyone?)
  • The ability to copy and paste between applications on the iPad.
  • The ability to access the virtual Linux desktop from Windows, Linux and Macintosh PCs, as well as the iPad, switching at will between them without losing data. This requires you to buy the appropriate X11 client for each PC. But StarNet will give you a six-month trial version of the others when you buy iLIVEx.

iLIVEx costs $14.99 and is available now from the App Store for U.S. and Canadian residents. StarNet will be able to sell globally in about 30 days, after the U.S. government gives its OK for the company to export iLIVEx's SSH encryption code.