SPURV Will Allow You To run Android Apps On A Linux Desktop

A software development company out of the UK called Collabora has unveiled something that Linux users will be excited about. The software is called SPURV, and it is described as an "experimental containerized Android environment" that is designed to allow Linux users to run Android apps in windows alongside native applications on desktop Linux. In a nutshell, SPURV creates a virtual Android device on the Linux host machine.

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SPURV has components that allow the Android environment to play audio, connect to networks, and use hardware-accelerated graphics through the underlying Linux system. One key difference between SPURV and other ways of running Android on Linux systems is the support for running the floating Android windows alongside native Linux apps.

SPURV does have caveats that Linux users excited to try it out need to be aware of. The biggest is that there are no pre-built binaries for SPURV; users must build it themselves from source code that can be obtained on gitlab. The other caveat is that the Linux desktop must use the Wayland display server for SPURV to work, while some Linux flavors use X11. Collabora employs an HWC-to-Wayland bridge to integrate Android app windows into Wayland via the SPURV HWComposer. That same composer handles input, like touchscreen events, and passes them from Wayland to Android.

Collabora wrote in a blog post about SPURV that the software enables a path forward to running Android apps in the same graphical environment as traditional non-Android apps are run. The company notes that the SPURV Android target device acts as a faux Android device with the Android build tailored to its requirements. Collabora says that there are downsides to running a full Android OS on top of Linux -- namely performance penalties. However, for the brave souls that are willing to give the software a try, we'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments section below.