Kicking off The Maru OS Project!

I’m happy to announce that Maru has been fully open-sourced under The Maru OS Project!

There are many reasons that led me to open-source Maru, but a particularly important one is expanding Maru’s device support with the help of the community.

If you’d like to help out with a device port (even just offering to test a new build helps a lot), let the community know on the device port planning list. We currently have a few Nexus, LG, and Motorola builds being planned. If you don’t see your device on there and would like to help with development or testing, please do chip in and we’ll get it added to the list.

If you’re interested in contributing in general, please check out the project’s GitHub, get up and running with the developer guide, and join the developer group.

Looking forward to seeing Maru on some new devices!

Maru v0.2.3 is now public!

Hey guys,

Just wanted to let you all know that…

Maru OS downloads are now open to everyone!

Several thousand beta invites and five releases later, Maru is now available for anyone with a Nexus 5 to try out! Yup, that means no more annoying waitlist and invite process.

A huge thank you to all of my beta users for putting Maru to the grindstone over the past few months. We found many areas of the experience that could be improved, but we also discovered surprising applications where Maru shined. Here’s a small sample of what your “phone” can do with Maru:

  • Learn to code with Scratch1
  • Set up a portable PC in your hotel room2
  • Replace your laptop(!)3
  • Run a full-blown geographical information system with QGIS4
  • Record, edit, and publish videos with OpenShot5
  • Design and edit images and vector graphics with GIMP and Inkscape3
  • Do 3D modelling and rendering with Blender6

The goal with the private beta program was to get to a reasonably stable release with a manageable user group, and thanks to their testing, I am happy to report that v0.2.3 is stable for daily use. Keep in mind, however, that Maru is still in its very early stages (v0.2.x), so the software may change rapidly, possibly in backwards-incompatible ways (i.e. you may need to back up your data manually and do a clean upgrade to a new version).

The best way to get up and running with Maru is to go ahead and join the forum, check out the new FAQ, download the latest release, and follow the installation guide. Make sure to also check out issues and feature requests brought up so far in this thread7.

As I mentioned in last month’s update, you have the option of using either the easy installer scripts for your platform (maru-v0.2.3-installer-…), or the ROM-standard update zip (maru-v0.2.3-update-…) for flashing with a custom setup like TWRP or MultiROM.

Oh, and the open-source project is starting to go online.

Now that the beta program is over, I’m finally turning my attention to the open-source project so we can expand device support with the help of the community. Let’s get Maru in the hands of a lot more people!

If you are interested in contributing and/or want to stay up-to-date on announcements related to the open-source project, please join the new maru-os-dev Google Group.

I can’t wait to see what you all do with Maru,


  1. Twitter 
  2. Forum 
  3. Forum 
  4. Twitter 
  5. YouTube 
  6. YouTube 
  7. Special thanks to Petya Lakatos for setting up and managing this! 

Maru in April: “My phone is my PC!”

Hey guys,

A few quick updates on Maru over the past month. I usually send update emails to my newsletter, but I’ll start posting them here too so anyone can follow along.

First, Maru is now easier to install than ever.

I have been working with my beta testers in April to make Maru as easy to install as possible. Beta invites now officially offer two options for installing Maru on your device:

  1. Easy installers for Linux / Mac / Windows (really simple but less flexible): The easy installers are a great choice if you aren’t familiar with custom ROMs and just want Maru on your device without having to go through the hassle of installing a custom recovery. The installers also come with a quick uninstall script so you can get back to a stock system in no time.
  2. A standard update zip (less simple but a lot more flexible): The update zip lets you flash Maru with a custom recovery just like any other Android ROM. That means you can keep custom recovery back-ups and use Maru as a secondary in MultiROM!

Second, beta invites have been sent to everyone who signed up before (“<“) March 18 UTC with a Nexus 5.

As a reminder, Maru is currently in private beta for the Nexus 5. Invites are being sent in batches on a first-come, first-served basis. All you have to do is sign up on the website with your device, and you’ll be placed on the beta waitlist.

So far, invites have gone out to everyone who signed up before March 18 UTC with a Nexus 5. If you signed up before March 18 with a Nexus 5 and have still not received an invite (please first check that your sign-up date is indeed before March 18, and that the invite wasn’t accidentally filtered to spam), get in touch over email and I’ll make sure you get one. If you overlooked an earlier invite and your links have expired, no problem, just reply to it and I’ll get you a fresh set.

Invites will be going out for a few more weeks, so there are still plenty of opportunities to grab the beta early!

So, what are people saying about Maru?

…and much more.

Want to share your thoughts on Maru? Use the hashtag #MaruOS!

Tweet your thoughts or a picture of your setup with the hashtag #MaruOS and your tweet may be featured in the next update! (I would prefer just #Maru, but we are up against a very popular cat by the same name…)

As always, thank you for your support.


P.S. I am stunned by the number of people who have bought a Nexus 5 just to try out the beta–you guys rock.

Maru is open source!

Wow. That happened fast.

Last Thursday I announced Maru, software that turns your smartphone into a PC. It got a lot more attention than I was expecting, so I want to clarify things a bit.

It all started in 2013, when I was excitedly watching the unveiling of the Galaxy S4 and its octa-core processor from my dorm room. I was streaming the event on my expensive dual-core laptop, not quite believing that a phone could pack that kind of hardware. By the end of the same year, 64-bit ARM chips were starting to ship. I started to think that the term “smartphone” was really a misnomer; the devices that we carry around in our pockets are powerful computers that can get serious work done–they’re not just smarter phones. Yet we were only using a fraction of that power. Imagine tapping into that potential and carrying a single device that would adapt itself to any screen. That vision drove me to begin R&D on a proof-of-concept in my spare time, and in 2015 I actively started development on what would soon become Maru.

Fast-forward a year (and several seemingly insurmountable obstacles) later, and I was finally ready to release a beta. I thought I’d set up a nice website with a sign-up list and see if anyone was interested in trying it out. I thought maybe I’d get a couple early enthusiasts willing to give it a shot.

Instead, I got a couple thousand.

In a few hours, someone picked it up on Hacker News, where it hit #5. Within the next 48 hours, dozens of tech websites, forums, and blogs started buzzing about Maru. My mailbox started filling up fast and my mailing list even faster. People from all over the world were asking when Maru would be supported on their devices. The press began speculating about a “hitherto unknown group of developers” challenging the likes of Microsoft and Ubuntu.

I freaked out. I was the only one who knew that Maru was really just me. How the heck was I going to handle the thousands of people that signed up for the beta?

Then different emails started showing up. Emails from people who said they were “ready to offer support in any way” and would “absolutely love to help”, and on and on. The support kept pouring in. (Thank you guys!)

I’ve gotta say, the open source community never ceases to amaze me. I’ve had emails from people asking if they can help test Maru on other devices on a Sunday. How many normal people do you know that willingly want to give up their Sundays to help test software? I’ve experienced this helpfulness time and time again, whether it was the speakers at open source conferences so willing to share their knowledge, or the folks on forums who were so keen to help out beginners like me. Maru would never have been possible without that spirit of openness.

With that spirit in mind, I’m open sourcing Maru. Setting up a large-ish open source project is new to me so please be patient. There’s a decent amount of work that needs to be done to document and automate things so people can easily get started with the code. A lot of stuff on the website will be changing too. I’ll be posting frequent updates as this progresses.

While this goes on, new development for Maru will be on pause. I’ll go ahead and open up the beta downloads for a couple of days for everyone who has already signed up–you guys deserve to try out Maru–but I suspect that Maru will change a lot in this process so you may want to hold off until the dust settles.

I think that together we’ll be able to make Maru better than ever. We can get Maru on more devices, have more thorough testing, and benefit from all the great ideas within the community. What started out as a personal quest quickly became a shared vision by everyone who felt a spark of excitement at Maru’s promise. And that promise extends far beyond the developer community. Imagine if we can give people who don’t have access to a PC a similar experience on their low-cost smartphones. I think Maru can have a serious impact here, and I am very keen on hearing from anyone who can help with this.

I can’t wait to see where Maru goes from here–all I know is that when you get a group of passionate people together, amazing things happen.

Thank you for your enthusiasm!

Preetam D’Souza

P.S. I’m looking for as much help as I can from here on out. If you think you can help (contributions, testing, advice, ideas, new opportunities for Maru, anything) I would love to hear from you! You can get in touch via email or @getmaru.