Maru OS 0.4.1 is now available!

This release contains important security updates for Maru Desktop and minor fixes for the easy installers. The most important of these are:

  • SSH services are disabled by default1
  • The root account is locked by default2

Although SSH services have now been disabled by default in Maru Desktop, it is still highly recommended that you change the default password on the default “maru” account as soon as possible–ideally, the first time you log in. This can easily be done by opening up a Terminal, typing passwd maru, and following the prompts.

Check out the release notes for all the details.

Getting up and running with 0.4.1

Grab the latest release for your device from here. If you are new to Maru OS, get started with the Installation Guide. If you are running an older verison of Maru OS and would like to upgrade to 0.4.1, follow the Upgrading Guide.

Please note that when upgrading Maru without a factory reset (see Upgrading Guide: Option 2), you will need to manually upgrade your desktop system to receive the desktop security updates included in this release.

As usual, thank you to everyone in the Maru community who helped make this release happen. If you are interested in contributing to our next release, please stop by our github, and get in touch with us on our user forum, developer forum, or gitter!

  1. More details in #76
  2. The default maru account has sudo access, so a root account is mostly redundant. See this Ubuntu wiki article on why this is a good idea, including directions on how to unlock the root account if you still need it. 


I am pleased to present Maru OS 0.4!

The biggest ask I get is more device support1, and today I am happy to announce that Maru OS supports the Nexus 7 2013 Wi-Fi (flo). Since this is the first release for flo, it is marked as a beta-quality build and will upgrade to a stable build once more feedback from the community pours in.

Additionally, Maru OS now supports full-disk encryption of both your mobile and desktop data. If you would like to encrypt your device, head over to Settings > Security, set a screen lock, and tap Encrypt phone.

There are many other improvements, fixes, and security updates included in this release, so make sure to check out the changelog for the details.

Getting up and running with 0.4

Grab the latest release for your device from here. If you are new to Maru OS, get started with the Installation Guide. If you are running an older verison of Maru OS and would like to upgrade to 0.4, follow the Upgrading Guide.


I am proud to report that this is the first release which features volunteer code contributions from members of the Maru community! I would like to especially thank Tyler Martin for his perseverance in bringing up flo on Maru OS (our first working community port, I might add) and his dedication and timeliness in working with me to integrate flo into our official builds. I’d also like to thank Noel Macwan for his speedy PRs with the latest AOSP security patches. And last, but certainly not least, thank you to everyone in the Maru community that helped make this release happen by sharing your feedback and enthusiasm for the project.

Maru OS has a relatively large codebase, and it is exciting to see others take the time and effort to dig in and help move this project onwards and upwards. If you are interested in contributing, please stop by our github, and get in touch with us on our developer forum or gitter!

  1. We have several community ports in progress that need testing, including alpha/beta builds for devices like the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. You can keep track of progress on our device port thread (thanks to our community member @chevdroid for managing this!). 


I’m excited to announce that Maru OS v0.3 is now available!

With this release, Maru OS has fully made the transition from Android Lollipop (5.1.1) to Marshmallow (6.0.1). That means intelligent power management, granular app permissions, the latest security patches, and more!1

One of the top user requests for Maru OS is the ability to start Maru Desktop without an HDMI screen around.2 In v0.3, just tap the switch and your desktop will start in the background if an HDMI display isn’t available. SSH services are enabled by default in the desktop, so you can easily ssh into your portable Debian server!

It’s important that Maru OS supports as wide a variety of displays as possible, and v0.3 improves support for non-1080p displays. Settings > Desktop > Tweaks now offers a new “Enhanced resolution matching” mode which attempts to pick an external display’s native resolution, overriding your device’s stock matching algorithm. This can be helpful if you are experiencing less than optimal resolutions when connecting your device to displays that do not support 1080p.3 4

There are many more updates that made their way into v0.3. Check out the changelog for the full list, including important upgrade notices.

Getting up and running with v0.3

Grab the latest release from here. If you are new to Maru OS, get started with the Installation Guide. If you are running an older verison of Maru OS and would like to upgrade to v0.3, follow the Upgrading Guide.


Thank you to everyone in the Maru community who helped make this release happen by reporting issues, offering feedback for improvement, and most importantly, sharing your enthusiasm! And a final thanks to Olivier Miche for the majestic wallpaper in this release.

  1. Moving to Marshmallow also means that Maru OS can now be ported to newer devices that do not have Lollipop builds! If you’re interested in helping out with a port, please check out the Porting Guide to get started. 
  2. Issue #5 
  3. For those of you with a Nexdock, enabling this mode will correctly select the optimal resolution and fix any scaling issues. 
  4. Note that you will need to disconnect and re-connect to your display after enabling or disabling this mode, as well as rebooting your desktop if it was already running. If you are still experiencing issues, your device’s display driver may simply not support the optimal resolution. See Issue #19 for more details, particularly regarding the Nexus 5. 

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.