This question is pretty terrible, IMO:

Can I use dual boot in my Android mobile phone?

I want to know is there any boot loader modifying tool for android so that I can use my cell as dual boot. Like Symbian- Android, Android - Windows Mobile, Android - Java, Android - Bada.

Is it possible.

The formatting/wording can be fixed, and it could be made a "How" question about a specific device and OSes (and we have gotten questions like that), but I think it would still be problematic:

  • I'm not sure we have the relevant expertise. Getting WP7 (for example) to run on an Android device would require just as much WP7 knowledge as Android knowledge, I would think.
  • Lie's answer does answer the question, but is it useful? A specific answer for a specific device would be useful, but most of the time the answer will be "No, no one's figured out how to do this on that phone. As far as I know."

The problem is that I don't really know how to close it, because:

  • It's a real question. There are valid reasons for wanting to do this.
  • It's at least partly on-topic. We deal with Android as hardware, not just the Android OS. We've had some relatively decent questions about Ubuntu Linux on Android devices.
  • It's constructive. Well, the current version of the question isn't, but as noted it could be rewritten.

Given this I've thought up two solutions:

  • We create a CW question to cover this, the converse of Can I install Android on my non-Android device? — "Can I install a different OS on my Android device?" Dual booting specifically could be covered in this or possibly another CW question.
  • We decide that questions about other operating systems are off-topic. (Obviously this would not include questions about interacting with a device using a PC.)

Does anyone have thoughts on these ideas or any other ideas?

  • I would go with your first solution. It's still relevant enough to Android.... How do sites like superuser.com or the Ubuntu/Apple SEs handle this? – Bryan Denny Apr 4 '12 at 20:41

I'm really of two minds on these kinds of questions. On the one hand, I can understand their basis as an "Android question" in that we do handle hardware stuff on a regular basis here. From that standpoint, I think a canonical CW question is probably a good idea since the answer to the vast majority of these questions is "Sorry, nobody's done this yet." This is especially true of OSes like Windows Phone and iOS which are not open source, and thus cannot be easily ported.

On the other hand, completely honestly, I think these questions are off-topic. They're not Android questions, and I don't personally consider them Android hardware questions either because they don't involve using the hardware while running Android. These are WP or iOS or whatever else questions because they are questions about how to port these OSes to hardware that happens to be designed to run Android. I think the Ubuntu et al questions we've had are very different because they all (so far) involve running Ubuntu in a chroot environment within the Android userspace. However, a question along the lines of "Can I run Ubuntu natively on X device?" would be off-topic to me. Extending that logic, emulating the OS or apps in question would be on-topic.

However, some of this also depends on where we're drawing the line on hardware questions. In the past we've accepted things like "What is this sticker on my battery?" which I would have considered off-topic myself. If we're going to allow questions about Android hardware then I think we pretty much have to accept these OS porting and dual booting questions in some capacity.

  • 1
    I'm really of two minds So you're saying your brain dual boots? – Ben Brocka Apr 8 '12 at 2:18

Well, you know, there are such things as on-topic questions that no one can answer.

Or, more accurately, the person who can answer just hasn't visited the site.

A well-written question with the right keywords will certainly draw websearch traffic, so it's only a matter of time until we get an answer (we hope).

On the other hand, dozens of "how do I install OS (x) on device (y)" won't be helpful. A canonical question to trap them all would be good.

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