GarlicOS 2.0 Unlocks Linux On Unisoc Android Handheld Emulators

GarlicOS 2.0

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Prolific programming wizard Black Seraph has just announced the release of GarlicOS 2.0 on popular Unisoc Android emulation handhelds.

This means that some of the best consoles of 2023, which were previously Android-only experiences, will be set free from their cage.

And for the first time, a user-friendly Linux OS will be available on these gaming devices after a quick and easy upgrade.

Black Seraph

GarlicOS 2.0
Credit: Black Seraph Patreon

Black Seraph is a mythical figure in the handheld gaming community. An anonymous miracle worker who has helped bring improvements, big and small, to many of the best emulation handhelds of the past few years.

This work is often thankless, and most certainly with little to no financial benefit. He simply does it because he wants to give the community a better experience on our favorite gaming devices.

I won’t try to act like I have any real idea how these devices actually work, or why some devices can use Linux and others Android and some both.

An expert told me something about drivers, bootloaders, kernels, protection of IP, or a combination of all of the above. *In one ear and out the other*

I’ve never been one to focus on the technical side of things. I want to know ‘will it work and how it will work’.

Essentially, I stay focused on the end-user experience.

Thankfully, we have somebody like Black Seraph who has the immense knowledge to reverse engineer how these devices work and bring incredible alternatives to the original operating systems.


GarlicOS 2.0
Credit: Black Seraph

GarlicOS 1.0 was introduced on the Anbernic RG35XX back in January, just as short time after its release (we covered it here: Garlic OS).

Anbernic even ships their current RG35XX devices with Garlic preloaded, which is pretty amazing.

Like Onion OS did for the Miyoo Mini +, GarlicOS unlocked so much in the RG35XX that we would have never seen if left in the hands of the maker of the device.

It’s really a shame that so many devices ship with so-so software.

And the average user would never know that you can hop on your computer and upgrade in minutes and have an exponentially better experience.

Which is exactly why we are doing our part to try to educate the buyers.

GarlicOS 2.0 has been in development pretty much since the release of v1.0 back in January. And we’ve heard rumblings about it throughout the year.

The focus of GarlicOS 2.0 was to bring a straight-forward Linux experience to Unisoc devices, which are typically going to be limited to Android.

This is apparently quite the difficult task, and many didn’t think it was even possible.

But finally, today, we got the exciting news that Black Seraph has succeeded in his quest to unlock the Unisoc.

And the public alpha build is ready for users to start experiencing for themselves.

GarlicOS 2.0 Is Here

GarlicOS 2.0

The three devices currently supported by the alpha release of GarlicOS 2.0 are the Anbernic RG405M, Anbernic RG405V, and the Retroid Pocket 2S.

Surely we do not need to tell you how incredible all three of these devices are.

All three devices were previously detained within an Android prison of manual emulation program installations and endless ROM directory setting.

For this reason, I just never got into any of these handhelds. Which is a shame, because at least two of them would easily be considered the best of 2023.

You can now pick up any one of these Unisoc chipset devices for a great price and do a simple OS update to Linux within minutes thanks to Black Seraph’s tireless work.

This is nothing short of a miracle.

How To Get GarlicOS 2.0

The full breakdown and installation instructions can be seen on the Black Seraph Patreon page. Which we highly suggest you support, if you can.

But the process sounds quite straight forward:

  • Install one of the available bootloaders on your device
  • Prepare a GarlicOS MicroSD card and plug it into your device
  • Boot into GarlicOS using your device’s MicroSD card boot button combination (if it has one)

We fully anticipate our friend over at Retro Game Corps to offer a detailed guide in the very near future, as well.

Of course, Black Seraph has also assured us that more device support is incoming, including a big upgrade for the RG35XX.

We cannot brag about Black Seraph’s work enough, and are very happy to share this incredible achievement with our readers.

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