Many free software fans, if they were like me, breathed a collective sigh of relief when the Android operating system hit the market. Before receiving my first smartphone (a Samsung Blackjack running Windows Mobile 5.5, I believe, that I had to update to through a torturous combination of installing Windows XP on a partition, installing the phone drivers, then running an update program), I was a steadfast "PDA-and-cell" guy who proudly carried both devices on my belt like a pair of six-shooters. But that Blackjack showed me how nice it is to carry one device, and since receiving my first Android device (an original Droid I still use to this day), I can't imagine using a device with another mobile OS. Linux kernel, Java-based apps—these are all right up my alley.

But, like many great consumer Linux products (I'm talking to you, Sharp Zaurus), manufacturers assume in nearly every case that your "other" computer will run Windows. Now, it's easy enough to install Windows either on a separate partition to dual-boot or in a VM to run within Linux. But this is a bit like killing the proverbial fly with a bazooka. Web-based applications and "the cloud" alleviate some of these difficulties, yet it's still not an "out-of-the-box-after-a-quick-install-from-CD" process like it is for Windows users.

The good news is, with the installation or configuration of a few programs, it's pretty easy to get your Android device (all the steps in this article are equally applicable to phones and tablets unless stated otherwise) to play nice with your Linux boxen. In this article, I focus on files and a few approaches for making sure you always have an up-to-date copy of that spreadsheet or source file on your mobile device.
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--jeremy