Advantages of the Librem 5 developer kit?

In addition to coming out earlier than the phone. What are the advantages of developing/hacking on the hardware of the Librem 5 developer kit (the “Librem Pi?” :wink: ) versus using one’s phone?

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Hi @BarkingOctopus,

The only other obvious advantage I can see would be the price of the kit, which is lower than the price of a phone.
I believe the main advantage of the kit for new is still that it will be available earlier than the phone :slight_smile:

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So if everything will go according to the plan, after January 2019 the developer’s kits will be able to do everything the Librem 5 will be capable of? Of course if not considering critical changes that they can make after they ship the developer’s kits.

@thib I would hope the kit would be cheaper than the actual phone. Imagine pulling that thing out of your pocket to make a phone call!

I guess if you goof up your dev kit, you still have your working phone and don’t need to revert anything.

One feature, I think that, would make it worthwhile would be trivial access to a serial console. Hopefully you can still access a serial console by taking the phone apart.

Another would be the ability to boot unsigned (by a user’s private key, natch) operating systems off of media like SD cards and USB thumb drives. Hopefully you can still do that with the phone, maybe through some setting.

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I think the whole point is just to get software devs early on the hardware. So it can be tested. From my view the most important parts here are same display (size) and same cpu/gpu/ram as final product. Testing the software on this is critical for quality. Imagen lagging or not well scaling apps, to small or to big buttons, etc. All this needs to be tested.
Thought I wouldn’t expect the other parts to be as critical. If for example the modem or camera and buttons changes this shouldn’t matter much to high level software devs as i think this will be hidden behind apis and drivers purism needs to develop anyway.

But as the timetable says the schematics should be finished in Q1 and PCB go on. I suspect much of the hardware should be set then. So good chances of final components on the dev board.

I’m sill not sure this i what you wanted to here on your question. More out of the obvious i would say the devboard package seams like an nice high end dev board for the price. Wandpi will charge more than 110$ for a comparable imx8 board and here you get more ram, display touch screen, gps, baseband and sensors in the box. I would say not a bad deal for a dev board with probably excellent mainline support.


Funny that you mention the Wand Pi. That is exactly what got me thinking about the developer kit!

I’m tempted to get the kit. I’m curious about what it provides to make developing on it easier than using the phone. It has to provide some way to externally write to the flash chip without a working OS on the board, otherwise you could leave the board unable to boot and no way to fix it. And there has to be a way to get logging from the board if the graphics and/or network do not work.

The most I’ve seen and heard of the development boards is this post. Mostly images.

I would love to see a post describing the workflow on these boards!

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Would say the possibility to flash the device should be given even for the final product and pretty much any device which is capable of updates. But i might miss your point as i only have few experience with dev boards, just pi’s and arduinos. What where i would see the difference are easy accessible pin headers. They will probably expose all the debug pins and ports which are not used an exposed in the final phone due to space. So devboards might have more possibilities as the phone. e.g try other baseband cards or screens
… road to a second phone or a tablet on imx8 base :slight_smile:

On the wand pi my thought was how the compatibility and availability is. If the purism boards get delayed or someone would like to spend less money and already has screens end sensors. The wand pi might be a good alternative to get more people test the pure os on imx8m hardware. I thought about ordering one for this reason.

If I understand the blog posts correctly, the dev boards will ship with i.MX 6 Quad Plus but the phone will ship with i.MX 8M. The dev board exists mainly to let people start making software for the phone long before the phone comes out. If you wait until you have the phone, your software does not release with the phone. If you develop on the dev board, the software can be ready when the phone is ready.

That is how I understand it but I’'m no expert. If somebody knows more, please correct me.