Another delay in the delivery of the Librem 5


I’m in. Just placed an order for Librem5.

This is the thing I’ve always wanted to create if I had the financial means to fund it. The fact that it’s basically done and I can just buy it for about $700 (including sales tax) is just fantastic.

This is the first mobile I will have had since the NexTel days, before GPS trackers in mobile devices. I have not had a mobile since, because the benefits were not worth the obvious security risks. (Though, I’m not going to get rid of my landlines plural, because reliability & audio quality matter.)

I’m a PBX engineer, so I’m also going to develop safe interoperable functions between our PBXs and these devices, and promote them to our clients. That should hopefully get Purism some further orders. Via my contact with the PBX manufacturer, there’s a nonzero chance of higher-level integrations in the PBX platform, globally (they’ve adopted a few things I’ve proposed in the past, and I’m about to send in another one).

The shipping delays don’t bother me: better to get it right, than to get it fast.

This will be well worth the wait.


I suspect that I will be in the same boat, once I try using the Librem 5 for a week or two, and discover all the things that it lacks compared to my current phone running LineageOS. The three apps that I am going to miss are Whatsapp, FBReader (an e-book reader) and decent text-to-speech.

From what I have read, the LineageOS crowd is waiting until the Librem 5 is released, before they put any work into it. Purism will answer their questions, but they haven´t asked many.


I prefear to ise gnu linux over google android because of google, i don’t care if some feature is missing from beginning, i hope devs will work on it in the next years


If I remember right there’s a matrix <-> Whatsapp bridge so it shouldn’t be a problem.

For what I know (I don’t use e-books, just good old pdf so I might be wrong) any good image reader should do the work.

Well obviously I don’t see that happening anytime soon (I hardly even imagine it ever existing).


I use my smartphone to read ebooks out loud to me when I’m working. That means epub format + a TTS program. Fortunately, FBReader has a Linux version, so it probably wouldn’t be too hard to adapt to work with libhandy in the Librem 5. The problem is that all the open source TTS (text-to-speech) programs sound horrible compared to the proprietary ones. It was one of my biggest pain points when I installed LineageOS that I no longer had a good TTS program until I broke down and installed the Google Play Store.

I don’t know why decent open source TTS is so hard, but it is the other half of speech recognition that mobile Linux will eventually need to have in order to compete with Android and iOS. For now, we can get by without it, but we will eventually need open source TTS, speech recognition and some kind of digital assistant once everyone starts using wearables and implanted devices.


It needs a lot of resources to run that kind of services and the FOSS community is pretty limited (but does a herculean job with what we’ve got), maybe someday we’ll see a Nextcloud plugin to do that thing in a “usable” way (not as good as a tech giant but good enough) but as I said I don’t expect it atm.


@Yuno, I think you confuse something here. TTS is neither really hard, nor resource intense.
The first TTS I had as a kid was a DOS(!) command line program with a few kB on my 386. I didn’t even have a soundcard. It used the system (beep) speaker!
Of course it didn’t sound great. More like on a walkie-talkie. Also it was hard-coded English, and I had most fun having it read German stuff…
The next I had was Logox on Win95, with much better quality but still robotic. And German.
They later released Invox, which demonstrated very well that speech recognition is much harder.
Around that time (still last millennium), I also possessed the Game “Virtual Corporation” which was supposed to be voice controlled. But it worked so bad that I wondered whether they just picked a random answer of the choices I had…

And yet, there is in fact FOSS speech recognition. Even better: A digital assistant: Mycroft.
I learned about here in the forums. There are several threads about it (keep the discussion there). Its TTS engine seems to be called Mimic.
I just thought, should it come to the Librem 5, I’d like to be able to activate it by “Miss Liberty”.
“Miss Liberty, how’s the weather in New York?” :slight_smile:


Liby would be shorter and easier. “Liby when will the world end ?” answer: “when everyone forgets st. iGNUscius”


I’m personally fine with if it means we get the finished, revised product. A couple more months is fine.


True dat, esp. if your phone is not supported anymore :sweat_smile:


I did some googling on this topic. espeak is horrible and is so robotic that I can barely understand it. Mimic is based on festival-lite, which in my opinion is not that great, but at least it is understandable. The best open source TTS is MaryTTS, but it only supports German, British and American English, French, Italian, Luxembourgish, Russian, Swedish, Telugu, and Turkish. MaryTTS in American English is not nearly as good as the proprietary TTS programs, like IVONA, Samsung TTS and Google Cloud TTS.

There are 5 promising open source speech recognition projects, but Kaldi appears to be the only one which has been trained with many languages and it only has data sets for English, Chinese, Caribbean Spanish, Mandarin, English, Danish, Czech, Japanese, Arabic and Egyptian Arabic.

It probably wouldn’t be that hard to make Librem 5 apps for Mimic, MaryTTS, Kaldi and Mycroft AI, but mobile Linux will clearly lag far behind the TTS, speech recognition and digital assistants offered by Samsung, Google and Apple. It isn’t the most pressing problem for the Librem 5, but it has to be eventually solved if mobile Linux is ever going to compete with Android and iOS as a viable mobile OS. Firefox, Facebook and Baidu are all developing open source speech recognition, and I hope that some of the big hardware companies will adopt mobile Linux in the future to get around Google’s restrictions on Android, so this problem can be solved.


Are we 100% Librem won’t/can’t run WhatsApp? Perhaps we could run a stripped down Android in LXC for a few apps like this?


It won’t at release, unless someone steps in and makes it happen. It can in principle do anything, because it’s a programmable computer. But again, if you want to run it with Android in LXC, then that’s something you have to figure out yourself. I think it would be cool, you could even start now on your desktop.


Supporting WhatsApp seems pretty important for usability. One way I could imagine it is some service running Android WhatsApp in LXC, and then a native Librem WhatsApp client could run just like the WhatsApp Linux Desktop client.


@derptacious Most people want a Librem in order to avoid surveillance capitalism, namely Google and Facebook (including WhatsApp, Insta).

Convenience is the thing why people accept being exploited and privacy invaded.
See, I have a similar problem. I’d like to continue using Threema, but mainly because I convinced the people that matter to me to use it, as I never wanted anything from Facebook on my phone.

At one point, WA might run on the Librem 5. But why not use the time now and try to minimize your dependency on it? Start the Riot and get your peers into the Matrix (see what I did there? :grin:).
Your other option is to compromise your privacy forever, to save your peers from the inconvenience of installing a new app.
Given that you dislike walled gardens and care about privacy that much that a forum cookie worries you, you can’t seriously cling to WA.

Bonus thought:
The easier it will be to get WA on the Librem 5, the harder it will be for some users to make healthy life choices.


I would even add that if you make your own instance and de-GAFAMize yourself with your own services on your own home server (you also can get a distant server rent but I don’t trust these services) you probably might get more inconvenience but a whole more peace of mind, security and privacy. (BTW very nice joke, I love it :heart: )


is this relevant ? from purism’s standpoint what matters is that people want to use free software and accept some compromises (in the baseband mainly) in order to inspire a global 100% free infrastructure - in the future. anything else is falling short and will not save us …

healthy - er


I strongly disagree. You don’t need to make things harder to do. People doxxing themselves by posting information online can happen on a Librem 5 - should we try to stop that too? Making Librem harder to use on purpose reduces the audience and therefore makes it a much weaker platform.

Anyway, this type of thing has been discussed for decades - so I’d prefer not to get into it. If someone wants to discuss how to run their daily-required software in a LXC on Librem, then there’s no reason why you should interject with why they shouldn’t I think. I think a “perfect platform” where nothing mainstream runs is the perfect controlled opposition to iOS and Android. If that’s the way things go down, then it will be very unfortunate.

“Convenience is the thing why people accept being exploited and privacy invaded.” – Convenience is not the cause. Privacy is way more convenient than non-privacy. has been hacked a lot…


@derptacious i think you misunderstood what Caliga was implying in a covert op way.

he said “the harder it will be for SOME users to make choices” he didn’t mean that ALL users will be prevented from choosing.

for example - take a diabetic who has clear interdictions from his medic regarding SOME culinary delights. he desperately tries to fight the urges to eat those delightful things but he can’t. why ? because each day he is bombarded with the same stuff everybody else likes and those things are known by the big supermarkets and advertising firms - they just don’t care about WHAT it is they are selling as long as it makes a big PROFIT.

now we as free software advocates are NOT against PROFIT but we are against tirany - even if SO FAR - it barely shows it’s fangs.


Fair, no better way to fight tyranny than providing everyone’s favorite messenger client on a anti-tyranny platform in a sandbox :slight_smile: