Bluetooth Keyboard

i can tell you for sure that on a ubuntu 19.04 install with an external bluetooth dongle (just-pop-it-in-a-usb-port-it-just-works). tested myself some time ago the new ‘Magic’ Apple bt keyboard before i got my uhk.

the only problem was that from time to time i got random disconnects. i had to pull the dongle out put it back in then restart the service so even the open-source non-deblobed parts have their quirks.

no need to make it ALL free-softwares fault. it just needs some TLC (tender-loving-care)

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I just canceled my purchase of a Librem 15, Librem 5, and Librem Key.

Instead, I’ll go through another upgrade cycle with Apple. Will check in on Purism and review its usability/practicality when I’m next ready to upgrade - perhaps 3 years from now.

I really respect what Purism is doing, but I don’t have the time or expertise required to hack these devices to make them usable for my purposes.

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Purism and Librem is a way of life - you do something you believe in.
Like all Linux stuff.
It is not Apple nor Google but in time everything turns out fine.
I use Librem because I support them
I have many frustrations with things but the goal is more important than my immediate minor needs.


Sad to see you go. But then again, 3 years is not so long a time. See you soon.


one is leaving and another is coming. I just asked for Librem 5 very excited about the project. At the moment Librem One complete on iOS.

Thanks & saludos,


I have (perhaps naively) sidestepped this problem on my Librem 13 by using a Bluetooth USB dongle. It definitely does not have a FLOSS driver, but it works for file transfer, keyboard, mouse, headphones, etc., and can plug/unplug it on the fly without any trouble. My only real question with regards to this stop-gap solution is what non-FLOSS it may be leaving on my Librem when it is not in use. Can anyone clue me in on how to find out?

A Bluetooth USB dongle shouldn’t put any proprietary software on the Librem 13. Your Bluetooth devices talk to the dongle, and the dongle translates the information to communicate regularly through the USB interface.

So the dongle acts like a translator :slightly_smiling_face:


Well, that’s what I had thought initially – but if that’s the case, why aren’t more people using a Bluetooth dongle? I’ll grant you, it would be better if the onboard Bluetooth just worked and was FLOSS, but the dongle is cheap (mine was US $12) and doesn’t even mess much with the physical profile of the computer (sticks out ~1 cm). Because it’s plug and play, it’s essentially the same as having a physical kill switch. If it’s not leaving bloatware in its wake or anything, where’s the downside?

Can you please post a link to the dongle and advise if there were other setup steps beside just plugging it in?

I am definitely not completely sure about this, but I think in principle, the Bluetooth dongle has some non-free firmware, etc, but which runs on the dongle. In an ideal world, that non-free-ness is contained to the dongle, and at least your PureOS system doesn’t include it. But in a non-ideal world, there may be security exploits that allow that non-free dongle to do malicious things.

But take all of that with a large grain of salt, because I’m speaking from vague memory of things I’ve seen discussed on these forums rather than from innate experience/knowledge.

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the way free-software is supposed to be from a gnu/fsf perspective is 100 % free of software blobs.
the way a linux kernel driver module works is it talks to the hardware firmware. now even if that “talking” part is non-blobed maybe the firmware itself is or it partially is so it’s refused by the RYF certification thus it can’t get into the linux-libre kernel but it can get into the linux kernel that ships with regular debian,ubuntu,linux-mint,fedora,suse,gentoo,arch, etc gnu/linux distributions that are non-veted by the FSF.

if you are not concerned with free-software and just want things to work no-matter-the-cost then use those distributions on ANY hardware …

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This was the product.
I am sorry to say that I can’t remember the setup steps, but they were potentially as simple as plugging in the device and typing in the name you wanted to use to identify the computer over Bluetooth (this is only done initially, not each time you plug it in). I don’t remember any complications, but do remember being actively surprised (suspicious?) at how easy it was. I have a Librem 13 v4, results could vary on other computers. Anyone with a different product care to give it a try?

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Seems like a reasonable solution for non-technical people.

Did your laptop come with any kind of instructions or note that explained the bluetooth situation and gave advice on how to get around it? Something like, “Hey, we know this is going to be inconvenient, but since we haven’t got any FOSS bluetooth software, you’re going to have to figure it out for yourself. Here are a few ways to do it, but we take no responsibility because we haven’t audited these products.”

NO. That is one of my major gripes with Purism so far. It’s pretty weasly marketing, in my opinion, to trumpet the fact that you have a physical kill switch for a bluetooth radio that doesn’t actually, in fact, well, “work” yet. They should definitely be more up-front about that. And if they don’t actually include a dongle, they should at least suggest one.
That being said, I have no doubt they’ll get there eventually, and then it will be nice to have the kill switch. I can also say that, a few fairly minor problems aside, My Librem 13 is the cleanest, easiest to use machine I have experienced in at least a decade. Yes, I spent time configuring it, but it was less time than I would have spent “de-configuring” the untidy mess of unasked for features that MacOS and Windows have become. I also find PureOS to be far and away the easiest Linux system to use and configure so far, but to be fair, I have only ever played with Ubuntu, Lubuntu and Xubuntu before.
As a caveat, I would also say that I am a little worried about what to do if something breaks out of warranty. I am wildly supportive of the fact that they are designing hardware that is easy to assemble/replace/swap parts on, but if those parts aren’t available, it’s kindof a moot point. They need to address that too.

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also - most internauts don’t really know what an “unasked” feature is so they tend to overlook a pretty sweet deal if it doesn’t hold any meaning to them… but we do strive to educate here on the forums as best we can.


Hey, @dlkr, did you ever try the bluetooth dongle? Mine is still working well, though I don’t actually use it that often. Just curious what other user experiences with it are like.

No… I decided to give up on Purism for the time being. I’m non-technical and so need something that “just works.” Too busy to figure everything out. Reluctantly sticking with my MacBook Pro for now…

hello, I’m considering trying to transfer my mac bluetooth keyboard and magic mouse onto my librem 15 which due to my desktop set up i would benefit from the bluetooth option, i still need to keep the mac for the odd work program . Just checking in case anyone else has tried that as yet with success.

Is there a dongle recommended by purism users or staff understanding and accepting any user takes their own security risk in doing so

Purism doesn’t recommend one, but I’ve been using this one for a while and it hasn’t given me any trouble. I have tested it and it worked well for bluetooth keyboard, but I mostly use it for file transfer. From what I’ve been given to understand, there is perhaps a minor security risk while using it, but it leaves no code on the laptop that could pose a persistent vulnerability. Anyone trying to use it to compromise your security would have to be within bluetooth range while you were actively using it. You may want to read the whole thread above, there’s more in there.

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thank you for reply , i may wait until the security issue is secured if that can be possible to occur