Bulk configuration of new Librem 5 phones

I currently have several iPhones in my household and one of the things I have grown to hate is configuring them all thru the GUI to be relatively identical. For example:

  • I have to load (or remove) apps
  • Move things around on the home screens
  • Turn on restrictions for my kids and configure them
  • Go thru various settings and set them correctly

It gets so tedious. I long for a set of files that I can just copy to each phone that configures it identically. For example:

  • Text files copied somewhere like “/home/user” or “/etc”
  • Shell scripts I can write that can install apps

I have done this sort of thing so frequently with various linux systems I have setup, that I have all my standard files in a git repo. To set things up, I clone the repo and point symlinks to it (e.g. ln -s $HOME/repo/.bashrc $HOME/.bashrc). It would be so nice to be able to do things like this to configure the Librem 5 phone.

Is any effort being put into simplifying repeated configuration?

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Given the Librem 5 will run Linux, you should be able to do the exact same thing. Have a script run through all the apps you want and apt install them, point your .bashrc file to your repo version, and whatever else. Some tweaks may be necessary for some of it, but I don’t see any reason the core functionality should change at all.


That’s partly what I was hoping for, but a lot of the problem comes down to apps. Apps that use binary-based formats for configuration are harder to bulk configure because:

  • You have to spend time figuring out what files matter
  • You don’t know what’s in the binary so you might be creating inconsistencies when copying to other phones
  • Storing binary configuration files in git is possible but it complicates things

It’s been a while since I did this, but if I recall, the Xfce desktop environment stored its configuration files in such a way that the only way to set them up was to issue various “xfconf-query” commands (assuming you spend the time to figure out the syntax of the commands). At the time, I made it work, but it would have been much easier if there were simple text files to configure it.

So a better question would be, is any effort being put into simplifying repeated configuration, including configuration of apps?

I’m not aware of anything specific planned. It’s possible that there is something filed in the Apps_Issues project that might do what you are looking for.

As @taylor-williamc says, the phone will run Linux. That means many of the familiar tools and utilities that you can use on other GNU/Linux systems will be available. So, it might be worth looking into synchronization and orchestration systems to perform the bulk configuration task you want. It becomes less of a “how to configure phones” and more of a “how to configure systems” question. :smile:

the best option would be for multiple Librem ( laptops and phones ) to be able to comunicate locally via wify/bt/nfc and make this changes easily through normal txt files that can be easily configured and synced locally (ONLY)

I’m imagining that I would install an SSH key on each device and then use it to ssh in to run commands. Then only I would be able to access the devices this way.

To install the keys in the first place, there would need to be a GUI setting to enable the ssh daemon and configure it with a user/password. Then I could subsequently disable login except with a key.