Current state of Librem 5 usability?

Yes, as @fsflover implies, also depending on the state of the kill switches. So I should clarify … for me, with nothing killed i.e. modem on, WiFi on, mic/cam on - but with the screen off except when being used. That might not be a typical usage pattern, since for most people when they are out and about, and away from charging opportunities, they could (and generally should!) kill the WiFi - and that will increase the time between charges.

To be honest I am not sure what setting I have for WiFi power save mode but that too would influence the result for me.

And it will depend on the selected screen brightness, either explicit or automatic, for the times when the screen is on.

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So I am not trying to be a jerk, but I have to ask. Why bother when this is so far away from AOSP that it will likely be years before the Librem 5 approaches anything even comparable?

I totally understand the other aspects of Purism and supporting a small business and not really trying to crap on them. But, is this something really for enthusiasts or what?

Once the L5 has a few key issues resolved, such as working suspend-to-RAM and disabling the second microphone, I expect that it will be good enough to be my daily driver, but I live in a place where 3G is going to stay around for a long time. It sounds like getting VoLTE support with many carriers is a tricky issue, and there is a lot of dev work still required for using OpenPGP cards to get end-to-end encryption through Calls and Chatty.

However, ordering the L5 now is an investment in the future, since it will take roughly a year to ship according to the Purism web site. There are a lot of long-term benefits to having a phone which is based on a software ecosystem that has very little malware, spyware was never part of the business model, lifetime software updates means being able to keep using recent kernels, and you have access to the Linux command line, a convergent desktop PC and all the standard Linux software.

I do worry about the long term effects of Surveillance Capitalism and whether it will be an enabler of 1984-style totalitarianism. Yes, installing AOSP and F-Droid can help limit the collection of your personal data, but after going through the pain of installing AOSP on many different phones, I am convinced that 99% of the world will never bother. If we want a world where normal people aren’t exploited by their devices through data collection and entrapment in walled gardens, we need to create a mobile Linux ecosystem that can become a viable alternative to Android and iOS for normal people. I see Purism doing the dev work to make that possible.

AOSP does little to solve planned obsolescence, which has a large environmental impact and creates economic problems for people who can’t afford to buy a new phone every couple years. I don’t think that the L5 has a good enough processing power to have a 10 year lifespan, but I can see a Linux phone based on a downclocked RK3588 lasting that long. If the Linux phone market becomes a viable market segment, it is likely that some chip makers will start catering to the mobile Linux market, so we have more powerful options than the i.MX Quad/Plus, A64, RK3399S and RK3566 in the future. Right now Snapdragon, Exynos, Dimensity, Tiger and Kirin don’t even offer Linux support. As the Linux phone market expands, however, I think it likely that the leading-edge mobile chipmakers will start offering competitive chips for Linux, because the potential market is enormous and there are benefits to the phone makers when they break free of Google’s grip. See:


Frankly, after reading the FAQ (which are not updated), the Fairphone 4 with /e/ OS solves most of these issues. There is a 5 year warranty and planned obsolesce is not much of an issue.

The whole way I found about Purism was exactly because of the big tech issue. I have used linux in the past and having to be forced into Apple for work purposes has made me hate them more than ever. BUT… (there is always that big hairy evil BUT)…They make amazing phones and the software integration is second to none.

If linux can approach this, which for laptops would not be much of an issue, then it would most certainly rival it. I can see with the laptops, that this is the case, especially with PureOS.

I do not mind paying the $1200 (~$1400 in my case). I do not mind the dated look of the phone. But, I do mind the functionality. Because while the specs of the phone itself are fine as I am not a power user, by the time the phone is functional to at least a standard level from software updates, the hardware will have to be replaced.

Then, this brings up the question of if the next iteration of software will support the next iteration of hardware and if Purism can break this doom loop. That alone will break the project. Do not get me wrong, I LOVE my Librem 14 and LOVE that I am supporting a smaller company, but we also have to be honest here, which Purism most certainly is candid.

We are in a world now where not only the issue of big tech and planned obsolescence is an issue, but also supply chain problems. So even if you had a phone with a removable battery, who knows if you could get it. This is my whole reasoning for being interested in the Fairphone 4. It is modular and the parts are as replaceable as can be given the state of things. It is quite amazing. Frankly, from the hardware perspective Purism could learn a lot from the Fairphone 4.

I would much rather prefer to stick with Purism because they truly do understand security to the hardware level, whereas Fairphone probably does not.

Given your linked Q mentions Fairphone, I guess what I mentioned about FP makes sense. If FP could use PureOS and that OS worked even 80% as good as today’s mobile OSes, I would switch. I might even make more concessions.

Worth mentioning again: Librem 5 Capabilities That No Other Phone Has

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That sounds like a red rag to a bull :slight_smile:, as @amosbatto is the (primary) maintainer of the Librem 5 FAQ. If there is any specific question that you think has an answer that is out of date then you should mention the details here.

Only if it has developed a fault.

The idea that old hardware always has to be discarded (replaced) is something that phone manufacturers push, ably supported by software manufacturers who drop support for older models.

Linux tends to be a little less troublesome in that regard, since there aren’t the commercial incentives to drop support.

However as Amos alludes to in his previous post, external factors (in that case VoLTE) can drive obsolescence even where the hardware is otherwise usable. (VoLTE isn’t necessarily a problem but there may be a fair bit of fighting MNOs/MVNOs before VoLTE works everywhere in the world.)

Along similar lines, for power users, external factors relating to peripherals could be a factor e.g. computer (phone or not) may only support USB 3.0 and then USB 4.0 becomes ubiquitous.


Yes, there has been a big increase in the time that Android/AOSP phones can be supported since Qualcomm and Google made this announcement in Dec. 2020:

Google and Qualcomm are teaming up to enable a longer support window for flagship Android smartphones. Qualcomm, with Google’s help, will now support its chipsets for three years of major OS updates and four years of security updates, enabling a better-than-Pixel level for all future Android phones, provided your OEM is willing to cooperate. This policy is starting with the flagship Snapdragon 888, but even lower-end chips will be supported.

However, what is not being promised is any upgrades of the kernel for Qualcomm processors, so that puts a hard limit on how long Android/AOSP phones can be supported. Samsung made a similar announcement in Aug. 2020 that its flagship models (S/Note/Z) starting with the Note 20 and Z Fold 2 would get 3 years of Android upgrades.

You may get lucky with a phone like the LG G2 because the LineageOS maintainers figured out how to keep upgrading AOSP, but that generally doesn’t happen with most phone models. (I don’t know if they figured out how to upgrade the kernel on the G2 or just run new AOSP versions on a really old kernel in the G2.)

Google provides security updates for two years for each version of Android, so if the phone OEM (or the carrier) decides to not offer Android upgrades, the phone is effectively limited to a 2 year lifespan, and many phones, especially mid-range and lower-end models aren’t getting Android upgrades.

However, even if you have a good phone manufacture or you have a model where you can install AOSP on your own, the lifespan of the phone will still be limited because the major mobile SoC manufacturers (Qualcomm, Samsung, MediaTek, UNISOC, Huawei/HiSilicon and Google) generally don’t support new Linux kernel versions for their processors, so you are stuck with the same kernel for the life of the phone.

Each version of Android/AOSP only supports 3 LTS kernels. For example Android 12 supports Linux 4.19, 5.4 and 5.10. If you buy a phone like the Google Pixel 6, you will get Android 13 and 14 upgrades in the future, but you will still be using the Linux 5.10 kernel, and Linux 5.10 won’t be supported in Android/AOSP 15, so no further upgrading is possible.

Fairphone 4 (FP4) is doing something special because Fairphone is promising that it be supported by postmarketOS and Fairphone is saying that the phone will be supported by mainline Linux, so it won’t be limited to just Android 11->12->13 like a normal phone. Maybe Fairphone secured a promise from Qualcomm that it will offer kernel upgrades for the Snapdragon 750G or maybe Fairphone plans to compile its own kernel so it is possible to upgrade to Android 14 in the FP4. Given the problems with the FP2 and its support ending after 4 years, I await to see how Fairphone supports the FP4 till 2027, but I give Fairphone a lot of credit for collaborating with /e/ and postmarketOS, so there are AOSP and Linux options for the FF4.

Modularity in a phone only makes sense if modularizing components which are liable to break or can be upgraded–otherwise modularity only adds extra to the environmental and economic cost of the phone. With the Fairphone 2/3, there was a module to upgrade the camera, and the USB port and 3.5mm audio jack were modularized, which is important because they are liable to break, but I don’t see much utility in the other modules in the Fairphone. The FP4 gets rid of the 3.5mm audio jack (which makes most people’s headphones obsolete), and I doubt that Fairphone will offer a camera upgrade module for the FP4, since there isn’t much point to having over 48MP of camera resolution, even if the Snapdragon 750G can support up to 192MP.

The L5 has modularity in the battery, USB-C port (on a separate PCB), WiFi/BT, cellular modem. Being able to change the cellular modem allows you move to new regions of the world and support new LTE bands, which is not possible with the FP4 which is limited to just European bands and has the modem incorporated into the SoC, so it can’t be changed.

If you live in Europe, I think that the FP4 is the best Android phone that you can buy, because it will be supported by mainline Linux and postmarketOS to escape planned obsolescence, and it has good enough hardware to be a useful device for a long time. However, buying the FP4 won’t help pay for dev work on mobile Linux like buying the L5. If the goal is long-term change of the mobile industry and trying to tackle the problems of planned obsolescence and Surveillance Capitalism, there are good reasons to support the development of Linux, whereas AOSP isn’t a good vehicle for promoting change in my opinion.


I was in no way trying to seem like a jerk and shine light on anything. The FAQ is highly detailed and there is a lot of information there and some of it very, very detailed.

Where is the info about the FP4 and linux support? Are there any details about what kind of linux OS, etc?

If I am being honest, I am much more willing to support the project in almost any other means than by purchasing something I won’t use. Surveillance Capitalism is something I am against for sure. I was just curious what major plans the Librem 5 had in store.

Aside from donating, buying the phone (I’ve got a librem 14), and being a dev, what other ways are there to support the progress of this?

Spread the word? :slight_smile:


Try Signal Desktop from here. It has at least one annoying bug, but it is usable. I think that you have to set your display scaling to 100% to do the initial setup.
For more details see also: Building and running Signal Desktop on the Librem 5

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A good question to add to the FAQ actually.

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Basically you can follow what Luca Weiss submits to the Linux kernel mailing list, as he works for Fairphone on mainline Linux.

You can also follow postmarketOS, e.g. on the device page, or look through merge request on postmarketOS’s gitlab.

Also Mobian has announced they are going to support the FP4 eventually. I am pretty sure it will show up on this wiki page once Mobian will support it.

Assuming I won’t stop doing what I’ve been doing since mid 2020, you might also find out about Fairphone 4 Linux progress in my weekly updates.

BTW: I wrote this on a Librem 5 docked to an HP Elite X3 Lap Dock - while it’s still a bit lackluster here and there (manual camera only, battery life), it’s definitely quite nice in convergence mode.


Porting the FP4 to postmarketOS Linux has barely started, and the FP4 will use a Linux kernel (as opposed to an Android kernel with libhybris inside. /e/ Solutions sells FP4 with /e/ (an AOSP derivative) preinstalled.

For the next Librem 5, see:
@nicole.faerber also said that it is planning on releasing a tablet which will probably be based on the i.MX 8M Quad (like the Librem 5).

  • Choose a desktop Linux application and work on making its interface adaptive so it works on mobile devices. It it uses Qt, add Kirigami classes. If it uses GTK, work on adding libhandy and/or libadwaita classes.

  • Get involved in one of mobile projects, such as Phosh, KDE Plasma Mobile, UBports, Mobian, postmarketOS, etc. There a whole bunch of mobile applications that need work.

  • Buy the PinePhone, which is currently shipping and only costs $150/$200, so that you can help test/debug/develop mobile Linux.


I doubt the general user cares or knows much about security patches or OS version and would throw away the phone because of that.

Given a choice between a partially functioning OS and one that functions fine without updates…guess which one most are likely to choose. I am fine waiting with an outdated OS until linux is working well enough to use it. It is the modularity and repairability that I am after. When the time comes, the switch shouldn’t be that big of a deal, especially since data can be easily exported/important with a removable card.

… until the phone gets pwned.

I think the way it will work is that the majority of people who are running vulnerable phones will get away with it and a small minority will end up paying far more than the cost of junking the phone. So people are prepared to take the risk of being in the latter category.

A business may not be prepared to take that risk because there can be consequences for such negligence or even recklessness that go well beyond one phone.

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Thanks, that worked! I can even make calls and receive video. The camera of the L5 is not recognized by signal, but thats not important in my case.

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Current state of Librem 5 usability?

I would say it is getting better all the time. But there are many things which have to get better. 4G, screen-off-time, camera, gps, only to name a few.

But I do not regret buying the Librem5.


I like this small update to phosh:

Sometimes it’s the little things. Nice work, team!