Daily Driver: Pinephone Mobian vs. Librem 5

Android is killing me and no Librem 5 yet (really hoping the fundraising will help). So, I moved my Mint Mobile SIM to my Pinephone and am using it as my daily driver. Yes, it’s painful, but I hope it illustrates the friction points. I also hope Evergreen users will compare/contrast their experience with mine, as I strongly suspect that the software is more advanced and reliable than on Mobian.

Phone calls work on Mobian, but everyone tells me that I sound like I’m in a wind tunnel. Many people just hang up on me.

Gnome-calls does not resolve phone numbers to contacts.

SMS works, but MMS clogs the Chats incoming queue. No errors, but nothing comes in. If I delete the iffending message thread (the one that received the MMS message), then have the sender send an SMS message, the clog clears and the queued messages all roll in at once. Since I usually have no way to know who clogged my queue, that is not much use. However, if I start the Modem Manager GUI, then select SMS, the clog clears.

Email is worthless. Every client I’ve tried – including Evolution and Geary – is super clunky and almost impossible to use due to forms not fitting on the screen. SMTP support is poor or nonexistent.

Gnome Podcasts fails to update RSS feeds reliably and often locks up phosh.

Gpodder, which is my goto on my PC, is just too painful to use because there is no integrated player. External players don’t remember where to start unfinished podcasts when restarted. Way too hard to use whilst driving.

I’ve settled on Kasts. It updates feeds pretty well and fits great on the screen. However if you work it too hard, it starts to flash and becomes unresponsive, even while audio continues to play. I can reliably put it into this state merely by scrolling down my long list of subscribed feeds. On the bright side, it almost always lets me kill it from the phosh task switcher. Real slow to restart, but it comes back up to where I left off. Most usable podcatcher so far.

Finally, Mobian just seems to randomly lock up sometimes. I trust PureOS is past that sort of thing.

I am almost literally salivating in anticipation on my Evergreen!


What do you mean by that? You cannot send emails?

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I think this works as intended on the Librem 5. In fact, I have the opposite complaint: Calls does resolve phone numbers to contacts, which means that if I have a contact with more than one phone number, I can’t tell which number my contact called from.

Same on the Librem 5. MMS support is coming though and perhaps that functionality will apply across both phones.

I’m not finding that on the Librem 5. Geary operates well. I use it every day, mostly receiving though. I was able to send email using SMTP. In other words, SMTP works for me.

(I even had the situation that the SMTP server had changed between now, when I just tested it, and when I previously tested it. Geary carefully preserved the failed-to-send message. I closed Geary, updated the SMTP config, and started Geary again. It then picked up attempting to send the email and finished the job. So there’s even a bit of robustness in the face of “bad user on device”.)

Lockups are at worst very occasional. I may have had one or two in the whole of this calendar year. It’s certainly not something that jumps out as a problem so yes I would say “past that sort of thing”.

There are certainly bugs and there are certainly functional gaps - and I do concede that after a while, one can become blind to them i.e. they become just part of the landscape.


there are some patches to make gpodder mor mobile friendly:

And there is an (unofficial???) libhandy port made by someone in the postmarketOS community

Work is being done to add MMS to chatty.

There can be many different factors at play there.

Which version are you using?


Try using a wired headset (this works on mobian)

This seems to be close on the librem 5 at least. Been watching this merge request that is about mms. It seems to be under constant development. Not sure when the dev is going to decide it’s good enough to merge.

I’ve been under the impression that mms no longer blocked new sms messages for some time though. Not sure why you’re having that issue.


I think we don’t have yet the correct sound config for a wired headset, so last time I checked, the microphone didn’t get picked up. But it was a while since then.

Indeed, the mic doesn’t work for a wired headset on the librem5, but it does work on the pinephone with mobian (I did this frequently before I got my Librem 5)

Apologies. I said SMTP, but I meant POP. Evolution does POP, but most stuff doesn’t fit on the screen – way too hard to use on the sofa, impossible whilst driving.

Geary fits the screen nicely, but doesn’t do POP!

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Nice. Now they just need to add the number to the displayed call and the call log.

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Gnome Podcasts 0.4.9

Wired headset is definitely the best experience for the other caller, but I tend to tangle the cable whilst driving. I really need Bluetooth or at least wired mic/aux. The echo cancellation and spacial filtering is working better on the L5, right?

If the L5 doesn’t block new SMS after a failed MMS, it will definitely do the trick until MMS is fixed. Much appreciated!

From all the responses I get the feeling that in almost every case the Librem is more feature complete than Mobian. Other threads point to that regarding navigation and camera, as well. That’s great news. My hope is that eventually the Pinephone catch up, either with Mobian or PureOS (even if I need non-FLOSS drivers/blobs. I’ll need a backup device in case I accidentally trash the Librem!

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There’s always the option of putting PureOS on the Pinephone. It’s been a while since I tried (got distracted while waiting on a cable to ship to interact with the UART to troubleshoot startup issues) but in theory should be possible. I do get the feeling, updating pretty much daily, that Mobian is lagging behind PureOS as far as package versions.

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It should be noted that the LIbrem 5 has it’s own issues at present. Currently the modem only supports 2g and 3g calling so no volte yet. Also taking pictures is painfull due to no autofocus/autogain/autoexposure.

If there is workable SIP/VOIP and noise/echo cancellation, I won’t miss VOLTE.

It is being worked on. That is still from a development version and stuff still needs to be done to solve a few issues and integrate with other parts of the stack, for example GNOME Contacts supporting storing SIP addresses as contacts so you can just lookup a SIP contact, press the call button, and magic happening.

You can follow the progress of the work with SIP here:

You can also check the merge requests here:

As for echo cancellation, others would be better suited to reply to that, I believe we are working on some improvements.


FWIW, VoIP in Calls uses the exact same echo cancellation solution (PulseAudio’s module-echo-cancel) as we do for modem audio.


My critique of SIP and echo cancellation apply only to Pinephone Mobian, as I don’t yet have a Librem 5. From what I can see, Mobian does no SIP whatsoever and does echo cancellation very poorly. If someone on the forum has both phones and can make a direct comparison, it would be very appreciated.

I ran into the same problem: very unhappy with email clients. My idea at the moment is to look into webmail clients. I’m using imap, so I can’t specifically say whether it helps for your pop3 problem, but I found rainloop to be a nice client, which - so far in my experience and for my use case - lacks only one feature: not marking emails as read once viewed. My work flow since years is that I do mark them manually as read, when I’m done with them.

My initial idea has been to have the webmail client somewhere in my internal network which I can reach via vpn, but I’m already thinking about a setup where I’d install the client locally on the phone, but didn’t try, yet.

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Ah, yes. I should have said: I am using IMAP with Geary. (The fact that it only does IMAP means that I am only accessing some of my accounts from the Librem 5. I can live with that for now …)

If Geary doesn’t eventually grow POP support, I was thinking of putting in a POP-to-IMAP bridge … one day. :wink:

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