Default OS or Alt OS? - Librem 5 Phone

I would imagine that the Librem 5 will ship with the default Pure OS on the phone. However, for those of us who are getting the phone wanting Plasma Mobile or Ubuntu Touch as the OS of choice, will they have to be installed by the user or will users have the option to pick their default OS before the phone ships?


I was wondering this same thing. I’m also curious how difficult it will be to flash different OS on it because I saw the Fedora icon and thought it would be so cool to have the same mobile OS as my computers.

I assume that we will be able to pick the preinstalled image.
I think we can expect an experience that is much closer to (Librem) laptops than to (Android) smartphones. So, you don’t “flash” it, you boot from USB and have a linuxy installer. I would even hope we can have like “Live-sticks”, you just insert them and test whether you like it.
Although I’m really a KDE fanboy, I kinda went from 100% certain I want plasma mobile to more like 50% :wink:
At least I wanna try both.
Would be extra cool if the shop had a “try the OS!” with a Flatpak-VM containing all OS images or something like this :slight_smile: This could actually also be a pretty good marketing instrument. Try it before you buy it :slight_smile:



I am assuming the same thing. However, I just thought it was worth talking about in the community. Being able to try different OSes would be a nice option. I will admit though that I am an Ubuntu Touch fan myself. :slight_smile: But try before you buy wouldn’t be too bad an idea. I wonder how visible that would be.

I too am wondering how this will work hopefully we will find out more soon.

How I see things working:

  • if the OS containts proprietary software - the user should install it himself
  • if the OS does not contain proprietary software - the user should be able to pre-install it on his/her device at checkout

I think anything beyond PureOS installed by Purism is on the user. Why would a small company take on the extra burden of pre-installing another OS when the customer can do that quite easily?

I would rather their energy focused on PureOS so that the experience there can continue to be improved.


I’m really keen to get to know, how other Linux OS could be installed and used on the librem 5 device, in the sense to have a working phone with such other distribution. I think Pure OS will come with a lot of special software (drivers for the radio chip, for example and apps) which are not part of a normal Debian or Ubuntu distribution.

How is this supposed to work?

Note that they used to pre-install Qubes in the past, and only stopped doing so as certification became to expensive, AFAIR.

Also note that it seems Plasma Mobile will be part of PureOS (as it should be). At least it’s worded that way in the UBports announcement.
So, the experience should be similar to switching to KDE on PureOS on the desktop.

It would be cool if the same thing was possible for UBports, like apt install ubports-*
For this to happen, it should be part of Debian, I guess.

Ulitimately, this would then not be a choice between OSes, but 2 or 3 desktop environments. While I think it would be smart from a marketing perspective to make this choice available in the shop, I doubt it will be.



I would hope that Purism would that make that clear sooner rather than later if the other OSes will be able to be selected before shipment. The fact that Purism has partnered with Plasma-mobile and UBports suggest that very possibility. Why partner with someone to work on a device together then not offer that partners software/OS as an option out of the box? Lastly I would not call it just a difference in desktop environments as there will be a difference in applications, stores and how they operate as well. I still would call them different OSes. At any rate I hope Purism will clear this up soon. As some people may be cool with installing their own OS of choice, I would prefer it pre-installed instead given the option. :slight_smile:

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Was there not a dev blog post about it being something the user gets to configure on first boot? :thinking: as in you turn it on and go through some setup which includes which de and such? I could have sworn I read that.


If you can find that and share it here that would be great. :sunglasses:

I’ll go hunting and see what I can find. I hope I wasn’t just dreaming or thinking it really hard… :crazy_face:
[Edit] ok, so I’m still looking. But I might have just made it up in my mind after reading This post


Ah okay. So the impression is that you are able to select the one you want before shipping. :sunglasses:

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Hm… let me quote that post:

“Having Ubuntu Touch working by default…”

"While the Librem 5 will ship with […] PureOS by default, utilizing GNOME across all devices, Purism will support customers who want to easily install Ubuntu Touch

I read this as:

  • shipped with PureOS Gnome
  • apt install plasma-* for Plasma Mobile (in perfect alignment with their laptops)
  • follow instructions to install an UBports image

While I’d still prefer having a pre-shipping selection, I could understand limiting their scope in that way.
It does not even exclude the possibility of having Plasma or UBports preinstalled.
IMO, it would make a ton of sense if these projects would offer the Librem 5 on their webpages with their own images.

Esentially, it would be a win-win-win-win situation:
Purism expands their reach/visibility, increases order quantity / lowers production cost,
Plasma / UBports are in direct control of their babies (images) and gain some funding by selling hardware,
users have a choice.



Okay, well than…if we can get just get confirmation either way. It would be great :slight_smile:

Personally, I don’t think it would be a win win win at all.

I think it would be a support nightmare for Purism. You folks are comfortable with the the details and would most likely be able to swap the OS as you wish, but the average customer this phone is marketed to, is not.

As I said before, I’d really like it if Purism could focus on creating new products and continuing to make it possible for us to reclaim our digital privacy. They can’t do that if they are overwhelmed with support requests because customers screwed up installing their OS.


Hm, you seem to take that out of context, or you read to hastily…

If phones with 3rd party OS are sold by third parties, as I argued, then Purism is neither liable, nor are they the 1st address a customer would bother. To the contrary, it would relieve the support burden for Purism. So, you can even call it win-win-win-win-win :yum:

(more phones built/sold, less support inquiries, funding for plasma, funding for UBports, happy customers with plenty of choices and freedoms)

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No you are right. 3rd party would be a winning scenario for sure. :+1:


i dont think so, its totally enough to say that purism only takes the responsibility for the installation but not supporting the result on sw side. its even possible to count a small fee for the time required for such installations, not like it would be a big deal to copy an image on the storage… basically the sold phone makes the money and other projects gotta be happy to have a nice hw around and will advertise it and generate more profit.