Do we have space for more librem 5 reports/reviews?

I have been daily driving the l5 for a little over 1 week. Before this I doubted my sim card would stay in more than a day. But the experience has been to darn fun, although annoying at times.

My biggest problem and annoyance was having to bring a second, android phone. It is not fun looking after, and having to charge an extra device. This is not the fault of linux phones, but how I have developed a “real” dependence on the android ecosystem. For instance, I “need” the phone for phone tickets. I take the train to work, and have an existing monthly ticket only accessible in an android or ios app. The alternative is to purchase a physical plastic card for ticket validation.

I have somewhat solved the problem of bringing two phones. Now, my android phone is staying at home, connected to my desktop PC via USB. On the go with my L5 I can ssh -X into my desktop, and run scrcpy. This lets me use the android phone on the go, and even show tickets. This is super laggy, but it works for my purposes. Also it uses quite a lot of data. Newer versions of scrcpy (not yet in the pureOS repos) lets you connect to the android phone over LAN instead of USB, and it might be a better experience using wireguard into my home network than using ssh -X as of today.
*BTW, i found this command to work quite reliably over 4G:
scrcpy -b4M -m800 --max-fps 10 --stay-awake

Another annoyance I have is calls. They are not reliable for me, especially after enabling the experimental power saver mode. When in a call both parts can here each other fine, but the connection randomly cuts, and I often have to toggle the HW switch for the modem to get a connection and being able to call back. Also, I’ve been told people have tried reaching me, and I don’t see a missed call in the logs. This sucks. I am quite happy with my little journey of digital “self torture”, and enjoy trying to solve problems and tinkering to making the experience suit my needs, but I don’t enjoy when my choices affects people close to me in any negative way. Luckily, I’m in a position where calls are not that critical to me.
I have seen some talk of firmware upgrade for the BM818 modem, and some commands I can run to enable VoLTE. Are there any recent instructions I can follow? Also, should the proximity sensor disable the screen when the phone up to the ear? I keep hitting buttons if I don’t manually lock the screen, and then again if I adjust the volume with the volume buttons

One smaller annoyance is the alarm sound. The alarms have been 100% reliable this far, which is very good, but I simply don’t like a stressful alarm sound when I wake up. I haven’t found a setting for this anywhere, so I might have to change it from terminal. Also, the timer seems to stop when going into suspend.
Can I change the alarm sound anywhere?

It is easy to think of all the problems one faces when writing about a product, but generally the experience with a linux phone has been quite good in many aspects. Generally, most things that I previously have used a phone for can be done in the web browser. Luckily, the browser works quite well, and it is great to be able to install adons such as ublock origin. I also like the hardware, and the screen is nice. The battery has been tolerable using automatic suspend. It is also really good to have the HW toggles.

Keep up the good work, Purism!


I would say there is always more room for more reviews because everyone has different needs and solutions. For instance, I never would have thought about using ssh and scrcpy to access my android phone if I needed it!

There are certainly some small annoyances, but the critical stuff of phone calls, SMS, and internet are enough for me to run with it as a daily driver.


I have discovered scrcpy :crazy_face: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:
Thanks @krimskrams


Can I change the alarm sound anywhere?

It’s a matter of changing alarm-clock-elapsed in the sound theme. It’s usually done by overriding things in .local/share/sounds/__custom/. See . Making this configurable via the UI is on the (long) todo list, if somebody wants to hack on that, let me know.


You would want to confirm whether your mobile provider is actually using VoLTE.

I think the commands to enable VoLTE in the BM818 modem have not changed.

It seems you might in some cases need to upgrade firmware in order for VoLTE to work - but first things first.

My provider uses VoLTE. I installed the latest bm818-tools app, and calls have been reliable after this, but time will tell. I am not sure how to update the firmware of the modem though.

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Thanks for the info. I will probably not change default alarm sound many times, so it is enough to do it once from the terminal for me. It worked fine to move a new alarm sound I wanted to /usr/share/sounds/freedesktop/stereo, and rename it alarm-clock-elapsed.ogg.

Anyone looking for a more calm alarm sound, I can recommend one of the default alarm sounds in android called “Argon”. I sent it over from my android phone running a free android OS, but I am apparently not allowed to upload .ogg-files here.

If calls are reliable then you wouldn’t do the firmware update, at least not at the current time, because it would be “all risk” for “no benefit”. (Maybe in the hypothetical future if the modem grows some interesting new functionality or fixes a significant security issue, people may want to update anyway.)

The benefit could be better volte support and better wakeup-from-suspend:


But not really if it’s already working. Wake-from-suspend, yes.

A small update on using scrcpy to controll android over ssh:
It works much better using ssh -XC
The C option makes ssh use compression. The data limit on scrcpy itself doesn’t seem to do much.