Elementary gestures like context menus? - and other first impressions

On day two of holding a Librem 5 in my hands, I feel like a total noob, like I never felt for several decades now :slight_smile:

Maybe the biggest surprise: while I can see that several applications offer significant features via context menus, I was never able to select any of the menu options.
Example: in Geary I saw an email address marked as a link ready for composing a new message, but I didn’t want to reply but rather create a new contact from it. So I press longer on the link, and a menu pops up, offering to copy the address - which sounded acceptable for my task. Problem: While I press on the link, there’s no way to select, but once I lift that finger, the menu is gone. Huh?

Next I tried to mark some text, because I saw the option to copy the selection, but I even failed to mark (e.g., in an address field of Geary).

I might add, I never was a heavy user of any mainstream smartphone, so perhaps these are things “everybody” just knows, but I’d be grateful for any link that explains the basic set of universal gestures in this environment.


PS: As this is about my first encounter with this phone, some fresh general comments:

  • First screen asked me for a disk decryption passphrase, since I was not informed about this I was a bit shocked. (problem was swiftly resolved by support).
  • bulkier than I expected
  • the general UI looks sleek
  • battery didn’t live to wake me up in the morning (fully charged, phone totally idle)
  • connecting to nextCloud and then installing Gnome Calendar was swifter than I expected, all my appointments appeared immediately.
  • camera support: I see it’s preview, but even if I would learn the wizardry to manually select the optimal settings, I don’t see how I could ever create a picture that I could show to anybody without big embarrassment.
  • once trying to close the camera application (which “idled” at 100% cpu as per Usage view) caused an immediate reboot. System came back with minimal screen brightness, tough to enter all the passcodes etc.
  • Initially, PureOS Store showed not a single application. After many attempts eventually applications appeared. Was it reading a catalog in the background? Without any feedback about this?
  • At some point (after some software update and reboot) the Wifi adapter was no longer recognized. Turned out it was disabled in the Power settings, while the Wifi settings kept silent about this.
  • I have a contacts file on my SD card, but the Contacts application has no way to import it?
  • Yesterday I was offered to install vlc, which failed with some unavailable package. Today it’s not even offered any more. -> is there anything that can show a video?
  • Having a true bash terminal gave for one spot on the phone where I was not confused :slight_smile:

Oops. In our defense, we keep getting better!

What do you mean by that? Are the colors off?

There’s still a lot of work needed on the camera. The hardware needs to get better tuned, among other things.

I guess pretty much all of your experience is to be expected. E.g. the context menu thing. That just doesn’t really work yet. Like most of your other points, we can hope for improvement.
About the contacts, try this: https://source.puri.sm/Librem5/community-wiki/-/wikis/Tips%20&%20Tricks#contacts
My videos open in mpv if I tap them in files.
vlc can be installed via command line. The store only shows mobile optimized apps.
On the camera, I’d say Gain is the most important setting.


Hi, Stephan.

I was tripped up in the beginning, too. Then I realized that the gestures and actions in phosh (phone shell, the mobile-adaptive version of PureOS), are different from Android and iOS. It gets easier quickly.

This thread might help with some of the copy/paste issues: Terminal to clipboard

In addition to the entire Tips & Tricks wiki that @Caliga linked, you may also want to take a look at:

Here are some apps that work reasonably well, most of which are not yet in the short, curated list in the store:

Edit: BTW, most of the Tips & Tricks were written with the previous amber repository apps in mind. Your phone is probably already on byzantium repo, so a few things might be slightly different now.


[camera] … Are the colors off?

First I could hardly see anything when trying to take pictures indoor (much gain needed, took a while until I found the slider :slight_smile: ), and all that I managed to see had fancy colors. Then (trying outdoors) I had trouble getting a clear focus, and in the end all that I achieved looked very grainy (on a rainy day that is).
Using the sliders was also of limited use, because what I saw while adjusting sliders did not really correspond to the resulting picture (the latter was significantly brighter).

Please take all this with a grain of salt, as I realize that the effect of ‘wow what a brilliant picture’ can only be achieved if all parameters are about perfectly tuned.

E.g. the context menu thing. That just doesn’t really work yet.


About the contacts, try this: https://source.puri.sm/Librem5/community-wiki/-/wikis/Tips%20&%20Tricks#contacts

Thanks a lot! This worked smoothly.

Actually the Tips&Tricks wiki page looks like smth worth mentioning more prominently, perhaps even in the quick start guide (which needs an update for the encrypted disk anyway …).

My videos open in mpv if I tap them in files.

When I tapped an mp4, no suitable program was found but I was offered to install something from a long list of matching applications. I selected dragon player and it does the job, even though not adapted for the small screen. Apparently on this workflow (starting from nautilus) the filter for mobile optimized applications is not active.

On the camera, I’d say Gain is the most important setting.

Right, raising this a lot lets me see something at least :slight_smile:


On the earlier version of the camera app, I have to crank the phone’s brightness to max to see an image in the camera app, even before adjusting the gain in the app. Not sure if this has been improved in your version of the app.

(Just to clarify, the phone’s brightness has nothing to do with taking a photo or the photographic results, only improving the ability to view the camera app’s screen.)

Lots of interesting comments. I’ll ask follow-up questions there.

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FWIW dragon player is a KDE app (whereas you use Gnome). That might actually not mean much, but I’ve always been a fan of VLC myself.

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The VLC flatpak works pretty well, at least on amber: VLC (flatpak version) on L5

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Stephan, check out https://social.librem.one/tags/shotonlibrem5 to view lots of cool photos made with the Librem 5, including @dos’s most excellent collection of…“kittycisms”…er, “catechisms” … er… Well, you’ll see.

(Dos, feel free to use one of those for the title of the book I hope you publish one day. On me! :rofl:)


IIRC those images might have been post-processed from the raw data after transferring the raw images to another computer. @dos can clarify…


Most of them, yes. I’m writing a blog post detailing my process there.


That’s how it works at the moment anyway. The Librem 5 gets the raw image and post-processes it, producing ultimately a JPEG. So the only real difference is the available horsepower. Do it on the Librem 5. Or do it on your desktop / laptop.

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Did you use default driver with RGBG8888 data or do you have some experimental 12-bpp per component driver/setup? Because I expect that there is significant potential for future improvement of the quality and high exposition rage photos. I understand that full driver support takes time and can be work for year or two and basic 8-bit functionality is enough for now. So it is my curiosity, because main camera sensor seems quit capable.

The big cam is still only using 8-bit depth, and that’s how these photos were made.

Interestingly, it did work for me a few times: in rare occasions, a long press followed by release kept the menu open, and with a second press I could select an option.

I don’t know which layer translates the long press into smth like a right click, but if that layer would just wait a little (200ms?) after sending the right click, then it could understand the release just as part of the right-click gesture, not as a separate release event, and the menu should reliably remain open. I.e., you’d have to wait until the menu pops up and then quickly release within the threshold. Or the release could even be ignored completely.

Any hints on which code would be responsible?

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Alright, I found that xev only sees one button, no matter how long I press. So it doesn’t seem to be a low lever driver thing. Which module then translates a long press into a right click or anything that triggers the context menu? I might give it a shot to tweak that module, if only I knew which :slight_smile:

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Unfortunately no improvement here. Upping the phone’s brightness helps a bit to check the result while adjusting the sliders, thanks for the hint.

Today with a bit more daylight I still wished the app had a slider to increase the contrast. Pictures just look dull and grainy.

It seems the problem of context menus has stalled somewhere between phoc and gtk.
We have

The latter is said to be a gtk bug, but it’s unknown if it ever has been filed on their side.

QUESTION: Is it only me thinking that context menus are a must have? To me it feels like about every app is crippled by the lack of them. Are all apps using context menus being re-written to use different ways of interaction? How do you open a link in a new browser tab? How do you invoke CCP in just every app? …

I would be willing to help debug the issue, but since this is not my area of expertise I would at least need some pointers to the code involved. As of now I wouldn’t even know how to describe the problem to gtk folks so they could look into it.