Frequently Asked Questions for the Librem 5

Your reading is strong :nerd_face: I’ve only managed to do spot checks.

In the question “Is the Librem 5 free/open hardware?” it’s already kinda explained what free means here, although I agree that “free” is a difficult term to use (… for instance it often seems to be like beer for some reason and that has never explained it to me [had to look that up] - doesn’t translate well). There is always a cost ("…or you’re the product").

Thank you for the amazing work. Some more nitpicks in case you don’t have other things to do (or in case I myself find time to do it some day later).

  1. Unncecessary repetition.

The tradeoff for using separate chips that can run on 100% free hardware (instead of a unified SoC), hardware kill switches and two M.2 cards with replaceable WiFi/Bluetooth and cellular modem is extra weight and thickness.

Here I would avoid the repetition, because these advantages are already written elsewhere. My suggestion is to replace it with:

This is a tradeoff necessary to provide the unique features of the phone.

  1. I would change the order of the questions (again) assuming that a reader does not know much about the phone and did not decide to buy it yet. For example, “Production Batch Questions” and “Questions about Buying and Shipping” are not what I would be interested in if I did not understand the advantages of the phone, i.e., “Privacy and Security Questions” and “Questions about Components and Functions”. Moreover, “Production Batch Questions” are probably only interesting to a tiny audience of tinkerers, and not to outsiders who will never get batches before Evergreen. Therefore the order could be like this:

General Questions
Questions about Components and Functions
Software and OS Questions
Privacy and Security Questions
Questions about Buying and Shipping
Production Batch Questions
Questions about Future Versions
Miscellaneous Questions

And remove the word “questions” fro the general topics

@kieran, I fixed the spelling errors, and changed some of the things that you mentioned. I think “SoC’s” is more understandable than “SoCs” and “better specced” makes sense to me. I changed “free hardware” to “free/open hardware” to make it clearer. Ideologically, I align closer to the FSF than OSI, but I agree with the OSI that “free” is a poor term because it has too many meanings and businesses can’t use the term when trying to sell a product.

@JR-Fi, I added numbering and got rid of “Questions” in the section headers. Please add additional questions for localization to the FAQ if you think more are needed. I would prefer to have a separate wiki page that covers everything dealing with localization/internationalization, but I don’t have the time/energy to create it right now.

@fsflover, I reordered the questions. I decided to keep the repetition, because I wanted to make it explicit what features added thickness and weight to the phone.

OK, I still would appreciate it if someone would proofread the text for me.


“dual microSD+SIM tray” could be construed as meaning that it supports two µSD cards, which I don’t think is correct. Maybe just “microSD+SIM tray” is better or “dual purpose microSD+SIM tray”.

“was not included in Mesa so it wasn’t possible to most of the ARM chips on the market” Verb missing? Use?

“expect that the Librem 5’s ability to charge other devices to be limited” Delete “that” or replace “to be” with “will be”?

“Most monitors and TVs which have a USB-C, DisplayPort or HDMI port” … a general point about correct English usage, which you may not care about, is that “that” is used to introduce a clause that qualifies (restricts) a noun, whereas “which” is used to introduce a parenthetical clause - and this sentence illustrates both. :slight_smile: So the quoted text should use “that”.

Is anyone stepping up to test the L5 with VGA? Ewww. :slight_smile:

“the DCSS video interface for DisplayPort” DCSS is mentioned a few times but none of them defines the term. It may be a bit niche to be assumed knowledge.

“NXP delayed in implementing the DCCS video interface in the mainline drivers” Unclear whether DCCS is something different or meant to be DCSS.

“its POWER9 processors are extremely power hunger” … “hunger” intended to be “hungry”?

“avoid most of the unneeded network traffic caused by surveillance Capitalism” … I would write that as “Surveillance Capitalism”. (At least two occurrences.) However that term should also be defined as it may not be familiar to readers who are just dipping their toes in the waters beyond the SC Duopoly.

“Facebook’s annual energy consumption increased from O.532 to 3.43 TWh between” Looks like there’s a rogue letter O (before .532) that should be a digit zero.

“cheaper alternative to Androd” Android (one other occurrence of ‘Androd’ at least)

“afficionados” You would know better than I but should that be spelled with one ‘f’?

“there has to be compelling reasons” have

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Measurements of the battery to be added. Allows for searching chargers.

@kieran, Thanks for taking the time to read the text. I made the changes you suggested or changed the text. According to Merriam Webster “afficionado” is an accepted spelling but “aficionado” is more common. I have always wondered about the difference between “that” and “which”, but as a native speaker I never bothered to investigate the difference. Wikipedia does not capitalize “surveillance capitalism,” which I assume is Shoshana Zuboff’s way of writing it, so I put it in lowercase and added a link to the Wikipedia’s article for people who are unfamiliar with the term. (At some point, I am going to have to read Zuboff’s book).

I better explained the Mesa support for GPUs:

There weren’t many choices in August 2017, when Purism started the crowdfunding for the Librem 5. The free Lima and PanFrost Gallium3D drivers for ARM’s Mali GPUs were not included in Mesa until release 19.1 in May 2019, so it wasn’t possible to use most of the ARM chips on the market at the time.

@JR-Fi, I added the battery dimensions to the question about battery life.


Thank you again for the great FAQ, it really helps in discussions:

Upd. Another frequently asked question: What is convergence and why would I need it?.

Added new questions:

3.5: Finnish (n x2) and “se” is (supposed to be) Swedish but it’s mislabelled by Purism and I’m not sure what happened with it.

Pfft. English is mislabelled too, as us. Sweedish comes in at least two varietes, sv-se (as spoken in Sweden) and sv-fi (as spoken in Finland). Labelling it as ‘se’ suggests that it is a Sweden’s Swedish :slight_smile: , just like ‘us’ means American English. But this is a wild guess.

Merge requests and issues are welcome :smiley:

And there is the problem, the mistake: se is Sweden in country code, but it’s actually Sami in language code. A country is not a language. Think Portugese and Brasil, French and Canada, China has several languages, or any number of other combinations.

OK, I updated the FAQ.

I added a description of “convergence”:
2.13. How well will convergence work to use the Librem 5 as a desktop PC?

I also added some more questions:
2.8. What kind of camera flash and flashlight (torch) does the Librem 5 provide?
2.14. What kind of microSD cards does the Librem 5 support?

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That is linked to the wrong FAQ entry. (Goes to 2.9)

Ditto the link for 2.14 (goes to 2.8).

Thanks. I fixed that in my previous post.

I added another question:
2.15. What are the Librem 5’s test points (USB, UART, JTAG and boot modes)?

Not much info available for that question, but better than nothing.

I think the FAQ is already great but maybe on something like that it’s ok to put “more information is to be added after Evergreen is available and there has been time to test it” (or similar). It’s useful to acknowledge where there are gaps in available information that need to be (and can only be) filled later. And this is still in development, still changing.

@JR-Fi, I added something similar:

Purism has not yet published information on how to use these test points.

I added another question (just to annoy @user1):
1.9. Does the Librem 5 provide any water resistance?

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What would I be mad about? What is shown at the link? It seems fine. I’d just rather sacrifice ease of modularity with getting some modularity for water resistance to be a thing in this product than practically no water resistance at all apart from the 2 m.2’s with practically complete ease of modularity. Some people will like the first option and some the other but for those that sometimes go outside in the rain, I wouldn’t hold out for the second group.
edit: For some products I own, I would very much like modularity over durability but a mobile phone is not one of those areas. If you can do both very well, then great! If you can’t, I would much prefer durability as I haven’t abused something more than my mobile phone. Oh well. People who bought this knew they were getting into a V1 product that is trying its very best to get RYF and such which is practically impossible for the mobile phone industry. Buyers are probably going to be very careful with how they use the product.

I hope this phone can succeed so a company that has a a great CEO can see value in the concept and can manage making their own libre mobile phone for a respectable price with bearable specs. Really hoping for V2 to actually be amazing and somewhat affordable. Would be awesome to see purism be awesome rather than what they currently are which is somewhat of a dream.