Gnome or Kde on Librem 5

on Gnome / Kde
I read on the blog the possibility to switch from Gnome to KDE and vice versa on Librem 5 and I agree. I think, however, that a user who uses kde or gnome would like to use only the system he prefers and would not be interested in having this feasible possibility from the phone. So I think it might be useful to make sure that the other user interface can be installed on the phone by simply downloading it. This, perhaps, would make the job easier for developers.
P.S. Personally I have always used kde and very little Gnome and would rather have only Kde on the Librem 5
Best regards.

I’m pretty sure that’s the plan. The Librem 5 will be running Linux. Since you can already go ahead and download and install any (and every) DE you want on Linux, it stands to reason that the Librem 5 will be able to as well, unless I’m missing something.

Now, the DEs that haven’t been designed to work on the small screen might not work properly, but I don’t think anything would prevent you from downloading and installing them and then struggling with the resulting mess.

Though that does raise a point I haven’t thought of - phones are typically not multi-user devices, so the concept of logging out is somewhat foreign on phones (at least, I’m not sure how I would log out of any of the smartphones I’ve used).
On Linux, you can have multiple DEs installed and select which one you want to use when logging in, and if you want to switch, just logout and select the other one.
I’m not sure how the Librem 5 will approach switching DEs - whether one can only choose which they want when booting up, or if there will be some sort of logout/shell swap sort of feature.

Android also runs Linux. This isn’t the case with Android, except in a theoretical and “you can always virtualize it” sense AFAIK.

I should have been more careful with my language then. Yes, Android is based on Linux, but has all sorts of proprietary stuff baked into it by the Google overlords.

The Librem 5 will be running PureOS, a fully free/libre open-source Linux distro that will presumably let the user do whatever the user wants.

Purism has said they will offer both KDE and GNOME. I really can’t imagine being unable to install both. I mean, what is even the alternative? Selling two separate models, one with KDE and one with GNOME? And if you want to switch you have to buy a new phone?

Or to switch, you have to reinstall your OS and choose the other one?

I don’t know what sort of difficulties the team will face in adapting GNOME and KDE for the phone, but I really don’t see how one wouldn’t be able to install and switch between both.

I realized that you can install different launchers on Android, which is perhaps the Android equivalent of different desktop environments. Maybe the Librem 5 will implement DEs in a similar way

Well, I personally think that each of us on the PC uses only one desktop environment and if we talk about ethical software I think simplicity is important. So why should I be able to change from a mobile phone, a device with a small screen, even the desktop environment? It seems to me a complication.
P.S. if there will also be gnome on the librem 5 the second thing I will do will be “purge gnome”

Yeah, I suspect most people only use 1 DE on a regular basis, but they still have the option of installing and switching to the others, and then deleting them again if they don’t want them.

Similarly, I think the phone will give users the option of having both, and if you only want 1, then delete the other, as you said.

I think simplicity is important too, but only in the context of having friendly default configurations. I don’t want the desire for simplicity to result in restrictions on what I can and can’t do with my own hardware. So yes, supporting two desktop environments does add complication, but it’s a complication Purism is already committed to, and so given that, I would expect to be able to freely install whichever I happen to be in the mood for.

Purism could have said “we will only support one desktop environment”, in which case I wouldn’t expect to be able to do this. But even if they only officially supported one, I would still expect to be able to try to download and install the others and get myself into whatever mess that might create, because it would be my hardware, and I should be able to do what I want with it, which is basically the driving philosophy behind Purism.


First, I want to apologize for my comment to @antpanlinux. While true, it was not helpful to the current discussion. Second, here is what I expect: The librem 5 will ship with Gnome by default with the option to install KDE alongside but without an easy option to remove gnome. Removing gnome will be most easily accomplished by reflashing with a KDE-only version.

And let’s not forget that Plasma Mobile teams will receive some hardware to test their stuff. It is more than likely that they will port KDE Neon for the Librem 5.

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Non problem for me :wink:

I want my Librem 5 with KDE.
I backed the Project because KDE was announced as the supported OS.

The only Reason for Gnome is to split the OSS Comunity.
Gnome Founder Miguel Icaza is a Micrsoft Shill who even hates Open Source.

Hello @che :slight_smile:

Purism actually announced they partnered up with KDE. This basically means that Purism will ship hardware to the KDE dev team and give them support mostly regarding hardware integration issues. They were actually very clear about the fact that the vast majority of their developpers manpower will be dedicated to porting GNOME on mobile.

See GNOME and KDE in PureOS:

  • KDE: Purism is investing in hardware design, development kits, and supporting the KDE/Plasma community, and will be sharing all early documentation, hardware designs, and kernel development progress with the core KDE/Plasma developers and community.
  • GNOME: Purism is investing the same in hardware design, development kits, and supporting the GNOME/GTK+ community as we are with the KDE/Plasma community. In addition, Purism is needing to lead some of the development within the GNOME community, since there is not a large community around an upstream-first GNOME/GTK+ for mobile yet.

See as well the Librem 5 Phone Progress Report #3

The mobile development work for KDE/Plasma will primarily be performed by their own human interface teams. Purism will be supporting their efforts through supplying hardware and documentation about our phone development progress as it is happening

Be reassured that the Librem 5 will support KDE at launch. From the very same article:

This will help ensure that that KDE/Plasma will function properly on the Librem 5 right from the factory.

Nobody here is interested in starting a (mobile) desktop environment war :slight_smile:


Being able to switch user makes perfect sense on a phone.
If you want to borrow your phone to your child or somebody else, a guest mode makes perfect sense.

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Android phones have a poorly implemented multi-user system. I hope it is implemented well in PureOS.

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2019 will bring to light the results. KDE it’s gonna be implemented in PinePhone
by Pine64 team. They develop a Pinebook laptop. So there is expectations. Maybe KDE plasma mobile is nearest to the mobile devices than gnome.

cell phones with linux is positive that there are. but cell phones with even free hardware is another story