How mature is the L5?

How mature is the Librem 5 at this point? Is it at the point where I can expect to rely on it for sending text messages and making phone calls and last all day long? Does the Bluetooth actually work in the Librem 5? Is it reliable enough that i could reasonably expect late model Honda’s and Jabra ear buds to connect and work without issue with it? I’m just curious if it’s still a Linux novelty with a long way to go or if this is at a point where I could reasonably expect to carry it as a personal smart phone or not.

Hey there.

I am on a Chestnut Librem5 version.

Personally I had trouble with Bluetooth headset ( Sony ), reconnection was bad and I ended up giving up tyring.

As for SMS/MMS, I recall that MMS it not there yet.

As for phone calls, I can’t answer I never tried them.

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Hi neil,

The delivery of the first “mass-production” batch named Evergreen just started and many in this forum are still waiting for their phone to arrive, but there already are a few reviews out on youtube.
I am also still waiting for mine, but my current impression is that you need to be linux savvy to get the most out of it at the current stage.
The hardware side looks fine, but some things like the camera are not working yet, as the team still works on the required software components - and the approvals of FCC and CE certifications are still missing to my current knowledge.
So you have to be a bit patient for it to become your daily driver, but I think it is worth it to get a phone that really respects your privacy :slight_smile:


See FAQ:


At this point I can agree that you should be a Linux enthusiast to enjoy it. I am and I think its a great phone! I’ve been calling with it and that works, I haven’t sent text messages nor used blue-tooth. I’ve done a lot of things with it, like browsing (over wifi that works), installing apps, installing services (like tor), building services (like trezord-go), made screen-shots, used the terminal a lot, browsed the file system, connecting to it with ssh. It is basically a linux computer in a big mobile form factor. Pretty cool according to me :slight_smile:


To get mass adoption I think the Librem phones have to decrease in thickness. The L5 feels quite big!


@neil, A good way to form an impression on this topic (which has been touched on SO many times recently) is to briefly skim through all the L5 thread titles posted here since November 18, 2020, the first day of the first received Evergreen in this forum. It’s not even necessary to read everything in full, just find the topics that deal with your interests. You’ll see the progress and the issues being worked on.

Remember, too, if you haven’t ordered yet, or are later in the queue, it will still be months (probably) before you receive the device, by which time more and more improvements will have been made. I’ve had the Evergreen for 39 days now, and I’m pleased with the amount of development that has been achieved and is ongoing.

That said, I can offer this short answer to your question:

The average non-technical smartphone user will probably not be happy with its current state. The average Linux enthusiast will be thrilled with it, and will gladly jump in as additional capabilities are implemented in the near future.

Some of the major issues you might notice at the moment:
VoLTE not yet implemented (critical in some regions, especially the U.S.)
MMS not yet working
Battery life not yet long enough and not accurately indicated
Camera drivers not yet implemented
GPS may not be working yet (I haven’t tested much)
Bluetooth working (but I haven’t tested it extensively)
Thicker and heavier design than other phones
Workarounds or clients possibly necessary for desired proprietary apps

All those issues are being actively worked on (although I’m not sure about VoLTE.) The collection of available applications for the device is expanding rapidly.

On the other hand, the L5 is, in essence, a regular Linux computer that can do many things regular smartphones can’t do.

I hope that provides some insight, but it’s a difficult question to address, really.


I actually think that this will always be true. The Linux savvy people will be able to get a lot out of phones like this. The real interesting question is when an average user will get more out of it than they get from competing platforms? When it comes to desktops I think that Linux has already passed that point, the only reason adoption is low it that people don’t know about it. I have installed Linux on a lot of computers with different kinds of Windows problems, even for people over 80 years, and its been very smooth for them to adapt to say Ubuntu. The reason most people like it is because their computers became faster and that they didn’t have to buy a new one. Most people today only use computers to browse and with Linux that works pretty much the exact same way, and most other things like keyboards, networking, etc, just work out-of-the-box. Hopefully we can get the same results on mobile Linux! I am hopeful but it will take time.


I really appreciate the detailed response. I’m technical-ish i guess in that i can code a cloud based custom web app from scratch. I use various cli’s and dev tools but I am not a linux pro, yet. My daily personal computer is an xps 13 Ubuntu but the wide majority of my professional work has been on windows/azure platform. I love this project and I might just buy one and get into the queue and, if its just a toy then its just a toy. At least i am supporting a great project.


:+1: If you order now, I think you can expect a lot of improvements, fixes, and development to have been implemented by the time you get it. Be aware of the VoLTE issue, though, if it’s important for your region and if you plan to use the L5 as your regular phone.


This is what I’ve been telling everyone who loves the hardware but is holding off on polishing. By the time you get it, it’s pretty much guaranteed that the software will be polished.


Right. It’s amusing when detractors on reddit or wherever tell others not to order yet because it still has software issues.

They also say irrational stuff like “If you order now, you may not get it for a few months because of the backlog… So wait a year and then order.”


Yeah lmao. For the most part, in theory, Purism could completely stop software development and it would still be polished in half a year (of course this has downsides and I dont expect them to stop anytime soon). I don’t think your average person realizes that with FOSS, the community can drive tweaks and updates. The most important software thing Pursim needs to do themselves is drivers. I try to preach this to people so that Purism can get more funding sooner and we can get the software polished at a faster rate; In theory at least.


What do you guys think of this /e/OS/ project?

They’re not attempting open source hardware drivers but they’re at least stripping the most obvious privacy violating software out of the OS and apps.

I have heard of this idea before but have not seen or looked into the software. I read over some of the features on the website and it seems like it would be a good option for those looking for more privacy on their android. I did not see/look into any privacy features outside of De-Googling, so that is somewhat of a concern if there is none. At the end of the day, there is still so many routes for big tech to get data off your phone. This would be one step, but you would still need things like end to end encryption, security keys, disk encryption, trusted mobile network (like awesim), VPN, don’t install apps like facebook, instagram, or any app that collects data, etc. I think the software would cover a lot of bases, but there is still a lot of other things the user would have to do in order to put up a decent privacy wall. I could see this being handy if you are one of those people who really don’t use a smartphone as such, or don’t use their phone often (like the elderly). Then, its not a huge loss to not be able to install all those apps.

Edit: I will most likely try putting this on the phone I am using as a HUD for my Sim Racing rig. I already disabled as much as I could on the phone. All I need is 2 apps on the phone and Wifi. So getting rid of all the junk off the OS is handy.

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Fair take and I agree. Removable battery is a privacy feature, at least. With apps like Brave and Protonmail (which I am assuming will install to this), it seems like a big step towards a more privacy oriented device, even if not the ultimate solution. Can the CIA and AT&T still track me? Yeah, of course. But at least I am not funding the privacy violating business models of Big Tech and their ecosystem of apps. I am not elderly but I just use my phone for navigation, email, texting, and web browsing. I don’t need more than a couple of dozen apps on it.


Right, so in your case, this would probably be a good option since you aren’t using any data collecting apps (for the most part I assume). And you’re totally right about not supporting big tech. Only problem is that AT&T still sells some of your data to big tech. Particularly location data, even if you have gps off. They can still ping you off 4g/5g.

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Out of curiosity, is Purism’s AweSIM service limited to just L5 users?

This would be hypocritical, and a bit of funny, if AweSIM was limited to just L5 users.

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I could not find anything that said it would or wouldn’t work on other phones but based on the quote found here, “there are two main reasons why we created Librem AweSIM and why we think Librem 5 customers will love it: convenience and privacy”, inferences that it could be used for other phones IMO. Technologically I don’t see why it wouldn’t work either. A sim card is just a card that contains network info and a unique user thumbprint (MAC and IMEI IMSI). It’s just odd they don’t mention whether it would or wouldn’t work on other phones. Either they only see Librem users as their only demographic (fair), or its classic Purism withholding information for seemingly no reason.