I'm Out (for now)

Referencing this thread (I'm Out (for now) - #2 by zash1958), but not wanting to hijack that thread, here’s why I’m sadly going to have to stop using my Librem 5 for now . . .

Firstly, at least from my experience, Purism have either no “Customer Service”, or no “Technical Support” department . . . Every time I contacted Purism prior to, and after purchasing my Librem 5, the staff members who replied were listed as developers on the website at the time.

I completely understand the project was and is a work in progress, and happily bought my L5 knowing that, along with the wait time for arrival.

Prior to purchasing in late 2020, since I’m in Australia some of the questions I asked via email were:

  • If the phone didn’t work here in Australia when it arrives would I be able to get a refund. I was told yes, I would be able to as per the refund policy on the site (at that time).

  • I noticed it said there were only US and UK, European plugs that came with the universal charger. So I asked if an Australian plug would likely be included by the time my phone at that time was expected to be shipped. Once again I was told yes.

Skipping ahead to mid last year when I received a notification email saying my L5 was to be shipped to me within ‘three weeks’, I replied to the email asking about the plug as it was still saying only US and EU UK plugs were available, and was told that no, the L5 is only shipped with the US UK and EU are shipped, and I was given a link to buy a AU plug online that would fit the charger.

I read the policy (which had changed since I bought the L5) and it clearly stated (in 4c at the time, now 5c that the warranty is void if a third party component causes damage. So, a Purism staff member knowingly recommended I needed to use a third party component to get my L5 working. So, reading that, I politely request a refund, and then like many others here have said, there was silence. I emailed every email address listed on the site at the time, still nothing.

One of the reasons listed a while ago that no refunds could be given once a L5 was ordered was because that money was used for parts for that phone. Makes sense . . . until an email announcing the Librem 5 USA, and I could upgrade to a L5 USA it would be arrive quicker (no discount offered other than a credit for what I had paid for my L5). Ahh, question. no refund on ther L5 due to monies paid on that used to pay for parts, but then why not the same for the L5 USA?

Then, changing tact, I started a new email chain to which a different staff member replied and after a bit of back and forth my L5 was to be shipped within a week with a tracking number. Two weeks later, no tracking number. Another email, and I was told that Purism no longer had stock of a SD card I ordered when I ordered in 2020 and my order was put on hold until it came in, but there was no time frame as to when that would be. No communication advising me of that delay until I followed up.

So, I asked if the SD card be swapped out for a second spare (I had already order a spare) battery. It was agreed that could be done.

First day turning my L5 on, and updating there were issues, which were thankfully resolved with help from members of this forum, and not from the support staff at Purism.

Reading through some of the issues people have faced with their L5 it seems the easy, and most common solution is to 'Reflash". Now, I’ve run Linux exclusively on my laptops since 2015, and reinstalling is usually the last resort when problems arise. In my time running Linux (three distros) on my laptops, I’ve only needed to reinstall once when issues arise.

When a L5 arrives it (should have) the most recent set of updates (as per date it was shipped), and user just needs to update. There should be no reason to have to reflash upon the first update.

Reading recent threads here, it appears that Purism are now focused on selling hardware. Great, but who is developing the software to go with that hardware because it’s no use having hardware with older unmaintained software to run said hardware. Oh wait, that’s right we should now pay more money to help fund software development, which should come from income from hardware, or it should be stated on the website that the software is Free (as in freedom), but paid, which is okay if stated on the site, which it doesn’t. In fact, it says, updates for life.

Imagine a person right now reading Purism’s page about the L5, and ‘thinking how great, that sounds perfect for my needs’ and goes and orders based on what is said (and not said) on the website, only to find out on arrival of L5 there are issues with the device, which needs to be reflashed, or even worse, the company is now focussed on hardware and selling shares rather than software development. I’m sure they would want a refund, only to be ghosted by the company.

Moving back to my reasoning for not using my L5 for now moving forward -

  1. Answering calls when the phone is locked is hit and miss for me ( I don’t use the suspend feature).

  2. Whenever I leave my home and therefor wi-fi I have to choose whether I want to receive MMS/SMS or be able to access the internet through my service provider as I can’t do both at the same time. (a basic feature of any smart phone). - I literally have to change the settings each time.

  3. The lack (at least for the foreseeable future) of PureOS updates.

  4. And, the reason I finally wrote this lengthy post - battery use or lack thereof. Today, as I do everyday, I unplugged my L5 from the charger after charging over night, and the battery was indicating 100% charge when booting at around 7am. By midday two approx 5 min calls, and four sms and three unsuccessful attempts to have the L5 camera read a QR code (it read the exact same QR code in the same wi-fi area yesterday), and the rest of the time in stand by mode by 3pm I had to plug the charger in as it was down to 7%. On days when the phone is fully in stand by mode the whole day, or I make or receive one call or a few text messages I usually recharge at around 5pm at around 12%.

Today was the final straw for me for now. What’s the point of having a freedom protecting phone/computer with phone if I don’t have the freedom to have basic features working on the device as I’ve mentioned above, with no sign of when updates/upgrades that fix these basic issues will be coming.

I read Purism’s recent blog boasting about now being in Profit. Any business can make a claim of finally being in profit if they sack a lot of staff, but is it really a profit if they now have no staff to continue to develop their own software to run on their own devices? Not really.

I love the concept of the L5, and if you read my first few posts here at the forum, I said the L5 was the best mobile phone I’ve owned. And, at the time it was. I loved it because there was reason to be excited about it and an implied enhancement coming soon.

Sadly, now, I’m going to look for other options, most likely a de-googled phone of some sort because I can’t keep using a phone that doesn’t have basic functions (I literally had a call as I’m typing that that I couldn’t answer with the screen lock).

Purism will never receive another cent from me - for the last few months I’ve been looking at a mini, but won’t be getting a Purism. I will no longer be recommending friends and family look at getting a L5 when they are looking at moving away from Android or Apple.

Okay, my rant is over.

I’d like to thank all the members of this forum who have helped me find solutions to challenges I had since July last year. You have all helped make this experience somewhat better for me, and I wish you all the best of everything when it comes to your Purism experience.

I will let you know what I come up with as a solution moving forward as I can not see myself ever going back to stock Android, and the only apples I’ve owned are the ones I eat :slight_smile:

12 Likes

For me also that they after years cannot make work correctly and stable the most essential port of a PHONE

Calls and SMS

All are discussing about wonderful terminal based experiences but not about the lack of a stable working phone which can be used reliable for urgent calls in or out.
Terminal based work I can have on my Arch-computers and if I need this urgently on an Raspi.
Not stable working basic functions of a phone make them a gadget and not a useful tool

And this after really YEARS of development

7 Likes

I found the most critical thing being call audio. Often (in about 50% of calls, less if I’m lucky that day) either the other party can’t hear me, I can’t hear them, or both. Usually from the beginning of the call, or during a random point in the call. I think it’s a modem issue as if I stand completely still in one spot and the call initiates successfully (audio I mean) it can do even a long call without problems, but if I move around it usually results in immediate audio loss (that doesn’t come back until making a new call). I think it’s related to cell signal level or even switching between base stations. The modem is BM818 for EU. I wrote a mail to support about the audio issue but after saying to check the pulseaudio version they didn’t reply back so I think they don’t know either.
Other things are bad too, like the camera is almost unusable, there’s no USB MTP or mass storage so I have to copy files over ssh or turn off the phone and swap the SD card. Lack of mobile-adapted apps isn’t really Purism’s fault but that’s a big issue too. The battery not lasting long is something I could live with if the other basic features of the phone worked. It lasts longer if you kill all apps, especially browsers like Firefox and Web which I’ve found use a lot of power even just idling.

6 Likes

Maybe that is because not everybody has an unstable working phone.
With this having said, I’m not stating that this is the case for everybody.
Merely trying to explain the different experiences ppl have with the L5.
I’m lucky, my L5 basics (calls and SMS) work fine. The ‘enhanced’ features need more attention, but so far I accept that there are limmitations.

6 Likes

As long as the phone is not in suspend mode the reliability is not good but useable

But without suspend the battery is faster empty as You can look.

And the ear will be “grilled” on every call > 2 minutes.

And calls from 10 minutes or so sometimes take 30-40% of batterys load

This must clearly work WAY better

2 Likes

Like I said, not everybody has the same (bad) experience with the L5.

3 Likes

Would be interesting if all the users without problems do not use Suspend?

2 Likes

I beleive I receive all calls and sms’s at the moment, and I always have suspend. This was not the case earlier

4 Likes

do you have an update on using wayland protocol + acran.
could you pls share your experience!

2 Likes

Easy question, easy answer: They need new products to get the money they need to develop software. And Purism was always a hardware company with a bit of software development. Nothing has changed so far.

My opinion is, that they focused on software development the past few years and payed more than they could to bring L5 to an usable state. The other way around would be to update L5 slower, but without interruption. But that would also mean to have L5 some month later to a usable state.
So now they focus on the next piece of hardware and OS development begins after this phase again. At least it’s what a dev said about the situation.

This has 2 main issues right now: The software development stop was at a very stupid point. Just a little bit more and we would have Crimson plus all the community driven updates (like Phosh 0.37, days away from 0.38 or all the GNOME software stack). Purism would have the time for hardware and the “Crimson mimimi” wouldn’t exist (I do also mimimi :wink:).
There is also no pro active transparency on that software development stop, that’s the second issue. How often community told Purism to be more transparent since it’s a very special project? How often did they ignore it? And if they made some transparency, community was in a much nicer mood and supported Purism a bit more - but Purism did not learn about it. We had to mimimi again until a nice developer (and therefor no official announcement) told us what’s going on. It would be nice to have such posts as blog post on homepage.

But I don’t think software development is dead … it’s just sleeping a bit.

Donation was always an option, even before people had a device in hands and while they still developed software. It was never a replacement and should never end as such. It just should speed up things. And the forums thread about donation for Crimson is another topic. Community driven to speed up things a bit. But that would also not replace the company driven development. It just would be to push PureOS over the last meter to get access to other updates.

This is a marketing speech about “if we fail, source is available, community has the power to provide more updates until nobody is using this device anymore”. They never said, they will provide life time updates. But I’m sure that’s nothing about the current situation.

I guess you had an earlier version? I got mine on early summer last year with everything up to date. Even apt update said “no updates” (but next day there were some). It’s no issue every customer has/had.

Your issue 1: Sounds like an outdated firmware or older modem. Search in forums, there are some explanations. If I understand you correctly, you want to use L5 again, as soon as it gets new updates, so it’s worse solving this issue.
I may got you wrong (answering while reading post step by step) and a bit later you wrote it’s about touch responsive? In past I had this issue, too. In last time not, but not sure if I’m just lucky or the issue is fixed.

Edit:

I used suspend a lot without calling issues. My battery also does not go down 30-40% in 10 min (sometimes calling 30min and still have a lot of power). Are you sure that everything is up to date for you? Your issue doesn’t sound normal to me.

5 Likes

Thanks for replying @Ick I appreciate your insight and perspective. And to reply to your points:

I totally get the need for donations to keep FOSS going. And I saw prior to L5s being delivered Purism set up a page about donations and the highest donations for a particular piece of software would be worked on. That’s fine. I donated money back then, and I don’t money to the develops of my laptop distro yearly.

My issue, and the point I was trying to make with the need for 'having to pay more money now to help software development" is because from I can tell, some of those comments in the Crimson thread appear to be coming from Purism staff, which if true, implies, at least to my way of thinking, that the company won’t develop Crimson until we, the users pay more money. I tried to find the quote, without success, which said something along the lines of we 'now have to either buy more Purism products to get software updates" or something along those lines. And, to me, that is not right when there is nothing about paying for software on Purism’s website. As I said in my initial post if that was stated on the sight, no problem, because then everyone knows that.

Yes, And, that is misleading, because non Linux users who have an interest in getting out of the Google and Apple tracking issues out there who have either come across the site on their own, or who have been recommended by Purism users would potentially think Purism will develop the software for years and years, because that’s what implied on their website.

My point here, (and yes, I was told to reflash by the staff member, but after asking here in the forum I quickly discovered I didn’t need to as my initial issue was sorted quickly), is, the quick ‘fix’ for most issues seem to be, “You need to reflash”, which again either, comes down to defective hardware supplied by Purism (they should have done quality control when building the devices before sending them out), or outdated software (maintained in the PureOS repo by Purism developers) or operating system (again developed by Purism)

Absolutely. As I said, I love the concept of the L5, and once everything (being able to use the device as a basic phone with decent battery life) I will.

Edit: @Ick you said:

Here is a direct quote from the L5 website, Purism– Librem 5 :

Lifetime updates that actually extend your phone’s life

When you purchase a Librem 5, you can be confident that we will continue to provide security updates, privacy improvements, bug fixes, and new features… for the lifetime of your device, without compromising performance. Your Librem will stay secure and responsive for years to come.Like a good wine, it will probably get better over time, not worse.

5 Likes

I know that comment and here it is. I quote:

In other words they need to invest money to make more money and that’s the reason for temporary development stop of the software stack. As soon as they release this new hardware they will have a new money source where parts of it will go into software development.

If you ask me, we should wait until a new product is released. From this point we need to give a little bit more time to make some sells and to start software development (before we get the first update they need to work on software). I recommend to wait for this point before thinking something else about.

As I said before, Purism’s communication is a huge issue.

Or outdated firmware (that only can be installed manually - which is just recommended if you have issues).

When you purchase a Librem 5, you can be confident that we will continue to provide security updates, privacy improvements, bug fixes, and new features… for the lifetime of your device, without compromising performance.

Misleading, but true. Interpret “we” as “we software devs, including people of the whole developing community” (something they communicated earlier in other blog posts). Even now we get some security updates (not done by Purism I guess) and we also could use another OS and still can update our device. The marketing points to the difference to Android or iOS, where a single entity (company) decides about software support. On Android there are to points of failure (Google and the hardware company that provides software side hardware support / drivers).

I don’t say it’s fine how they advertise this. (I would not act like this). It’s just an explanation.

In additional what I wrote above. Software development is not entirely stopped, just paused. And think about my previous post where I told that it’s more a question how much money they put into software at what time ((1) all the time little or (2) first a lot and later none (current point) and after this again a lot etc). Just my opinion.

7 Likes

I use suspend and I don’t have many issues besides the kernel issue

2 Likes

My L5 is on absolutely latest releases and also the modem version was checked by support. It is also the newest available release

1 Like

I see, it really sounds hardware related to me (but I’m no expert).

1 Like

This is software related, on Mobian this problems are gone and new problems arises :wink:

4 Likes

Do you use vpn? do you have any issue with vpn on restore from suspend? that is my only problem with suspend.

what is the kernel issue?

1 Like

No I do not use a vpn.

This: Pulseaudio not starting on reboot - #9 by Moon3

1 Like

Same here. I will wait for Crimson and test it out when it comes out but if the experience doesn’t improve I’m going to buy Fairphone 5 with /eOS. I had L5 for 3 years now and very little has changed. There are simply too many problems to ignore and the devs will outright said they will not bother fixing some of those problems because they don’t feel it’s important.

4 Likes

Can you tell me what problems they don’t mind to fix (at least of those which are important to you)?

3 Likes