Installing a "desktop" environment on Librem 5 SD

Hey, tonight I sat down with my Librem 5 on a dock again and had some fun with the mouse/keyboard/monitor version of the Librem 5. It was pretty nice, although sometimes the screen blanked out when I received texts (maybe a modem thing).

But it got me thinking: is it possible to literally install some non-phosh desktop environment on my SD card dual boot, so that when I dock I could reboot into the desktop environment and treat the L5 almost like a Raspberry pi with GUI installed? Or is there some reason that such an idea would never work, and phosh is somehow a necessity to get through to the USB-C port?


One thing that I would be wary of is that in a dual boot environment for a phone … where do texts go? call logs? etc? You will end up with those fragmented across two boot disks, unless you take specific steps to avoid that.

Otherwise, the fact that you can install a second operating system + environment on the uSD card would seem to make this a relatively low risk thing to try - although I would image the eMMC drive first.


… and which phone do you answer?

Although if both boots are linux, they should be able to share some of the same directories. (Don’t know if that matters.)


On the librem 11, it has a session manager installed so you can choose if you want Phosh or whatever else like Gnome to launch when you login. I assume you could actually do this no problem on the librem 5 by just installing the desktop environment and a login manager like gdm. I think the librem 5 has some config that forces a boot into Phosh by default so you would have to find a way around that for now. @guido.gunther would know, maybe he can comment here if he feels like it

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Yes, that works on the L5 as well. Disable the phosh.service systemd unit and install your display manager of choice (the choice is limited in Byzantium though) and it will offer you phosh as a session (and any other DE you install).

We usually use phog with phosh (that’s also what the L11 uses) which is available in crimson.