Librem 14 as a display for Librem 5

Does anyone know if there is a way to use a Librem 14 laptop (monitor, trackpad, keyboard) as a display for a Librem 5? I had been considering a Nexdock, but it seems about the same size as a Librem 14, so I didn’t see the point in having both, but it would be convenient to be able to to connect the phone and use the laptop as KVM for the phone for more involved tasks that have to be done on the phone when the touchscreen isn’t cutting it.


I think something like vnc would be the closest you can get, I dunno if there’s a way to wire the phone to the computer and have it be a monitor. But it is Linux… :man_shrugging:


You can connect to the x session of another system, so in theory you could set this up without VNC or other apps like that, though that might not quite be what you had in mind, I think it would be pretty close.

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I totally understand your point but note that a lapdock will typically get you a touchscreen whereas a laptop may not (and in the case of the Librem 14 certainly does not). So there’s a difference in experience, which may or may not be important in your use case.

Another approach would be simply to do the task on the laptop. (So that’s another difference between lapdock and laptop i.e. the laptop is an independent computer in its own right.) Whether this is viable in your situation depends on what the task to do is.

Finally, the phone can export either or both of its disks using a variety of protocols if you want to mess around with files that are on one of the phone’s disks from the laptop.

None of that answers the question you asked though.

Good suggestion. Sounds “advanced”. It seems to be possible to “program” the USB on the phone end to advertise all sorts of interesting things. Is it possible instead to do something similar on the laptop end? Would be good to know.

Even if you can do this, there may be limitations to how well video can be sent. So it probably won’t work at all via DisplayPort altmode - and it could depend on which USB port is used on the laptop.

Assuming that this can’t be done currently, I think this would be a cool feature for a future version of the Librem 14 to support.

Does the Librem 5 run X?

Yeah, I understand it is probably somewhat of a niche use case and lies more on the “nice to have” category, which is why I hesitate to buy a Nexdock. Seems there are some solutions out there, but they seem to be geared towards Windows and/or repurposing an old laptop and display only. I’ll continue to use a lot of the workarounds suggested.

I recently discovered the joy of connecting KVM via a USB-C dock to the phone and would like to have that for things that have to be done on the phone, though these tasks aren’t frequent. When I lived in Apple’s world, I had an iMac that I could use as a display for my work Apple laptop, but even that was only display and the feature was highly limited to certain models and was discontinued very quickly.

Fair question, I don’t know and I hadn’t considered Wayland might be in play on PureOS.

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I’m pretty sure that out-of-the-box the Librem 5 runs Wayland. So that is an additional obstacle for a remote desktop solution.


There are very few notebooks around that have a display port or hdmi input to use there display for an external device. I do not remember whether these devices offer to output there mouse/keyboard via usb. The Librem14 does not offer this functionality.

To me it seems a bit odd that you’d want to use the Librem14 as an external display/mouse/keyboard for a Librem5. Both run the same operating system and you can use the same software on both devices. The Librem14 is missing a modem though and cannot connect to mobile internet directly and you can’t make phone calls via mobile network from the device.

You can run phoc/phosh as your graphical shell / compositor as on the Librem5 and you can make phone calls via SIP using calls like on the Librem5. You also can run a virtual machine image of the Librem5 software stack in kvm.

All that aside you can connect to your Librem5 and use applications remotely on your Librem14:

  • connect to your Librem5 via network (vpn over public network, usb-c ethernet adapter, wifi)
  • login via ssh to get a console - lot’s of stuff can be done this way
  • use projects like waypipe or greenfield to use applications on your Librem14

Basically the idea to buy a Librem14 to help your Librem5 seems economically and in the view of computing power strange.

What I and lots of other users of Librem5 and a Librem notebook successfully do is:

  • use the notebook and if needed connect to the Librem5 to use software or services of installed on the phone (like modem, sms).
  • sync stuff between the devices since both are running PureOS
  • carry the Librem5 anywhere containing the data and software you’re running on your notebook
  • if the computing power of the notebook is not needed, but you need a console, carry the Librem5 and devices for docked mode:
    • Lapdock like Nexdock
    • usb-c dock to connect to an external monitor and - if needed - input device(s)

All that makes a notebook running PureOS and a Librem5 running PureOS a great couple to work with and to carry around as little stuff as really is needed.

I think the key use case here is that you need to do something on or to the Librem 5 but the application to achieve that, for whatever reason, is unusable or inconvenient on the small screen / without a keyboard.

Yes, a lapdock is ideal for that scenario but few people will want to carry a Librem 5 and a Librem 14 and a lapdock. So wouldn’t be great if the Librem 14 could cover for the lapdock when the lapdock is the ideal solution?

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Yeah, this person nails it. I already have both and have different use cases for both. I’m not looking to buy a 14 just to use as KVM for the 5. I’ve found in my time with the 5 that there is a fair bit of time spent setting something up to get it working the way I want and going forward I would like to spend time with it getting it to do things that it doesn’t do. It would be nice to have a better way to interact with it than just the touch screen. I’ll try a few other workarounds, but I can’t imagine anything being more convenient than just plugging a cable in and off you go. I thought it was at least worth asking. Thanks all!

Another thing I already tried and that I actually liked has been to use an usb or bluetooth keyboard connected to the phone. Some pointing device helps a lot when it comes to marking text on the L5s small screen. Some random information about it:

  • it’s not straight forward to stop the on-screen keyboard popping up, but easily possible (if youˋre interested I could look for some links to provide)
  • my bluetooth keyboard experience has been really good
  • the bluetooth mouse experience is more difficult. For me it only works well when wifi (same chip) is also enabled
  • generally usb connections are a lot easier and more stable

May be TOW boot can make it posible to boot librem 14 from librem 5/PinephonePro and use the Video and keyboard. And if they consider this idea purism and towboot can co op in making code for librem 14 to use processor and ram as co processing resource and make it more powerfull

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