Librem 5 - Daily driven in professional use - SUCCESS

// TLDR

LIbrem 5 works perfectly for phone calls + text messaging + data out of the box. I put my SIM in and I switched to the L5.

// A FEW EDITS FOR CLARITY

I was wrong 2 months ago. The Librem 5 works great for calls and text.

About 2 months ago I decided to try an daily my L5 and within the span of an hour or two I deemed it a failure and started a thread on the topic here: L5 DAILY - Test 01 - First day - user error - #20 by intergalacticllama

It turns out, there was nothing wrong with the Librem 5, calls were not successful because I was too stupid to realise the mic switch was turned off! I am now two weeks in successfully using the L5 for my daily professional needs. My android is now used as a media consumption device and eventually it will just go away or just be a “just in case” backup if there is an app that I need from the other ecosystem.

Some thoughts:

1) EXECTATIONS

I am a sysadmin and I know my way around these kinds of devices. I have been exclusively on Linux for my professional and personal workloads for 20 years as well as managed managed fleets of Linux desktops in corp environments. I know what to expect and what not to expect. I have been through all the headaches of pushing for a free world for two decades just so that somewhere in the future we can live a more free existence that I know the trade offs.

The trade off, ALWAYS, is this:

** LIVE LIKE A FARMED PIG** - You will have all the gadgets you want, all the comfort, all the nice to haves of a gilded cage. But, you will be fed at the trough when your farmer says you get to eat, you will use their tools the way your farmer tells you to use them and you will be expected to allow your farmer to insert thoughts into your mind and words into your mouth.

** LIVE FREE** - You will carry the dual responsibility of being forced to learn how to use your tools / think / upgrade your skills and carry the responsibility of making your own life better. While you can see a bright future where everything will be as easy as in the gilded cage, you will have to settle for a life of less in some way. And you may have to settle for less for a really long time and commit. For me, it was enough that the L5 hardware to simply exist and get delivered, it did not even have to be able to make calls right away. I just wanted to have the physical form of freedom in my hands, it’s my way out of the matrix.

Having said all of that, if I had to describe an MVP (minimum viable product) for the phone, calls and texts would be that minimum, I don’t need anything else. Maybe email.

2) REALITY

Well, there isn’t much to say. It turns out, I bought a Linux computer that can make calls and send texts. I put my SIM in and I was able to make calls and send texts.

That’s it. It just works.

I started during the holidays as I did not have to worry about business, and when I saw everything working, I just continued into January and here we are. I am now switched over.

3) FIRST, SOME KUDOS.

The L5 is an accomplishment that must not go underappreciated. Here is some of what was accomplished:

a) Hardware - Real hardware got built and delivered through some UNBELIEVABLE circumstances. The L5 is not unique any longer, however, it is the FIRST Linux computer in a proper phone form factor with REAL USABILITY designed into it and all of the important bells and whistles which in our world means that the form factor MUST include hardware kill switches.

In comparison, the Pinephone has hardware switches under the back cover that you have to take off in order to turn off modem / wifi / mic / cam / etc… In addition, if you want to be able to flip those dip switches manually (you will need a sharp object to do so, they are literally dip switches) you have to dremel the back of the case in order to access those dip switches. As a point of comparison, the Volla X23 is EVEN WORSE, it has no hardware switches at all! Who designs a free software phone with no hardware kill switches? The L5 kill switches also feel high quality and feel like they might be able to handle the daily workload as I use them all the time. It will be interesting to see how long they last though.

Thinking about how long this hardware dev road has been, let’s consider that I was not the only one 20 years ago who tried to gather a bill of materials for the various components needed to get a 32 bit Linux sbc to make phone calls, but that was way over my pay grade then, and it still is now. 15 years ago the OpenMoko project actually managed such a feat and built some devices but ultimately failed because the barrier to financial success was too high to overcome. Then Mark Shuttleworth / Ubuntu tried … well he failed because he decided to fail honestly. The Pinephone made Shuttleworth look like a joke. A bunch of other attempts were also made and now 20 years later, I hold a fully featured Linux computer in a phone form factor with hardware kill switches that allow me to pocket my device and not be exposing it to close proximity / skin contact range proximity micro waves.

The amount of work it had taken to get here is actually quite unbelievable and a huge accomplishment.

b) Phosh - Okay, Librem did not have to invent a whole new user land, but then again, neither did Google, they just bought android from a startup and built it up. But, not only did Librem manage to build a proper phone form factor (super high quality from the looks of it honestly) but also build Phosh, which is no small feat. I haven’t looked in depth into the project but they delivered:

  • Full mobile interface with a remix and re-imagined interactivity that I prefer over android. Using android now makes me angry whenever I need to close a window!

  • Messaging.

  • Phone calling.

  • Texting.

  • Lock screen + usability improvements = I love having cal, todo, etc. available from the lock screen. I will be looking at getting integrations into this into the future that should really be amazing productivity boosts! I was just thinking how convenient it would be for my daily task list / shopping list / procedures to appear on the unlock screen … hmmm.

  • Squeek on-screen keyboard .

  • Camera - I don’t care about this, but support for this … yeah, I mean they have to build the software from scratch to get this fully up to user expectations.

And on and on.

Honestly

c) Squeek keyboard - The best keyboard, by far, is on the iPhone. I am sure it mostly has to do with their predictive text features but there is something about the ergonomics of that keyboard that even when predictive text / spell / grammar check is off, I can type very easily on it.

On android, the on-screen keyboards are a disaster. I have tried as many as I could find on the android app store and none of them work to any satisfying degree. And, because I have to turn off spellcheck because I text in multiple languages all the time the on screen ergonomics of every single keyboard in the app store has been an utter failure.

Squeek on-screen keyboard is a revelation. First, it JUST WORKS. I have seen some complain about no spellcheck, but for me that is fine because spellcheck interferes if you need to text in a few languages. My favourite keyboard of all time was the blackberry physical keyboard and no one with an on screen keyboard could keep up with me so it was really difficult to deal with android keyboards. I started to think that I was just getting old, but nope, false. It wasn’t me, it was frickin’ android crapware. The squeek keyboard lets me just zip along without too many errors. I’m not as fast as I was on the blackberry but I am up there once again. Also, it has all of the sysadmin features intelligently designed and integrated into it so that I can shell out to any box I want without really any difficulty. I won’t be doing any programming on it, but I can do most of my regular sysadmin tasks including editing / modifying scripts on the fly just fine … WITH EMACS. Dear lord, I have waited so long to be able to do that!

I know the users around here have their own preferences and some have published squeek remixes, but for me, it is absolutely perfect BECAUSE I can finally type almost as accurately as on the iPhone. Squeek keyboard is amazing. Whomever designed it has some deep insight into UI/UX and tremendous skills to implement those insights effectively. This persons skills really need to be appreciated.

d) They did not go out of business - This cannot be underestimated as an accomplishment either. The whole chyna virus nonsense was a global fiasco that did not have to happen. Purism survived, and if I remember correctly, they managed to raise some capital from a bunch of us and other online investors to keep on going.

Anyone that has started a business KNOWS just how bloody rough it is to just survive, never mind grow. But, to survive in a niche of a niche, then to commit to the investment of hardware + software + everything needed to get a mobile phone off the ground in a niche of a niche of a niche? Then to get hit with the total incompetence of the global governance ecosystem of western nations and survive?

Amazing.

Yes, some people around here got hurt. I respect their opinions and understand their positions. But, here is the reality of morality:

  • Morality is expensive.
  • Survival is cheap.
  • There is no morality if the host exercising said morality is dead.

Ergo, Librem is at a huge competitive disadvantage from the get go merely by proposing to act in a moral manner. They did not make 100% optimal decisions, but I am fairly certain I would not have done a better job either. It was do or die, they did what they had to survive. And then they lived up to their promises and caught up to their deliverables.

CONCLUSION

Well, here I am. 20+ years later and totally out of the matrix. I have zero non-free (to the extent possible) ecosystem that I depend upon in my personal life. Like in the movie, I get to broadcast depth and interface with the matrix as necessary. In the professional world I deal with zombies and users under the control of parasitical systems of control so compromises are still necessary. But, little by little, we are all hacking the system and it is kind of fun to be in that game as well.

The Librem 5 phone / text device is here now. It works. I can daily it no problem.

Phosh is a huge step above the android experience for my tastes. I can ACTUALLY TYPE on my bloody phone again! I have all of my PREMIUM FREE SOFTWARE ECOSYSTEM at my hands. I am now even running the Arcan display server on the L5 but I need to buy a testing unit for ongoing dev and exploration of alternatives in that area.

I am finally free.

WHAT IS NEXT

The way forward is clear:

  1. Keep on extending our mobile ecosystem outward and build all of the necessary user experiences beyond anything the gilded cage users can imagine.

  2. Grow Purism, Pine64, Volla and other companies in these spaces. Let’s make them some money, let’s build a free marketplace of ideas and products and let’s give the government it’s cut of taxes so they start to see the benefits of our enterprise.

  3. Open Hardware - In the future, we will own our own fabs and we will be building all of our own hardware for fully / truly free devices. It’s already happening: This 22-Year-Old Builds Chips in His Parents’ Garage | WIRED. It will be even worse and even less than now, but somehow, I believe there will be enough of us that understand and appreciate that existence that we can make it happen.

Everyone thinks that we have to cater to the masses in order to exist. I don’t believe this to be true. While it is true that companies like Purism can ONLY exist BECAUSE the mass market has just enough side channel capacity to get our niche products built, eventually the full democratisation of building electronics will spread the manufacturing to all localities around the globe as we increase our ai + automation and discover new materials and ways of creating computing devices that can be fully built at different scales for almost no discernible cost differences. We are not there yet, but we are on the way to that future.

The future is bright.

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Although I worry that my fanboyism shows when I say this, I agree - I wish Phosh had a couple more features, but I genuinely like it more than my old Android phones.

About 8 months now of daily driving the L5 and the only problems I have left with it, I have easy workarounds. It works just fine, and it makes me happy to use it.

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@dcz worked on Squeekboard.

dcz’s project map

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@dcz has extraordinary insights into what a keyboard needs to do and how to get it to “fold” for different use cases.

It has been a revelation to see how this could be achieved. So @dcz, thanks.

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Agreed. It is a fine line for me as well. It is easy to get blinded by fanboyism. I try to keep an eye on when things get too negative and do not take into account the ‘wins’ and try to balance it out a bit.

When it finally clicked that one company developed the hardware package + a whole user interface environment I was boggled at the balls it took to do that.

I don’t know if I would have bet the company on the project. Seriously gutsy move.

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Daily driving it also for over 1/2 year and most things are fine. I just wish some major bug fixes depending on suspend, Bluetooth and some strange states for calls (second call never goes out, 3rd one does). I’m sure those will be fixed some day, so I can live with. Better to have a bug than the whole device is “a bug” (a system that works against users with purpose).

The current stage of Phosh is fine. I miss some features for more comfort, but that doesn’t matter yet. Some of these will be added. But after a speech with devs I wish I would have the skills to fork and code a downstream version of Phosh. I’m 100% sure I wont be happy with the final goal of Phosh. Not because it is going in a wrong direction, but it will not implement in my mind necessary features. On the other hand I currently don’t think other environments will match better. So it will become a hate-love.

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I’ve been using the Librem 5 as my daily phone since 2022-05-01. I’ve seen a lot of improvements since then.
I think that input from the “daily Librem 5 drivers” is very useful for Purism to set the priorities, so please keep reporting where improvements are most needed. And keep writing about the great experiences as the original post of this thread!

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Agreed. Anyone else daily the L5? Want to share your experiences in this thread?

Let’s gather a bit of shared experience in one place so when others google they can find at least a thread with real world users and their experiences.

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I prefer DuckDuckGo.

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Searching the internet resulted in this link:

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For close to a year. (With a significant interuption when the modem failed and I had to fall back to another device until I could get a replacement modem from support. That was a faster support experience than my previous but I still didn’t get the sense of urgency that I believe a failed modem should receive since a phone isn’t much of a phone without the modem).

I share them as I see relevant to given threads.

And this is why I share my experiences in the conversations I find relevant. My experience is people look for and find things related to specific issues rather than a thread of “here’s my experience thus far” since one is more likely to have a fix for the issue or affirmation that they’re not alone than the other.

And my experience with people looking for other peoples experiences in general, they don’t look for existing threads but start their own and if pointed to an existing thread will ignore that asking for more current feedback and/or more tailored to them feedback.

But that all is just my experience with people throughout my life.

Separately I’ve also noticed much of my criticism gets attacked as if I am just anti-purism or wanting them to fail instead of someone that’s been daily driving for close to a year and in turn familiar with what it’s like to daily drive the Librem 5 and have the experiences I’ve had and wanting things to improve to a point where I can at least recommend this to my technical friends, most of whom would not put up with what I do in early adopter tax and pain.

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Depends on people. For example I’m usually looking for information first, that I expect to find somewhere on the internet. I don’t want to look for hours to find an answer, but if I can find within few minutes it’s much faster than waiting for answers.

The questions is: are you a person who is lazy to wait or are you a person who is lazy to search by your own? :smile:

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Yes, the Librem 5 USA is my only smartphone. I have been using Crimson for the last few weeks, and Byzantium before that.

I have a lot to share, but nowhere near enough time to explain. However, I will briefly mention that I currently use my Librem 5 USA to manage various virtual private servers from OVHcloud and 1984 using OpenSSH.

https://forums.puri.sm/t/vps-usage-suggestions/21788/23?u=franklyflawless

I am more about action than discussion at this point.

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I have followed your thread about your server adventures. Nice.

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// EDIT : Respondent pointed out that the post was written as me “training him”. He is correct, I used the word ‘give’ incorrectly. I did not actually mean it as training, I meant to share it as a perspective. Edited to remove the language that suggests that this is training for him.

Thanks for sharing.

I want to address the above post because that was me “attacking” you. If you don’t mind, let me give share with you you the training that I give my staff. This is shorthand, I don’t want to go into the whole thing. You will get out of this whatever it is that you want so we can leave it at that. Also, this only applies to male nervous systems, female nervous systems are wired differently and they cannot handle these rules.

  1. You are making the wrong intellectual inference because your neural network is improperly biased. Basically, you are interpreting an attack / personal slight because you have not been trained to deal with the sensory input.

Roughly speaking: Insults cannot be given. Insults can only be taken.

  1. Here is what I teach my staff:

a) When you get hired, you have to mentally split your self into two people:

  • You the person, the individual, the thing with a name a soul a heart, belief systems, etc.

  • You the professional.

You the professional is what does all the work and interfaces with all of the systems at the workplace. You the person is someone else, we never talk to, interact with or see that person in the office, this person interacts with us in private social settings which something I typically avoid with everyone that is “staff”.

b) It’s not as crazy as it sounds. You just split your self into two people and done. I created this strategy because I needed techs to be able to freely communicate with each other without having to worry about invisible rules they must follows. I just threw out all the rules and let everyone just be.

Basically, the office rules are this:

a) You CAN NEVER EVER EVER address or criticise the private individual, the you, the thing with the name, a heart a soul, belief systems, etc. That is simply off limits.

b) However, you absolutely can say anything that you want to the professional using ANY language that you want, no matter how rude or derogatory. You literally go into a full bore, full scale argument using any language that you want and completely deride the other person AS A PROFESSIONAL. Literally, anything from f*words on up, absolutely nothing is of the table.

I needed to set that up because I was finding techs were holding back too much. What I expected to happen was that all hell would break loose and everyone would argue all the time but after everything was vented out everything would be on the table and we could just say things and move on, like men do. What actually happened was that all techs became the most polite and professional people I have ever met. What I did not expect to happen is that by removing the need for everyone on the team to silently be always trying to figure out what each others private operating system rules are and try to interface using an invisible api, I reduced the friction inherent in human communication. Communication simply improved across the board instantly.

It’s not a perfect system, there is still a tiny amount of overlap and a gray area that I have to mediate, but it gets rid of all the bullshit invisible api interfaces everyone is using to communicate and streamlines everything down. Also, it doesn’t really work with women, their nervous system is wired differently and they don’t fit into this system at all.

  1. I mention the above because what you are describing is EXACTLY the problem I had to solve. I don’t have any advice for you, you have to figure this out for your self. I share the above to simply let you know:
  • You are interpreting communication as a personal attack. This is an unforced error you are making, not anyone else.

  • If you split your self into the person and the professional, that means that when you are posting on here you should be posting as the professional. It makes you completely invulnerable to any insult and you can just laugh at any comments and not take them personally, because, well no one is interfacing with the person. That is your private thing reserved for you, your friends and your family.

This is also why my posts read the way they do to you. You don’t realise that I am jumping in and expecting a full scale intellectual wrestling match with another professional. I am absolutely never ever going to impune or direct anything at you the person, but you the professional is up for grabs and I want to play. And, a disagreement between two professionals is merely a competence test. If you manage to demolish all of my arguments and positions, you win, I accept the loss and I will learn from that for the next match. If I win, I expect you as a professional to learn from that, accept it, and for it to make you stronger for the next professional match.

With respect to anything that I have said, the goal of my communication was to LITTERALY put a balance on the other side of the scale to even things out a little bit. If you read all of the L5 nonsense on Reddit, around here and elsewhere, it is heavily skewed towards hatred and disappointment. I recognise your contribution as an attempt to put pressure on the team to improve, but my perspective is that it is important to not only hear your perspective but to hear it in a balanced way that takes a larger picture into account.

In other words, it wasn’t an attack. It was a professional challenge to the one sided nature of the general tenor of the conversation here and elsewhere. I personally want Purism to thrive because I want the L5 version 2.0 and 3.0 and so on.

SUMMARY - I hope you find some of the above useful. It is meant to provide you with an understanding of the structure and nature of what is going on in those conversations. Fanboyism is as destructive as uneducated hatred and as such your opinions are valuable as well.

With respect to this thread, all good. It may not be for you but if anyone searches for L5 experiences, maybe they can hit this thread and read some success stories and the context within which they are a success. That is important as well. The thing about success is that it begets more success. Seeing others thrive and do interesting with the L5 will inspire others in all sorts of unexpected ways and that is as important for the ecosystem as the device it self.

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Interesting that you feel that way, i was not talking about you.

Maybe instead of trying to train me, some self reflection is in order.

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I’m using my L5 as a daily driver over a year now, and I am pleased using it.
There are several things that I still miss, but basic functions like making a phone call and texting are OK (speaking for my own experience).
I’m convinced that the progress will continue and many of us will be made happy using the L5 as daily driver. :+1:

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Thank you for giving us your MO. It helps us understand where you are coming from.

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How does this have only 15 likes? I just made it 16.
@intergalacticllama you’re an inspiration, and I appreciate hearing of your successful switch to the Librem 5.
I can only wish I had the skills and knowhow to fly mine as you do - although the nature of my work is such that to be able to daily it in my professional sphere is going to to take a while.
The big hurdle for me is that text messages are still unreliable at best on 3G, and almost completely non-functional on 4G. Once that is fixed, I can start finding ways of making it work for our use case.

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Sounds like you may need to update your modem firmware.

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