Got my Librem 5 three months ago. Been using it as my daily driver since then. I literally tossed my iPhone in the drawer, never looked back since.
Fast-forward three months. I’m still proud to be independent from the Apple-Google duopoly and their intrusive ways. But honestly, I’m growing tired of all the tiny ways that I feel my Librem has made my life a little shittier.
I suspended my other hobbies just so I could focus on getting through the initial tedium, hoping to get the most basic stuff working, apps and workflows that I require to get through the day. But even after those weeks, I still feel I have to be babysitting my phone all day long, and sometimes it feels like there’s just no end in sight.
Most websites are barely usable due to latency. Firefox profiler results suggest that almost all of that latency is due to the CPU being the bottleneck. In particular, I can’t look up train connections properly, because there’s no usable app, and the train operator’s website takes 30s to load. It also keeps logging me out, which means it takes literally minutes just so I can refresh a page that I’m already on!
My employer sponsors a job ticket program, where employees can get a public transport monthly ticket for a small nominal co-pay. However, said ticket is bound to the proprietary iOS/Android app I mentioned earlier. So I chose to reverse engineer the app and re-construct the relevant part in GTK3, Python and libhandy. I’m now using that fake app for ticket validation (which, as a side note, is basically putting my job on the line: my employer happens to be that very train operator, and also the entity which maintains and operates the train app, so what I’m doing basically equals to violating contractual and work-related duties. I’m aware that I’m choosing that course of action myself, but on the other hand, there’s no way that I’m going to voluntarily forfeit my employer’s perks just because they’re being discriminatory against mobile Linux.)
My spouse and I love watching Bundesliga while on the go. To that end, we’re paying subscribers for DAZN and NOW (aka “WOW” in German-speaking countries.)
Needless to say, any form of live sports, video-on-demand, and other streaming services are utterly riddled with DRM.
I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to be able to stand on the shoulders of giants, who figured out all the glibc patches for me that are needed to transplant Chrome OS’s proprietary module to a plain GNU/Linux system.
I’ve been working for months to get this working, learned lots about Debian packaging on my way, and had partial success: DAZN is working, while NOW is still locking me out, purportedly just out of pure OS discrimination. (They’re locking me out on all my other Linux computers, too.)
So, only DAZN it is, for now. That equals about accessing only 20% of Bundesliga games (even though we’re paying for 100%), but I’m even willing accept that.
The final straw that’s breaking my back though is: DAZN’s stream is entirely unwatchable on the L5. It runs on two or three frames per second, then pauses for a minute, then repeat.
Edit: Just shortly after I posted this rant, DAZN worked for almost one full minute, perfectly lag-free, with dozens fps! You could tell that during that minute where the stream worked fine, some slight bit-rate adaptation was involved. (Note to self: must find a way to coerce the client to impose some artificial cap in order to keep that MPEG-DASH thing from defaulting to the highest quality setting.)
These examples are just three off the top of my head. There are dozens more.
There are amazing moments, too: how people like @user0 have been working to improve our Firefox experience. Or @dos and @guido.gunther, who helped me troubleshoot a misbehaving USB-C hub. Also, all the good people on this forum, who are making me feel like I’m not entirely alone.
Still, I’m at a loss as to what to do.
I knew at the time I ordered my Librem that the UX was going to be really bad. But I never imagined it would be 3fps bad or fake-your-train-ticket bad.
How are you folks coping with these roadblocks?
I totally want to love, and continue daily driving, my L5. But what to do if I feel that my L5 is making my life more shitty than it needs to be, an there’s seemingly no end in sight?
I acknowledge that I’m going to have to take the i.MX 8 or leave it, and that there’s no faster SoC in sight. But is there really nothing technical I can do to at least mitigate the pain with the hardware I have?
I’m totally willing to learn and put in more effort, but what are possible programming topics I could start learning to realistically help tackle those issues?