Librem 5 Fatigue

I am starting my daily driver journey right now so I will see I guess.

For me, computers are NOT about technology but about politics. I use Free Software exclusively for political reasons and I understand that my choice means that I have to exchange expectations. Because I already know what to expect, I only expect to be able to make / receive phone calls and text messages, everything else is a bonus.

Having said that, those addicted to being non-free look at me as if I somehow live with less or a lesser life. To me, nothing could be further from the truth. The truth shines brightly on every one of my days as I tread a path all of my own. The people that look down on my choice (if they even notice) are people that I pity. I pity them because they are people that value the material world more than them selves.

To this point, there was a ridiculous movie released in 2000 called Bedazzled that turned out to be undeservedly profound. It starred Brandan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley and the movie is about the devil giving everyone what they want in exchange for their souls. There is this amazing scene at the end that has stayed with me to this day. At the beginning of the movie the devil invites Brandans character into a club full of the young, the beautiful and the club is bumping, everyone is in love and having a grand time as it was full of the rich, the famous and the beautiful and now Brandans character was being offered the chance to be one of the beautiful rich and famous people in exchange for his soul. Towards the end of the movie the devil lowers the charade and shows that the club was all fake. The reality is that the room is full of old, ugly, fetid, wrinkly (seriously ugly) people dressed up as if they were young dancing in this empty room that is not lit up at all, not decorated, empty feeling as if it was a cavern full of the living dead collected for the devils amusement at their gullibility.

That is the reality of human existence. Our entire economic system is based on us wasting our lives chasing vanity, youth, beauty, pleasure, comfort, etc. at the expense of truth and the reality that we will never be forever young, forever beautiful, forever bathe in pleasure and comfort and so forth. Truth is right there in front of us, we just have to accept it and be willing to let all that other stuff float away.

At the end of all of our lives, the only things that matter are family and children, everything else was a waste of time.

I don’t have any advice for you here, this is just my take. It is seriously impressive how far you have gotten coding up your own solutions but:

  • Be practical about your job. If your job requires a non-free phone, use it. The devil requires it for the entrance into the club, as long as you can see the all dancing all singing crap of the world for what it is, the devil has no power over you.

  • Why not carry both phones with you if you are THIS dedicated to freedom and use your iPhone over the wifi access point on your L5? It’s a perfectly reasonably thing to do.

Remember to be pragmatic about all of this. The reason that we are all in this hell hole is because all of the fools around us chose non-free solutions and forced the economics of the system to skew in that direction. It will take a long time for us to move the economics back enough for us to be able to use fully free solutions, so don’t put all of that responsibility on your shoulders. It isn’t your load to bear alone.



You can ask them for better access options, like:

  • a fully offline, downloadable version (which will of course not be dynamic i.e. not reflecting any random, unpredictable schedule adjustments i.e. train running early or late)
  • a saner, data-only online version where you can come up with a better user-interface (light touch, no login required - why the heck do you even have to log in in order to check a train timetable / connection?)

I admire your dedication.

As my project ends I need to be reliable reachable for recruiters so I bought a Pixel 8.

I’ve been using Linux as my sole OS since 1996 and am quite used to things not working out of the box. In my memory my OpenMoko Neo FreeRunner was more usable as a phone.

I think Purism would have better used a little less libre hardware this first iteration.

Also Purisms patches need to get upstream so one can actually install any OS without being dependent on Purisms repositories.

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For me the Librem 5 is the dream of having my computer in my pocket. I don’t see it is entirely necessary because of the existence of de-googled Android and the many software sources that support that.

I use the Librem 5 anyway because it is just impressive to me.

I have a MNT Reform as well, which uses the same SoC as the Liberty Phone (newest version of the Librem 5, which is really just an additional gig of RAM and more eMMC storage space). I find myself enjoying the Reform more to use because it is using Sway and things are far more predictable and performant there. On the other hand, the battery capacity of the Librem 5 is a fraction of the Reform, and yet the Librem 5 is able to last longer on standby than the Reform, and it’s run time when on is better than the Reform.

This speaks to the immense work on power management that Purism has been working on.

My only real grievance with the Librem 5 has to do with Phosh. It is too easy to trigger the launcher and this messes up window location and size. Things like this are annoyances that can be avoided, but a better design or a tweaking of gestures would alleviate the issue as well.

That no one ever talks about this really has me wondering if people are even using docked mode. I also want to be clear that I am not dissing Guido’s work here. I think his work is great, and I love what it has done for Linux mobile!

That said, the Librem 5 is a great first start. The work being done here will benefit newer and faster SoCs.

However, the Librem 5 really is capable of doing things that most people need.

I would ask why you don’t want to use Waydroid? It is degoogled, completely under your control, and will probably run the app in question without issue, provided it doesn’t need camera support.

  1. What web pages are sluggish on the librem 5? Browsing generally works OK for me, although my old android phone is smoother.

  2. For the odd case where I need an android app I just use a second phone. I do not carry this android phone, but it stays at home, and I can control it using scrcpy on my librem phone. For train tickets I switched to a physical plastic card instead of app.

  3. Is your spouse also using a linux phone? If not, can’t you just use your spouses phone for Bundesliga? Alternatively download/stream using yt-dlp if that is a possibility, or just download from somewhere else. Video with mpv and uPlayer works quite good.

I think it is good to share experiences and solutions to problems as mobile linux users. I have been daily driving the librem 5 for just over a year, and it just keeps getting better, although still frustrating at times.


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.

What is then the actual player that gives you 3fps? Chromium? Firefox? You can get decent video performance (and battery life) with gstreamer based solutions using playbin3 (so it can leverage the imx8’s (hantro) hw decoding, currently working for h264 in Byzantium). If you end up a non-hw accelerated path in high resolutions and e.g. VP9 performance will be bad (not only on the Librem5).

Did you try anything around GitHub - WebPlatformForEmbedded/gstcencdecryptor: A Gstreamer decryptor, with an implementation for OCDM. ? Would be interesting if we can hook this into a small player (like livi) so we get good control over the gstreamer pipeline itself and can check stream formats and whether hw playback is in use more easily. (Im not much into DRM so hopefully not pointing into the wrong direction).


A good way to cope is to install the extra gaps in functionality through Waydroid…


I’m not sure if it is exactly same issue, but in docked mode I find it is easy to accidentally trigger the app launcher using a trackpad. It can be very annoying when I do not have access to my bluetooth mouse.

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It’s on Firefox ESR. It uses EME and a content decryption module (heavily obfuscated shared library) with matching plugin, which I have installed on my Firefox. The (also heavily obfuscated) player client on pulls the stream via MPEG-DASH, pipes it through the library to be decrypted (and possibly decoded? I don’t even know), and renders the resulting stream. No idea what video codec it even uses. Everything is obfuscated.

That player is what’s giving me 3fps.

(Except when it decides to lower the bitrate a little. Then the stream is fine for a minute or so. But as soon as there’s enough bandwidth, it’s slideshow time again.)

I think I have to be honest with myself: it’s taken me three months already to get that DRM-ridden pipeline running in Firefox to the point that it’s streaming something. Porting that (obfuscated) web player client to gstreamer is definitely way out of my league. That client involves heaps of obfuscated JavaScript, and possibly dynamically generated WebAssembly modules as yet another layer of obfuscation.

I wish I had a way to massage MPEG-DASH to artificially cap the bit rate.

Thanks for the link, I’m definitely going to look into this.

Can’t really blame you for that!

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Thanks y’all for the insights and suggestions! Will definitely consider everything that’s been written.

Already carrying: heavy company laptop, proprietary laptop charger, bank’s 2FA device, phone, battery, power bank. That’s why I feel reluctant to throw in another device. Also trying to avoid babysitting a secondary OS if at all possible.

Apps are actively resisting against running on a phone that they consider “rooted,” which includes Waydroid. Plus, I feel a little reluctant to babysit a secondary OS, which needs its own share of attention, too.

For example, – it takes > 30s to load on the L5, and most of that time is being spent parsing and executing JS.

Clever solution, though I personally don’t like the thought of having to babysit yet another OS. Neither am I ready to buy a new phone every couple of years – that’s the exact scenario I was trying to avoid by switching to the L5. (Oh sweet summer child me!)

Good point! Would be more expensive though in my case.

You’re right; that’s what we’ve been doing.
Still causing me grief though. We’re paying for the service, so I’d love to be able to watch it on the L5, too.

Thank you for your kind words. Feels somewhat comforting to know that I’m not alone in my frustration.


I thought it was really weird when I was shown that I can put a GloDroid SD card in my PinePhone and dual boot it, and it basically then can run Android incredibly smoothly despite my PinePhone experience otherwise being a sense of awkward slowness and inferior hardware (especially in comparison to the Librem 5).

It’s interesting to think that if someone wanted reprieve from the software troubles of the Librem 5, it would probably be similarly possible to port GloDroid to run on the Librem 5 on an SD card, and that way when you boot the Librem 5 you could have a freedom-respecting device in the one case, or if you hold volume down while booting then it would run an evil corporate shill Android device but which still has hardware switches and a removable battery so that you can charge multiple batteries at a time and rotate between them (or remove the battery if you are paranoid and want the phone to be truly “off”).

Seeing how that was on the PinePhone, and that awful eerie reality of how much smoother and faster things ran on AOSP derivatives (until it eventually crashed) was a reminder to me of that bizarre disconnect between how GPL/free software tends to be useful, whereas the evil software tends to “make you want to use it.” And yet, I think that if I could dual boot to GloDroid during the week and pretend my Librem 5 was that evil thing willed on me by society – to then be able to dual boot back to sanity and safety on PureOS or one of the other ethical distros – I might be really, really tempted to do so.

The only reason it didn’t become possible yet was probably our collective conscious will to try to avoid Google’s evil grasp – I imagine no one serious about being an L5 daily driver would want to go that route. But, if even one person ever builds a GloDroid fork for L5 or whatever it would take, I would imagine lots of us would be tempted by its power.


It depends on the needs of the user. I have no dependencies on Android or iOS whatsoever, so my smartphone journey is now over.


But what if you get put in a situation where someone, for example if your country’s government, says that there is a new way of doing something that every citizen must do, and the way to do this thing is with the mobile app? I guess at that point, you would just use Waydroid/Anbox if your life depended on running the stupid proprietary thing.

But what if you had to run it all the time, and with good performance? My fight with my job requirements are sometimes exhausting because the Android/iOS apps that they expect me to have are so dumb to launch. Sometimes I really want those apps to run, but kicking my Waydroid solutions (or VNC connection to cloud android with Waydroid solutions) has a time cost that is frustrating. The emulation is not without an overhead.

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I would resist as I already do now.


“Resistance is Futile” :rofl:

My government already says that (not for every citizen but for a subset of citizens that includes me, so it might as well be everyone). I use a spare, dedicated, SIM-less iPhone that never leaves my house. It runs the government’s one relevant (cr)app and no other app. That iPhone is shut down except at the times when I need to use the government’s app. Is that a perfect solution from a privacy and security point of view? No. – I may one day migrate that to Waydroid but for now it is good enough.


Can you give us a reminder of the country this government occupies and its mandated app?


This is the exact issue. I have found that a 3 finger tap is the trigger. However there is a latency, and 2 finger taps are sometimes misunderstood as a 3 finger. I would just like the possibility to disable this gesture in general.

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My country has strong digital NGOs. I doubt that this will be easy for my country’s government to do so. We also had data retention laws that where not used, because of our NGOs that run to our court. Our Corona tracking app was privacy respecting and open source (and optional) thanks to NGOs.

I’m sorry for everyone in another country who will be forced into the “arms of evil”. But even there I would try to fight this (as long as my life is not in danger by doing this).


Let me know if I can help with anything there (I don’t have any DRM content subscription but I can see that people want that).


It’s only thanks to you and others with this spirit — of spending the shoe-leather to solve these problems — that someone like me will get any use out of Librem 5. I also feel my Librem 5 experience has been quite deflating, but the idea of being part of a community that is working together to escape surveillance capitalism sustains me.

I have to say, my own needs are pretty minimal compared with yours, so that my frustrations with Librem 5 should be even more concerning. My calls work fine, especially with the plug-in earbuds+mic. Texting works okay although the on-screen keyboard leaves me making lots of typos I have to backspace to fix, and sometimes I receive images a day late after rebooting. The Weather app usually hangs with gray screen and “Loading…” message; notably, this can happen even when I can easily load this app on my Librem 14 while it is getting its Internet connection thru the phone. Finally, Maps usually loads the map data too slowly to be of use, and apparently there’s no way yet for me to cache OpenStreetMap data on the 80+GB I have free on the phone. (All I want is my old BlackBerry back again. :cry: )

Perhaps in the New Year I’ll find time to devote to debugging these problems.