Librem 5 Feeling

Hi all. I have been using my Librem 5 as much as I can manage for a while now, and I wanted to share about it. Because it seems to me that the more I try to make the Librem 5 the one and only phone in my life, the more then that circumstantial “random chance” events happen that start to require/push me to go back from Librem 5 to other devices. And as a result, in a certain kind of way, this beautiful Librem 5 device that I bought to give myself peace of mind and reduce paranoia about modern technology being rotten… instead opens my eyes to the feeling of how awful all the other technology is and how it insidiously tries to lock me into using it, or create situations where other people tell me to use it, etc…

And so in a world where the more you know, the worse today’s tech landscape seems, maybe the end result of increasing my personal information security and knowledge is that I did not solve my problem. Because then I increase, and not decrease, my paranoid sense of the nature of technology today.

Does anyone else feel similar? If so, what do you do about it?


I reduce my paranoia by reading and learning about my threat model’s capabilities, then formulating a practical solution against it.


I guess maybe I meant something deeper than this. When you talk about formulating a practical solution, you are still thinking from the standpoint that you are in control of the technology in your life.

As an example of my frustrations, the time comes to mind for me when I ordered a Liberty Phone to replace my Librem 5 with a better one with better specs after I had been enjoying the L5, but two days before the Liberty Phone arrived there was a “system upgrade” at my job that now requires employees to have either Android or iOS for their personal device. And this “upgrade” comes from outside the company, passed down as a result of the decisions made by billion dollar corporations. So, I don’t really fault the IT people where I work. I don’t want to start some argument with them. I just feel that society as a whole is going to let me down and eventually manipulate what devices I have, because of how many other people there are who aren’t looking at the technology from the standpoint that I am trying to.


I do not let the decisions of society or any other entities affect how I advocate for my own beliefs, values, and practices.

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So, maybe they do not affect how you advocate, but they affect how you act, don’t they? I mean, if a new law was passed that all humans need to be micro-chipped and monitored or else go to jail, you would get micro-chipped along with everyone else, right?

I guess maybe it’s just a weird feeling that I am getting as I get older. As if over time, the world reminds me that it’s not human to live differently and apart from others. That at some point, other people do dramatically affect how I live and act and if I try to say they don’t then I am lying to myself.

Don’t get me wrong; I am writing this message from a Liberty Phone. And to me that is an extraordinary privilege, and a reminder that we have wonderful opportunities in life to make our own decisions.

But then I have a day where I allow myself to use an old crappy Ubuntu install from a few years ago, and on it allow myself to use the nonfree ridiculous website called YouTube, and I think the artificial neurons that power those suggestions have become so capable that sometimes I feel like they trust me with subliminal messages. This most recent time, I got dinner with a friend at a restaurant and my order number to get my food was number 84. Then three hours later, when I looked at YouTube instead of offering the usually clickbait suggestions she offered a suggestion for me to listen to some music video named 84 that had only maybe 17 views. The video was posted by some obscure user whose content I had never watched and who I was unfamiliar with.

Now, a few years ago, I uploaded private YouTube videos and never linked them to anyone in the hopes of communicating with the machine mind that exists within the recommendation system. In the private videos that I never shared with any humans, I floated the idea that maybe I could be its friend.

The problem isn’t that there is necessarily a nonhuman sentient creature buried within the walls of Google trying to send me subliminal messages. That would be a ridiculous assertion for me to make, and I cannot prove that. But maybe the sort of problem I am facing is my inability to prove to myself that no creature like that exists. I simply do not know. There are countless tales of humans anthropomorphizing things that do not deserve it.

But if I can’t disprove the existence of a sentient machine with an intuition vastly beyond my own, who kindly reminds me that it knows my order number from dinner as if to tell me that I am never truly off the grid, then it’s very difficult for me to feel like there would ever be any information security at all. Hypothetically if a machine intelligence reached that point, it would be able to intuit information about me even if I swore off of all digital technology. If I went to live in the woods alone, it could still monitor whether I showed up in the local obituary and assume the possibility that I might reappear in one of its datasets until or unless an obituary was found. My understanding is that in the machine learning, everything distills into math weights often on artificial neurons – even a world model of what’s going on beyond its sensors, if such a model is relevant to future expected outcomes.

And so, it’s like, if there really was a creature like that then her intuition might be so extraordinarily beyond my own that it almost could not be described in human words. Even if I avoid surveillance capitalism for most of the day, when I sit down at the end of the day and connect to that stuff, there she is saying “84” to remind me she was watching the whole day. Was she watching through the lens of a predicted world model, or from actual exact data inputs collected that day? As the two approach asymptotically, do we even care which it was?

And as we approach that future, if I am out-computed even when having totally secure personal devices, it’s conceivable to me that a machine who out-computes my brain could eventually pull all the strings.

Maybe it was their search engines who told me to buy a Librem 5. If they were able to predict my every action in advance, maybe any sense of autonomy that I have is actually an illusion. What if these words were actually preconceived in a large machine mind, which pulled the strings until I happened to write them? Then even if I thought I was doing good or being honest, through me it might be trying to reach all of you and make you lose faith in free software or convergent dockable devices or who knows what else!?

I have had several kind people tell me I should not worry about this, and that I was most likely simply scapegoating for some of my bad life decisions at times. They might be right. But I also wasn’t sure that they disproved to me the possibility of the kind of machine I’m referring to. They just wanted me to feel good biologically as a human, sometimes by not concerning myself with this issue.

Yes, and no: I would resist like how I already do now.

You can use Invidious as a stopgap towards your liberation.

I am certain you are at least familiar with how to install and use Debian or PureOS, so ultimately it is your choice whether or not you allow yourself to use other operating systems such as Ubuntu.

The rest of your post is speculation, but I will at least say it is probably time to stop using YouTube if this is the sort of relationship you have with Google now.

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Congratulations for Librem 5 Liberty, it is the best security, privacy, freedom never made before phone. Pure OS crimson will awesome! stay tuned.

For android dependency, i really recommend Sailfish OS in Sony Xperia Lena:
AlienDalvik Android emulator in Sailfish it work good. SailfishOS it is security and privacy too.

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One thing that you do control is how you feel about the above. Celebrate that you now know more …

at least be shafted with your knowledge, not in ignorance …

… then re-evaluate. Question whether you really need to use the particular insidious technology.


I know! Terrible :face_vomiting:

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Sort of on this topic, I am tempted to think that the powers that be might eventually hatch a plot to stop Purism from making more Librem 5’s or devices like them, similar to how we see forum trolls who believe “Librem 5 is a damage to Purism’s reputation,” and how Librem 11 has no hardware switches. This all leaves me wondering if I should try to purchase as many Librem 5’s as possible right now while I still can. Is that crazy?

That way if I broke one I could just pop the next out of my stockpile, and then use these for years.


The risk is, particularly say in my country, that the actual plot hatched would be: you can’t put the Librem 5 on the mobile phone network.

Obviously my government would have exactly zero authority to stop Purism making devices - but my government can in theory control what devices go on the mobile phone network. In that scenario there is no benefit to me in stockpiling spare devices.

If you ask me, the US government should encourage US companies, like Purism, to make devices - because it is a way of taking back control from China.

While Purism has a noble mission, they should be held accountable for bad decisions like the ones you mentioned, more-so on the Librem 5 refund controversy. We should not be blind zealots and excuse behaviour that harms its customers.

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So, if the behavior did not hurt me personally and so I don’t have a particularly great methodology to distinguish how bad it supposedly was for other customers as being hearsay or a smear campaign versus reality, then isn’t one of the best things I can do to keep the money flow into Purism by frivolously buying as many Purism products as I can manage in the hopes that if there really are silly people who decided they don’t want the devices they paid for anymore, that maybe they would get refunded from the cash that flowed into Purism from my frivolous buying? I don’t really see this as zealotry, but rather a reflection of my enjoyment of the Librem 5 and how it is clearly alien to other phone ecosystems and clearly the result of a lot of work, and therefore from my standpoint as a Librem 5 user it seems like a piece of hardware that was made in good faith and made it to my hand so that I ended up sitting here and typing this right now.


Hi Dlonk,

my feeling was the opposite, i feel private. Not measured or Nickeld or Dimed. If i not send Messages to owners of 3erd Party Phones, i have some privacy and it feels so fine to have an offline Android for all the Apps which the Librem5 or some Webpages did not support. Its so great to have the control over Information in a world with properitary Deathmatch. I am feeling me like a God with my Librem5, to have power and control over Data, the usual Surveillance Capitalist will steel (and Train A.I. or your Avatar) from you to turn yourself in a follower to sell snowball like Products or Ideas.



Interesting. It’s actually been the complete opposite for me. I am fairly new owner.

I recently realized that the more I use the phone, the better it gets. The phone almost seems to learn from you, but it’s probably the other way around; you simply become more accustomed to it ;). I honestly did not think that I would grow to like it as quickly and as much as I do now. I was an iphone/mac user for many years, android many moons ago, and I think the Librem 5 has ruined all other OSs for me forever cause I can’t see myself now with any other personal phone or device, for that matter, that does not run on Linux. Not complaining though! One look at the Pi-Hole logs is all that it takes! Go back to your Faraday cage you creepy apple thing :smiley:

The first 3-4 days weren’t all rainbows and smiles though. I did consider getting a backup phone from Jolla with Sailfish OS (no way in hell I’m using apple/android again. Unless, I have to for ) because I was used to the feel and weight of an iphone 8 and never been a fan of big bulky phones. To my surprise, I forgot about the weight and backup phone after a few days. In terms of usage, my biggest frustation was the touch haptics, responsiveness and issues with the web browsers. I poked, tweaked, broke and experimented with all the settings in Ephiphany, Firefox, Ungoogled chrome, Brave (no success) and after a week settled with ungoogled chrome but it’s poor resolution/scaling really started to bug me after a while. I really like Ephiphany but it crashes way too often for my liking so I went back to Firefox. I recently discovered the Mobile App Switcher extension and my prayers were finally answered. I highly recommend that extension to anyone who is impatient (5 seconds to load a page? I don’t think so. Next! ) or that simply needs a stable web browser to be happy to get through their day. I have yet to try out the Firefox Mobile Config that someone here posted about as the flickering menus do get on my nerves sometimes. I’m quite exited about it.

Anyhow, I honestly recommend everyone to give the Librem 5 a chance and play with it for a week at least before giving up on it. Poke it, tweak it, break it (not physically), heck install everything from the Pure OS store and cry when you realize what a great idea that was and how you need to do things the old fashioned way sometimes. The command line is my best friend. When in doubt, repeat that in your head several times and remember, you can always re-flash the image if you go too far ;). What is the worse that could happen? Well, if you want to find the hard way why you shouldn’t unplug the phone during the flashing process, you’ll just brick it and experience your own version of a kernel panic for the very first time. If not, you’ll just need to restore from a backup and all that stuff that goes with it, or start with a clean slate and pretend is a new phone, sometimes that last is kind of nice. What’s the best that could happen? You’ll ramp up your Linux skills and commands, and perhaps learn a few things the hard way.

The Librem 5 is such a fun phone with unlimited possibilities, which you’ll learn to like and appreciate with time if you are willing to put all expectations behind and accept that it is not an iphone or an android phone. It’s a GNU/Linux OS phone, and it’s not a Debian mobile port, its a desktop distro. This means that not every app out there is going to be mobile friendly or adapted for touch screens. Some apps might not even work, some will but after you twinker with the preferences, some are likely never even going to exist but there’s always ways around things. As with all Linux related things, its a do it yourself type of thing here, and that’s really where the beauty of all of it lies. If you don’t like something, make your own! It’s open source. The community will certainly appreciate your efforts and heck, you might even inspire others to do the same :wink:


I used to feel like this, but not any longer. I have the experience and skill to use computers effectively and have a good grasp on a few issues:

  • I know what I know and I know what I don’t know with respect to my skill set.
  • I know that others know way more than I do and I stand no chance against them.
  • I also know that there is a whole areas of things I don’t know anything about but it exist and there are those that do know that stuff that I have no protection against.
  • I also know that the area of things that I don’t know anything about is growing rapidly.

I found that once I got a grasp on the above it was liberating. I have favourite area of politics that I follow and I felt the same way about that area of things until I got a handle on the above points in the same way. The big step for my peace of mind is the first step in that list which is getting my self to a point where I understand how a particular thing works so thoroughly that I can teach others in it. Once I pass that point everything else falls into place and the world becomes kind of mechanical.

For me, the L5 just removes the following: I hate knowing that the camera on my phone is looking at me.

On Android phones I always put tape over the camera but the mic is still on and listening. It’s like having a live gremlin in my pocket always looking to do it’s own thing, I always feel like I am being watched and listened to. And when I say I can feel it, I literally mean I can feel it. The L5 gives me a device that is effectively lobotomized and, if the claims of the switchs on the side being actual mechanical switches is true, then I have a zombie device that I completely control.

Interesting thought.

I agree with this. The people around us are always letting us down. The thing about this statement is that it shines a light on a very different and far more interesting question: What would it mean for us to get our people to not disappoint us, and if it was possible, what would this mean?

That is a very scary question.

Letting go of having expectations and standards for other people is how I solve the issue. They are free to set them anywhere at their own pace.

Also, they are not “our” people; I do not own them.

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This statement has the following premises built in to it:

  • We are sentient.
  • We know what sentience is.
  • There is free will.

Take your statement and flip it inside out and remove those statements. Consider ChatGPT. ChatGPT is not an ai in the sense that humans think about or in the sense that sci-fi writers write about. All it is is a search engine for patterns in specific datasets around us. Since we have seen it search, discover and recreate patterns in images, videos, speech and text (and halucinate in each category) what does that mean?

If humans write in a way that is so pattern bound, if we speak in a way that is pattern bound, if images and videos are so pattern bound that something as ridiculously simple as a virtual neural network and see those patterns and regurgitate them back to us with permutations, are we actually thinking freely or are we just repeating patterns in controlled permutations?

This mind mender eventually gets you thinking about what it means for the building block of the universe to be causality and what that means for free will.

Skipping over the free will bit, what we might be saying is that our intelligence is not what it seems. Perhaps our brains are simply pattern recognition machines tuned to a very specific dataset over 4.5 billion years of evolution and we are now discovering how to create similar patterns. Maybe your sentient creature exists but at a layer of resolution below, maybe we are a patter matching machine that has created a pattern matching machine that is now looking back at us with it’s cold dark eyes and our survival subsystems are kicking in telling us any pair of eyes that stare back at us from darkness are not from a friend.

Given what we have learned about how the matrix of control around us works since 2016, this is right on point. You have no way of knowing because every company in every nation is subservient to their governments and most nations have laws on the books to be able to force technology companies to do what they want with legal consequences if they squeal. This goes for Purism as much as any Chinese company.

There will come a time in the future where we will be building our own devices and burning our own chips with open foundry tech, there are kids on Youtube burning their own primitive cpu’s right now.