Librem 5 — painpoint assessment 2021

Another painpoint to be addressed in the medium to long term: boot sequence integrity.

All (?) the other Purism devices support the Librem Key for those that want the highest level of assurance that the device hasn’t been tampered with since it was last in a known good state. Ideally would want a Librem Key with a USB-C connector, so as to avoid having to carry around an adapter. This paragraph is assuming that the Librem Key would be the chosen solution for the Librem 5.

PS Yes, I know that it’s now 2022. :wink:

At the current price of the L5, Purism needs to sell the phone as a specialized security device because the L5 has become too expensive for most Linux enthusiasts. I care a lot more about suspend-to-RAM and camera auto-focus than verifiable secure booting and end-to-end encryption with OpenPGP smartcard keys, but I suspect that Purism will have to cater to the specialized security market due to its high pricing.

Given the current state of the software, I think the best course is for Purism to implement suspend-to-RAM without wake-on-call functionality for people who want to use the L5 as a mobile internet device, but it is still a hard sell at $1199 (and the future $1299 price hike).


Agreed. I’m going with a degoogled phone for now. Heck I can buy three of them for what Purism wants to sell one L5 if I wanted to segregate what I do on each phone.
Don’t get me wrong I love what Purism is doing and eventually I would really love to have a L5 Fir or later model, but no way I will pay that much for a phone. So either the prices become affordable or I stick with degoogled phones.
And personally it doesn’t matter to me what the reasons are why they are hiking the prices up so high, or that I understand them, it’s still the same dollars out of my pocket either way and I can’t afford to support them in that way.


What Purism really needs to do is get VoLTE working. Without that, the Librem 5 is a pocket computer, but not a phone.


My top 3 issues which prevent the Librem 5 from being my daily driver are:

  1. MMS not working
  2. Battery life is terrible, even when idle the phone’s battery drains FAST!
  3. Charging the phone takes forever.

I have other issues, mostly nitpicks which I can live with but would like to see improvements such as the sound quality of the mic, camera, sharing files, etc. But my top 3 prevents me from making this device (which I luv) from being a viable daily driver at this time.


As you can see from my own list above, I would definitely 100% agree with you regarding the time between charges.

For me, improved camera software would have been a “nice to have” but unfortunately the pandemic made it a “must have” (QR code check-in everywhere).

Partition encryption using the OpenPGP smartcard is something that I would like eventually. Partition encryption in some way at all is something that I would like sooner rather than later (this is just basic theft-mitigation - most of us aren’t facing state actors in our threat model).

I really only mentioned the issue of boot sequence integrity (which is related but different) because you had mentioned it in another post. I just wanted it to be recorded as an issue.

A fair speculation. I would suppose that we will find out soon enough.


These are my current pain points to be fixed before I can use it as my daily driver.


MMS is enabled in chatty 5.0~beta3, which is the latest version.

There has been a fair bit of work on suspend lately:

The slow charging is because the L5’s battery charging is currently limited to 5V x 1.6A, but I’m still hoping for future 9V or 12V charging. See my comments:


The two go together as well i.e. people would be more prepared to accept slow charging if the phone only had to be charged once a week.

To be honest though I don’t have a problem with the time to charge. It is only the time between charges (about 8 to 9 hours) that bugs me.


I haven’t tried MMS on chatty in quite awhile, you are saying it actually works now?

Chris Talbot (kop316) who wrote the code to support MMS says that it works in chatty 5.0~beta3, so its worth upgrading and trying it. It hasn’t yet been added to Mobian, so I haven’t tried it.


thats good news, not sure I will trust to try the beta version and wait for it in the official PureOS app store. I already burned one SIM card experimenting with things, so I can wait on it, but that is a huge feature I need for a daily driver. Even if I don’t see a message on suspend, as long as it works when I check my phone, I can deal with it.

Chatty 0.5.0-beta3 is already in the official PureOS store, so no need for waiting :slight_smile:


I added something about the current MMS situation in another thread: State of MMS on Librem 5

TL;DR: MMS works now, but annoyingly creates a group chat, possibly due to missing info about own number.

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good news, I will be trying that out. Now if only the battery life and the forever charging was slightly improved. I realize the camera will probably never be that good, but just hope it is serviceable one day, like a Blackberry camera, not an iPhone camera, but as of now, its darker than the earliest camera phones from like the mid 00’s.

Have you increased the gain setting? I agree it’s nowhere near an iPhone camera, but substantially increasing the gain setting allowed me to get a reasonably decent photo even in its current state.


It’s annoying that when the camera app is launched, the gain is always reset to it’s lowest possible value rather than its last value. If nothing else, it seems to me, that for the best user experience, the sensor’s gain should be initialized to its last value (or its maximum value rather than its minimum value, if the last value cannot be saved).


Absolutely. There is a LOT of improvement needed for the camera to be usable for normal smartphone use.

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Glad to see this, although personally I will miss the mobile, wifi, and battery icons that currently display under the time on the lock screen. @guido.gunther

But since those are now kept visible in the notifications area, that’s cool.


Sadly, I wanted the actual battery percentage. The icons are relatively imprecise and of necessity rather small, better than nothing, but not what I was after.

If an actual percentage is not to be available then using colour to augment the icon would be helpful, although I understand that that is not a fully “accessible” design e.g. 0-19 red; 20-79 white; 80-100 green.