Librem 5 questions: Tethering, Battery, Versions


I recently found out about the Librem 5 (late, I know) and am interested in getting one. However, like others I’m seeing here, I have some questions which I haven’t been able to find answers to.

  1. The FAQs say the mobile hotspot/tethering is supported by the hardware, but may not be supported by the software yet. Has there been any progress on this? Is there any work in progress on this, or time I could expect it might be added?
  2. What is the battery life like? Also, I know the battery is replaceable, but where/how can I get a replacement?
  3. Will there be a price difference between the current offering (Evergreen) and upcoming models, such as Fir?

The L5 will not be useful to me until/unless it can support mobile hotspot or tethering, so I’m wondering if I should buy Evergreen now, or wait a while, and perhaps get Fir.

Thank you in advance for your response, and thanks for the work your folks are doing!

It might not have “tethering” support in the GUI, but it’s just vanilla Linux, so it certainly supports it lower in the stack. You can use SSH -D $PORT_NUMBER from your computer into the L5 and get a socks5 proxy. You can also set up IP forwarding to allow all devices on the local network to route their traffic through the L5.


When evergreen starts shipping, price is supposed to go up 50 bucks. You could order now and request to get Fir instead by mail, as some have done.


Interesting. So if I have a dumb device, such as an Android smartphone, which I need to connect to the internet through the L5, how would that look? I don’t think I could establish an SSH connection from it to the L5. SOCKS5 would not be ideal, but maybe I could duct-tape something together. In any case, I’m hoping the L5 can create it’s own WLAN, then bridge that to the Internet. If I just have these two devices, is there a way to make this work?

If is not implemented in GUI you can always use nmcli to do it, I don’t have a Librem 5 yet but I will try it once I get mine, when dogwood start shipping we can ask someone if they can give it a try.
Battery doesn’t last the whole day yet but it’s improving and hopefully it will reach a day of normal use, probably not much more than that I think, but I’m just guessing.

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You can use ssh from the L5 to the L5 to create a socks5 proxy, then just point the android phone at it. You need to bind the socks5 listen interface to, instead of (which is likely default).

For all of this, I’m assuming you tell the L5 (via network manager, or ip) to create an ad-hoc network, which the other devices can then join (or use a wireless router or whatever, to make the network).

Also of note, you can ssh from android, via the termux package.

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I suggest reviewing this topic: Librem 5 & Tethering Update 2020

Definitely being worked on.
Tethering via WiFi (as opposed to USB or Bluetooth).
Looks fairly well advanced.

I have no connection with Purism but I suspect that tethering will be fully working soon, if not already, perhaps by the time you could get an Evergreen phone (since you will be at the back of the queue - sorry, dude. :slight_smile: ).

So for a spiPhone, the Librem 5 will show a QR code on the Librem 5’s screen for the spiPhone to scan and, bang, the spiPhone is connected to the internet, routing via the Librem 5 and connecting to the Librem 5 via WiFi. Perhaps it will work the same on an Android phone, but I don’t have one so can’t test it.

There should be no need to use a SOCKS proxy or even directly relaying via SSH, or perhaps even with a web proxy on the Librem 5, although those options may well work too.

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Great to know, thanks! Now I just need to decide whether to buy Evergreen now, or wait a bit, and hope that battery life improves (with CPU control), perhaps in Fir.

At the very least, wait for actual user reports from Dogwood.

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I thought Dogwood was already supposed to have been completed, but I was not finding such reviews. Any idea about when this might happen?

Keep an eye on the news pages for Dogwood status.

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Not quite. Real soon now? Patience is a virtue.

Even after it ships, there would be a slight delay before any customers have their devices - and right now (COVID) that “slight delay” is a bit more than usual.


How is the battery life? I think nobody in good conscience could possibly say it is anything but poor right now. Unlike other phones, this one is ditching those hidden controllers that took years for untrustworthy companies to perfect but which could also contain who knows what. Such is a huge task, and it is not compensated for yet. It is a software problem so it should get much better.
The Fir batch (if you can call it a batch) should be better still because of the smaller chip technology.


Supposedly, the battery in Dogwood has a much higher capacity (3600mAh, which is higher than my current mainstream phone), so that sounds promising. I still wish I could order a spare battery right away, but it sounds like that isn’t an option.

I’m probably go ahead and order one…I’m just not sure whether to do it now or later. It sounds like Fur will have better power utilization that Evergreen, so I wonder if I should wait until Evergreen ordering closes, or just order now and then decide whether to ask to differ my order to the Fur batch later.

That is the speculation. Here is some well-informed speculation: Librem 5 v2 spec-ulation

If time-between-charges is the most important thing for you then “defer to Fir” is probably a good idea.

Bear in mind though that noone knows for sure when and with what specification Fir will come out.

Perhaps you can order now, deferring to Fir at checkout and then, if reports coming out of Evergreen (by then there should be many active users reporting their experiences, myself included) are positive enough for you, you could undefer i.e. go back into Evergreen.