Linux 5.10 kernel released

among the news I find, if it had been discussed in this forum, the following:

Next generation hardware.

Hardware monitoring support for AMD Zen3 processors is present in Linux 5.10, as is support for Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone.


It looks like Purism has decided to stick with the Linux 5.7 kernel for the Librem 5 and backport to it:

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I don’t have the technical knowledge to understand why to stay with a kernel prior to 5.10 since Torvalds has taken care to make it ready for use on the Librem5, besides the fact that it is an LTS version. I’d like to understand that and hope that Kyle will kindly explain it to me (or someone better prepared than me).

We’ve been at 5.9 for a while already:


I’ve never gone too far down the kernel rabbithole and I’m sure many will be joyed with just the magical wordsmainline kernel support for the Purism Librem 5 Linux smartphone” (or similar). But what’s behind those words, what does it mean - what has been done and what are the effects? Can the user see them? What would have been the alternative and how that would have manifested? What was the amount of work? And so on…
How to best describe the meaning of this?

purism@pureos:~$ apt info -a linux-image-librem5
Package: linux-image-librem5
Version: 5.9.12+librem5.1.pureos0
Priority: optional
Section: kernel
Source: linux-librem5
Maintainer: Purism Kernel Team <>
Installed-Size: 2048 B
Depends: linux-image-5.9.0-1-librem5 (>= 5.9.12+librem5.1.pureos0)
Download-Size: 14.3 kB
APT-Sources: byzantium/main arm64 Packages
Description: Linux kernel for the Librem 5 and its devkit
 This packages sole purpose is to depend on the latest Linux kernel and modules
 for use on the Librem5 and the Librem5 devkit.

Weird that they don’t have a release of version 5.9, but it can be installed as a package. Maybe @dos can explain this.

Hi did already with his link - they use tags instead of releases

So each tag gets packaged? Why not just label them as releases?

Because there’s CI pipline which makes builds anyway, why bother with releases when you have each and every commit built and packaged, just pick by tag and CD


“Every future kernel will be suitable to run on the L5 with all hardware components working”

There might be some asterisks and strings attached, but basically it means that “Ubuntu 30.04 arm64” (released in 2030) will be installable on the L5.

In other words, you do not solely rely on Purism to get kernel updates. Every vanilla (unmodified) kernel works. This is a huge distinguishing factor to basically all other (Andrid) smartphones that use heavily customized kernels and (thus) rarely receive updates.

This increases user freedom and counters planned obsolescence.


There’s also u-boot thingy… but in general yes, it means freedom - you’re free to install whatever [linux] OS [flavour] you want because the kernel shipped with that OS will be able to work on your phone.

I’ve realized it on my own experience with Jolla - which is kind of linux on the phone as well, you have shell, you have dmesg, journal, ssh and all other attributes of normal linux system. But you’re tied at the top and the bottom of the stack. At the bottom you have kernel with android BSP and hybris. So whichever OS you want to put in - you need to keep this layer, and which also means there are no new features (eg wireguard) if vendor stops providing updates.

At the top they have mobile widget library which is also closed source/proprietary - so again you are bound to the runtime or vendor updates (if you want to upgrade runtime).

For comparison Purism mainlined both bottom stack (kernel) and the top (libhandy).


A good simple answer, succinct. I think that’s message (as testimony to longevity) should be made more visible.

It’s wood inducing.

But if you really can’t wait for Ubuntu to package and provide it you can install it manually — just do so knowing that when/if your system breaks in half, you get to keep both pieces!

hehe ! spoiler alert ! :sweat_smile:

This also helps avoid the problem plaguing so many other ARM platforms–they get their hardware working with a kernel using forked code and custom drivers (often proprietary) but because they never follow through with mainlining hardware support, they typically just lock into that particular kernel version and the end user never sees updates.

I have a number of non-Raspberry Pi ARM computers here that suffer from that problem–the vendor’s distribution is locked into a kernel of a similar age to that particular hardware, which typically have known security issues after a year or two that are never patched.


Agreed. This is the same good sentiment that @Caliga expressed in other words. What I’m trying to get at, is that this may be a big point that hasn’t been made visible enough and expressed in a way that people get. It’s connected to security, longevity, ecology, usability, stability, support for a lifetime, value over time, doing things right, having a solid base and so on.


And as a proof of the openes and freedom

purism@pureos:~$ uname -a
Linux pureos 5.10.0-00363-gcf48c321c3eb #56 SMP Mon Dec 14 08:11:33 CET 2020 aarch64 GNU/Linux

Note that this is [yet] pinephone but these are competing in their openness

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I had a quick look in the chronology, and the first two articles I checked at least touched the topic:

(As well as several other topics people regularly have questions about)
Despite the fact that, especially in the first months after the campaign “we, the people” complained lack of information, over the years quite a lot of knowledge has piled up (of which @amosbatto’s FAQ does an excellent job of summarizing).
So, one problem might now be finding all the info we have.

But the other is probably a variant of what @dcz described in her latest article I love you for your personality:
Just because you learn something doesn’t mean you understand the implications and appreciate them.
:crazy_face: “L5 has now mainline support !!!”
:thinking: “so …?”
:crazy_face: “lifetime of updates !!!”
:thinking: “and that’s exciting …?”
:crazy_face: “plus a plethora of distros to choose from !!!”
:thinking: “a what?”
:nerd_face: “plethora is greek and…”
:thinking: “no… that other thing. Distro …?”
:neutral_face: “uh… somebody takes the source code and compiles …”
:astonished: “source code? Compile?”

But I guess your right, there’s certainly value in trying to communicate such things. Just wondering how much impact blog posts have outside the Purism bubble of converts :wink:

Well made videos might work, but it must be entertaining if you want to teach such implications. Maybe humor could work. The above conversation was slightly inspired by a YouTube outro of a German satire show, where somebody tries to explain video subscription and mouse clicks to… Isaac Newton.


It’s probably worth pointing out that the fork of PureOS that is on the Pinephone is not something Purism is involved in. It’s sufficiently different from PureOS in the software and settings that it includes that the project should probably rename itself to avoid confusion.