My L5 arrived (15!)

It’s off by default.


I’m not a Mozilla employee anymore, but no it’s not kept or resold, because the push data that the push server receives is not very useful: the payload is encrypted using a key that is held on the client side in the browser (it’s up to the website to send the public key to the service app server, and it never gets the private one). The push server routes that payload using opaque subscription IDs.


I keep seeing these tips/clues to edit a file, but nothing about how, or what the edit should be.

Is there a suggested Linux comfort zone in order to be able to operate one - efficiently, amicably and without a days research and reading novels? Now I must look up “ssh”, and how it might play a roll with the L5 is and just what SSH caliber should be fired at the phone. Perhaps there is a beginners corner somewhere where we don’t need to learn Linux commands, or what a SSH is?

I doesn’t make looking at entering the Linux phone arena an attractive idea. has a tutorial on setting up SSH on your Librem 5.

That page also has lots of other useful tips for people starting out.

If there is a tip on that page and you find that it does not provide enough information then please provide feedback and someone can improve the page.

However I think the simple reality is that for the Librem 5 as it is today you will need to learn some shell commands once you go outside basic functionality and perhaps even need to do so for basic functionality, particularly if troubleshooting is needed.

Could the Librem 5 become a “GUI only” / I-can’t-believe-it’s-Linux phone in the future? Yes.

Is that a priority for Purism? Not for me to say and I don’t know.

Coming to your implied questions … you don’t need ssh to edit a file. It is usually more convenient to do so but you can edit a file locally (directly) on the Librem 5 if you wish. For a short simple edit (like changing ‘true’ to ‘false’ or vice versa) it may be perfectly reasonable to make the edit locally.

Many Linux config files are self-documenting i.e. there are lots of comments inside the config file before each setting that explains what the setting does and what its valid values are. Is that always enough information? No, particularly not if you are not confident. Is that usually helpful? Yes.

The golden rule is always either save a copy of the config file before you edit it or make a copy of the old contents of the line in the config file before you edit it and leave the old contents commented out (or at least make notes about what config file you changed and what the change was). That will save you most of the time if your change to the config file breaks something.


The Linux file system contains a lot of directories (folders) that house various settings, parameters, appearance, functioning, scheduled jobs, etc., of various things that the applications perform.

When someone talks about, for example, editing a file in the etc directory, which is located at /etc/foldername/filename, the usual way to do this is to open the terminal and navigate to that file, call it up, change something, then save, and exit.

When the terminal application is opened, it starts you in the Home folder; the GUI equivalent is entering the directory that is called by the user name you chose for your computer. If you need to edit a file in the etc directory, you first have to enter that directory. The command is cd /etc (“change directory to /etc”).

From there, to edit one of its files, you specify the full path to get to the file that is located inside the folder, inside the directory. But first, you usually have to elevate privileges to superuser with sudo, then specify the text editor you want to use, e.g. nano or vim, or whatever you have installed, then the rest of the path.

Example: sudo nano /etc/foldername/filename.conf (replace foldername and filename with the actual names).

So hitting Enter would open “filename.conf” in the terminal and allow you to scroll down and change entries as needed, before saving and exiting.

You can also get to this file in the GUI, by double-clicking File System, then the etc folder. In fact, you should be able to perform the same editing here instead of in the terminal, but you do have to open the folder as administrator first.

P.S. With ssh (secure shell), you can remotely log in to the terminal of a remote device on your network (say the L5) from your main computer, and issue any commands more easily there, using the full keyboard. Those commands would then execute on the remote device.


Either cd into the directory and refer to the file with no full path, or (preferred because less typing) specify the full path to the file regardless of your current location.

Pro tip: use tab to autocomplete commands and filesystempaths, tab-tab to see all possible options.


Just for fun though … autocomplete may not work with sudo - I mean it could be done but I don’t think it is being done.

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I gave that vague hint because I was not in Front of my phone. But given that it was only to determine the status of ‘send location data to Mozilla’s database’ (off by default) there is certainly no need to modify this file


Oh right, I lost track of where I was located in my example. :slight_smile:

So, @Sharon, skip the part I said about cd - changing directories first; you can type something like this directly:

sudo nano /etc/foldername/filename.conf (as an example)

If you do cd into another directory first, you wouldn’t type the entire filepath, since you’re already there.


@irvinewade, @mdt : thank you for your kind feedbacks ! The heat issue is a bit stressing, this is not what I wait from a high range phone (I talk about price), otherwise I am really happy about the good points you have mentioned.

@fabrice : thank you too, I couldn’t hope for a better answer than from a former Mozilla employee !

@dos, @spaetz : thanks also for your feedbacks.

The high price is due to a) costs for system and software development, b) small production numbers, so no ecenomies of scale and c) the necessity to choose components that are FOSS friendly and modular, so the components are not what you would typically find in a phone. That explains partially why the dissipate more heat than components that are modular, also not all powersaving features (suspend) have been implemented yet…


Not even powersave mode on the WiFi, never mind about suspend-to-RAM?

Afaik wifi powersave has been disabled as it led to an unacceptable loss of wifi performance overall (I don’t think that has changed yet) and of course no suspend-to-ram yet.

I think it is just unreliable with some WAPs / WiFi client devices i.e. you wouldn’t enable it by default.

“Another good fighting phone is the “Librem 5”, which is particularly heavy, and should only be used for hand-to-hand combat”


Re/ the weight: we’re back in the good old days of the mobile Siemens S4:
This was one of my first cellphones around 1995. When you took your jacket from the wardrobe you knew if the mobile was in its pocket. :slight_smile:

I like the dimension and the weight. The display is brilliant. Good work! The bugs will be solved.


This is one of the features I really hope it will be implemented. This could improve a lot the comfort.


One thing that I can see from this thread is that there is a big disparity in knowledge from one Linux user to the next Linux user. There are some command-line basics in Linux that a user either knows or doesn’t know. If you don’t know them, then it really sucks to be you. After you learn those basics, then hammering on a troubleshooting issue is as easy (maybe even easier) than it would be using almost all graphical interfaces in Windows.

So the average Linux user has to learn how to use commands in a terminal if they are going to be anything except completely helpless in Linux, especially on your Librem 5 which is still under new development. If you’re lucky, sometimes you can find graphical apps that can do some things for you. But most distros are very incomplete when it comes to doing everything from a graphical interface. But these command line things are not too difficult to learn. If you know how to use a few commands like: cd, ls, clear, pwd, whoami, su, and nano, you’re almost half way to going from being completely helpless to being an enthusiastic Newby. I still use a search engine on another computer in many cases to find out how to do anything in a terminal more than the most basic tasks to files that I am familiar with. So for the new Linux user, you should get a Linux pc (install Linux on an old pc), right now, before your Librem 5 arrives. Learn how to use it and how to navigate using only a terminal program. Learn how to edit files from a terminal. In two to three days of working at it, you will know many of the most critical basics to not being completely helpless at a terminal command line.

When your Librem 5 arrives, you might want to ssh in to the Librem 5 from your Linux pc. That way, you will have a big keyboard, mouse, and screen. If you want to spend all day working on your Librem 5 to configure it and experiment with it, you don’t want the equivalent of looking through a keyhole for ten hours. You can set the phone down and do all of the work on your phone from your PC. It’s easier.

At this point, if you don’t want to learn how to use a Linux terminal, then your ability to configure and customize your L5 will be extremely limited. But with a little work, you can get good enough to do troubleshooting and to customize your L5, within only a few weeks to a few months, depending on your IQ and on how much time you put in to it. Many people do not realize this, but being proficient at using a Linux terminal and being a code-writer/application-builder are totally different skills. Engineers design car engines. The rest of us just drive the car. It’s a lot easier to drive the car then it is to design the car engine. The same goes for using a terminal to configure and tweak your Linux operating system vs writing applications.

To SSH in to your Librem 5 should be as easy as: typing in to a terminal: ssh root@name-of-your-Librem-5 [Enter]. Then enter the root password, followed by [Enter]. If you want to set up SSH keys between the machines so you don’t need to enter the password, you’ll need to follow along with someone on YouTube who can teach you how to do it. I did the same myself two weeks ago for the first time.


The root account is disabled by default. You ssh in to the purism account or such other alternative account as you have added. You must then give sudo access to at least one of those accounts, so that you can do as root the things that you need to do. (The purism account has sudo access by default - and I would leave it that way. The purism account is the default account that you use when using the phone locally and at the current time there is no way of reconfiguring that.)

Or follow the tutorial that someone has put together for the Librem 5:

To complement the reply from irvinewade:

  1. Configure sshd to not allow root to login.
  2. Actually, never use the root account at all (use sudo to execute elevated commands if that is required).
  3. If you use ssh keys, do set a passphrase (password) on these keys to secure them (and preload the keys with ssh-add so you only have to type in the password once).
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