[MyL5] Librem 5 thoughts

I don’t know if I can talk you down or not…

Massive? Really? It was expected to be very large from the beginning and the actual size (minus 3mm length) has been known for a long time – certainly plenty enough time for you to get a refund if you truly have a size complex.

I too had to buy a new Spydroid because my Galaxy S3 died and my Pinephone isn’t yet ready to be a daily driver. The new Alcatel is a total P.O.S. Multiple hard taps to type a letter or activate a button. The screen is debonding from the touch sensor and there is a massive blotch in the middle of the screen. Only 2 months old! Constant coercive popups trying to get me to help “Don’t be evil” to spy me easier. Oh, the battery life is great and the phone is a bit smaller than the Pinephone, but the whole experience is like a ice pick to the forehead!

I love Phosh – can’t wait to use it on an Evergreen. I like the Pinephone running Mobian, but everything I’ve read tells me that the Librem will be a better experience and will be ready for daily use sooner, including the store and apps.

I also use Antenna Pod on the Spydroid. Very, very nice. If only they would make Linux version. I use gPodder on desktop and laptop. Not as full-featured as AP, but it works well. I tried it using Manjaro/Phosh on the Pinephone. I got farther than you did, probably because I know how it works on the desktop. My feeling is that when it is fully working with libhandy, it will be fine for daily mobile use.


There are more programs/apps available, they just aren’t in the store yet. I think I remember reading somewhere that Purism is trying to limit the store to apps known to work with the mobile interface, but if you use the terminal you can install many more apps. Whether or not they’ll work with the phone’s touch interface is a toss up.

For the gpodder issue with not being able to play podcasts, does downloading a podcast episode, then selecting the episode and going to Episodes > Play not work?

That seems like the right approach - otherwise there will be other topics complaining about apps that are available but which don’t work properly.

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Gnome podcasts (flathub) worked well for me on my pinephone iirc

I like being on this forum to see optimistic people post about their experience about the Librem 5, but I am also happy to see an honest opinion from someone which is not a loyal fan but just a normal customer.

If I were you I’d either

  1. Sell it, then wait for the next revision (Fir) which should have better battery life and less heat. By then the software should also have matured.
  2. Put it in the drawer for 4-5 months and try using it again.

The thickness probably won’t improve for Fir I’d assume, so that’s a flaw you’d have to live with.


I’d also recommend Gnome Podcasts as the best option. Antenna Pod can export your existing subscriptions as an OPML file and Gnome Podcasts can import that so you can pick up right where you left off.


It doesn’t have a podcast “store” to search unfortunately so to add new podcasts you do need to find the url outside the app and add it directly but other than that it works well and is adapted to mobile.

What other apps were you expecting/are you missing?

You might also find this thread useful, has a few recommendations for flathub apps that work well:

you would be correct. it’s pregnant still because it’s not RISC-V … YET


First of all, thanks for helping to finance the Librem 5. Purism never would have gotten this far if a lot of people like you hadn’t taken a chance and stuck with the project for 3.3 years.

My advice is to sell the phone if you don’t think that you can live with the weight and thickness of the phone, because that isn’t going to change. Once Purism can get suspend to RAM and wake on call working, I assume Purism can get the Librem 5 to a state where it has a 24 hour battery life, but it looks like that is going to take a while.

The one good thing about the Librem 5 is that it isn’t going to lose its value over time like other phones. The software is going to keep getting better and the functionality is going to keep improving. With lifetime software updates and the ability to change the cellular modem to support new/different LTE bands, the Librem 5 is going to have good resale value, because nobody else can make anything like it that will have better performance and can run on 100% free software.

The only chips on the horizon that will be able to make a phone with hardware kill switches that have better performance than Evergreen are the RK3588, RK3566 and RK3530 and it is unclear at this point whether there will be FOSS drivers for its new Mali “Natty” GPU. If Natty gets FOSS drivers, it will likely be 2-3 years in the future. I expect that it will be 3-4 years before PINE64 releases the PinePhone 2 with the RK3530, since it plans to first release an SBC to debug the design and PINE64 isn’t a company to do kernel development, so it is going to wait until others have perfected the mainline drivers. It is possible that some company like Olimex will release a phone based on the i.MX 8M Quad or Plus, but I think it highly likely that the Librem 5 won’t have any competitors in its market niche for the next couple years.

What this means is that you aren’t taking much of a risk if you put the Librem 5 in a drawer and wait a year to decide whether you want to keep it. Yes, the warranty will run out, but I’m pretty sure that you will be still able to resell it for at least what you paid for it in 12 months, because $599 is still 25% cheaper than the price of buying it new.

Looking at how long it is taking NXP just to release the i.MX 8M Plus, I don’t think you should fear Fir making Evergreen obsolete any time soon. Judging from how long it is taking to get mainline driver support for things like suspend to RAM and the MIPI CSI2 camera interface, I predict that it will be at least 2 years before the Plus has decent mainline driver support.

Even when Purism releases a phone based on the Plus, there will still be people who prefer Evergreen, because it has a significantly better GPU and VPU, so it is a better phone for convergence. It would not surprise me if there is still an active market for old Evergreens in 3-4 years time, because there simply won’t be a better Linux phone on the market for convergence.


Sorry that the phone has so far been a disappointment for you. :frowning_face:

I think that your comments are valuable in terms of providing input into the technical and design areas that need to be looked at, and also from the perspective of improving communication about the progress and status of product development. Clearly, if a customer is disappointed with their purchase then their expectations have not been met, and that should be something that causes reflection.

What you do with the phone now depends on what your plans were when you backed the project back in 2017, though now that you are using another phone as your primary phone perhaps that changes things a bit. If you were interested in just using it as a phone then I think that others have given fairly reasonable suggestions. I would also suggest looking at using the browser to access the mobile versions of podcasting sites – hopefully the experience is closer to the one you are looking for.

If you were interested in exploring application development, or just programming in general on the phone, you can still do some interesting things with what is otherwise a small form factor computer with a built-in screen, sensors, wireless network modules and various inputs and outputs.

Over time, maybe it will become more usable for you as a phone, and hopefully you will have got some use out of it for other purposes. :slightly_smiling_face:


Basically Google’s normal suite. I currently rely on Gmail to sync all my email/contacts/calendar with my phone. I’m not adverse to switching away from that, but there doesn’t seem to be any alternative anywhere in the Linux world. There are obviously email and calendar apps, but they don’t sync across devices.

I also use Google Maps for navigation very heavily, and I don’t think there’s any alternative for that either.

Did you check gnome-online-account ? That can be configured from the control center and it enables use of Google contact and calendar.

Gmail can be used through Geary email client

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I’ve installed all the latest updates the package updater recommended. So I don’t think it’s just a display issue. Just now, I unplugged the phone and let it sit with its screen turned off and no SIM card installed. After an hour, it was down to 25% battery. Is ~1 hour of standby power what everyone else is seeing?

Thanks, I’ll check those out.

No. I’m getting at least 8 hours of use lately, and that’s with using it off and on, not lying around idle.
Edit: Well, let me be cautious and say “at least 6” and sometimes up to 8, depending on how actively I’m using it.

Also, in term of apps available on PureOS store, it is my understanding that the store does not yet integrate any flatpak format apps. Not sure Purism would add that later on, maybe @jeremiah can comment on that?

PureOS (what is running on your L5) is based on Debian, which means that what you see in the store is mostly what exists in Debian plus select apps that Purism backported.

There is more that exists, you can check here for a list: https://source.puri.sm/Librem5/community-wiki/-/wikis/List-of-Apps-in-Development
You will notice several apps are on flathub only, including Podcasts, Shortwave (webradio), Fractal (matrix client).

I also have to say that this phone doesn’t usually get or stay very warm in my experience. Some times it’s warmer than other times, I think. Maybe there were some recent optimizations or something.

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Also, the battery level indicator isn’t quite accurate yet, as I understand it. (A problem, I know.) There’s probably more charge left than it’s showing.

Edit: I did a drain test a while back:

Shame about Antenna Pod. I hope the functionality of that improves.
Does anyone with an Evergreen have a suggestion for a podcast app that can search that works?

I use gpodder all the time to listen to podcasts and videos (for Youtube you do need to pull a newer gpodder from Debian sid right now due to changes YT put in that broke older versions of gpodder). Unfortunately the default gpodder isn’t adaptive. I found I only had to change two lines to make it work pretty well on the Librem 5 though. I’ve put my two patch files and the steps here:

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