[MyL5] My thoughts after few weeks of use

I have the Evergreen model. Build quality is good. Screen is very pretty. I see many people crying over how thick the phone is but to me this is normal thickness and it feels better in my hand than razor thin Android phones. Removable battery is a big plus. It does not matter if it’s phone, computer, car or medical equipment. Any components that wear & tear should be replaceable on principle. The first design choice I don’t like is the SIM tray. Putting the SD card on the same tray as SIM card is stupid because every time you want to put the microSD card into different device your phone loses network reception. Furthermore I really don’t like the mechanism for taking the SIM tray out. This is not unique to Librem5 all Android phones have the same mechanism by now but I should be able to replace a SIM with fingers only. Who caries around a paper pin or needle all the time? My Blackberry Q10 has a normal slot under the battery cover and I can take out the SIM with my finger effortlessly. Also why does it have to be Nano-SIM. Micro-SIMs are already hard to handle because of how small they are. Don’t tell me this is to save space. Old phones from 2000 were much smaller than Librem5 and they could accommodate normal sized SIMs. Judging by this trend I’m gonna have to start using tweezers for handling SIM cards.

Now for the software part. Calls and SMS messages work. Wifi works, hardware kill-switches work too. However there is lot of stuff that doesn’t work. I tried paring the phone with 3 bluetooth devices. First bluetooth speaker didn’t even show up in the list of devices. The second speaker showed up but could not pair it. Laptop with bluetooth managed to pair but I could only send files from laptop to phone. Phone to laptop didn’t work. It just times out. Also the if I turn off Bluetooth using the software toggle it will not come back on unless I flick the kill-switch. I don’t think there is even a way for me to test the GPS. When I install gnome maps it does not even open. As far as I know there isn’t any other app/program that can take utilize that GPS. File explorer is not there I noticed. So when i download any file I cannot browse to it lol. The only way you can see your files are through terminal. This is rather important to implement. Imagine apple users having to enter bash commands to move pictures from phone to SD card. I hear that camera driver is not ready so I won’t even go there. Additional major problem is the phone is not recognized as external storage when you plug it into Windows or Linux pc. Windows disk manager found some uninitialized linux file store but apart from that I had zero access to the phone.

Finally the worst part is the PureOS store. It’s basically wasteland with no more than 25 to 30 programs. Those 30 apps/programs are crap. I mean most of them work but they are very basic and boring. Some have gui problems and don’t scale properly. For example the built-in web browser is just terrible. It cannot play youtube videos and lags when I scroll up and down. Why does Purism even bother making a web browser when there is Firefox already. It does not make any sense. Mozilla makes $500 million every year there is no way Purism can keep up with them and Google. Why make a new wheel when there is already a good wheel available to use. I know that I can download Firefox-ESR from debian’s repositories and youtube will work but your average normie does not and will not bother looking into why that is the case. They will just return the phone. Basically the only programs that work somewhat well are the ones I downloaded from outside the PureOS store. Firefox-ESR is usable but if the website does not use adaptive scaling it will be a headache. Telegram flatpak works very well it’s just I can’t see what I’m typing. Librem keyboard hides the row where the text is.

I believe the PureOS store needs to allow paid programs/apps to increase its portfolio because normies will simply not buy this phone if it doesn’t have the stuff they use. In conclusion this project has a lot of potential but the software is very much in alpha state.


The reason why everyone moved to trays on the outside of the phone and pin popup mechanisms which are difficult to open is because the phone manufacturers got rid of removable back covers, and any tray that is easy to open with your fingers means that you are likely to lose your SIM and microSD cards if the slots are on the outside of the phone. Only if the slots are inside the phone under a back cover can you have cards that are easy to remove.

Purism could have placed the SIM and microSD slots under the back cover, but it would have been difficult to find room for it on the PCB. Maybe Purism could shift the cellular modem M.2 slot up a little bit and put the SIM and microSD slots next to the smartcard slot, but that would mean taking out the battery to be able to change either the SIM or microSD cards.

With the current configuration, you can take out the SIM card and microSD cards while keeping the phone turned on. It would have been hard for Purism to find enough space to have three card slots on the inside of the phone that didn’t require taking out the battery to change the cards, because the M.2 cards are already taking up a lot of the available space on the top.

I suspect this is the kind of layout that you want (on the Huawai G play mini), but the Librem doesn’t have space for that without making the phone even thicker and at 15.5mm thick, it is already too thick in my opinion.

The PinePhone has the kind of design that you want with a microSIM card and microSD card that you can take out with your fingers, but you have to take out the battery, so you have to turn off the phone, which also isn’t convenient for the the user. Also the SIM and microSD slots are stacked on top of each other. I don’t own the PinePhone to check for sure, but usually this means that you have to take out the microSD card to get to the microSIM card underneath.

I haven’t tried GNOME Web (Epiphany) on the Librem 5 yet, so I can’t really comment on whether Purism made a good choice or not, but it is worth noting that Purism is just tweaking GNOME Web and Purism chose it because the project is more open to working with Purism and upstreaming the changes that Purism wants for better privacy. Basically the choice for Purism was to keep applying its own changes to each new release of Mozilla or change to a different web browser that would accept its changes upstream. Plus, GNOME Web is based on WebKit, which means that it is maintained by Apple, that does have the resources to maintain a competitor to Google.

Having tried the Librem 5/PureOS in a virtual machine, I agree with your assessment that the Librem 5’s software still isn’t ready for normal users. However, I don’t agree with your prescription for how to solve the problem. We already have a nice application ecosystem in Linux with thousands of applications that don’t have a monetary cost and don’t collect people’s personal data as a form of payment.

What is required in my opinion is to get enough volunteers working on adding libhandy and Kirigami classes to the existing GTK and Qt desktop software to make them adaptive, and that will happen quickly enough once enough people in the Linux community get their hands on the phones. At this point we have roughly 20,000 PinePhones and 1200 Librem 5s in the hands of the community, and most Linux software projects haven’t started working on making their software adaptive, but I see signs that this is changing rapidly. GTK and GNOME are making big strides toward becoming adaptive and KDE is as well, so I think it is just a matter of time.

If the software already exists in the desktop Linux world, then it shouldn’t take that long for the interface to be adapted to work for mobile Linux. There are a few programs like LibreOffice where it will probably take years of work to make it happen, but that isn’t the case with most applications. There are few areas like good gaming, good text-to-speech and digital voice assistants (like Siri) where you may have a point that they won’t get developed for Linux if we don’t have paid apps, but I think that most people who value privacy will live with the limitations.


I have one. You don’t HAVE to take the microsd card out to get the SIM card out, but since you had to take the back cover off and battery out anyway, you might as well take the microsd card out, it’s easier.

I’ve also tried out GNOME web on the pinephone. It’s better suited for the phone screen size than firefox is, but it doesn’t appear to have much in the way of built-in options for customization, they kinda expect you to do some of that though the OS. I figure that if I’m going to be doing enough browsing for my 16 add ons (save an ad blocker, which GNOME web has built in) to become relevant, I probably shouldn’t be doing it on a phone anyway.


I hate the SIM & uSD slot position of the Pinephone, very hard to drive, on the L5 it much better.
Also the speaker position of the pinephone is just wrong too. on L5 it much better too.

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That’s exactly where the problem lies. You see people don’t want to be volunteers. People want to get paid because they have families to feed and bills to pay. If I was a expert coder I would not do any coding for free, why should I? That’s why I suggested that Purism creates mechanism for paid apps in their store. People will be more motivated to create software for Librem 5 if they know they will get some cash. Do you see the bigger picture now? FOSS usually sucks compared to proprietary software because it doesn’t make enough money. There are exceptions ofcourse but you know what I mean. GIMP cannot compete with Photoshop. Deja-Dup cannot compete with Veeam Back & Replication. If they could there would be lot more people using the free versions for hobbies and business. But that isn’t the case.

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I think there’s too much terrible proprietary software that sucks but doesn’t get any exposure to the public to make broad statements like that. There is an argument to be made there, but I don’t think this is the one.


Did you actually compare Google Play Store and F-Droid? Or Apple Store with GNU/Linux repositories?


No, he is 100% right with that generalization.


So does it take 4 triple-A batteries or 3?


Actually, Sony Xperias solve this quite well, with a fingernail notch and a quite secure/flush-mounting tray:
The SIM slot is independent from, and covered by, the tray that holds the µSD. It would be great if the L5 could someday incorporate a similar opening mechanism, even if there’s not enough room to separate the SIM and the µSD card.

Images from gsmarena(dot)com.

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Do you have any data to support it?


Aren’t those 3.7V cylindrical cells called INR10440? Asking while their total capacity of 4×1000mAh (current one) sounds promising … for batch Fir, perhaps?

Why are you asking for data? Do you have like zero experience working with proprietary programs? Ofcourse there is closed software that’s rubbish too but more or less the closed stuff is more polished because there is more funding behind it. Linux doesn’t even have a proper music production program. When was the last time you have seen a professional doing music on Audacity? They all use FL studio or Logic Pro. Or some other paid program that I’m not aware of.

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My experience working with proprietary programs is 100% unpleasant, so I’m obviously 100% wrong. I just wanted an objective confirmation :slight_smile:


I’m a novice coder who plans to publish apps to the pureos store for free. Why? Because I want to give back to the open source community which has been so good to me. Its unfortunate that you wouldn’t do the same but you can’t speak for everyone here.


Well I’m sorry for not wanting to starve and be homeless. Look If I was rich enough that I wouldn’t have to work at all I would gladly make a FOSS program under GPL licence but that’s not the case. I have to work monday to friday and my free time is very limited. If I’m going to use my free time to make a program that others would use I would like some compensation for it.


I get it and understand that some people don’t have the time or know how to help develop code. I do think it’s important to give back in some way though. Maybe consider making one time or recurring donations to the projects you use? Or help by reporting bugs? These are just a couple suggestions and I know they might not work for you. But by doing something, you will be helping to maintain and improve these important projects. If enough people gave back in some way, we wouldn’t have the problems that you describe.


Remember my triple-A is a joke I’ve been running some time here. But then again, if they’re rechargeables …

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Firefox works very well.
Gnome Web also and allows to create web applications very easily.
Whatever the phone used, if a website is not responsive, it is very difficult to use on a phone.
Like any new device, you have to learn how to use it, lose bad habits to acquire new ones.
And as we say in France: “Paris was not built in 1 day”.
If below a link with the software software you can install, it is documented for the French but it can give you an idea.


Seems like you are not familiar with linux: you can install nautilus, or nemo, or even dolphin (and probably many more), not perfect, but does the job for me

I don’t think it will ever be for window, AFAIK ext partitions are not natively supported formats by microsoft (unless WSL)
I would not call that a major problem but it could be nice to add this feature to access the data from the home or/and the SDcard with an on/off switch in the ‘sharing’ settings :+1:
Then if your SD card is formated in FAT32 or NTFS it would be accessible from windows
Until then you can access your phone by SSH or copying file in a plugged USB stick

That was expected too, Purism & phosh have not the 13 years of developpement and support by big techs compagnies
And when IOS and Android got out, it was also a ‘wasteland’
The Librem 5 has much more available working software, but only a few are now adapted to touchscreen/smartphone use, as explain by @amosbatto, it will grow with time

The actual state of the FOSS eco-system proves your wrong
But maybe you wanted to say “can’t be full time volunteers” which is much more pragmatic

Because when your passion is coding, and you love the ideas behind the GNU community, you want to be a part of it (that’s one way, there are many more)
Just like helping each other in forums, cash is not the goal
I spent many hours those last months trying to trigger crashes on the phone and make report about it, I don’t even know if it was usefull for them
Purism didn’t paid me, I don’t want them to, but I want the phone to be more stable, so I’m trying to do something about it

That’s your opinion…
Photoshop sucks, GIMP is much better
Deja-Dup sucks, rsync is the only true way to save data :smiley:

Some people don’t see the world the same way you do
If you feel proprietary programs are much better, then … good for you, not the case for many people

But hey ! I’m glad you participated to the funding of the Librem5
With all you said here, you don’t seems to be the typical customer to do that, so I have a question for you : why did you ? what was your motivation to fund the Librem 5 ? I’m very curious