New L5 owner reactions

Hi guys, I’m a new L5 owner and new to this Forum. If this is the wrong place for my post, moderator please feel free to move or just delete it (it’s fine), I’ll try somewhere else :slight_smile: .

SO - here’s my initial reactions and thoughts on ways to improve the user support space, based on receiving the device, trying to use it, then looking for help…

I received the device months ago (November?). We were all excited about it here at the house, even my son wants one. But after opening the box and spending hours trying to get it going, so I could dump my iPhone, I sadly left the device in it’s box on our spare bed for months… realizing it couldn’t yet do what I needed it to do, some weird power off things were happening (that went away) and trying to decide if I wanted to take on yet another unix buildup again, this time on my phone. Luckly I decided yes. Apples recent OS updates (and related “privacy downgrades” (like app data sharing etc) helped seal that deal for me)

Opening the box: BEAUTIFUL, love it. Was super excited, given all that I know about the device, my unix experience, etc, etc, etc… The promise of what this device does, can do, and will grow into was really exciting. and continues to be. Replaceable battery, REAL HARDWARE SWITCHES - THEY’RE NOT KIDDING, good camera (for me), good sounds, etc, etc. I get it (now) this is a “process” to get to where we all want it to be… Love the “fine wine” metaphor. My sincere hope is loyal customers will have a trade-in option down the road as new hardware gets released…

Let me be clear - I have zero desire to install Play Store or any links to Apple store. I fully believe these entities are exploiting customer info for purposes far beyond “for advertising purposes” (gov agency data contracts, Lexis Nexus data buyers etc etc). I have no desire to add to that data, because as equifax showed us - all stored data gets breached eventually, and we all have something to lose in a breach. Couple that with no GDPR in the US (I know - 6 states now have something like it that falls short etc), and I want to no part of it. We can’t opt out of all that, and the phrase “[use your usage and data] for research purposes” opens the door to anything they want to user us for. :slight_smile: (thanks for letting me vent on that)

So - without Play store or an Apple app store connection, we’re at the mercy of the repo world and their ports to mobile apps, as discussed in the forum. I’m ok with that, but it needs to work

Wiki growth - We need a REALLY good Wiki about the device and the OS for new users. I’ll help build it if necessary. This site is a great start, but it really failed me when the product arrived. We can’t expect users to go out and learn PureOS, and to me doing so is not entirely useful since we’re not all developers and can’t run all the PureOS apps out there on these devices anyway (another new user surprise).

I really need/needed an L5 wiki that is focused solely on this device and what is working (available)/not working (available) yet by category. I want this product to succeed, and don’t want new users to return it like I considered VERY BRIEFLY at one point, until I took lots of time to read the forum posts (which a standard user shouldn’t have to do)…

The categories I was hoping to find in a “super L5 Wiki” were the following:

(sections stating what works today, what you can try/beta, and what’s under development for the following categories (these matter to me before I can take the sledgehammer to my iPhone for good and destroy it)):

  • List item Cellular service compatibility table. This is a biggie. A simple table (updated when needed) telling me what cell services work with the phone, which require a little tweaking/work to get working, and which are designed for the phone (AweSIM etc). Links to what I think was an excellent blog post explaining the situation, this forum if people want to tweak to get a SIM to work, links to AweSIM product page etc. I had to dig wayyy too much in the forums (and learned more than I need) to understand the situation (much more than some of your potential customers will want to mess with, as you probably know)… . I agree with those who suggested the cellular providers may be purposely making this device difficult to SIM - if the L5 privacy works, the carriers SHOULD lose money selling us. (Nostalgia: reminded me of the song “every OS sucks”, Linux part again… Jump to 5:10 in this song if you haven’t heard it :slight_smile:slight_smile: We all have things to get done so a better Wiki will help us with that :slight_smile:

  • List item CASE/protection options: what’s available (if anything), what’s coming, and contact info for anyone who will print me one if that’ the only option so far! This is a $2000 device. I immediately wanted to protect it, so to this day it is carried in a padded Amazon shipping envelope in my backpack :slight_smile: Need a rubber case. There’s gotta be a rubber case made for other products (even one not for phones I can trim with a razor blade!) that will stretch around this baby and give me some grip on it and some drop protection! this should also be in a table in the wiki (that’s updated when new stuff is found)…

  • List item BATTERY case options/hacks - I use a 10k mAh (1" thick) Zerolemon battery case for my iPhone, and between work and home use it does almost get fully drained every day (and that’s with the iPhone in power save mode all day - a setting I found hidden in the Focus settings on the iPhone)… With the L5’s growing power save work underway, for now I just plan to velcro an external battery on to the back of whatever case I find… So a battery case will be great for this until power save matures. 10kmAh case might not even be enough for me at the moment (not trying to be mean, I love the device, just saying - I wanna DESTROY my iPhone, so a few needs gotta be met first!)

  • List item Secure messaging - Another table showing all the mainstream popular messaging apps and whether they work/will work and workarounds (like using Facebook Messenger in a browser if that’s even possible). Answer questions in this table like what’s the status of using Signal Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, etc, etc. I use Signal messenger for everything on the iPhone. So when I dug out of the forums that this wasn’t available for the Librem, I was shocked (since it’s considered one of the most private out there and has had few security problems so far). Many of my friends, family, co-workers and even FBI agents I have worked with are active Signal users (I use it daily with F&F!). So not being able to use that out of the box was disappointing. Might be worth pushing that development along if possible. After digging the Forums, however, I found some hope this is possible. That hope should have been in a table, and saved me hours in the forum finding info… And just my opinion: This device should proudly ship with the best of the best in the most mainstream privacy apps available (ported and ready to go!), so it succeeds with a broader user base (like my son)

  • List item Bitwarden - this is a must. It’s cross platform and likely the best out there right now. I thought I’d see that on the desktop on the device at first boot, then was surprised to see I can’t even install it for desktop mode (say what??). So I installed 1Password desktop for Arm which works well btw (the second best, according to Steve Gibson, SecurityNow, lol, someone I really trust in the game), and the browser extension which I hope works when I pull this off the dock

  • List item Great docks - also a must. The desktop mode is extremely great on this phone. I was shocked Puri didn’t flaunt that by throwing a low cost dock in the box! Again, I had to go hunt the forums for docks that might work. Found one and bought it and it’s amazing. Compatible docks with links to Amazon should simply be in another Wiki table. If Puri sold one for less than $100 I would have thrown it in the cart when I bought the phone, so I didn’t have to figure one out later… BTW I really love the Lapdock product. Price exceeds my budget for it, but Christmas is just around the corner :slight_smile:

  • List item Saving settings - so, after I plug my L5 into my dock, set it all up (screen sizes, layout, resolutions, zoom,etc), the next time I dock it - the settings are lost (the fact it forgets my external monitor every time - I have to unplug it and replug it -is really annoying)… then - every time I dock - I have to select resolution, single monitor, zoom level, etc, all over again. I haven’t mined the forums about this, and would rather not lol. The Wiki should explain how to get settings like that saved (or maybe an interface add?) once you set everything up for a dock. If there’s a dock that does this automagically, I want it.

  • List item Firewall config app - still can’t find a nice mobile GUI to configure the phone’s firewall that will install. Will continue to hope and search… I love “Little Snitch” on my Mac and wish PureOS had an app just like it (Little Snitch for PureOS would rock). It’s really all I have to know if something got into my device and it trying to phone home… Must work on both the cell and Wifi links…

  • List item Shortcuts type capability - need a way to create icon launchers for the desktop apps and especially web pages(!) which I’ll use until apps emerge, even if I have to use a magnifying glass to interact with the desktop app when it launches :slight_smile:. I really have no idea how to launch desktop apps when undocked (not sure I can!). and I haven’t found this info in the Forum yet… I shouldn’t have to - we should put this in an enhanced Wiki…

  • List item Device mirroring capability - after I spend months getting all this right, I wanna clone my device for my son and send him on his way :slight_smile: . Device cloning ability also multiplies sales… Maybe this exists but I haven’t looked for it yet (and dread mining the forums for another need - this also would be great for the wiki)

For me at least, those are a must. I can do almost everything else in a browser that I can securely purge… and I prefer to “browser” (verb?) things instead of having “apps for everything” anyway (bank sites, home automation, security camera access, domain and system admin, etc), but I need to be able to create quick icons to all these websites on right on the phones “desktop” to make this work (another great Wiki item to share “how to”). quick and secure access to my passwords was a must to make this use model work… which I finally found…

Otherwise, it’s really refreshing to have Linux on my phone. and now that I have a dock, life is finally good configuring this baby.

Sorry that was long but it’s a brain dump of the first4 months I’ve had this and been thinking about it… Hope some of that helps make a better WIki and/or product

(and to the Forum admin - nice choice of SW for this Forum, it works great!)

Standard disclaimer - I’m as broken mentally as the next guy, not all my ideas are good, ideas above may be dumber than they appear, I’m not as smart as I may appear, and you don’t have to like me (reality therapy)… Given that, if you read this far something must have been worth reading, lol


Already exists. Whether it’s up to date or not is another question. It is maintained by the community in the Wiki.

Top of Wiki:

Cellular Providers:

As with any information, there is a cost (in time at least) in maintaining it - and maintenance doesn’t always happen.

I agree completely that you should not have to go digging in a forum - because it is hard to find stuff, you can find everything including things are no longer applicable, you can find lots of irrelevant stuff.

Philosophical / business question: What is Purism’s best bang-for-buck in terms of spending time making this kind of documentation available v. improving the product (which serves to make parts of the hypothetical documentation out of date)?

Purism sells a dock that is reportedly compatible with the Librem 5. Cost: US$49

Tested Accessories:

(ironically noone seems to have thought to add that model to the Wiki - and as I don’t have one I won’t be spontaneously adding it to the Wiki)

I don’t have any personal experience using it but: New Post: Snitching on Phones That Snitch on You

I agree though that users have expectations that this kind of thing can be installed at the touch of a button.

Partly covered by: (although it looks like someone has butchered the formatting)

I think creating a shortcut to launch a web page is already there as functionality.

You can boot Jumpdrive on the phone and then from the host computer dd the internal drive of the phone. dd to another phone of the disk image should have the effect of cloning all software and settings. (Of course after doing that, if you are using a static IP address for anything then you would need to change the IP address. Likewise you will probably want to change the hostname.)


Be careful with this: the encryption key (and the passphrase used to unlock it) will be duplicated. This leads to the situation that even after changing the passphrase to unlock the encryption key the encryption key will stay the same. If one phone gets compromised, the stolen encryption key will work for the other device as well.

There’s a discussion about the background and how a LUKS device can be re-encrypted to change the encryption key.


Good point. The OP did say his “son” so I guess a certain level of trust is justified but it is still a valid point (as you say, even if the person getting the copy is trusted).

Still, if booted into Jumpdrive in order to restore the image, that is an opportunity to reencrypt (change the underlying master key) and change the key-slot passphrase.

Ideally though this would occur before restoring e.g. by making a copy of the disk image on the host, doing a loop mount of the copy, reencrypting / changing passphrase on the host (which should be faster anyway), and then making the copy available to restore.

Of course all of this assumes that the OP is using LUKS (disk encryption).

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AFAIK this is not implemented yet unfortunately.

Signal doesn’t allow alternative clients and they also don’t make a client for Linux phones. So effectively this is a walled garden, even if FLOSS. For this reason, I am not using it or recommending to anyone. With some hacks, you can still install it on Librem 5 (search the forum).

See also:

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