New Post: A Librem 5 Video Made on a Librem 5

i think some people interpret c as a statement about the L5’s hardware/power.
As Amos said, it’s somewhere in between a Pi 3 B+ and a Pi 4. Enough to do most user’s basic tasks but no gaming, video editing, machine learning, etc. Heck, it’s enough to run as a server for small tasks if you really wanted, I have a few Pi 3’s doing things like this currently.

I always interpreted “desktop computer in a phone form-factor” as a statement about what you can do on the device, though.

I was several years late to the “smartphone” party and got my first one years after everyone else I knew had one. I was excited since “Android is basically just Linux” and soon found that to hardly be the case.

  • I couldn’t install packages normally, I had to go through Google Play.
  • I could hardly browse the phone’s filesystem without getting special apps to do it and sometimes I think root access it needed to browse certain parts.
  • I cannot mount a drive via SMB or NFS, I have to install a special app that has SMB support (FX File Explorer is quite good though, FWIW).
  • The parts of the filesystem I could see were so foreign and named strangely that there wasn’t a good way to use it in the same way I would use Linux (or even Windows). I can’t symlink things around, can’t bind mount, can’t use a terminal to do things quickly, can’t inspect the apps I’ve downloaded and try to make changes.
  • I can’t tweak the UI (without rooting anyways) or make desktop shortcuts or change the theme or anything really.
  • i can’t insert an SD card, and if I could, I can’t partition it, formatit , or mount it how I want.

All of these things are as possible on the L5 and these are things I think of when I hear the phrase “the phone is just a desktop PC in your pocket”. True, not as powerful as even some low-end laptops, but at least the options are there.

P.S. I have only ever owned Android phones and these sorts of things have always frustrated me. My understanding is that Apple phones are even more restrictive in these ways, so I feel really sorry for that camp.

Edit: I guess it’s safe to say a “Desktop OS” in your pocket, and nobody will argue here. A “Desktop PC” in your pocket, however, is subject for debate, it seems. I’d still count it as a full-blown PC personally, but as Kyle said nerds love to debate on definitions.


No one at Purism, to my knowledge, has said that the Librem 5 will have the same performance as any other type of existing “normal PC” so it’s weird that you are bringing out strong words like “propaganda” in the conversation. We have been demonstrating functionality, but apart from the 3D gaming video where we show the capabilities of the GPU we haven’t spent much time talking about performance (and even then it wasn’t a comparison with something else, just showing what the Librem 5 could do).

I think some people are putting words in our mouths and then getting upset based on their mistaken assumptions.

What we are saying is that the Librem 5 will have the functionality of a desktop computer and we are demonstrating some examples by performing traditional desktop tasks with traditional desktop applications. While plenty of people in this forum “get it” there are many people out there who still don’t quite understand what real convergence means and what the implications are. We are trying to show in addition to telling.

Would you want to do all your video editing on a Librem 5? Probably not if you do it professionally–most people who do such things set up purpose-built high-end PCs with fast video cards because transcoding video and other aspects of video editing have a bottleneck based on computer performance. But could you do video editing on the Librem 5 using the same tools you’d use on a regular Linux desktop? Yes, and that was the point of this video and the point of the other convergence videos in the series.

People have been trained for so long to think of their phone in terms outside of a general-purpose computer. That training has allowed them to be exploited by vendors who lock them in and restrict what they can do with hardware they allegedly own. We are trying to demonstrate in every way we can why that’s a mistaken assumption. The Librem 5 isn’t just a phone.


So this is a topic I have mixed feelings on. I think by showing it can edit video (it edited this one after all) purism is setting expectations a bit higher than I would like.

I also dislike the way it is implied to be a full blown computer, due to the lack of context provided.

@Kyle_Rankin and I discussed my issue on this briefly, and while we may not completely agree I respect his point that (paraphrasing here): The Librem 5 running PureOS will be able to run all applications in the Purism repository that a Librem 14 could run running PureOS from the Purism repository.
This is accurate in that because PureOS only includes FLOSS software it can be provided for both architectures.

My issue is the differences in 3rd party software capability. I believe Kyle and Purism are technically correct (the best kind of correct) and in turn will continue with this branding approach.

I do think that there is some friction this creates both because it is a disruption of the status quo as far as how people think about computing devices. I think there is also some friction created because if some of the claims are combined in certain combinations it can become technically untrue due to the lack of context provided (the primary context being that you need to stay within the realm of FLOSS software for the statements to stay true, as soon as you step outside into the world of binary blobs your mileage may vary dramatically).

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Just to get ahead of things, we intend to put out more videos showing the Librem 5 running all sorts of different applications in different modes. Our goal is to show off what the Librem 5 can do, and to give more examples of what convergence looks like.

I had thought this went without saying, but just to be clear: if we show it playing a 3D game, we are not saying it is as fast as a dedicated high-end gaming rig. If we show it editing a video, we are not saying it is as fast as a dedicated high-end video editing workstation. If we show it writing software, we are not saying it will compile software as fast as a high-end multi-core desktop PC.

In all these cases we are trying to show videos that demonstrate the Librem 5 running normal PureOS software on PureOS, not mobile versions of software ported to a mobile OS. We want to demonstrate it acting as a phone, as a desktop, as a laptop, and as a server. To us, the best way to demonstrate convergence in particular is to show videos where this desktop-only software is running and outputting on a monitor driven by the Librem 5.


The videos should try to express the proper experience that someone could have using the phone. The capabilities can be learned easily from docs (and we learned them) but they can only be experienced right now through the videos since we don’t have the phone ourselves.

That USB-C hub (or whatever it is called) it is really an essential part and the videos shouldn’t ignore it anymore. The phone can’t act as a compact desktop computer without it. I would like to see - if the things are done - the process of going from the smartphone “mode” to the desktop “mode” and then back to the smartphone “mode”. That would really explain what this Librem 5 is all about.


Sorry but “Ordinary computer tasks” are your words coming from what you understand when someone said “full-blown desktop”. That expression needs to be defined by that someone so we understand what he/she meant by it. This silly argument has been caused by that expression and the way I take is as somebody talking passionately about his/her project. To me it does not describe the phone I expect to receive. To say L5 is a “full-blown desktop” when we all should know it has a lot of limitations is unrealistic. It will be for a few moments some day but not at this one.

I think is not finished yet so I’ve just voted for Convergence (Operating System) on Fund Your App.
That should be a high priority.

Okay let’s shorter this discussion:

  • This phone is expensive and very special, right?
  • These 2 things are enough reason for customers that they do some research to understand why it is.
  • In this way all customers understand really quickly, that this hardware is not as strong as a modern gaming desktop PC. They can compare its hardware by there own or they can read comments about its hardware (like 3GB RAM limitation).
  • So if they see this video, they should be able to understand, that cutting and rendering videos is not as fast as a professional PC for this job. But they understand, that it’s powerful enough to cut there one or two videos every year with Librem 5.
  • At this point every person with very basic logical skills should be able to understand what “full-blown desktop” means in detail. It wouldn’t make any sense if Purism would speak about calculation power with these words with these thoughts in mind. The only other option: It is just a phrase to understand, that there is computer hardware inside the phone and it is not locked like Android or iOS phones.

I thought this way by my own, before I even read the first post of this thread. It is something everyone can figure out by there own if they want. And if they don’t want it or if they don’t want to think about it, it is there own fail. The context of “full-blown desktop” is totally clear if you think about what I wrote above.

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It’s good and bad. If they (us?) can be swayed even partly, it’s a good mark. This thread though (as an example) is a community with vested interested in the L5 and slightly varying understandings discourses [I’m using it in culture studies definition] associated with the product. How the concept is seen affects how it will be develop in the future. How it’s usefulness is perceived affects the sales which affects the ecosystem directly (more users, more money,… more apps etc.) and indirectly (more linux phones, more market, more trust in it).

“Though love”. Here these views are discussed and brought to open and analyzed. Something that isn’t done with wider audience and potential customers - there the feedback is much thinner. This has been both a preview of what challenges the marketing message will face, as well as a chance to prepare mitigation and the counter arguments (problem being however, that after first impressions, there often isn’t a chance to present them - so the other part is to direct this message to a specific audience that is most likely to accept it or maybe offer it as a second message to others). So, a crowdsourced marketing research and analysis - which is expensive stuff when done privately and takes some time too. I just hope this has been understood, looked at after taking a step back.

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“Postulated” is a better word than “analyzed.” 80% of this thread is closed mindedness and self-righteousness.

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I postulate my librem5 is shipping after the end of Nov. Then I will be posulating what you and about 5 others on this formum say. Had to look that one up. I’m not very bright as you can see. Linux is so cool.
Mint20 is my desktop. Wonder how that and PureOS(?) will get along?

You understood nothing about what this discussion is about.

Let me shorter it for you: people here who know what Librem 5 is, what are its capabilities and performances (based on experience with other quad-core ARM Cortex A53, like RPIs) raised concerns that the blog post is misleading or exaggerates the message that Purism is presenting. I (and others) already explained above that:

It is not full-blown because it needs at least an essential extension: the USB-C hub.
It’s not a desktop computer (it’s a smartphone), but it can act as a compact desktop computer using that extension. The word compact should every time precede the wording desktop computer if you want to send the correct message.

And the video and text are misleading by what it seems to be intentional leaving out any aspect that would hint about the poor performance you get with video and audio editing on L5 - a really unusual task because of that (but possible). Why would you leave them out?

I think Kyle understood our concerns, and everything would be better next time.

At first, I agreed with the critics, but after reading @Kyle_Rankin’s posts and thinking about it more, I agree with him. Today’s laptops and desktops are overpowered for the vast majority of computing that most people do most of the time. I am writing this now on a fancy smancy laptop with an Intel Core i7-8550U CPU that cost me $1900. The only time it is regularly helpful for me to have such a powerful CPU is when I am compiling software or my IDE is indexing code. Everything else is just as smooth on my mid-grade laptop from 2011 since I replaced the mechanical hard drive in that with an SSD. What I most notice the difference on with my newer laptop compared to my old laptop is the new one’s beautiful 3840 x 2160 screen. Considering the Librem 5 could power such a screen, I don’t doubt that it could replace a desktop or laptop for most people. Obviously if you want to run demanding games or regularly edit videos, you’d be better off with more powerful hardware. But you’d probably not be satisfied with the hardware in most laptops or desktops today either and specifically seek one with more powerful hardware. So arguing that the Librem 5 is not a desktop computer because of that seems kinda silly.

In the future I’d love if Purism made a portable enclosure with a screen, keyboard, and touchpad to turn the Librem 5 into a laptop. Using a touchscreen for that would be ideal IMO.

Lots of people already use a “phone” as their primary computing device. Many can only afford this and don’t have a laptop or desktop. Being able to plug a “phone” into a “TV” and add a keyboard and mouse to have a traditional computing experience could be a big deal for many people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it. I am especially thinking of many kids today who are growing up only knowing the locked down Android and ChromeOS worlds.

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Are you sure? :roll_eyes:

My “full-blown working/gaming computer” is also not “full-blown” because I need an adapter for my 3rd monitor or I cannot plug and work like I do… makes no sense, does it? I may need more USB ports then my motherboard has… The industry also could create a monitor with USB-C input and USB-Hub inside (USB-C input is the only missing thing on market as far as I know). What would you say then? Missing cables and hubs to periphery says nothing about what computer hardware is or what it is not.

The part I underlined is the part what they mean with there post, nothing more or less. The fact, that you argue again like this seems to me like “but I want to be right!!11!” (or you really don’t understand the point).

By the way: Germans define a desktop computer (“Rechner” = 1:1 translated as “calculator”) as machine which can calculate something. We also have Taschenrechner (1:1 “pocket calculator” means the real calculator), Rechenzentrum (data center) and so on. “Full-blown desktop computer” would mean for Germans “a machine which is not locked into some specific calculations like a usual calculator or a typical smartphone nowadays”.

Not really. I told it my post above: people who wants to buy it already know that this is no powerful gaming PC or something similar. Or do you want to say people are dumb and buy this special phone without knowing what it is? I mean it is no mainstream Galaxy XX where the cool kids want to buy it because “it’s the newest and best and for this reason coolest device”. There is nothing inside the video or post what shows the performance or something else. They just show that Librem 5 has the minimum requirements to run these editing programs. And these words of “full-blown” are also context related. I don’t know why this is so hard to understand that people need to fill a whole thread about it.


Then take a look:

Going back isn’t particularly interesting - you just unplug the cable.


The adapter you are using looks a lot like the one I use with my MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro only comes with four ports (all USB-C)… a huge limitation. Getting a few more ports through the adapter (especially the HDMI port) is a must. It also makes me appreciate the Librem Mini, I have all the ports I need :slight_smile:

It makes me think, though, that I might already have the needed accessory to use my Librem 5 as a desktop computer :slight_smile:

Yeah, it’s very likely - after all, what’s needed here is the exact same kind of adapter that is used with many laptops these days, not just Apple ones.

I apologize for going off of the previously discussed topic, but about those adapters/hubs…
I’ve removed this comment to a new topic.

Would that be a technology that Purism should take a look at? As in, how much should we trust them - after all, they are full of chips, may have access to all of our wired web traffic (record or relay to a new destination?) and can be pose as any USB device (keylogger)…? I don’t trust random usb dongels or cables, so why should I trust any hub? I mean, USB threats have been around for some time but a adapterhub with LAN-port might increase the risks, surely? Would there be a market need for open and secure tech with trusted supply-chain: add a battery to it (“internal UPS”) and a heat dissipating cradle, and the desktop dream gets better. But yeah, could the threats now move from secured device to a unsecure adapter that we have no way to interact with?

But yeah, could the threats now move from secured device to a unsecure adapter that we have no way to interact with?

Very good question. I think it would be great if you could start another topic with this question, so we can discuss it in depth.

Speculation and opinion are just something to read and fill my time till my phone arrives.
Solving software/hardware issues are a lot more helpful to a novice like me.