New Post: Librem 5 Laptop Mode

Keep things mobile, but with a bigger screen.


So can I plug-in a 1TB external SSD and install a bunch of Linux desktop programs to the external drive to execute while in Laptop mode?

Also, is there a good x86 compatability layer that is proven to run well on the L5? Many mainstream Desktop programs come without source code access and won’t run natively in ARM archicecture.

I’ll try box86 when the time comes, maybe someone on here can give it a shot?

I wouldn’t have thought that closed source programs would be Purism’s priority. Without source it becomes impossible to audit the functionality, and you could be undoing a good deal of the work to create a privacy-respecting phone.

It is true that you can use some kind of container / virtual machine environment to avoid the most dangerous aspects of closed source software but …

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You are correct about that. The uncompromising ideal should be to stick with open source applications only, even if you have to miss out on some cool apps.

Some cool Android apps will run under Anbox.

If you have a laptop already, you are probably going to want to use the processor on the laptop instead of the processor on the Librem 5, but I guess it could be handy if you don’t want to have to transfer files between multiple devices.

Does this work if the laptop has Windows or OSX installed on it? If so, then this could be really useful when traveling and using other people’s laptops.

Maybe only connecting to a laptop dock, not a laptop??

In the video they use a NexDock Touch, a laptop dock as @kieran suggests
I wonder if touch functionality already works for NexDock Touch with L5.
Anyway, in my Dell XPS 12 I never use touch, it is not comfortable to raise my hands from keyboard and I never use tablet mode, so it is not a priority for me, only curiosity.


In the video we are using a laptop dock as has been mentioned in this thread. It doesn’t have a CPU of its own, it’s essentially just a large battery, screen, keyboard, and mouse connected to an internal USB hub. When you connect the Librem 5 to it it uses the CPU on the Librem 5 but behaves like a laptop and charges your phone while it’s at it. Because they don’t have actual computer components inside they are a lot less expensive than a regular laptop.

While my work laptop needs a fair amount of resources, my personal laptop is something I just use for web browsing, email, writing documents, chatting, and watching videos. These are all things I can do just fine on the Librem 5 already and that’s why I plan on replacing my old original Librem 13 v1 with a Librem 5 + laptop dock. Having all of my files and applications and media (I use gpodder to sync up podcasts and vlogs) already there will be incredibly convenient.

I could see myself responding to a quick chat message or social media post in “phone mode” and then realizing that I need to type something a bit more extensive like an email or a forum post, which is always a pain on any touch screen keyboard, so then I’d connect to the laptop dock where I could type much more quickly and with a larger screen.



Somewhat facetiously: The onscreen keyboard on a phone should warn you once your “message” exceeds a certain size threshold … “stop battling away with the onscreen keyboard and connect to a dock, you idiot, kieran”.

Definitely not! Too similar to this:


If you get a call while in Docked mode, does Calls appear on your phone or on the external screen?
For Chatty, I’d love to have it on the external screen, but I’m wondering if you’d have to unplug it or switch out of docked mode to take a call.

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In the video, the display of L5 remains switched on and locked till you unplug it from the dock.

Clippy: <tink, tink!>
Me: GTF Away!
Clippy: Why don’t you try using {some inane ,maladroit “feature” that we decided you must have but is absolutely useless}?
Me: Argh! Die!

Ah, Office '97 – how I don’t miss thee…

It’s funny to me that you want to sign the message calling the user an idiot with your name.

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should have said ‘echo $USER’ :wink:

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This is the phone giving the user a message. It is assumed that the phone has some name by which it can refer to the user. In many Linux installs on what are essentially single-user computers (personal computers) /etc/passwd will have been configured with the user’s real name. But maybe not. When you install Linux you are free to enter a fake name. All good.

The example message was of course a joke. If Purism actually implemented this, I would assume a far more bland message, such as:

This message is getting long. Consider using an external keyboard or docking your phone.

And, like Clippy, users will want some way to disable such chirpy helpfulness.

Is that message helpful? Maybe. It is easy to kind of get flow and continue bashing away beyond the point of good UX. Some users may not even have thought of using an external keyboard and may not even know that such a thing as a dock exists. It is unfamiliar territory. It is certainly not something that I have ever done with my current crop of blackbox phones.


Of course it is, but its funnier to think of it the other way.

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In laptop mode (or desktop mode for that matter), will the screen turn off? Just asking for purposes of battery charge duration.