Sometimes good things happen - but I’ve been involved with enough projects to know that it is more often the other way round.
Thank you very much for your input, this really helps and confirms to me the Librem 5 will work as I expect it to do. The gallery pictures clearly show a familiar interface. I can understand that the terminal can be very helpful too for getting some specific apps or programs and even be a welcome bonus and a challenge to dig into Linux.
For now it seems to me that the essential apps can be downloaded in a similar way as I’m used to now, which makes me more confident than ever to go ahead with the Librem 5 knowing that it doesn’t take Linux super user experience to use it as a daily smartphone.
Thanks again, much appreciated!
kukuku. are you sure ?
There are only three phone manufacturers that I know of which support their phones for 5 years: Apple, Fairphone and SHIFT
Google, OnePlus and the Android One phones promise 3 years of security updates and 2 years of operating system upgrades.
Recent Android licensing agreements require Android phone makers to provide one security update every quarter in the first year of production and 1 security update in the second year of production, for a total of 5 security updates. In practice, flagship phones usually receive 3-3.5 years of security updates and 2 (sometimes 3) major OS upgrades. Mid-range phones usually receive 2-3 years of security updates and 1 (sometimes 2) major OS upgrades. The low-end phones and cheap Chinese brands often don’t get any OS upgrades.
The Librem 5 web page says:
Lifetime updates that actually extend your phone’s life
Other mobile platforms typically keep you running on a “purchasing treadmill” of planned obsolescence, with vendors either stopping security and feature updates altogether after a few months, or providing bloated updates that slow down your device to the point of “software disenchantment“. Those short-term oriented business models force you to buy a new phone every few years to stay safe or enjoy decent performance out of your hardware.
In contrast, the updates we provide to you through PureOS are meant to be in your best interests.
When you purchase a Librem 5, you can be confident that we will continue to provide security updates, privacy improvements, bug fixes, and new features… for the lifetime of your device, without compromising performance. Your Librem will stay secure and responsive for years to come. Like a good wine, it will probably get better over time, not worse.
I read that statement from Purism to mean that the company intends to provide software updates as long as Purism is still a viable company and it is technically feasible to keep providing updates. NXP has promised to produce the i.MX 8M Quad processor for the next 9 years and NXP been doing commits to the mainline Linux kernel. NXP hasn’t been as good as Intel in providing mainline Linux drivers. Purism has been forced to do a lot of its own commits to the Linux kernel to make the i.MX8MQ work properly, but NXP is arguably better than any other ARM manufacturer in terms of its mainline Linux support.
I think that we can be reasonably confident that NXP will provide Linux updates for its processors for the next 9 years. It is hard to predict whether the drivers for the other hardware in the Librem 5 will get updates, but the fact that it works now with free drivers, means that it won’t be nearly as hard to keep updating those drivers as with ordinary proprietary drivers. As for the proprietary firmware updates in the cellular modem, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, GNSS, light/proximity sensor, 9-axis IMU, etc, we just have to cross our fingers and hope for the best, but those components will still function even if they don’t get updates (although there might be security implications if not getting updated).
The Linux kernel still supports the 486 architecture which first appeared in 1989 and there is a lot of community interest in the i.MX8 architecture, so I think that we can count on it being supported by the community for the next 15 years at least, because NXP has released a lot of documentation.
Even if Purism goes bankrupt, we can be reasonably sure that the community will continue to provide Linux updates for the Librem 5 for the next decade at least. Just look at the Linux support for the Nokia N810 and N900 and the fact that there are LineageOS 16 ports for the Galaxy S II and LG G2. I have more confidence in getting software updates for the Librem 5 than any other device currently on the market.
Sony. Just checked my wife’s phone (z3) - still under support, OTA indicates up-to-date.
Your Xperia Z3 is up to Date! Release: 23.5.A.1.291
Z3 was released 5 years ago
Xperia Z3 only got 2 major OS upgrades from Android 4.4.4 to 6.0.1, which is typical for Android flagships. Update 23.5.A.1.291 dates from 2016-08-04.
You are “up to Date” because Sony hasn’t released an update for the last 38 months.
Thank you, everyone, for your input: very helpful.
Not sure if I’m meant to start a new topic, but related to ease of use is wifi.
I know many of you are not keen on wifi for security reasons but very useful for back up on the hoof for me!
Is the hardware in the L5 comparable to today’s phones? I know signal strength can vary enormously depending on kit.
@amosbatto, I agree with your assessment in comparison to … but as I understood @Gavaudan it is about +/- five years Debian Long Term Support (LTS). For example Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS (Lucid Lynx) was known to me since April 2010 and his successor Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) reached its regular End of Life on April 28, 2017 as Ubuntu 12.04.5 version. Today Librem 5 runs on Debian 10.1 “buster” since September 7th, 2019 and this is what counts for us, IMHO.
I think this should be definition for our forum’s (or any other) dictionary: “Debian Long Term Support (LTS) is a project to extend the lifetime of all Debian stable releases to (at least) 5 years.” Meaning “buster” will run more or less safely without any Linux terminal dist-upgrade until July 6th, 2024. Amosbatto and Gavaudan thank you that you reminded us on how serious development on Debian actually is!
It is a fairly good assumption that L5 will have a longstanding support for Linux because it is built on the open software community - not only on the existence of Purism as you indicated. But there are two kinds of updates: security and bug updates which are essential for the functioning in general and then there are updates which aim to add support for new hardware and software. The latter is not absolutely necessary but the lack of such updates will slowly make the phone less usable. In certain cases when there are new standards a lack of such updates could also be quite serious - but seldom fatal.
I have been running Debian on several computers for more than 25 years now and see no end to it. I use mostly the testing distribution and update very frequently. It will be interesting to see if it is possible to continue with this kind of updating also for the Librem 5 phone. A phone is after all a bit different from an ordinary computer. But I am not worried about the long term support for the phone.
Using WiFi can be a security risk but not for me because I live in the country side and I can simply see everyone that is coming within the range of my WiFi. And I use it a lot because I have fast fiber connection and at home I always use WiFi on the phones but I do not use it in crowded places. So WiFi is really useful if you are careful.
I am also worried about the signal strength because we have weak signals here. Unfortunately that question can be answered only when I get the phone in my hands.
If the applications on the internet that you use all themselves use secure protocols (e.g. access web site as https:// rather than http://) then WiFi isn’t much of a security concern.
WiFi is more of a concern from a privacy (tracking) point of view.
I will definitely be using WiFi on the Librem 5 e.g. in particular when at home and probably use the kill switch when out.
Can’t really comment on the goodness of the internal antenna or the WiFi card until we have the phone.
I think I’ve finally got/understood your point and thanking you for this! As I see it now, intentional/purposely related jumping from time to time over to the current Debian “bullseye” repository would be somehow recommended (if something newer available and if someone knows what he or she likes/needs to have updated). Also and not to forget what @DemBeesDoneStolenAll already mentioned in similar context somewhere here: Synaptic cannot start under Gnome if Gnome runs under Wayland according to this (if I am up to date), so it is not the tool for doing this even though that lot of us might miss it, yet not on original Librem 5 software. Anyway and without any pessimism, I expect that PureOS LTS will be sufficient and on a timely basis, as @nhu above said: “not worried”, of course.
Updating the software in Librem 5 is not a problem now but in the long run it is interesting to know how close the software of L5 is to general Debian. There must be some differences but if they are fairly small then we can rely on Debians updates (plus some special software).
We know that Android is not Linux and you cannot update Android yourself from any Linux repository but have to wait for the Android update - a bit different for different brands. Updating Debian is quite easy and you need no special computing skills for that as long as you stick to safe-upgrade. Can Librem 5 be updated as easily ? That would require a L5 repository but that should not be very difficult to organize (I hope …).