Our L5 Use Cases

I would like to start a special thread with special rules. To keep the thread readable only a single post per L5-owner should be written and edited once the facts change. I am curious about what people really do with their L5 and where they succeed.

Please do not comment any post. If you have ideas or comments you could write a pm to that person, maybe the use case can be improved.

What do you think?

Would it be possible to delete posts that are just comments to cleanup the thread and keep readabilty?


My L5 Use Cases


  • i installed openssh-server and was immediatly able to access the device. I can easily handle the administrative tasks.


  • i tried the Maps program with not that much success, the location was put to Hamburg which is 200km away. this is done by asking Mozilla which resolves the IP to a location, gps is used only after installing gnss-share

News Feed

  • i was able to import my news feeds from an android phone and can snagly read the posts. only the wipe to advance to the next post is missing


  • i did not find Matrix yet :frowning:


  • i like 2048 but that reveals problems with the touch screen


  • The pic is terribly dark. Found no way to enable flash.

My use-cases as of 2021-09-29

The points in “Working use cases” is what I regularly use my L5 for.
The points in “Kinda works” is what I usually do on my Android phone but occasionally do on the L5.
The points in “Doesn’t work” I always use my Android phone for.

I am not using the modem and don’t have a SIM-card for my L5. I will continue to use the L5 as a secondary device to my Android phone until more of these use-cases are working better.

Working use cases

  • Browsing linux news (Phoronix)
  • Diary notetaking (simple-diary-gtk)
  • Music
    • Compared to @Archninja I’ve had the opposite experience, very good sound quality on the Librem 5. I use Lollypop as well.
    • Rarely stutters a little bit while the phone is locked. I remember reading somewhere that it’s due to the phone locking the RAM frequency when locked or something like that and progress is being made to fix that.
  • File sync
    • I sync my music, documents and linux dotfiles with syncthing to my phone to the sd-card from my server and desktop.

Kinda works

  • Bluetooth headphones
    • Playback is fine, microphone sounds bad
  • Watching YouTube
    • Slow and webpage doesn’t adapt properly in firefox
  • Browsing reddit
    • Webpage is slow and their mobile page is not adapting properly in firefox
    • The native GTK app giara is very buggy and slow, not sure why
  • Camera
    • Needs a lot of manual tweaking to get a good picture, but works fine.
    • OK for basic tasks if you have the time to fiddle around
  • Mail
    • Geary works, but it is a little slow and the mobile interface could be improved

Doesn’t work

  • Battery life is weak. 9hrs of standby battery life is not enough (tried both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wifi, always modem off)
  • Swedish BankID to authenticate with my bank
  • Chromecast (have not tried though, just assuming it doesn’t work)

My use cases: Sept 29

Working use cases

  • Daily browsing of news and a few sites (including this one)
  • Checking weather
  • Testing for linux mobile app development
  • Texting in general
  • rsync backups via ssh
  • ansible cobfiguration

Kinda Works

  • geary kinda works, but needs better scrolling
  • Calls often hang when trying to make one.
  • Rarely is able to recieve a call. (generally just get the voicemail and need to call them back)
  • qr code reading
  • The battery life is generally good enough for me. However it needs to be a bit better for traveling.
  • Picture taking does work, but needs to be less fiddly
  • QR codes work only for web ones

Doesn’t work

  • gps/navigation
  • mms
  • Calendar
  • android emulation

Posted from my librem 5. It’s the only smartphone I use at present.


My working use cases

(The minute I received my Librem 5, I took the SIM out of my iPhone and put it in my Librem 5. The SIM has never gone back.)

This post only discusses things that work. For things that don’t: Librem 5 — painpoint assessment 2021

As a, you know, actual phone

  • voice calls - make and receive
  • SMS - send and receive
  • tested on two different carriers

Network Connectivity

  • WiFi - both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz work but the former has better range and consumes less power
  • mobile data (limited testing)
  • frequently use ssh in to the phone and have used sftp to transfer files to and from the phone


  • did an initial contacts import of several hundred contacts using Contacts Importer
  • use Geary for email - use it every day - more receive than send but both work
  • Geary works well - responsive and adaptive


  • use Lollypop for playing music
  • Lollypop works well - responsive and adaptive
  • I’ve mostly listened via basic analog headphones, where the sound quality is pretty decent

Other apps

  • Dictionary app - usable but requires more work to be fully adaptive
  • Clocks for alarms
  • played around with the Drawing app - it mostly works but haven’t really had cause to use it for anything serious
  • have minicom installed for talking directly to the modem
  • Settings, Terminal, Screen Shot are useful and/or essential utilities

USB peripherals

  • random flash drive (with USB-C to USB-A adapter)
  • USB-C SSD (2 different models)
  • gigabit ethernet dongle (with USB-C to USB-A adapter)

The GbE dongle is great because if someone breaks the WiFi badly, I can still get on the internet to download updates to fix the problem.

Bluetooth peripherals

  • keyboard
  • speakers

The out-of-the-box success with the above USB and Bluetooth peripherals is a testament to the benefits of the approach of working with a standard Linux kernel. A lot of stuff “just works”.

Random other phone stuff

  • uSD card - I’ve put some of my music collection on a uSD card and put it in the phone - enough music so that I don’t get bored listening to the same thing over and over
  • smartcard - it is recognised and I put a PIN on it but I haven’t learnt enough yet in order to do good things with it
  • backup - we all do backups, right? - an external SSD (or other drive) can be used to back up the uSD card and I booted Jumpdrive on the Librem 5 in order to back up the eMMC drive
  • auto-rotate of the screen works
  • charging - I have an external charger and a spare battery (hence I can charge a battery outside of the Librem 5) and I also have a car charger (just a standard USB-C / USB-A charger) for charging the Librem 5 in the car

Semi-working stuff

  • Camera - has worked, then not worked, now working again - but, regardless, the software needs a fair bit of work
  • Convergence / external monitor - recognises external monitor but that’s about it for me - trying to get something fully usable hasn’t been a priority for me as yet
  • GNSS - downloaded ephemeris etc. from the satellite and got a fix with valid latitude and longitude but needs integration with the rest of the software e.g. would like the camera software to geotag any photo taken

The above post is mostly a summary of: [MyL5] Australia/New Zealand As per the (unofficial) rules of this topic … any questions or comments can be posted there.


Like a small political pressure group I use my L5 to push me to change. I am sad to say my old beaten up android phone is still my main driver. I keep my L5 by my bed and open it up regularly to look for a better way to be.

It has led to me leaving (most of) Google’s ecosystem behind. I was one of the first to use Gmail and had been for … How long has it been? 20 odd years, 15 of which I felt increasingly uncomfortable. Android kept me on their platform but now thanks to my L5 I can see a way out. I’m really a technical Luddite, in the original sense. As I get older I am less inclined to engage in the cutting edges, I’ve had enough cuts to learn.

My L5 is mainly used for email and the federated social network (https://social.mjd.id.au/profile/trregeagle) I also use Syncthing to synchronise files with my Librem14. I often tinker on it via MOSH/SSH.

I’m so pleased the camera is now working and will be taking my L5 out for a bicycle ride today to get a few snaps. Battery Life has not worried me as my bicycle has a SON hub dynamo to keep the L5 going.

Nice idea for a thread, I’ll look forward to see how things evolve.