Phone arrived advice

I don’t know if this is on or off topic, but my Librem5 USA, which I upgraded to from a Dogwood regular L5 phone, arrived Friday.

Unfortunately it appears to have a non-functioning WiFi and I’m unable to make a permanent change to the clock through the setup app, so there’s either one (WiFI) or two (WiFi and clock) hardware issue(s) with the phone. The WiFi being broken precludes my trying software/firmware updates.


An adapter or docking station with an RJ45 port will let you connect your L5 to an Ethernet port on your router and let you apply software updates that way. Obviously I have no way of knowing whether that would help with the issues that you are having. If you install and enable ssh on your L5 you will also be able to ssh in to it from a computer, which will make any further investigation more comfortable than from the L5 terminal app.

Not all USB to Ethernet adapters will work with the L5, but I have one of these and it works fine with my (non-USA) Evergreen. This list may also be useful. FWIW, I also have a USB-C hub from Planet Computers - that does not work with the L5, at least for connecting to a wired Ethernet network.


Good advice, thank you…I will try to get one of those adapters, and find a hard wired ethernet I’m allowed to use for personal purposes.

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Yes please, as Ethernet device that @pakman recommended here works out-of-the-box with …: Community WIKI for Librem 5. This one will do the job as well: New Post: My First Week of Librem 5 Convergence, to include 6 IN 1 USB HUB option and other ones with RJ45 port.

The Librem 5 has a builtin Ethernet over USB. Connect it to a computer with the USB cable and you have a network.

It might need some configuring on gnome. On Plasma it’s pretty much flawless.


Well, I have a couple of updates.

Apparently my WiFi isn’t actually broken. It looked like it was toggling between there-but-in-airplane-mode and not-there-at-all; but it turns out the setup screen was just taking five or six seconds to load. However, once I finally took the sim card in my old phone and stuck it in this phone, it turns out my modem receives absolutely no signal. My old phone was getting four or even five bars.

I also tried plugging a physical keyboard into the phone via the USB port (luckily I have an adapter that will convert one of the old rectangular plugs into USB-C–those seem to be uncommon for some reason, but my car has nothing but USB-C outlets and ALL of my charging cables (except this one) have the old style rectangular plug, so I had already bought a couple of them). That does work, which is good, because the virtual keyboard is a true trial to use for linux commands.

(At some point should I keep this phone, I will be asking how to create a keyboard layout.)

So major outstanding issue at this time is my modem. Lots of minor ones, many amenable to me hacking the source code, once I figure out how to do that.

… in addition, because you have a vanilla USB port, even if no networking works at all, you can always download packages on another computer and put them on a flash drive / portable drive and apply them that way.

However this is not the topic for resolving that issue. I suggest

So for troubleshooting, it may help to specify

  • what country you are in
  • what modem variant you have
  • state of the hardware kill switches
  • whether the modem is showing up at all e.g. before you even put a SIM in, and after
  • what bands out of 2G / 3G / 4G you anticipate are available to you - and in any case what subset of bands you have enabled in settings
  • whether you have enabled “data” in mobile settings
  • what MNO and, where applicable, MVNO you are attempting to use
  • whether you have had the opportunity to enter an APN and what APN you entered

It’s good to confirm that the SIM is positioned, oriented and seated correctly in the SIM tray (same tray as holds the uSD card, if you are using one).

I believe it would be recommended practice (on any phone) to power off the phone before inserting or removing cards.

So do we take it that WiFi is working reliably now?

That’s a USB-A connector. It is useful to have adapters for both directions (and that is true regardless of the Librem 5, since most people these days are juggling old devices in new ports and new devices in old ports).

I’m not the only one that doesn’t think so:

@SteveC, I need to go out now (and to make it short) but you can try to fix related with:
uname -r
update-initramfs --help
sudo update-initramfs -u -k 5.16.0-1-librem5
sudo reboot

If above doesn’t help, using -c option is up to you.

No, my WiFi is indeed actually working; I was able to load web pages through it. I simply didn’t know I had to go to the setup page. (The icons on the settings panel don’t function the way I thought they did.)

You’re right about the other thing though, I do still have the busted clock. The phone clock drifts horribly without a WiFi network. Early on Monday the phone was claiming it as 3 AM on Sunday. (Which is a huge improvement over claiming it was sometime last July!)

I have emailed support about the issue.

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I have emailed support and I gave them some of that information. Among the things I didn’t state, I have no idea what an APN is (never heard of it before), nor what I should set it to, so of course I didn’t mention that. Likewise MNO/MVNO. I imagine they’ll ask me. (I did specify my timezone and country.)

MNO=Mobile Network Operator

Most countries only have a small number (3 or so) of distinct mobile networks.

MVNO=Mobile Virtual Network Operator

Any number of other companies can be a mobile network company by buying wholesale access to an MNO’s network i.e. reselling it

In other words … who’s ya SIM from?

APN=Access Point Name

A given mobile network may offer more than one service, differing in the level of service, functionality, … etc. offered to the connecting mobile client device. The APN selects that service. In many cases, the plan that you are on with your mobile provider implies what the APN should be (but connecting with the wrong APN may or may not work anyway and may or may not have negative consequences).

Linux comes pre-installed with a global list of all known MNOs/MVNOs and the valid APNs for each provider. However that list is not fully up to date.

If you mentioned that info here then someone could chime in as to whether your provider is working for that person in that country.

One successful connection to WiFi can cause a computer to notice that its clock is out of whack relative to the correct time and it can then deliberately drift its clock in order to synchronize (rather than just suddenly jumping by 9 months or whatever). In other words, drift can be a good thing.

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Re the clock: The clock updates to be correct instantly on connecting to wifi. So it’s not a slow “tactful” correction. I suspect (but have not tested, this is me “spitballing”) that the clock simply doesn’t increment at all when the phone is off. So if that’s true, I turn it on where there’s no wifi, it would start up at whatever time it had shown when I turned it off. (I can test this a multitude of ways, obviously–I just had the thought a couple of hours ago.)

Really right now my major concern is the cell modem; if that’s working the clock will be updated at almost all times (though ideally I’d like that fixed, too). Plus, I still wear a watch (and half of my personal library is on clay tablets, too).

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…annnnndddddd, it appears my clock issues were due to a nearly drained battery.

It appears to be fine now. I shut off automatic updates, was able to change the time without any trouble; the time was retained when I rebooted the phone, and reverted to the correct time when I turned on automatic updates again.

So that leaves the modem issue. ANd I am going to experiment with keyboard layouts (I hate the one that came with the phone).


Makes sense. In your typical desktop, there is a button cell battery that provides power to the real-time-clock (RTC) chip, which therefore runs even when the desktop is completely powered off (switched off at the wall) and maintains the time from shutdown to boot.

In devices that run off battery, it would be inefficient to include two batteries but then you get the downside that if the laptop or phone battery goes completely flat, you have lost the time out of the RTC chip.

(For regular phones, without a killswitch, that’s not such a big deal because as soon as you are on the mobile network, you can use NTP to get the time from the internet and/or as soon as you manage to connect to WiFi presuming that the WiFi gets you to the internet and again, without a killswitch.)


OK, the modem seems to be responsive…somewhat. It can’t find T-mobile (USA) usually, and when it does, calls hang up before I even lift my finger off the call button (which tells me something is wrong with phone calls). I don’t know yet about data; unfortunately mobile data with T-mobile here where I am at right now barely exists.

Another thing.

Under privacy you can supposedly set how long it takes for the screen to go dark, and how long afterwards it locks (or disable that, entirely). But no matter what I set it to, the phone locks the screen immediately after the screen goes dark. That’s rather annoying when I’m sitting right next to it (no security issue) but doing something else. I can either leave the screen on for half an hour or longer and drain the battery, or have to enter the dang passcode every time I pick the thing up.

Are you using byzantium?

Yes, it’s Byzantium

News about the modem, according to support it has the wrong firmware. New modem is going to be sent to me.