Positive experience with the librem5 and some minor feedback

Just wanted to post about my positive experience with the librem5

I’ve had it for a month or so now, before i was running around with a pinephone with mobian (about 5 months)

things I’ve noticed which make me really happy:

  1. alarms/calendar notifications work!
    no more backup phone required. this is prob due to the fact that standby/power saving is off.
    this is a daily driver thing for me so excellent.
    Tried applying this to the pinephone but, that would not survive the night on battery

  2. battery seems to have more juice than the pinephone, currently i’m on a twice a day charge cycle. Which works for me atm

  3. the hardware kill switches.
    I really love these, it’s super easy to disable wifi and then re-enable when i’m home. it usually picks the wifi up rather quick

  4. the camera+ app take pretty decent foto’s
    no more backup required… sort of (see feedback )
    love the auto focus/ manual switching. that UI could use some work and is a bit small/finicky

  5. it;s a PC

nothing more to say right?

Things that would be great if they are fixed:

  1. video recording.
    the video’s stutter, so this is not ready for daily use just yet.

  2. orientation when taking pictures
    when snapping pictures or filming in horizontal/landscape mode the display rotates and you get a mini preview window. which is not super

  3. firefox ESR addons windows/popups
    I don’t know if its firefox ESR and might be fixed in firefox latest. but the addons menu/overlays don’t work.
    they take ages to display and are to big/ stutter and have other graphical issues making them useless. Which is a shame because i would love to use containers & ublock for extra security ^^. Also firefox latest would be very nice. I know you can install that on debian, would be cool if we could get a mobile build.

  4. disk image backup
    backing up and restoring the full phone drive seems a chore compared to the pinephone with towboot. from what i’ve read so far in the posts on this forum. I would love if the process would be more like that of the pinephone.

But in general I LOVE LINUX PHONES!

compiling on my phone, in whatever language c++, c# java etc. it’s great!
I feel like i really own this device, i’m running my own build software, no stores or other gatekeeping involved

so in closing:
Thanks for all the work, this rocks!


Isn’t it pretty similar already? You just boot Jumpdrive over USB with uuu and it exposes eMMC as mass storage.

It’s not hard to make it boot from eMMC, but it never felt like a high priority thing since to use USB mass storage you need to connect the phone via USB anyway, at which point booting it over USB is not a big deal.

You can solve this problem by switching off auto-rotation.

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Yes, I had to learn that, too (from @dos), last year or so.

There is a difference though between shoving a USB flash drive in the USB-C connector at the bottom of the phone and needing an x86 host computer, in particular if one is out somewhere.

For me right now … yep, Jumpdrive using an x86 host computer is fine … so I can live with “not a high priority”. One day …

A fun question for someone who has 2 Librem 5 phones: Can one phone be used to backup and resurrect the other phone?


How is “shoving a USB flash drive in the USB-C connector at the bottom of the phone” relevant in this context though?

You don’t need a x86 host computer.


From what i gather (if i read correctly) you need to build UUU on the host computer or something. I will be able to figure it out, but it’s just an extra couple of steps.

The pinephones process removes the dependency for needing software on the host. That is what i really like, the phone just has the option build in

you are right, but i think then the videos come out all vertical, or something? but i haven’t tested that a lot because the quality was choppy anyway.

Here’s a tutorial that @irvinewade wrote, if you need it:

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It’s available in repositories of most popular distros, usually there’s no need to build anything. It is an additional step, sure, but not a significant one in practice IMO. Plus nothing stop you from copying Jumpdrive to your eMMC and booting it from there anyway :wink:

I believe distros based on earlier Ubuntu versions don’t have it in their repos.

I’m sorry, I wouldn’t know, haven’t tried. I hardly ever use the camera, I have a real camera.

It’s in the Armbian repo – Installed on my Pinebook Pro.

If I want to back up and restore my eMMC drive and I want a process that is less of “a chore” (per the OP) then the easy way to do this would be a Live Boot USB flash drive that I can boot the Librem 5 from i.e. exactly what I would do on a desktop / laptop. “Would be” in the sense of: it is my understanding that this is not currently possible.

It is my understanding that there are situations where no USB boot (hence not from the uSD drive either) will be viable if I want to restore my eMMC drive. But for the conventional “I broke my Linux install on the eMMC drive badly enough that I want to restore an image but the eMMC disk content has not been catastrophically destroyed :slight_smile:” this could be useful.

True. You need a host computer. I personally don’t have the needed files on any ARM computer and I suspect that I am not alone.

(There is a reason for saying x86, namely that when Jumpdrive was first discussed, Purism did not provide a link to a pre-built image. So it had to be built from source. So it specifically mattered whether cross-building on x86 or building on ARM.)

That seems much more fiddly though because a) you need to have a USB drive prepared with correct image beforehand b) you still need to unplug it and plug the phone to a host anyway. Booting from RAM via uuu feels like a more convenient option.

BTW. Booting from a USB flash drive like from an SD card is not impossible. I don’t think anyone tested it, it may require some changes around data-role swapping, but it should be perfectly feasible.

However, Jumpdrive itself wouldn’t work when booted this way without changes. It expects the UDC to be available at boot :wink:

It doesn’t matter, it works the same way on both architectures.

Good to know. As I said originally … I can live with “not a high priority” but hope that this is available one day.

I expected so, which is why I suggested a more conventional bootable external disk.

I think it would make a difference as to which packages you will have to install on the host but, as noted above, I have only done this in a cross-build scenario.

I’m looking into this at the moment but i’m still a bit hesitant to try because i’m not fully clear on one step

So i apt installed uuu
i’ve downloaded the jumpdrive release provided by purism

i’m reading up on putting the librem in flash mode

now the next step is semi clear but i’m a bit hesitant:

i need to run ./boot-purism-librem5.sh
and that quote Place the Librem 5 into flash mode, then use the helper script from the JumpDrive release to flash the Librem 5:

does this just add jumpdrive to the librem or does it mess with the current emmc/data of the phone? the term flash is what is making me a bit iffy
in other words can i then access the emmc drive for backups or does it do something else?

i need to find a good guide or have a good idea how to access the librem5 emmc in things like gnome disks so i can run backups and restores

It just uploads Jumpdrive into the phone’s RAM and launches it from there. It does not touch eMMC until you mount it on your PC to access it.

For the record, all you need to put the phone into flash mode is to hold the Vol+ button while it turns on. You won’t see any feedback on the phone though (until you start booting Jumpdrive, at which point the green part of the LED will shine).

If you run ./boot-purism-librem5.sh before attaching the phone, it will wait and automatically continue once you plug it in while in flash mode.

Thanks for the awnser then i can try that.

Just so that i understand correctly, just holding volume up puts the librem5 in flash mode?
So there is no need for all the steps below described in the various docs?:

  1. Ensure that the phone is switched off.
  2. Turn all Hardware-Kill-Switches off
  3. Remove battery
  4. Hold volume-up
  5. Insert the USB-c cable: (red light blinks, no green light)
  6. Reinsert the battery: (red light is constantly on, the script will continue)
  7. Release volume-up

Yes. That’s just a bullet-proof technique that eliminates as many corner cases as possible, since no visible feedback can make things confusing to users.