Re: librem-5-smartphone-final-specs-announced


Either way those are not really privacy lovers because they let themselves get lured away from privacy too easily. In order to be willing to pay $500 extra in addition to giving up the convenience that Big Brother apps offer nowadays just for privacy one must be a privacy LOVER. Not even being a privacy lover is enough to do all that just for privacy (though the added freedom and GNU/Linux software that the L5 offers might persuade some of them).


We don’t disagree on that point.

I think it’s in our own interest, though, to make it easier for mere fair-weather privacy likers to shift.


Ditto. I am really glad to be apart of this.

I agree and I think that’s very much the audience Purism are trying to cater to (other than the linux and freedom fans :wink:).

I don’t think anyone has mentioned this yet, how great is it to have the RGB indicator confirmed! That’s a huge benefit to me, being able to see the type of notifications at a glance and from a distance.


I agree.

But I am pessimistic about people getting easy privacy. Data collecting is very useful for powerful companies and the government and I am sure that they are willing to fight very hard to be able to keep collecting. Can the people —without even putting in the effort required to do something slightly inconvenient— beat these powerful entities that rule the world? I think that the people have no chance. Even people who fight hard for their privacy have a good chance at failing.

I buy the L5 for my own benefit and have no illusions of people in general getting their privacy back without them even really trying. The most important “greater cause” that I care about and am doing with my L5 purchase is supporting a company likely to create more products that I would be interested in. Making privacy easier is nice and might happen but I suspect that in the end only few people will be swayed into trying to get privacy.


If the RGB led can be controlled with scripts then that would be really great. A lot of fun stuff could be done with that.


I think this is the right framing. A lot of people would like privacy, but they don’t have the time, energy or knowledge to try and keep their privacy online, and the current hoops that you have to jump through are so high to maintain your privacy, that even people who care about these issues rarely do them. If privacy means giving up social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and all the convenience and easy communication from online services, then most people decide to throw out privacy. If companies start offering convenient ways to keep people’s privacy, then the market size is potentially enormous. The market for people who value software freedom is smaller, but it is probably also in the millions if it were a competitive option.

We are the early adopters, who are willing to pay a lot for a bulky phone with lower specs and we are willing to deal with all the hiccups of a developing platform that will have very few apps and probably some bugs along the way, because we really value privacy and freedom.

However, as hundreds and then thousands of apps are added, and Purism improves mobile Linux as a platform and improves its online services and the hardware specs improve in subsequent versions, it will become easier and more convenient for people to start switching. The good thing about Purism is that it is trying to create a new ecosystem of mobile Linux and privacy web services based on free software, that will grow over time and attract more users. If Purism can prove the market, then other companies will jump in and drive down prices and offer more apps and more online services based on privacy and freedom. The more people who are using mobile Linux, developing GTK and HTML5 apps, and running Mastadon, XMPP and Matrox servers and using encrypted email, the more investment and development will be poured into the ecosystem, and the momentum will grow until we have a viable alternative to Google, Facebook, Twitter and surveillance capitalism in general.

I am very appreciative of the engineering that is going into the Librem 5, but I didn’t put down $599 in the crowdfunding campaign because I thought that the hardware in the Librem 5 was worth $599 or now $699. The most I ever paid for a phone before the Librem 5 was $210, but I want to live in a world where people can have digital rights, software freedom, and online privacy, so I’m willing to pay 3 times as much for a phone if the company making it is working toward those goals.

I want the hardware to be good, because it will attract more buyers, earn better reviews and generate more buzz for mobile Linux and grow the ecosystem, but I would have pre-ordered the Librem 5 even if it had worse hardware specs. I think the long game to create a new mobile ecosystem is far more important than worrying about how the Librem 5 compares to the OnePlus 7.


assuming that one is also able

For some people they may be 100% privacy lovers but if they don’t have the $500 then they don’t have the $500 no matter how much they love privacy.

Noone has to give up Faceborg (etc.). You just wouldn’t be doing it from the app on the phone at Day 1.

Having a Librem 5 and still using Faceborg on e.g. a laptop isn’t necessarily a bad thing to do because you are still isolating phone content and phone location etc. from Faceborg.

In any case the essence of freedom is to be able to choose what you do and don’t use or share - even if that choice is not fully consistent with some principle or fully logical or fully wise.

If someone wants to (and is able to) write a Faceborg app for the Librem 5, that’s fine with me - but I won’t be using it.

WhatsApp maybe?


Ok, time for a little bit of deflating realism here. And keep in mind I truly hope there are enough of you happy people willing to buy this phone so it will be the first in a line of many…

This phone is not cheap, and I don’t think the right sacrifices were made in its construction. For example, why would I need a removable battery for “future-proofing” if the phone is going to already (assumption here) going to be cruising by with low-end hardware? And why would you give a 5.7 in screen just 720pixels to work with? I could understand if it was a small 720 screen, and I wouldn’t mind…but at this size you could probably count the pixels easily. 3Gigs is acceptable, and I don’t care about the 32Gigs as the phone does have expandable storage. I kind of wish they hadn’t bothered putting in a camera, or at least not two. With these specs, I highly doubt the picture quality will be more than almost OK.

Being a privacy-conscious linux user myself, I wish these specs were at least current-proof, much less future proof. I buy a mobile device once every few years, and since the prices of mobile devices began to skyrocket, I stuck to the highly competent low-to-mid tier stuff. But honestly, this makes me want to look for some slightly used oneplus X instead (which was half the price with better specs when it came out a few years ago). But with these results, I think I’d rather continue to limit my mobile usage and wait for something else.

I truly wish purism the best, and hope you guys are enthused enough to support them, because devs should get paid. However, I really hope they release a higher-spec version for not much higher price within a year, because otherwise I don’t see this becoming more than a verrry niche product.

TL;DR: I think Purism dwindled a niche-audience into a significantly tinier niche.


Because the imx.8m chip is not very power efficient and to my knowledge was not meant to be a mobile device and 720p would be less taxing on the battery life .

Second why does everyone keep harping on the processor ?? I mean are you going to have a few MS slower touch response time ? sure probably . Are apps going to open a few ms slower than a more capable chip ? Sure .

But linux is linux . This is going to be the same OS in 5 years it is now just with a bit more functionality and security .

And anyone using this device as a workstation probably isnt going to be doing heavy video editing or any enterprise level graphical work .

I think youre going to get this device in hand and be pleasantly surprised when you get to using it .

Hell I remember getting my mytouch 4gslide back in the day that I remembered being fast AF with 800mhz dual or single core chipset . Add that to the fact linux is in no way as resource intensive as android and … I really think this device is going to be good out of the box .

All that snapdragon 855 with 12gb ram you just dont need all that on a phone . 90 percent of people surf the web watch some youtube and text and call and the L5 should do all of that flawlessly on a properly rendered device.


If you wait until the phone is actually released, your comments could be informed by facts, rather than be speculation.

I have no idea what the picture quality will be, or how it will compare with my current phone. If I want better photos than my current phone, I use my digital camera but, a lot of the time, I don’t have my digital camera with me and I do have my phone with me. So, therefore, I am glad that they did put in a camera. I expect that if they had no camera at all then people would criticise the phone for not even having a camera.

I really hope that demand is enough for the upcoming phone such that Purism is encouraged to develop subsequent models. The future will tell.


That’s not how resolution works. 720p is 1280x720 pixels, so 921,600 total. For a 5.7" screen, each pixel would be just under 0.0039" square. The angular resolution of a circular aperture (e.g. your iris) is given by the Raleigh criterion. The angular resolution required to resolve an individual pixel is 0.0039/d, where d is the distance from your eye to the phone.

The page I referenced gives the resolution limit for most people as 5e-4 rad and for completely optimal conditions as 2e-4 rad. So most people would have to hold the phone 7.8" in front of their face to see a pixel, and Carrots McGee, who has record-breaking vision and is sitting in a well-lit room with the phone brightness on maximum, would be able to see individual pixels at 19.5". These numbers are slightly smaller without rounding, but let’s be pessimistic and go with these.

Now, let’s see what Purism gave up by forgoing a 1080p screen. On a 5.7" 1080p screen, pixels are 0.0026" square. The minimum viewing distances for John Doe and Carrots McGee on the flashy battery-hungry 1080p screen are 5.2" and 12.9", respectively.

So, if you have world-class vision and really need that 13" - 19" viewing range, then yes, you’re missing out by having the lower resolution screen. For everyone else, there’s no practical difference.

Edit: as @kieran points out, the actual screen resolution is better than 720p. Mininmum viewing distances for 720x1440 resolution are 7.1" and 17.7" for normal and optimal conditions, respectively; the viewing distance window between “HD+” and 1080p resolution is less than 5" for even the most sharp-eyed people in the world in optimal conditions.


In fact, the final specs say 720x1440 i.e. 1,036,800 pixels.

Which by my calculations makes the size of a pixel 0.0035" x 0.0035" i.e. slightly smaller still.

Let’s wait until we can hold the phone in our hand before making bold claims about whether we can “count the pixels easily”.


Government and big companies need surveillance and thus will defend it. We do not have a free market. The government can easily give companies or industries an unfair advantage by giving them free money, making children use their products in school, changing laws, making certain products necessary for jobs, etc. Thanks to this privacy will not get convenient any time soon.

If you want more people to go for privacy, then that can succeed. But if you want most people to go for privacy, then you might need multiple lifetimes.

I did not say that being a big privacy lover was a sufficient condition, just that it was a necessary one.

Personally I was doing fine with the N900 not too long ago. And even now it is the abandoned software and lack of freedom that bothers me about it, not at all it’s hardware. Phones do not expire just because higher-spec phones become available. The L5 might be useful to me 10 years from now just like the N900 was useful for me around 10 years after it’s release.

I agree with this. Privacy-lovers with a lot of cash and who do not care about specs is a pretty small niche. Though it is also a niche that is pretty much dominated by Purism right now.


as Captain America said “then we will do so together” and we will learn to fail better.


Please fix FAQ.
In mixed up Front and Back Cameras


The front facing flash makes it a good devices for pranks though.


Your preferences are also a tiny subset of the market and would probably result in fewer sales of the Librem 5.

We can debate endlessly what niche of the market Purism should have prioritized in its design decisions. For example, people who value security are delighted by the Smartcard reader for an OpenPGP card, but I suspect that many buyers would have rather have 64 GB of Flash memory in place of that Smartcard reader. Some people clearly would have been willing to pay $150 more for the Librem 5, if it had a 1080p screen, 8GB RAM and 128GB of Flash, but would that generate more sales than the current specs?

In looking at Purism’s design decisions, it appears that Purism deliberately chose to include features that no other phones provide, in the hopes that people who really care about those features would be willing to pay a premium for lower spec hardware in order to defray the high development costs of the Librem 5. Look at its unique features:

  1. First phone in the world with a Smartcard reader for an OpenPGP card for greater security,
  2. First phone in the world with hardware kill switches and the ability to turn off all sensors at the circuit level.
  3. First phone in the world with a replaceable cellular modem,
  4. First phone to not require any binary blobs in the kernel and get the FSF’s Respects Your Freedom endorsement.
  5. First Linux phone since the Nokia N900 released in 2009 that can run standard GTK/GNOME software (UBports has problems).
  6. Only 6.6% of new mobile phone models in 2019 (16 out of 244 models) have a replaceable battery according to the gsmarena database.
  7. Only phone currently on the market that can provide convergence as a desktop PC without special hardware like Samsung’s DeX docking station or Asus’s PadFone tablet shell (Nexus 5 and Fairphone 2 with UBports and Windows Phone were capable of convergence without special hardware, but they are no longer for sale.)

The strategy appears to be serving niches where people are willing to pay a lot for a lower spec phone, so that Purism can pay for several years of software development and specialty manufacturing.

Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t appear to have worked for Nero, but it will work for a lot of niche buyers. I’m a good example, since I don’t care that much about processing power, but I do care a lot about the environmental impact of planned obsolescence, so I really want a phone with a replaceable battery and cellular modem that can be supported for a decade by the Linux community.

A lot of what Purism can do in the future is constrained by the SoC. Purism can’t offer a stellar camera, because the i.MX 8M Quad doesn’t have a DSP or ISP and it can only handle 5 MP at 15 fps, so it will have to add another chip just to process the camera’s output.

The Vivante GC7000Lite GPU can probably handle a 1080p screen, but a 1440p or higher screen will probably be too much of an energy hog. Also, a 1080x2160 or higher screen means that the DCSS interface will have to be used for the Librem 5’s screen, which means that the eLCDIF interface which is limited to 1920x1080p60 will have to be used to run the external monitor. The last kernel submission from Purism that I can find shows that the Librem 5 screen is using DCSS, but presumably Purism would like to run the L5 screen with eLCDIF and the external monitor with DCSS in order to do convergence at higher resolutions, since the kernel submission mentions that Purism is still working on eLCDIF.

Purism could switch to the i.MX 8M mini in the future which will be more energy efficient with better performance at 14nm, but its GPU and VPU is too weak to be able to handle convergence as a desktop PC.


I think, we should open a new thread about privacy lovers. Or would it better be a thread about surveillance lovers?


Replace “lovers” with “clerics” and create both proposed threads in round table?


how about software freedom “clerics” ? i think it was RMS that started the church-of-emacs… isn’t that what RYF is ? :wink: