After about 4 months of searching the forum for answers how to install VPN services and other apps, I have come to the conclusion that what’s missing are basic step to step tutorials.
I think that Purism needs to look at its new customers, the ones that want to cross over from other platforms.l noticed that quite a few new customers sell their new untouched Librem 5 and 5 USA for the simple reason that they are unfamiliar with the Linux programming/installing.
The fact that new buyers sell their phones should raise a flag in Purism’s headquarters because
the philosophy to grow and expand can only happen if more and more new users join the small group of Linux enthusiasts.
But it has to come from Purism to sit down and write the tutorials needed for the novice user as you did with the product documentation available in the menu.
I write this because the forum is clearly not the answer to solve those issue’s, it being more of an outlet for airing frustration.
Wait! Do you honestly think the purpose of this forum is solely for the airing of frustrations against Purism? I get that a lot of that happens, but dang.
I don’t disagree with the point of needing clear instructions for the Linux Illiterate(like myself) but in Purism’s defense, the instructions for setting up a VPN on PureOS do exist, a forum member here found them for me when I asked the same question.
As far as those that are selling their newly gotten devices, have they even turned them on, let alone tried to use them? I haven’t seen anyone specifically state that the lack of instructions is the reason they decided to sell their L5.
Writing good step-by-step guides is not effortless, and finding the topics they need to be written about, is even more difficult.
Honestly, I think this something we can’t just put on (tiny) Purism, but where the people that are in the know (e.g. because they just solved using random VPN X with PureOS) need to step up.
While I am not sure that the Community Wiki is a good place to store these guides (posting them in this forums e.g. would be more interactive and allow for feedback), it’s a good place to collect and link exisiting and new step-by-step guides.
I absolutely agree with @dav69 that some people just can’t make it over the hump to use Librem 5.
Just have a look at this topic and you will see immediately that we are talking about basic understanding about how to use Linux:
As Purism is not Google or Apple, I don’t think it is feasible to divert resources from the development of the Librem 5 software to writing basic tutorials.
But it makes sense to organize a place with recommendations for external tutorials on Linux and to structure better the already known info on Librem 5 which is dispersed over the forum and hidden in the piles of information.
Let me give one example about the experience.
I have let a fresh Librem 5 and want to install the apps that I intend to use.
I want to use Discord. What shall I do?
Option A) Use WebCord?
Option B) Use Discord in the browser as a Web app?
Option C) Use Discord with Box64?
Option D) Use Discord as a FlatPak?
Option E) Other options? Alternative OpenSource apps that would do the job?
It is just overwhelming and not that easy as there is no clear overview and comparison of the pros and cons.
And after a decision is taken one still has to do a lot of research on how to do it - for example I have never used FlatPak yet and I have never used Box64 yet and for Box64 I have not seen a good tutorial.
This is the user experience for a simple widely used app that one would expect that users would like to install and use.
Freedom and choice is good, but one needs some guidance at the beginning.
Maybe some did so for this reason. In many cases though the reason was the delay and the amount of time between order and delivery i.e. in the meantime the customer was forced / chose to buy another phone.
I think that it is reasonable to request a step by step tutorial of the first app everybody should install anyway meaning a VPN service. Purism knows which VPN service works best for the OS, I am sure!
This service should be the one to write a tutorial for.
Me for myself won’t use my phone without a VPN service installed.
This idea can be copied for other essential apps (make a list).
There’s too many services on offer (and many are BAD),
A service that may be trustworthy now may change ownership and no longer be trustworthy in a short time frame (so I really don’t want to endorse any service),
When you write (or publish a video) about one service, people will ask you about another one,
When you publish a video, people will ask you for a written article and vice versa.
The choice was basically to make VPN services my hobby, which I despite having some experience (I did run my own VPS/Wireguard thing for a while and am now using Mullvad from time to time) did not want to do, in part because I believe that if you really want to be shielded, Tor is the correct answer.
(I already have a hobby, it’s (aside from blog and videos) LinuxPhoneApps.org. That place also needs some more guides, contributions welcome!)
Correct me if I wrong, but I see no reason why there would be a “best working VPN service” for Pure OS. A VPN service could have a better or worse hosting than another VPN service, but this will be independent from the OS on your client device.
And in general one could argue that the best (or even the only good) VPN is the one that you host by yourself. Because a VPN provider is always a man in the middle and if you use a VPN service that you are not hosting on your own, this means that you trust the VPN service provider and some people like to follow the zero trust principal.
Also I don’t see why you think that for the other Librem 5 users this is as important as for you to assume that “everybody should install VPN as a first app”. Librem 5 is just another computer that you own. I doubt that that many people use VPN every time they connect to the Internet from every computer and every smartphone that they use.
Pure OS is Linux.
On Linux you have Wireguard as an efficient software for implementing VPN tunnels.
There are soooooo many VPN services that most likely Purism has not tested them all. Most likely noone could test them all.
It is also difficult to define a reasonable, objective function for “goodness” that would then allow someone to find the “best”.
As Purism themselves offer a VPN service, it isn’t necessarily in their interest to advertise alternatives - and it could be argued that the onus is on the provider of the service to produce documentation for how to install and configure in order to use their service.
As far as I am concerned, this is a no-brainer. Purism should provide a step-by-step tutorial for setting up Librem Tunnel on PureOS.
If you order the service and the hardware at the same time then ideally the service would come installed and pre-configured.
First time I hear somebody say that “Librem Tunnel” is a VPN service?
I am willing to try the tunnel if I get a step by step break down how to install the service.
Meaning every little bit connected to make it work.
I agree that much more documentation for newbies is necessary if these computers and phones are to expand beyond the avid Linux community. I have written Purism about this. I hope this will take note and begin to make their software more user friendly for those who don’t want to spend many hours trying to figure out how to do the basics. Personally, I decided to take the plunge and shift from Apple and boy was that a rude awakening. I have probably spent 100 hours trying to figure out basic things and ultimately had to hire consultants to get me set up and even they struggle at times!
I am still connected to my iPhone and will be till I get the Librem 5 to work as I need it to be.
In the meantime I requested from Purism to help me with a step by step tutorial for installing the Librem one tunnel. I have received just now a step by step tutorial to install the tunnel.
Highly appreciate their help.
So choose an appropriate country1 to click on and download the corresponding .ovpn file.
I don’t think it matters where you save the downloaded .ovpn file as long as you know where you saved it so that you can find it in order to “Import” it. If it were me, I would be systematic and create a subdirectory to put the file in because I would probably download more than one so that I have a choice of countries (or even locations within country).
The .ovpn file is just a text file and not specific to the client. So you can easily download it on any other computer and then move it across to the computer where it is needed, if that proves to be more convenient.
1 Choice of country depends on a range of factors, principally:
how terrible your own government is
the regulatory environment in the country that hosts the chosen VPN server
desired network performance while using the VPN
what your reasons are for using the VPN in the first place.
If you can’t get it working at all then choice of country isn’t of major importance and I would start with a VPN server that is in your own country or, if none, one that is nearby. You can always change to a different country after you have got it working.