Target audience for the Librem 5?

So obviously straight out the gate the librem 5 is going to be focused on people who are privacy conscious and into FLOSS in general. However what about the general Linux fan ( like myself ) who just likes the idea of running full fledge linux on a phone? What about the average joe just looking for an alternative to android and ios. I guess what I am wondering is that maybe with this first iteration the use case will be rather limited. However is there a larger plan in future releases to make this platform viable for average users just looking for something a bit different? From reading design documents it appears that there is going to be a focus on simplicity and streamlining of how messaging is done. I know quite a few former BB10 users ( of which I was one ) who would be potentially interested in this platform to replace their aging blackberry 10 devices. Small and niche is fine with me it would just be interesting to see how this platform could potentially grow in the future.

I think if you want to run Linux on a phone, then it will be a great phone for you - as long as you remember that you won’t have access to everything that Android and iOS currently have.

The target audience is in fact average users. Purism’s goal is to make security and privacy simple and convenient so that anyone can benefit from them. The question is whether they will hit that target on this first release. Those who want this to be Android/iOS but without Google/Apple will likely be disappointed. Any app that doesn’t also have a web version won’t be available, and unless it’s open source, quite likely will never be available.

On release, I expect the phone will do all of the following reasonably well:
Make calls
Send SMS messages
Browse the web

You’ll also have access to some form of encrypted messaging, but the question here will be whether the recipient utilizes the same methods, because only then will the messages be encrypted.

Will you want WhatsApp? Not gonna work (unless you connect the web app to your previous WhatsApp phone account)
Will you want various banking apps? Probably won’t exist (but again, you should be able to use the web interface)

Basically, it should have the basics covered, and for a lot of functionality you might miss, you can probably find a web version of whatever app you’re trying to use, if that is indeed what you choose to do and don’t care about using proprietary software/services.


personally that would fit my usecase just fine. The one thing I am not sure about is this going to be loading the mobile versions of web pages or the desktop version and then scaling it down? Because I use reddit a lot and it currently runs like absolute junk if you try to get to the mobile version and it just complains at you to install the app.

Purism has contributed to a lovely library called libhandy, which will allow desktop apps written in the GTK framework to auto-scale.

KDE develops have a similar tool called Kirigami which allows things written with the Qt framework to auto-scale.

So basically, it’s just a matter of getting app developers/maintainers to now pull in those libraries, and boom, desktop Linux is now mobile Linux. If something is not written in either of those frameworks (like Electron, which seems to have become a popular cross-platform framework), then it may be a bit of a challenge, but maybe Electron already allows display size detection, since I think it is based on web-dev technologies, which definitely can do that.

Any any respectable modern website will scale for mobile access. So if you are accessing things through the website, it should definitely work just through standard CSS media queries. As for reddit, I don’t use it, but here is a desktop app for Linux which supposedly works:

Since that is written in GTK, it could be forked and made to work on the Librem 5.


Actually, I think all those groups are in. The privacy minded, the Linux geek (with multiple distro choices) and the average Joe - as long as that average Joe is more like my parents (for which the apps we already know will be there are plenty) and not like the smombies that can’t even imagine living without certain surveillance capitalism apps.

I guess the first wave would be the geeks, who, hopefully, will also bring it to their parents and kids — as Todd envisions for his kids, and as the lovely happy family picture of the original funding page illustrates (Why Purism section).

Summary: Geeks, get one, and then get some more, Christmas is coming :sunglasses:


For a start some of that depends on server side behaviour i.e. you access and it automatically redirects to or and usually then gives you the option of clicking a link from the mobile site to the desktop site.

I accept the limitations of trying to use web sites on a 5" screen. Some web sites simply don’t work well. There are only one or two that I would routinely try that with. I have a suspicion though that everyone’s set of “one or two web sites” is different - and it won’t be immediate that your or my “one or two web sites” work well, if it happens not to work well at Day 1.

You might try the “convergence” option of sending the phone display to an external monitor.

Perhaps that won’t happen if it detects an operating system for which no app exists.

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maybe this will interest some people doing photography/RAW-digital-photo-development

it’s quite old and i haven’t seen any official updates regarding this but i’m sure things have progressed in the right direction. will it be available from day 1 on the L5 ? i don’t know but the posibilities seem to be there.

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That’s a good one. My s3ns0rs are tingling.


Other groups who might be interested in the Librem 5- politicians, lawyers, enterprise types, journalists, activists, criminals, terrorists. All of which were security conscious and used blackberrys back in the day.

Now, how to market to each of those niches?

As for the list two groups: just don’t. Not only is it unethical, it’s also a a tad dangerous
Canadian sentenced for selling encrypted phones to criminals

For the other groups, just conince a few well known figures, such as Greenwald.

If they are marketing it to politicians then they are already marketing to the worst of the latter 2 groups so in that case they might as well market it to the rest as far as morality goes.

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Technically, you’re not wrong :wink:

It could be dangerous marketing to the last two groups but not necessarily unethical if done properly. Because those two groups are special, they would get special marketing, from special marketers, and even special Librem 5 phones.

Two more groups potentially interested in the Librem 5 - law enforcement and IC.

What about the average joe just looking for an alternative to android and ios.

Right, average Jane here (yeah, you don’t know everything about markets you’re not a part of) tired of speculators with absolutely no knowledge fucking with my soon to be held phone. I’m not suggesting you’re a shill for the competition or anything, but it’s a definite that proliferating the myth that this phone hasn’t a chance outside your tech community is harmful (to make your post you had to have assumed exclusion/favourtism in marketing, which Purism has always displayed the opposite of).

I actually thought of this a while ago, and I guess this is the straw that breaks the camels back, so here goes because I’m tired of seeing these posts (worse, I’m tired of considering what tech writers must be thinking of the Librem5s consumer base when they view them):

I suggest flair for forum accounts indicating who actually donated or bought hardware.

It’s not a measure rooted in elitist gate keeping, rather a measure protecting against it from those just too indoctrinated in that culture to see that it actually limits growth and is definitely not happening here.


I have no idea what about my original post gave you the idea that I was being negative about this device. And I did buy one… That being said all indications are at release this device may not meet everyones use case. Which is fine I think niche markets need to be served as well. My point was that with future updates are we looking to bring people in from outside that niche or is the idea to keep it in a niche more “project” oriented market

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One thing that is going to limit the target audience is the price tag of $699. I totally understand why Purism has to charge that much, but people who are willing to pay that price have to have a strong reason to want the Librem 5, because it is going to have limited functionality when it is first released. As the number of apps grows in the PureOS Store, it will broaden its appeal, but establishing Linux as a viable third mobile platform like Android and iOS will take time. Fortunately, Purism seems to be in this for the long haul.

One group which won’t be early adopters, but might be very interested once the software gets better are environmentalists. Greenpeace has been screaming about the environmental problems of the electronics industry for years. I’m a member of a local climate change group and when I mentioned the Librem 5 at our last meeting, people seemed interested, but nobody was willing to buy it once I said that we still don’t know the camera specs.

In my experience, most environmentalists don’t want to futz with their phones. They aren’t interested in what processor is inside and what is the latest technology. They just want the darn thing to work, but they would love to have a phone that is designed to last 5 years. However, they won’t discover the Librem 5 on their own, so someone has to make the case why it is an environmental phone and why they should want it.


Right and that reason could be simple as wanting this kind of platform to succeed. So for that people may have to be willing to compromise and take something that is not yet 100% there for the hope we can get there along the way. But that audience may be limited to enthusiasts for the first few iterations.

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to be more exact it’s gnu/linux free-software/open-hardware enthusiasts or just people that want to have a MORE freedom respecting/sustainable mobile device than all ELSE currently available … the “first-few iterations” is an exageration. a few good books and one or two video-tutorials could potentially set anyone with a little computer experience a long way to understanding WHY this is by far the best choice to support right now.

about those who complain about price … why didn’t they buy it when the L5 was cheaper ? i personally think that’s just an excuse to troll. if you don’t know/don’t care/can’t afford (now or in general) why bother creating an account and complaining ? it’s like saying “why is whole-wheat more expensive than white-wheat ? they are both wheat so what is so special about the first kind ?” etc, etc.

mountains of pointless text and arguing.

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Possibly but this is very hypothetical. It all depends on what we get with the final release. If it requires a lot of tinkering it wouldn’t bother me or other enthusiasts. However it may bother others who ( even with knowledge and experience ) may want a device that doesn’t require a lot of intervention. I will be very interested in seeing what initial sales look like and to hear from other users on how they are using them.

i think that it (the L5) will need 0 thinkering for very basic stuff on day one. it’s just that alot of experienced people discussing their scenarios HERE makes “normies” very confused about what this will be all about.

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