(Updated) Librem 11 - 1.5 month milestone - Debian 12 / Ubuntu 23.10 - 99% there and better for me than Phosh

Not a rant (for once) :slight_smile:

Problem Statement: Phosh limited my ability to tweak the system to the level that I am accustomed to when tinkering with Linux as my daily driver.

  • Excess applications (bloat) part of the standard Phosh build that I do not need (Chats, Geary,etc.) and seemingly locked in within specific Phosh packages
  • Some Gnome settings and tweaks not persisting after reboot
  • Phosh (Gnome) Software Manager weirdness - who is this person logged in and why can’t I change it?
  • Inability to use Gnome Extensions

Proposed Solution: Install Debian 12 Bookworm or Ubuntu 23.10 Minotaur with Gnome from the Librem 11 MicroSD

Results: With the exception of one key feature I want from my Librem 11, everything is rock solid!

What I did to get my L11 where I needed it to be:

  • osk-sdl package installed to provide OSK during LUKS authentication:

Enable osk-sdl [SOLVED] - Debian User Forums , utilizing the /etc/crypttab method in that thread to add this entry:

nvme0n1p5_crypt UUID=$your_HD_UUID none luks,keyscript=/usr/share/initramfs-to

(you can just copy, then comment out the existing entry and add the osk-sdl verbiage to a new line) , be sure to run update-initramfs -u when complete)
(Ubuntu 23.10 specific - touch will not work with osk-sdl with the default install ISO, but will after you perform your first batch of updates: sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

  • appropriate touch/scroll configuration in Firefox by adding the appropriate environmental variable to /etc/environment.d/moz-enable-wayland.conf - MOZ_ENABLE_WAYLAND=1 (not required for Ubuntu 23.10)

  • Improved OSK Extension for a better, tablet-friendly keyboard layout for the L11 (I believe there is a Phosh version of this available by searching for OSK in the Phosh store)

  • Internet Radio extension so I can listen to my Icecast stream of sdr-trunk for local fire and police monitoring (not compatible with Gnome 45/46 on Ubuntu 23.10)

  • Lock Screen Background extension to add my own personal pics to the lock screen

  • OpenWeather to add local weather to the Gnome top bar, separate from the Clock widget

  • Tailscale QS extension for easy Tailscale settings from the Gnome notification

  • TouchX extension to add ripple effects and other tweaks to touch inputs. It helps!

  • Blur my Shell extension for tweaks to enhance theming and visibility of Gnome GUI elements

  • I’ve left the Debian 12 or Ubuntu 23.10 bootable images in the MicroSD as its “rescue” feature is very handy in the event of fat fingers and troubleshooting since it allows accessing the LUKS partition as well as wireless networking.

  • Performance and stability seems better with Ubuntu 23.10 compared to Debian 12 stable, most likely due to updated Gnome packages and software not included in Bookworm.

Outstanding Issue: Screen rotation works, however mouse/cursor calibration does not follow screen rotation. I’m continuing to research, however those pesky 2015 threads on StackOverflow and elsewhere always leads me down xinput or xrandr threads that do not apply to Wayland. Launching Gnome from X11 does not resolve either.

Again, this is not a rant against Phosh as I whole-heartily support the “You do you” philosophy and thought perhaps others may want to venture where I have now already tread. After this process and my customization I am very happy with my L11 and will continue to share more as I tweak and adapt.

Additional Apps and tweaks part of my build & workflows:

“Blanket” app to listen to white/pink/nature noises via IEMS/earbuds (to drown out my wife’s snoring) :slight_smile:
“Firefox” from Flathub instead of ESR
“Thunderbird” for email instead of Evolution (I don’t need an Outlook clone)
“Plexamp” from Flathub for my audiophile enjoyment
“Easyeffects” to import my APO profile for my Sennheiser 58x headphones
All unnecessary/unused “stock” Gnome apps removed, and Gnome dash organized into a “single pane of glass” (I hate that marketing term!) with groups as needed
“Joplin” for my secure self-hosted Notes
“Thorium” or FBReader for access to my self-hosted ebook Calibre-Web instance via OPDS and reading list (Thorium Reader – EDRLab) , tried others, came back to these.

Thank you Purism for a providing this tinkerer with a solid platform to play, my L11 is now a solid daily driver, with only my inability to use the stylus in portrait mode as the one outstanding issue. More to come!


Did you apply the accelerometer tweak listed here?
Librem 11 wiki

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I had not, but it does appear on first glance to touch on the screen/cursor calibration issue.

Unfortunately, no change after following those instructions, but I appreciate you sharing, I will keep digging.

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Thanks for the hints, I also switched from Phosh to Debian Bookworm. Now i love the librem11, especially because not more login/problems and most importantly the ability to mirror the display.

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Appreciate the feedback, and i’m glad my tips are helping you enjoy your L11 more.

I’m still rocking 23.10 with my L11 with only some slight changes to my daily apps from the post above.

I still haven’t resolved the rotation/stylus issue, but i’ve also pivoted to Logseq from previous note taking workflows. Other than that, the L11 provides me with a portable version of what I have on my gaming rig running almost all of the exact same apps and workflows.

The L11 for me currently falls into the “good enough” category for a tablet solution, with its biggest shortcoming being abysmal battery life compounded by the stringent, power hungry charging requirements.

Would I drop 1k again or recommend anyone else looking for an alternative to Apple or others? Unfortunately, probably not. $500? Maybe. $399 or even $299 would probably be a better pricepoint to better set expectations with what you get out of the box.


Yes it is true that the battery empties very fast. I was looking for a device for presentations, in order to live-draw and annotate presentations. I discovered org-reveal a year ago and it is great for live annotations. Did a presentation with my partners iPad, and alone the fact that firefox could not display my reveal-slides in fullscreen motivated me to lookout for a linux based tablet. To my knowledge only the pinetab could be analternative in the futur, but i did not find other hardware with linux.
A part from that I am quite impressed how mature a plain Debian system is for handling a touch based device and is really just great that i can use the tablet just as a plain desktop or laptop.


What battery life are you both getting now? What tweaks helped battery life the most?

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In terms of pricing for competitors with Linux tablets, I recall that when the L11 started shipping that the Starlite Tablet was “shipping soon” (that was Aug 2023). It looks like it took them longer than expected. Starlite has refreshed their page to indicate that now it should ship in 4-5wks.

Excluding Duties it is $655. StarLite 12.5-inch Convertible Linux Tablet | Powered by coreboot – Star Labs® .

  1. OS. Default is Ubuntu 24.04. Can, alternatively, choose: elementaryOS, Mint, Manjaro, MX Linux, or Zorin.

  2. Alder Lake N200; 16GB RAM (LPDDR5); 12.5" 2k display (2160 x 1440);

  3. The above price does not include the keyboard (magnetic) or the pen. That is an extra $101 (keyboard) + $43 (pen).

  4. They claim “up to 12 hours” battery life. Of course “up to” is a “<”. It could be 0. The battery is a 38Wh battery.

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An hour is about best-case for me, so don’t plan on taking it on any flights that aren’t straight up and straight down again, again also because you can’t just plug the device into any normal USB port or even power brick due to the specific wattage and amperage requirements without having a standard AC outlet and the right charger. In terms of tweaks, I keep a charge system nearby. Adjusting power management options and screen brightness has little to no effect, so I always keep Gnome in ‘performance’ mode to ensure the CPU and 8GB RAM are working their hardest.

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The “Linux tablet” and desktop is the one key feature (with its associated privacy enhancements over Apple or M$) that most of us would want this type device, but from a performance perspective the device really struggles with anything that we would use a traditional desktop for.

Purism shouldn’t have followed Apple with their 8GB-is-good-enough policy or should have provided the ability to upgrade to at least 16 with non-soldered ram. With just running a dozen or so tabs in Firefox and perhaps Thunderbird and Signal, hard locks are not unusual when the device runs out of ram, which I know is just as much the fault of Gnome and not the fault of Purism orthe hardware, but still there should be more headroom to mitigate that occurring, especially as 16GB really has become the minimal standard for workstations in 2024.


Presumably that limitation will resolve itself over time i.e. more power bricks and more chargers will become available that support the required negotiated power parameters.

Whether you are actually allowed to take a power brick on a flight may depend on local regulations.


The one key feature that I want is a kill switch for the WiFi.

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No key for camera and mic. ? :wink:

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Sure, if it’s there, but for me WiFi is more important.