Urgent! The Librem5 does not start up since today's update on August 17, 2022

I press Power, type in my password and the L5’s screen goes black shortly after without ever turning on completely.

I know nothing about programming. Do I have to do exactly what I did when my L5 refused to open in a similar way after an upgrade a few months ago?

Here is what you told me to do:

  • connect the L5 to my computer
  • open the 465 MiB drive
  • Delete “initrd.img” and “vmlinuz”
  • Rename “initrd.img.bak” to “initrd.img”, rename “vmlinuz.bak” to “vmlinuz”
  • sudo apt remove linux-image-5.13.0-1-librem5
  • sudo flash-kernel
  • press Ctrl+L shortcut when in file manager to view and copy full folder path
  • in terminal run command: “cd folder_path”, where “folder_path” is the folder path, location of these files
  • verify that you are in correct folder, run “ls” to list all files, check if “initrd.img” and “vmlinuz” are there
  • if yes, run:

sudo rm initrd.img
sudo rm vmlinuz
sudo mv initrd.img.bak initrd.img
sudo mv vmlinuz.bak vmlinuz

  • Command to terminal: ls -lh

  • sudo umount /dev/sdb1
    (if necessary ?? cd /
    sudo umount /dev/sdb1
    sudo umount /dev/sdb2)

    1. At that point you should be able to unmount the external drive and reboot normally
      Once you get the device booted you should clean up the failed parts, so run these commands in terminal, one by one:
    2. sudo apt remove linux-image-5.13.0-1-librem5
    3. sudo flash-kernel

When the screen goes black, it turns on and off several times for several minutes. The screen remains black but we can see the difference between the black of a closed screen and the black of a screen in operation which waits for the arrival of an image…

I would try removing the battery for a minute or so, put it back in, then see what happens. Maybe press and hold the power button for 20 seconds.

I tried this twice and it made no difference

No, that was specific to that particular upgrade. We had no other reports of inability to boot after updating so far so we would have to figure out what’s wrong with your phone first. Please contact support.

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Yes M. Pejaković and I are in contact via email right now. He showed me how to reflash the L5. Now I’m waiting for an answer: how to save notes from the notepad and my calendar appointments on my Librem 13 before reflashing. And how to put them back on the L5 after or, at worst, how to see this data appear on my Librem13?

Other things : There is something I don’t understand : Check that the
librem5-flash-image directory is the current directory. HOW DO I DO THAT?

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“Current directory” refers to the directory you are in when you execute a terminal command. The flashing instructions have you downloading the flash image and simultaneously making it a “directory,” i.e. a folder, if you will. Therefore, you need to be inside that directory to proceed, otherwise the command won’t execute (because it can’t “jump” across folders to find what you’re telling it to do).

So, to change to a different directory in the terminal, you type cd followed by a space, then the name of the directory you want to switch to. In this case, it would look like this:
cd librem5-flash-image

The terminal, by default, always starts you in the home directory. Since librem5-flash-image is a sub-directory that you created inside the home directory, you’re dropping down one level so that you’re in the required directory to execute the command.

P.S. If you’re ever unsure which directory you’re in, you can type 'pwd`, hit Enter, and see where you are. (pwd = print working directory, i.e. show it, not send it to a printer)


Also, “cd librem5-flash-image” only works because that folder exists in your current working directory. If you wanted to cd somewhere else, you either need to specify the full path (which always begins with /, eg “cd /home/purism/Documents”) or, if for example you wanted to go to a folder inside a folder inside the current working directory, you only type the next folders down (eg " cd librem5f-flash-image/folderA/folderB" or something).

The first example is an absolute path because you start at the root (/ in Linux, usually C: in windows but it could be a different letter other than C if you’re working on a different disk drive) and the second is a relative path because you only type out the path relative to your starting location, or current working directory.

More information than you asked for, but hopefully it’s helpful.


I am still missing this crucial information: how do I transfer appointments from my calendar and notes from my notepad on my Librem5 to my Librem13 before reflashing? And how to put them back on L5 after reflash?

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Generally, you would need to export them, which would require logging in and opening the apps…which you apparently are unable to do at the moment.

But if you have set up ssh and sftp already, according to the tutorials posted here, then you could possibly turn on the L5, and access its internal files from your computer, to copy them and add them back once you’ve reflashed. (I think.)

But if you haven’t already set up ssh and sftp, then you won’t be able to do it.

Of course, anything you have backed up to a cloud account or the µSD card is still there, including automatic/scheduled system backups.

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A starting point for that would be … is it even getting far enough in the boot to have brought up the network? So just ping the IP address of the Librem 5 from another host on the local network.

Another approach might be: connect the Librem 5 via USB to a computer and see whether it will network over USB.

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I had this problem just yesterday on my PinePhone Pro with Mobian and Phosh. My issue turned out to be a corrupted phoc.ini file. In the journal (sudo journalctl -f) I noticed that phoc kept crashing because the first entry didn’t start with a group or something like that. I don’t know why, but the first entry for the display scaling was commented out… something like


I’m sorry I can’t remember the exact details right now and I don’t have my phone with me. I had to remove that pound sign to get


I was only able to access the phone over ssh since the display was blanked out.

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Ah, here are the instructions from the Mobian Wiki: https://wiki.mobian-project.org/doku.php?id=tweaks#scale-the-screen-variant-2

The file is /usr/share/phosh/phoc.ini or /etc/phosh/phoc.ini (I can’t remember which I changed) and like I said, for some reason the ‘group’ entry was commented out:


I had to change it to be uncommented:


I don’t remember the error message from the system journal log but it said something like the ini file didn’t start with group. I can dig that up later when I get back to my phone.

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I try to backup my calendar before reflashing. I don’t know what to do here??? I think that I should clean up the failed parts (??) but I don’t know what it is and I don’t know how.

And I can’t find the /home/purism/ .local/share/evolution/calendar/

Looks like you need to enable “Show hidden files” in the preferences. Any directory or file that begins with a “.” is hidden unless you specifically tell the app to display hidden items.

As you can see it’s done

Then find the .local folder in the home directory and proceed.

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Thanks! When I open de calendar file, I can’t see anything but this : no appointement. How can I use that? How can I have back the data in the calendar?

I’m only guessing, but I think you could copy calendar.ics to a safe place, then paste it back in after the reflash. Notice the entries in your file labeled as “EVENT.” Those should be your calendar entries.

RE “paste it back in,” I mean “in place of the new one that will be created.”

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In link wtih the first printscreen, Purism say that I can erease all version but 5.18? He mean every file where is wrote 5.15 or 5.16. or 5.17… but I suppose that I should not erease dtbs or grub?

How I remove these versions? How I create symlinks to those versions?