Anthony J. Martinez

Mobile Linux

Yesterday, I finally received the Librem 5 USA quite a long while after my orignal Librem 5 order (and upgrade). Now I have two phones that run mobile Linux of one flavor of another. As both use the Phosh environment, using either is more or less the same with some key differences coming from the hardware itself. I hope to use some of my free time to try to identify the core functional differences, and assist the developers in bridging the gaps. With both Mobian and PureOS being based on Debian, and there being a fair deal of cross pollination in the developer base, I think there is a reasonable chance both devices obtain daily-driver status this year. Neither is quite there, in my opinion, but neither is immensely far either.

Right now, only the Librem 5 has functional convergence with the ThinkPad USB-C Dock Gen 2 that I have been using for a while. It works perfectly with my Librem 14, so it is not hugely surprising that it works with the Librem 5 as well. The hub functions work just fine on my PinePhone Pro, but I get no video output at all and the monitor does not appear to be detected. On the Librem 5 I do have to do a bit of a song and dance to a usable display. While using my 4K panel at 60hz is possible from my Librem 14, it is not on my Librem 5. Using it at 4K30 is possible from a strictly technical standpoint. The device is not usable at that resolution as there is extreme mouse and keyboard lag. Use at 1440p is not much better, and video playback is choppy. If I drop all the way down to 1080p, all is pretty well and good.

The smartcard slot might be my favorite feature of the device so far. I already have two other OpenPGP smart cards, and have used one of them via a USB-C adapter in my PinePhone Pro, but having one built right into the Librem 5 is a nice touch. For most people this is probably irrelevant, but I do enjoy being able to safely and securely handle authentication, signing, and encryption tasks right from a device that is slightly easier to carry than a laptop. The Librem 5 is heavy.

As time marches on, I intend to develop some applications I can use across my fleet of Linux computers that allow me to easily do repetitive tasks. These will likely be Rust/GTK4. Maybe they will even be configurable enough to have general utility for anyone who feels like using them. Time will tell.