One week Librem 5 field trial – day 5 to 29

It has been a while since I wrote a Librem 5 field trial update. I made notes since my last update, but for now I will not use them. I will just write some further experiences here in this blog. Maybe, I will go through my notes later for other posts.

So, yes, I still use the Librem 5 as my primary phone – at least if you would determine what the primary phone is by where the SIM card of my phone number and data bundle resides. That SIM card has been in the Librem 5 except for one day when there was a sort of emergency, and I wanted to be sure to be reachable. Maybe that says a lot.

But, for the rest of the days the Librem 5 has been my primary phone. Unfortunately, I nearly always have to carry my secondary phone now with me as well :-/ Especially for navigation. I cannot get a reliable GPS fix on the Librem 5. I wrote earlier about this on the Purism forum, here. Therefore, I usually carry my Android phone with me for navigation using OsmAnd. Sharing my data connection via WiFi works very well, so I can use internet on my secondary phone if needed by sharing the data from the Librem 5.

Here some good news: the issue with the call quality has been resolved. I followed these instructions, and since then no-one complained about the sound quality any more. I’m not sure if I screwed up the settings earlier myself, but if not I would recommend Purism to make these settings the default.

Only a few times people complained that they could not hear me. Especially in the beginning. It took me a while to discover that in these cases I had the mic/camera kill-switch on :-) But now I know what to do when people do not hear me… and it is nice that switching off the kill-switch in an ongoing call does not disconnect or anything, but just makes the microphone work directly.

Another thing that I discovered: every time that I use the kill-switch to switch off and later on again my GSM / data connection, there appears an exclamation mark in the Mobile icon. To get rid of this, I have to go to GNOME Settings > Mobile, and disable and enable Data Roaming. This is probably related to the fact that my network provider is not completely in the mobile-broadband-provider-info configuration file. I created an issue for that here.

On my Android phone, I like to run Tower Collector to collect cell towers locations from where I go. It is a pity that there is not such a kind of application for the Librem 5, as far as I know. And if there was one, it would be useless for me because of the GPS problems :-(

I tried a few times to enable the currently still experimental suspend on the Librem 5, but disabled that again because it is still too buggy. Maybe this is also related to the fact that I use the docking station. I will experiment more later.

I always went for small size phones, which I actually still would prefer. But I have to say that the Librem 5 feels quite good, and the size is no problem for me. Also the Librem 5 has a good grip and is not slippery at all. I like that.

The battery life of the Librem 5 is still too short to be able to use the phone without caution. I often use the kill-switches to minimize battery consumption, and I usually close all running applications, including Signal, my primary chat application. I do have an extra Librem 5 battery, but I did not use that yet. Maybe I will start taking this battery with me. If so, I will write my experience here later.

I also noted that charging the battery is not very reliable. A few times the Librem 5 was the whole night on an 1A USB power supply, which only resulted in a partial charge.

A short conclusion, to make this blog post not too long: The Librem 5 is close to usable for me as the primary phone. However, I have to take some measures as carrying my now secondary phone with me.

I am a big supporter of the Purism Librem 5, so I accept these inconveniences, and I am willing to encounter and report bugs for software freedom and personal sovereignty.

Unfortunately, I would not dare to recommend the Librem 5 to a non Linux and tech savvy person yet. But I have confidence that the Librem 5 will get better and better. And this conviction is supported by the regular updates the phone receives and the small steps forward that come with these. To be continued.

One week Librem 5 field trial – day 4

I copied the screenshots and photos from the Librem 5 over with the Files application where I can access my Nextcloud files. I have set up the Nextcloud account in GNOME Online Accounts.

I am missing the view option in the Files application to see the files as a list instead of tiles. I do see this option on my Fedora computer. Especially on a small screen I would prefer to see the files in a list. Maybe I can change the view if I open the Files application of the external monitor or in a 100% scaling of the Librem 5 screen, but I did not try that (yet). Update: I discovered that this option is also available in the small screen version of GNOME Files, but at the lower right instead of the top right of the window.

I like listening to talk radio and podcasts. These are two related applications on the Librem 5 that I like a lot:

Read the report of day 3 here.

One week Librem 5 field trial – day 3

I took the Librem 5 to work. I definitely had to take a USB cable with me to make sure to not end up with an empty phone.

At work I tried to connect to enterprise WiFi. I could not reach all the settings that I to fill in. I could work around this by setting the default display scaling from 200% to 100%. In that screen resolution I could fill in all the WiFi details and save them. For me the screen is very hard to read though when on 100% scaling. After setting up the WiFi I set the scaling back to 200%.

At work we have flex work places with Fujitsu PR09 USB C hubs with two screens and a keyboard connected. I connected the Librem 5 to the USB C hub, but the screens were not detected.

I took photos with the Librem 5 of the label on the USB hub. I noticed that saving a photo takes approximately 15 seconds. That is quite long.

Photo of the not working USB Port Replicator label shot by Librem 5

When receiving the 2FA phone calls I noticed that the volume of a call (when not at ear, I did not test at ear yet) is audible. In one way I like this, but at work this is slightly disturbing for the colleagues.

Read the report of day 2 here.

Read the report of day 4 here.

One week Librem 5 field trial – day 2

This morning I woke up from the alarm on the Librem 5.

Here just a short summary of some Librem 5 experiences today:

  • The Microsoft call that I have to answer to set up the VPN on my laptop to work worked fine. I have to press the # key to confirm the VPN can be set up.
  • There was a hang after switching the external display to use the Librem 5 input. I could still ssh into the Librem 5, but after logging in no keys were accepted any more. I had to do a very long press of the power button to restart the Librem 5.
  • I received software updates. I like it to receive regular software updates. Usually I use the PureOS Store instead of apt. The PureOS Store application has a few shortcomings, but I did not take screenshots. They are: double back arrows, often no change descriptions for the updates, two rows per update in the update review screen.
  • I placed today two calls. The first one went fine. In the second call the person at the other end asked me to call back because the sound quality was so bad. I called back and enabled the speaker. I had the impression that the person could not hear me anymore at all and he hang up :-/
  • Yesterday I wrote that I had all contacts from Nextcloud in the Contact application, I’m nearly sure I had see this a while ago, but I did not check yesterday. Today I discovered that there are no contacts at all in the Contact application. The Contact application does not even show the Nextcloud Address Book. I noticed that the version of GNOME Contacts on the Librem 5 is quite old: 3.38.1. On my Fedora systems I have version 41.0.
  • The mouse did sometimes not work any more. After removing the wireless receiver and plugging it back in into the docking station the mouse started working again.
  • I had to accept a certificate when opening the Calendar application, but I could not reach the Accept Permanently button. I had to connect the Librem 5 to the external monitor to be able to accept the certificate.
  • When I changed the settings of the display of the external monitor I saw shortly a window on the external monitor but then the Librem 5 shut down. I saw shortly the boot screen, but the Librem 5 did not boot further. I had to press the power button to make the Librem 5 boot.
  • It would be nice if the Librem 5 could report crashes, like Fedora does with ABRT Crash Reporter.
  • I met today another Librem 5 owner. We made each a photo:
Photo shot by an other Librem 5
Photo shot with my Librem 5
  • Sending the photo by Signal seems possible, but to do it you have to restart Signal after selecting the photo to send. This is because of this bug.
  • We both tried to get a position fix on our Librem 5’s, but neither one of the Librem 5’s got a fix. We were outside. But I already new that getting a 3D position fix on my Librem 5 is very difficult. See here my previous test results.
  • One time today, the Librem 5 did not charge when the USB power supply was plugged in. This is a know bug that is reported here.
  • I would like to be able to hold the volume button to increase or decrease the volume multiple steps, but only repeatedly pressing the volume button works.
  • The notification volume, even when the Librem 5 volume is on maximum volume is relative low. But maybe I can change this somewhere in the Settings. I did not look for that yet.

Read the report of day 1 here.

Read the report of day 3 here.

One week Librem 5 field trial – day 1

In this article I will describe my experiences with using the Librem 5 Linux phone. I will use the Librem 5 for (at least) one week as my primary phone. The Librem 5 is a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) GNU/Linux phone that is produced by Purism.

Today, 2022-05-01, I took out the SIM card of my Android phone and inserted it into the Librem 5. I had the Librem 5 already have for quite a while, but did not use yet as my primary phone.

One of the main requirements for me to use the Librem 5 as my primary phone is the possibility to use Signal. I already installed Signal Desktop a while ago as a flatpak on the Librem 5, and I will see in the coming week if it works well enough.

The first thing I noticed, after inserting the SIM card is that there is a little exclamation mark next to the mobile phone signal indicator. I’ve no idea yet why it is there.

I wanted to take a screenshot of it for this blog with the default GNOME screenshot app. It worked, but I had to use the Librem 5 in landscape mode to be able to press the Save button.

But here is the screenshot (copied over with scp from the Librem 5 to the Fedora 35 computer on which I am writing this blog) :

Exclamation mark next to 4G signal strength

Personally, I’m not a fan of enabling automatic screen rotation, so I locked the screen rotation to portrait mode again.

Let me now see if I can figure out why the exclamation mark is there…

Update 1:

Maybe, the issue of the exclamation mark is that Mobile Data is not enabled:

Mobile Data not enabled

When I try to switch on the Mobile Data slider, I get this screen:

Unexpected access points

These Access Points are unexpected for me. Ben is a service provider in the Netherlands, but I use Simpel. I added the access point that I according to my provider should use:

Manually added Access Point

After doing this, the exclamation mark disappeared, and the Mobile Data slider is on. I will test soon if mobile data really works.

Edit: See for more information this bug report.

While typing an update on this blog, my nice pet rat Juno came to me to ask for a snack. I took this photo of Juno with the Librem 5:

Photo of rat Juno, shot on Librem 5

Update 2:

I tested the Mobile Data via 4G by disabling the WiFi. It worked, and I could send a few Signal messages.

Usually, at home, I have my Librem 5 in a Digitus DA-70882 docking station. The Librem 5 does not fit perfectly, but it works. Apparently the Baseus B07T1M2KKV is the same thing, but with some spacers in the box. See this tweet for a photo of my setup. Via the docking station I can use a Logitech MX Anywhere 3 mouse and a Logitech K400r keyboard. Normally I will use mouse and keyboard, because I prefer these over using the touchscreen and on screen keyboard.

I have also an external monitor connected, via HDMI, but I am not using that often, because the Librem 5 does not remember the display settings after being disconnected, and I am too lazy to set the displays settings every time again, so basically, I use mainly the screen of the Librem 5 itself.

Another important setting that I did in the past is enabling zram. The issue I created has been resolved two weeks ago, but I’m not sure if this change is already in the repositories.

A small inconvenience that I currently run into is that I cannot use ssh-copy-id. I get this error when trying to use it: /usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: ERROR: No identities found. I did not investigate how to fix this. Actually, I also do not like the fact that the default user on the Librem 5 is purism. I would prefer to set my own user name, and not have the purism user at all.

As a side note: You can find a lot of information for using the Librem 5 in the Librem 5 Tips & Tricks section and the Librem 5 FAQ on the Librem 5 wiki. Also the Purism forums provide a lot of information.

Some other information about my current setup: I have a personal Nextcloud server. I use GNOME Online Accounts to connect to it. You can find the GNOME Online Accounts in Settings > Online Accounts. Using GNOME Online Accounts with Nextcloud means that I automatically got all my contacts and calendars on my phone. I use Firefox as a browser on the phone. Note to self: install the firefox-esr-mobile-config. I am not using email on the Librem 5 (yet).

Update 3:

I have a normal Librem 5, so no Librem 5 USA that I pre-ordered on 2017-10-06, and received on 2021-10-04.

Update 4:

Someone on Twitter asked me if I could test the DigiD app and my banking app. DigiD is the Dutch system to log in into government web sites. I never used an app for this, so I will not test that. I’m banking at the sustainable ASN Bank. On Android I use an app for banking. However, they also provide the option to register browsers with what they call a browsercode. I registered Firefox on the Librem 5 with a browsercode. I received a verification SMS correctly on the Librem 5, and Firefox is now registered with my bank. Fortunately, the online banking website of the ASN Bank is completely adaptive, so I can see the overview of my bank accounts and the details of the bank statements very well. I did not try to do a transfer yet, but I will to that later. So it looks that online banking from the Librem 5 works well in the browser.

I will update this blog post with more info and tomorrow I will create a new blog post for day two of this test.

Read the report of day 2 here.

“Verdienen” of “recht hebben”

Ik lees of hoor vaak dat het woord “verdienen” wordt gebruikt in plaats van “recht hebben op”. Bijvoorbeeld “dieren verdienen een goed leven” of “kinderen verdienen goed onderwijs”.

Als het werkwoord “verdienen” wordt gebruikt roept dat bij mij de gedachte op dat er door het betreffende onderwerp eerst iets gedaan moet worden, waarna als tegenprestatie hen iets toekomt.

Maar er zijn een veel dingen die wat mij betreft helemaal niet verdiend hoeven te worden, maar waar iets of iemand recht op heeft. Dus “dieren hebben recht op een goed leven” en “kinderen hebben recht op goed onderwijs”.

Let maar eens op hoe vaak men eigenlijk van “recht hebben” zou moeten spreken in plaats van “verdienen”.

Brieven aan verkenners

Dit zijn de brieven van politieke partijen aan de verkenners Jorritsma en Ollongren voor de formatie van een kabinet na de verkiezingen van 17 maart 2021. Ik kon niet van alle partijen de brief vinden. Laat me weten als je een brief hebt gevonden die in het onderstaande overzicht nog mist.

Brieven van partijen die niet hebben deelgenomen aan de Tweede Kamerverkiezingen in 2021:

De eerste ronde van de verkenning is inmiddels opgevolgd door de verkenners van ronde twee.

Uitleg basisinkomen

Deze pagina bevat vooral linkjes die ik nuttig vond om meer van het concept basisinkomen te leren.

Documentaire

Ons basisinkomen volgens Rutger Bregman
Documentaire van 45 minuten. Goede uitleg, ook vanuit liberaal perspectief. Het basisinkomen wordt hier ook burgerschapsdividend genoemd. Een basisinkomen is niet links of rechts.

Onvoorwaardelijkheid

De vier criteria voor onvoorwaardelijk basisinkomen
Als ik hier over een basisinkomen spreek, heb in het over een onvoorwaardelijk basisinkomen. Onvoorwaardelijkheid is wat mij betreft essentieel voor een goed basisinkomen.

Betaalbaarheid

Filmpje, ook over betaalbaarheid
Korte animatie van 1:57 minuten waar ook op de betaalbaarheid wordt ingegaan en een negatieve inkomstenbelasting wordt uitgelegd.

Weerstand

Korte interviews
Enkele korte interviews met wat oudere mensen over hoe zij over het basisinkomen denken.

College

De meeste mensen deugen
Het idee om een basisinkomen in te voeren roept bij sommigen weerstand op. In dit college wordt deze weerstand onderzocht en besproken.

Achtergrondinformatie

Vereniging Basisinkomen
Zeer uitgebreide website over alle facetten van het basisinkomen. Hier kun je antwoorden op vrijwel elke vraag over het basisinkomen vinden.

Rapport Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau
Een uitgebreid rapport waarin drie mogelijke manieren van het realiseren van een basisinkomen worden vergeleken en doorgerekend.

Basisinkomen: nu meer voor- dan tegenstanders
Rapport van i&o research waaruit blijkt dat er in Nederland meer voorstanders dan tegenstanders van een basisinkomen zijn.

Krantenartikel

Artikel in AD
Duidelijke uitleg over een basisinkomen van €600 per persoon plus €600 per huishouden met aandacht voor betaalbaarheid.

Petitie

Europees burgerinitiatief
Officieel Europees Burgerinitiatief voor onvoorwaardelijke basisinkomens in de hele EU.

Boek

Utopia for realists
Dit boek was mijn eerste kennismaking met het basisinkomen. Een zeer leesbaar boek.

Verrassend perspectief

An engineering argument for basic income
Vanuit het perspectief van een ingenieur wordt beschreven hoe fail safe systemen werken. En hoe het basisinkomen zo’n systeem is.

Politiek

Partij voor de Dieren
Waarom de Partij voor de Dieren wil dat er een onderzoek komt naar de mogelijkheden voor het (gefaseerd) invoeren van een basisinkomen voor iedere Nederlandse burger.

Uitfasering Kaspersky bij de Rijksoverheid

Minister Grapperhaus informeerde de Kamer middels deze brief over de uitfasering van de antivirussoftware van Kaspersky Lab.

In de brief wordt, kort samengevat, het volgende betoogd:

  1. Er zijn zorgen ten aanzien van nationale veiligheidsrisico’s.
  2. Het kabinet wil deze risico’s voorkomen.
  3. Antivirussoftware heeft diepgaande toegang tot ICT systemen.
  4. Russische wetgeving vereist dat bedrijven zoals Kaspersky de Russische inlichtingendiensten ondersteunen.
  5. De Russische Federatie heeft een actief offensief
    cyberprogramma dat onder meer is gericht op Nederland en Nederlandse belangen.

Tot op zekere hoogte kan ik instemmen met de genoemde argumenten. Maar het verbaast me (of misschien eigenlijk ook wel niet) dat op basis van deze argumenten alleen de Russische Kaspersky software wordt verbannen. Naast Rusland zijn er ook andere landen die actief zijn in Nederland. Daarnaast hebben besturingssystemen als Windows ook diepgaande toegang tot ICT systemen.

Het is verstandig dat de Nederlandse overheid veiligheidsrisico’s zoveel mogelijk wil beperken. Maar eigenlijk is er maar één manier om te weten wat software precies doet: het inspecteren van de source code.

Mij lijkt het dan ook dat het een veel betere maatregel zou zijn als de overheid alle proprietary, closed source software zou uitfaseren door deze te vervangen door vrije- opensourcesoftware (Engels: Free and Open Source Software, FOSS).

Vrije software biedt de gebruiker vier fundamentele vrijheden:

  1. Vrijheid om de software te gebruiken voor elk doel;
  2. Vrijheid om de software te bestuderen en te veranderen, daarom is de broncode van vrije software vrij beschikbaar;
  3. Vrijheid om de software aan iemand anders te geven zodat je iemand kunt helpen;
  4. Vrijheid om de software te veranderen en deze veranderde software te distribueren, zodat iedereen hiervan profiteert.

De vrijheid om de broncode van de software te bestuderen is hier essentieel. Juist deze vrijheid maakt het mogelijk om zich er van te vergewissen dat de software geen ongewenste dingen doet.

Bovendien biedt het gebruik van FOSS de Nederlandse burger en overheid veel andere voordelen.

Ik adviseer de Nederlandse overheid om gebruik te maken van vrije- opensourcesoftware om de in de brief genoemde risico’s te minimaliseren, en niet slechts een enkel pakket van een specifieke leverancier uit te faseren.

Update: Ik werd er door iemand op Twitter op gewezen dat Kaspersky heeft aangeboden de source code te laten inspecteren door de Amerikaanse overheid. De code laten inspecteren is natuurlijk heel iets anders als de code onder een vrije licentie beschikbaar maken, maar het is wel een tegemoetkoming aan de vraag naar transparantie. Het zou helemaal mooi en krachtig zijn als Kaspersky zijn virusscanner als vrije software beschikbaar zou maken. Dat zou alle kritiek  moeten doen verstommen.