PinePhone with keyboard


hitbyambulance

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i'm well in the market for a new phone as my iPhone 5S will be completely obsolete in the US as of this time next year. i was going to go with an iPhone SE 2 but this is much more interesting to me. does anyone here have opinions on the PinePhone itself and the various OSes they've tried?
 
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ClockworkCoder

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Some slightly depressing comments from a PinePhone developer (MegaPixels) "Do you really want Linux phones?" - hopefully the words inspire more people to take more positive steps to help develop and promote Linux phones (and hand-held Linux devices generally) in more positive and productive ways:
 

pmprog

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I got a Mobian CE PinePhone... I'll be honest, I have very mixed feelings about it. I wanted to write up all my experience about it, but it's certainly not straight forward, and needs work to articulate properly
I can understand his feelings about few developers getting involved, but from what I've delved in, it's pretty complex, and trying to find who to report what bug too is pretty crazy
 

ClockworkCoder

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Yeah, I'd like to get involved at some point in developing for it, but I'd also need a dummies guide to get started quickly with it. On one hand, it should be improved as the hardware for the Pinephone is pretty fixed, but on the other hand every (Linux) developer (and user) likes to do things in their own way (and in different languages, so a one-size-fits-all package for Pinephone development may not be so easy.

I do agree with his comments on android apps; it needs good native apps and not inferior emulated versions of apps from other phones.
 

pmprog

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I do agree with his comments on android apps
Now you see, I get his point, but there's also a counter point, and this is why I was saying if I do do a write-up, it'll need thinking about hard.

WhatsApp is something even I've thought about. Now I wouldn't ask about it, because I know it's only going to be ported by WhatsApp or if Anbox became amazing overnight :)
However, from a "consumer aspect", it's what all my friends and family use... So I understand why people ask for it.
The response from the "Linux Phone" community is usually "Use Telegram/Signal/Some other app nobody else has ever heard of"... which I understand. They can only offer what's available.
So you're back to the "consumer" who's left between trying to convince everyone to install and register on another service (which is a tough sell), and trying to encourage the uptake of a more open and flexible device.

It's a hard spot for everyone to be in.

In a similar fashion, the bit where he's saying "People even want to use Flutter to make UIs, was the phone lacking in google technologies for your liking?" I think misses the point. I imagine developers writing mobile apps want to try and support as many platforms as possible without having to rewrite everything over and over. That's why I tried moving from Allegro 5 to Raylib, because Raylib compiled more places... Arguably though I should just move to SDL2, as that really does seem ubiquitous. From a privacy point of view, which is what I think most people dislike about Google, a GUI library shouldn't be a big deal (unless it phones home I guess?).

Now a little bit onto the phone, as the blog post describes there's dozens of operating systems, all in various states of flux. I tried a few:

# Sailfish OS - Only played with it for about 20 minutes, it was pretty hard to use. It required you to swipe right from the very edges of the screen
# LunaOS - Didn't try this for very long either. Can't remember any details other than it didn't really sell me
# Manjaro w/ KDE Plasma Mobile - This is the new current flagship install, works pretty good. Plasma is pretty nice
# UBPorts Ubuntu Touch - I was absolutely impressed with the UI (Lomiri, I think it's called), but unfortunately the current OS is missing quite a few pieces that really need sorting out. Although I'm not sure which list is accurate in terms of what works and what doesn't
- https://devices.ubuntu-touch.io/device/pinephone/
- https://gitlab.com/ubports/community-ports/pinephone
# Mobian w/ Phosh - Debian based (which is what I'm comfortable with), but the Librem Phone Shell... which is... urmm... okay. It's a little confusing. You swipe to unlock, but you only tap for the notification bar.

I'm still running Mobian, though I'm not really using it as a phone at the minute (due to things like WhatsApp, Discord etc.).

Battery doesn't last very long, which if you read (https://wiki.mobian-project.org/doku.php?id=development:processmanagement) you'll see that, as with things being Linux, there's a handful of ways that people are looking to handle this. Trying to figure out what to do in your phone app development isn't straight forward.

Onto development: I've tried to port my game framework, which runs Raylib (with GLFW underneath)... Compiling this for Wayland was a nightmare, but I finally got it compiled.
Next came the screen scaling and rotation, there's a blog post about how you can identify each app separately for scaling, but this feels like a bit of pain; so I found code for "wl-randr" and merged parts of the code into my framework. The downside to this is if my game/app crashes, the scale/rotation won't be restored (could be fixed by using a launch script I guess)
So then I finally got correct screen scale and rotation... but despite the 3D models loading, it crashes Raylib. After removing the 3D models, it runs and displays okay... almost... One of the images doesn't display properly, the mouse positions need some random adjustments, and when I click the mouse button, it crashes inside GLFW with a "key press" error... I don't really know GLFW all that well, but not sure why a mouse click should crash a keyboard routine.

At that point last night, I gave up for the night.

One of the other issues I have is locating who to contact. I found a few issues, but is the problem Mobian, Phosh, Wayland, or PinePhone? Everyone seems to have different methods of communication, and Mobian has it's own Phosh repos... So if I want to contribute, where do I start???

I am still interested in doing some work on it... It'd be nice to get Lomiri on Mobian, or maybe just move to Ubuntu Touch. Lomiri runs on top of yet another display server (Mir) that is compatible with Wayland, which I've not really enjoyed trying to work with. That might be a little unfair on Wayland though, but the things I've tried to do haven't really "supported" Wayland to the same degree as X.

Wow, this ended up being fairly long winded so I spoiler tagged it, and still not everything I was going to ramble about. Sorry about that. Also, please don't misunderstand this post, I don't dislike the PinePhone. I would love to use it as a daily driver, but I'm just not sure it'd be feasible without some sort of convincing of all my friends and families, or Anbox (or something akin) giving some impressive support (In all fairness, I haven't installed or tried Anbox, just going on reports I have previously read, but they could be dated too.)
 

ClockworkCoder

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I've got a few friends moved to Signal. It's really, in my experience, not that hard to argue against WhatsApp, especially given the negative press it's had - both major security and privacy concerns... but I guess that depends on your friends.

I can tell from just the amount of words that you're a supporter of the PinePhone, even given its current state, and I read with interest the notes on different distributions. I think it's both a strength and a weakness that you have so much choice in that respect. It's a bit bewildering to know what to use, and most of the time you're left thinking "I wonder if distribution x, with UI y would work better". I've stuck with Manjaro / Phosh from the start, and quite happy with it: right now phone, texts and browsing all work well, and there isn't much else I consider essential for a daily driver... only downside is it still crashes so I couldn't quite rely on it yet.

I don't find the battery life bad at all, although I only really use it for light use, I don't need to charge it for around a day and a half at a time.
 

levi

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WhatsApp is something even I've thought about. Now I wouldn't ask about it, because I know it's only going to be ported by WhatsApp or if Anbox became amazing overnight :)
However, from a "consumer aspect", it's what all my friends and family use... So I understand why people ask for it.
The response from the "Linux Phone" community is usually "Use Telegram/Signal/Some other app nobody else has ever heard of"... which I understand. They can only offer what's available.
So you're back to the "consumer" who's left between trying to convince everyone to install and register on another service (which is a tough sell), and trying to encourage the uptake of a more open and flexible device.
Yes, but the question is, if you're happy with google, why do you need a linux phone over the general android shovelware out there? The assumption therefore is that everyone who buys a linux phone doesn't trust google and it's ilk any further than you could throw them. By that measure a messenger from a company bought by facebook shouldn't be expected to by anything you want.

Maybe that's the wrong look at things though. Surely the fact the librem runs linux is not the only thing that sells it surely? Perhaps the fact it's made by a small team is a big selling point, or the fact you can run it with a minimal number of binary blobs at least when you're not using the messenger is a bigger selling point.
 

ClockworkCoder

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One of the bigger selling points of the PinePhone for me is that it has replacable parts (which can be ordered from their website), that it's not too expensive, and that it has good community support. The fact that it runs on Linux is nice, but more not more important than it being an open alternative to Android and iPhone walled gardens.
 

pmprog

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I don't find the battery life bad at all, although I only really use it for light use, I don't need to charge it for around a day and a half at a time
Again, I probably need to battle test the phone a bit more. Battery rate drops pretty fast, but then I suppose I am still playing with it during that time.


It's really, in my experience, not that hard to argue against WhatsApp, especially given the negative press it's had - both major security and privacy concerns... but I guess that depends on your friends.
The assumption therefore is that everyone who buys a linux phone doesn't trust google and it's ilk any further than you could throw them. By that measure a messenger from a company bought by facebook shouldn't be expected to by anything you want
Levi, don't know if that was intentional, but you're exactly quoting that middle line about "Use Telegram/Signal/etc."...
I don't trust Google, Facebook, etc.; and I certainly don't *want* to use WhatsApp... but a lot of people don't care about those issues. I was talking to one Canadian I was doing some work with, and he was reveling in handing over literally everything because "muh experience".
So your option is to stay on a system you don't like and continue to interact with your friends/family... or don't, and risk just cutting yourself off from most of the conversations.

Answer me this, how many chat/communication clients do you have connected and logged in? I've got WhatsApp, MS Teams (for work), Discord, and one machine has Matrix... I set the Matrix one up so I could try and interact with the Mobian community; it seems the UBTouch one uses Telegram... I mean, seriously? Do I want any more? No, not really; I don't even boot the Matrix one up most of the time.

So say you're an "Average Joe", you're not really tech savvy, you don't care about Google/Apple/Microsoft/Facebook, all your friends/family are on WhatsApp, then one of them says "I'm moving to Telegram, are you coming?". You think that most people would set that up to talk to one other person, honestly?
 

levi

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Answer me this, how many chat/communication clients do you have connected and logged in?
I have email, my phone giving my phone calls and texts, and during the week I have a plugin for weechat connecting my to slack to keep in touch with my old workmates, and IRC on the weekends. And here of course. For the most part, I don't trust anything made since about 2005.
 

pyrat

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For the most part, I don't trust anything made since about 2005.
For me it's since 2004. That's when Facebook started. And with that the trend to have computers that use people instead of people that use computers (that's really people using people through "their" computers instead of people using their computers). Companies (and governments) exploiting the egotism of people, and people increasingly unable to collaborate and learn or think critically. Exercise: make a list of big collaborative projects and see how many started before and after 2004.
 

pyrat

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And what is the Pyra ? The successor of the Pandora who was born when ? 2008 ? 2006 ? That's obviously within Two Months of what I was saying...
 
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