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    Hats off to those people brave enough to daily drive these Linux/FOSS mobile devices but such a buggy experience really sounds like an uphill battle. I can see why the author swapped back.

    It’s a shame because I’d love to see these projects succeed.

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      So would I! I think this is only a temporary hiatus - I’m genuinely hoping the Pro will be a sufficiently good experience that it’ll be an acceptable daily driver.

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        I’m about to try the same on my Librem 5 I finally received after years. My guess is the experience will be slow and lacking.

        Mostly because these devices were conceived almost 5+ years ago, and modern tech has substantially aped what was an affordable developer hardware device back then.

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          My guess is the experience will be slow and lacking. Mostly because these devices were conceived almost 5+ years ago,

          I was an early Windows Phone adopter (i shipped one of the first Windows Phone apps when working at Seesmic). I remember people thinking WP will suck because the hardware was clearly inferior to Android. Then it was launched and the overall experience was amazing even on lower spec devices.

          The experience on these Linux phone will suck because they try to shrink a desktop environment (KDE in this scenario) to work on a phone. I love KDE on a high power desktop but , to me, this is clearly the wrong approach to take when building a phone OS.

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            I love KDE on a high power desktop but , to me, this is clearly the wrong approach to take when building a phone OS.

            I disagree. There’s a lot to love about having a fully featured desktop OS on your phone :) I think the issue with the PinePhone was that it was underpowered; I’m hoping the PinePhone Pro will fix that.

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              Does KDE really need so much? I first ran KDE (beta 4) on a 233 MHz Pentium MMX with 32 MiB of RAM. My phone has 8 2.something GHz cores and 8 GiB of RAM. Even if KDE needed 10 times the resources that it needed back then, it would use a fraction of what my device can provide.

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                Hildon was GNOME shrunk to work on a phone, and it was awesome.

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            I recently picked up a PinePhone plus keyboard case because I’m planning to do some field network gear installs and troubleshooting and am drawn to the idea of a tiny Linux box with keyboard and wireless I can just bring anywhere.

            …and about an hour after unboxing, I remembered why I’ve ended up shelving all of the Pine64 hardware I’ve bought.

            The keyboard case is totally usable, and the extra battery capacity is welcome, but you can’t use the USB-C port on the phone while the keyboard is connected.

            No serial connection, no USB gadget mode for tethering, and a big scary warning about destroying both phone and case if you even try to connect to connect anything while docked. Fixing it apparently requires changing the actual power/charger wiring, and TBH if I’m gonna do that I’m just gonna build something up with one of the several dozen other SBCs I have lying around.

            It’s so close, and yet given the state of Bluetooth on Linux it renders the device useless for my original purpose. Choice of distro only goes so far when hardware is crippled out of the box this way.

            Pine64 folks, if you lurk here: I have bought nearly every product you’ve released in the last 2-3 years and they all have some critical flaw that relegates them to a spare gadget bin within six months of purchase. I’m done until y’all have addressed some of these basic issues with power, flash/bootloader support, peripheral firmware, etc. I love what you’re doing in theory, but in actuality it costs me too much time to try to work with your hardware as anything other than a quick, disposable tinkering platform.

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              can’t use the USB-C port on the phone while the keyboard is connected.

              Yeah that was not a pleasant discovery for me. RTFM and all, but I only realised this was the situation when the keyboard arrived. I’d probably have continued using it - the extra battery life is very welcome - but for the charging reliability and non-functional keys issue.

              Pine64 folks, if you lurk here: I have bought nearly every product you’ve released in the last 2-3 years and they all have some critical flaw that relegates them to a spare gadget bin within six months of purchase

              I’m at 50/50 :) The PinePhone is back to the gadget bin for now; but my PineTime watch has performed flawlessly and I wear it almost every day.

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              I did the same a few months ago. After years of struggling with SailfishOS, Librem and Pinephone, I had enough when I missed yet another important call.

              Then I bought a Pixel 6 and was amazed at the experience of a phone where everything just works. But after a while I got irritated again because the amount of (privacy invading) crap you get forced to carry around and can’t remove. So I switched to GrapheneOS. I think I have finally have both easy of use and freedom on my phone now.

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                What is the GrapheneOS experience actually like, compared to vanilla Android? I also have a Pixel 6, and I’m very aware of the privacy concerns all around, because convenience. So I am wondering, how much of the convenience is lost? Do maps, gmail + a couple other inboxes, firefox with ublock and very few apps work?

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                  So far it has been a pretty smooth experience. I took the lazy route and installed the Google Play store. It works as an unprivileged app and that gives some annoyance, but that it more because Play store is annoying. Like every couple of days it tries to install some Google AR framework and that fails. Installing banking apps and the like all goes fine. I also installed the Google camera app, it give much better results than the standard app. But it also expects the other Google apps to be present, like the gallery, so tapping that button gives an error.

                  The only serious problem I encountered was that WebAuthn in Firefox does not work and I can’t use my Yubi key for 2FA on websites. It does work outside the browser, the NFC chip functions as it should. But from what I understand WebAuthn requires Google Play services or something along those lines and this is not likely to get resolved soon.

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                    how much of the convenience is lost? Do maps, gmail + a couple other inboxes, firefox with ublock and very few apps work?

                    I’m using Maps and Firefox + uBO and it works fine on GrapheneOS. Play Store and Play Services work as typical user apps rather than privileged apps so you can install all the apps from Play Store that you may have on your Android. I haven’t come across any apps that don’t work yet except a bank app I didn’t really use before and won’t use now. However, any app that relies on hardware based SafetyNet attestation will probably not work on GrapheneOS. I’m not sure if there’s a method to verify if any of the apps you’re using right now rely on this attestation method.

                    One of the things I really miss from my Pixel stock ROM is Digital Wellbeing. It doesn’t work on GrapheneOS even if you install it from Play Store. I can no longer set timers for my apps and turn the screen grayscale at a specified time. This has been the only major issue I’ve experienced on GrapheneOS so far. Even though this app has been made by Google, ironically, it worked well to make me detach myself from my smartphone screen and keep me focused while I was working. I haven’t found a suitable alternative yet.

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                      I run GrapheneOS in order to have a private, secure, open source and fully degoogled phone. So I don’t install Play Store or Play Services or Aurora, and the few apps I install are from F-Droid. Everything on my phone is open source except firmware binary blobs. Here’s my experience:

                      • For web browsing, I prefer Bromite over Firefox. This is a degoogled chromium with ad blocking. The user experience seems nicer than Firefox (but no extensions). The ad blocking seems better than Vanadium.
                      • For maps and GPS navigation, I use Organic Maps. Nice UI, and it’s private: it uses locally cached map data, and only downloads area maps when you give explicit permission. So it doesn’t track you. The OSM maps are generally much better than Google or Apple maps, especially for: parking lots, walking trails, bike trails. You see accurate outlines of each building. But search is much worse, especially for finding businesses. So I will use google maps in a web browser sometimes.
                      • The open source camera app is almost as good as Google’s closed source app, and should reach parity soon. I have no problem with it.
                      • I don’t install any app that just shows you data pulled from a web site. These apps are usually spyware and adware. I’ll use a web browser instead, which blocks ads and gives me better privacy.
                      • For apps that operate on local data, I’ve found what I need on the F-Droid app store.

                      My experience is less about the limitations of Graphene and more about only using software that respects my privacy. Graphene is fully degoogled in the default install, as well as being highly secure and robust, so it makes a good starting point.

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                        The open source camera app is almost as good as Google’s closed source app, and should reach parity soon. I have no problem with it.

                        I use OpenCamera, which has a bunch of nice settings, but it’s worth noting that this is quite phone-specific. I have a OnePlus 9 Pro and nothing except their official camera app can talk to the 48 MP camera, so you lose a bunch of features (allegedly there’s a build of the Google Camera that can, but I couldn’t get it to work).

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                          That’s true. But I was talking about the Graphene Camera app, which is a separate project.

                          https://github.com/GrapheneOS/Camera

                          Graphene only supports recent Pixel phones. The upside of this is that Graphene has very good hardware support. You don’t have to hack it to make it run well on your specific hardware.

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                          That OSM experience is exactly like mine. I find some things a lot more detailed, but the search is just not as useful. When possible, after doing the Google Map search and arriving at the destination, I’ll upload the data to OSM and tag even more useful stuff, but usually this means I’ve mostly added coffee shops and restaurants.

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                          FWIW, I’ve always found the experience with OSMAnd (available via F-Droid) significantly better than Google Maps. For example, OpenStreetMap has accurate cycle route data here, Google doesn’t. My favourite example of this was walking around the block containing the Google Maps HQ a few years back and discovering that the local restaurants were all correctly labelled on OSM but not on GM. It has done offline maps and offline routing for years, which is less of a priority for me now than it was (when a 40 MiB/month allowance was considered generous) but still useful when I’m somewhere where roaming is expensive.

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                            I recommend that you try Organic Maps from f-droid. I think the UI is much nicer than Osmand, and it’s the same OSM map data.

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                              Thanks. It looks pretty nice but I can’t figure out how to import my favourites. OSMAnd can export this as a gpx file, but Organic Maps’ import thing opens that file in OSMAnd whenever I try.

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                                Not implemented yet. There’s a github issue, contains a workaround someone used. https://github.com/organicmaps/organicmaps/issues/624

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                              When in Bangkok, OSM suggested me to walk through a mall which saved me a 10 minute walk around the building as suggested by Google.

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                            That’s where my ‘line’ is. Happy to run Graphene (or now Lineage b/c my new phone doesn’t support Graphene), and I use Aurora for the 2 apps that aren’t on F-Droid. It’s more hassle than most are wiling to deal with and it works really well for me.

                            I already hate my phone, I really don’t want something to make me hate it even more.

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                              How is Aurora working for you? I found that it kept failing to download when I tried it a couple of years ago.

                              I don’t really mind using the Play Store, my problem is the Play Services, which run with elevated privilege, integrated with a load of apps, streaming data to Google. Unfortunately, most of the apps that you can install via Aurora also require Play Services. Are you using one of the alternative implementations?

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                                I don’t use it much, like I said it was to download two apps. I maybe open it every few months to check for updates. Can’t say I’ve had any issues, but also I haven’t used it much at all.

                                And no I’m just using the NHS App and Too Good to Go, neither of which want google play services.

                                I do use microg for location services, it lets you use custom backends for location which is cool (and works).

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                                  I’ve had no problems installing apps using Aurora. I’m using CalyxOS and the included microg.

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                                Same position. My phone doesn’t support Graphene, so I’m running LineageOS for MicroG. There are a scant handful of things that don’t work (mainly in-app purchases in apps installed from Aurora Store), and I make things a little harder for myself by not running any Google apps, even when they would run under MicroG. But by and large not a different day-to-day experience from stock Android on the same device.

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                                He used Manjaro. Every issue stems from that.

                                Pine64 is of course to blame for pushing that, over all the other (typically better) options available.

                                Context: https://drewdevault.com/2022/01/18/Pine64s-weird-priorities

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                                  I switched to Manjaro after a while on Mobian. Much more stuff worked “out of the box” with Manjaro, including Signal, which I wasn’t able to get working properly on Mobian. It was a pity because I preferred Mobian.

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                                    As an aside, Genode is expected to be an option by the end of next month.

                                    (and way cooler than anything Linux)

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                                      That would be super cool! Do you have more info?

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                                        https://genodians.org/ has a bunch of articles about the work in progress.

                                        Recent Genode releases’ release notes also show progress with these devices.

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                                  I’ve been carrying my PinePhone as a second phone. I’ve been using postmarketOS and switching SD cards with Phosh(GUI interface) and SXMO(CLI interface). It’s not stable enough currently to be my only phone but it’s improving with each release, and I need to step up and file issues as I find them.

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                                    The automatic white balance on the Pixel line is absolutely incredible, and that image pair really highlights it.

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                                      I don’t want to be pedantic but it’s kinda funny that this blog post on gemini consumes more than 7MB of bandwidth, mostly because of the uncompressed images. I was able to compress 6.9MB images to almost 3MB using MozJPEG. I think you can reduce the size even further by using somewhat lower resolution images of Fyfe.

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                                        Oooh interesting. Thanks for the tip. I might build some automagical compression into my build step (currently using Kiln).

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                                          This depends on your client. The one I use (Amfora) doesn’t load images by default.

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                                          I’m getting ready to go the opposite direction - albeit not with the interesting-but-erratic stack on the PinePhone. Ubuntu Touch on the Pixel 3a is supposedly almost entirely usable now, with the exception of the usual US VoLTE gremlins, and Android continues to fail to spark joy.

                                          I miss my N900.

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                                            US VoLTE gremlins

                                            Voice over LTE I’m guessing? I’m in Australia, and have experienced no problems whatsoever with voice calling here (Vodafone via TPG).

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                                              VoLTE is rapidly becoming a problem for Linux phones in the US - it’s provisioned in a modem-specific and carrier-specific way and is quickly becoming mandatory due to phase-out of older networks. Outside the US, the situation is decidedly less grim.

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                                              Ubuntu Touch on the Pixel 3a is supposedly almost entirely usable now

                                              Now that’s interesting. Maybe I should look at that instead of a PinePhone Pro …

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                                                Bear witness.

                                                https://devices.ubuntu-touch.io/device/sargo/

                                                Now, it has its caveats - it’s still a 32b userspace (afaik) and still based on Ubuntu 16.04 packages - but it does apparently work well.