Purism Librem5 (purism-librem5)

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Purism Librem 5
Manufacturer Purism
Name Librem 5
Codename purism-librem5
Released 2019
Category main
Original software PureOS
Chipset NXP i.MX8MQ
CPU 4x 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU Vivante GC7000Lite
Display 1440x720
Storage 32 GB eMMC
Memory 3 GB
Architecture aarch64
Non-Android based device
Unixbench Whet/Dhry score 1381.7
USB Networking
3D Acceleration
Mobile data
Ambient Light
Hall Effect
Power Sensor
FOSS bootloader



From pre-built image (easy method)

Official images of postmarketOS for the Librem 5 are built at least every week. Currently the device is only supported on the edge branch of postmarketOS.

This method requires the uuu application is installed on the host computer. uuu is NXP's image deploy tool, and may be found in some distros in a package named mfgtools. Additionally, the following udev rules may be required for uuu to be able to find/access your phone in flash mode:

SUBSYSTEM!="usb", GOTO="librem5_devkit_rules_end"
ATTR{idVendor}=="1fc9", ATTR{idProduct}=="012b", GROUP+="plugdev", TAG+="uaccess"
ATTR{idVendor}=="0525", ATTR{idProduct}=="a4a5", GROUP+="plugdev", TAG+="uaccess"
ATTR{idVendor}=="0525", ATTR{idProduct}=="b4a4", GROUP+="plugdev", TAG+="uaccess"

The rules above assume your user is in the plugdev group, adjust accordingly. You may need to reboot for changes to take effect.

Download the right image

  • Choose an image for your device from the download page.
  • User interface
    • Phosh: Purism's GTK based phone interface (more)
    • Plasma Mobile: KDE's Plasma based phone interface (more)
    • Sxmo: Simple X Mobile interface, a tiling WM based interface (more)
    • (Note that more interfaces are available, build your own image with pmbootstrap if interested)
  • Pick the latest image by its date
  • Choose the regular image, or the installer image
    • Graphical Installer:
      • Ends in -installer.img.xz
      • Recommended for a proper installation.
      • Encrypting your installation is possible
      • Passwords for user and SSH are set during installation (and SSH can be disabled)
    • Regular image:
      • Ends in .img.xz
      • An installation of postmarketOS with defaults for passwords and no full disk encryption
      • The login is user with password 147147
      • Not recommended, unless looking for a quick way to try out postmarketOS

Download JumpDrive

Grab the latest purism-librem5.tar.xz image from the JumpDrive release page

Note JumpDrive 0.7 is the first version to support the Librem 5

Extract it, and you should see something similar:

$ tar xf purism-librem5.tar.xz
$ ls
boot-purism-librem5.sh  dtbs  initramfs-purism-librem5.gz  kernel-librem5.gz  purism-librem5.lst  purism-librem5.tar.xz  u-boot-librem5.bin

Run JumpDrive

Place the Librem 5 into #Flash Mode.

Use the helper script from the JumpDrive release to flash the Librem 5:

$ ./boot-purism-librem5.sh
uuu (Universal Update Utility) for nxp imx chips -- libuuu_1.4.72-0-g8e9e189

Success 1    Failure 0

3:2     10/10 [Done                                  ] FB: Done

Flash to EMMC

In order to flash the postmarketOS image to the Librem 5, locate the block device exposed to the host computer via JumpDrive:

$ lsblk -o name,size,model,vendor |grep JumpDriv
sdc        29.1G e_eMMC                    JumpDri

In the example above, the /dev/sdc is the EMMC device on the Librem 5.

Icon WARNING: Triple check you have selected the right block device when performing the next step!!
$ xzcat 20210217-0609-postmarketOS-edge-phosh-6-purism-librem5-installer.img.xz | sudo dd of=/dev/DRIVE status=progress bs=1M oflag=direct iflag=fullblock
4277141504 bytes (4.3 GB, 4.0 GiB) copied, 194 s, 22.0 MB/s
4093+0 records in
4093+0 records out
4291821568 bytes (4.3 GB, 4.0 GiB) copied, 200.427 s, 21.4 MB/s

Remove the usb cable and power cycle the phone to boot into the postmarketOS installer.

With pmbootstrap (Advanced)

Use pmbootstrap to build a customized image. Consult the installation guide for details.

$ pmbootstrap init # vendor: purism, device: librem5
$ pmbootstrap install...  # add --fde for full disk encryption

Place the device into #Flash Mode, then flash it with:

$ pmbootstrap flasher flash_rootfs

Flash Mode

To place the Librem 5 info flashing mode, perform the following:

  1. Ensure that the phone is switched off.
  2. Turn all Hardware-Kill-Switches off
  3. Remove battery
  4. Hold volume-up
  5. Insert the USB-c cable: (red light blinks, no green light)
  6. Reinsert the battery: (red light is constantly on, the script will continue)
  7. Release volume-up
Note Some USB-C cables may need to be plugged into the phone with a particular orientation. If the instructions above do not appear to work, try flipping the USB-C end of the cable over and replugging it into the phone.

These directions were gathered from Purism's documentation, refer to it for additional details/troubleshooting.

OpenPGP Smartcard

In order to use the OpenPGP smartcard reader, most Librem 5 phones will need to have the reader firmware upgraded. The firmware can be built from source, but Purism has created a helper script to download/flash the firmware. In order to run this script on Alpine Linux / postmarketOS, these patches should be applied: https://source.puri.sm/angus.ainslie/ttxs-firmware/-/merge_requests/3/diffs

Running the script should result in the following if it is successful:

$ ./scripts/stm_reflash.sh
Connecting to source.puri.sm (
saving to '/tmp/tmp.FLFPGo/ttxs.bin'
ttxs.bin             100% |********************************************************************************************************************************************************************|  9096  0:00:00 ETA
'/tmp/tmp.FLFPGo/ttxs.bin' saved
2a5f7172591d76ae3177b0ccd94f70d67597e4a7  /tmp/tmp.FLFPGo/ttxs.bin
Option 2     : 0x00
Device ID    : 0x0435 (STM32L43xxx/44xxx)
- RAM        : Up to 48KiB  (12544b reserved by bootloader)
- Flash      : Up to 256KiB (size first sector: 1x2048)
- Option RAM : 16b
- System RAM : 28KiB
Write to memory
Erasing memory
Wrote address 0x08002388 (100.00%) Done.

Reboot the phone after upgrading the firmware.

There's a package in the postmarketOS aports repo that enables/installs everything required to use a smartcard on this device: sudo apk add device-purism-librem5-smartcard

Reboot after installing this package for the first time.

For more information, including some examples of how to generate keys and push existing keys to the smart card using gpg, see Purism's Librem Key manual: https://docs.puri.sm/Librem_Key/Getting_Started/User_Manual.html

eMMC Backup / Restore

This section describes one method of backing up the eMMC and restoring that backup. postmarketOS, like many other Linux distros, can work with any number of backup/restore solutions (e.g. rsnapshot, and so on). This particular method uses JumpDrive and ddrescue, and therefore is out-of-band from postmarketOS (or any distro) on the eMMC. An entire copy of the eMMC will be produced, with full disk encryption preserved if it is enabled.

The steps to prepare the Librem 5 are the same for backing up and restoring a disk backup:

  1. #Download JumpDrive
  2. Place the device into #Flash Mode
  3. #Boot JumpDrive

ddrescure is needed on the host PC. See the ddrescue manpage for information on additional parameters you might want to use.

Identify the Librem 5 eMMC disk using lsblk. The following options make it relatively easy to identify the correct disk, but check multiple times that you have the correct drive!

$ lsblk -o name,size,model,vendor |grep JumpDriv
sdb        29.1G e_eMMC                    JumpDri


Run ddrescue. Specifying a map file is recommended so that the process can be resumed if it is interrupted.

# ddrescue -v -d -r3 /dev/sdb L5_pmOS_20210210.disk L5_pmOS_20210210.disk.map


Note Make sure you have the correct target drive before proceeding. ddrescure will overwrite the drive! You have been warned!

The backup image can be restored with ddrescue:

# ddrescue -f ~/L5_pmOS_20210210.disk /dev/sdb ddrescue_restore.log

U-boot Updates

Icon WARNING: This process might result in a device that will not boot postmarketOS, make sure you understand how you might recover from this situation before proceeding!!

Purism is still somewhat actively improving u-boot support on this device, and some components required for booting (DDR training firmware) still see periodic updates. As a result, the u-boot-librem5 package might be upgraded on a device with an existing postmarketOS installation. Package upgrades will not upgrade the u-boot used for booting the device. In order to upgrade the u-boot used for booting the device, the update-u-boot script can be used.

Run with -n to confirm the input file and device are correct:

$ update-u-boot -n
dd if=/usr/share/u-boot/librem5/phone-boot.img of=/dev/mmcblk0 bs=1k seek=2 status=none

Then perform the actual update:

$ sudo update-u-boot
Updating librem5 u-boot in /dev/mmcblk0 in 3 seconds...
Completed successfully.

Known Issues

For an ever-up-to-date list of issues, see issues in gitlab with the device-purism-librem5 label

  • The Librem 5 ships with the megapixels app by default, but to use the camera for taking pictures you must manually run $sudo apk add megapixels-purism in a terminal to install a forked version of the application.
  • Suspend/resume is not supported on the Librem 5, this is an upstream issue and not specific to postmarketOS.