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Thorough Overview of Mobian on Pinephone as Main Driver - Printable Version

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Thorough Overview of Mobian on Pinephone as Main Driver - food - 11-27-2020

11.27.2020 Mobian As Main Driver Notes

Intro
So far using Mobian on Pinephone UBPorts edition as my main driver has been a relief from the for-profit operating systems. Thank you so much for this push forward, it's making a difference and giving me a word-of-mouth ability to spread awareness to people that this is possible: to live without the for-profit tech giants entirely!

What works well for me in Mobian as a user with low-intermediate linux knowledge:

  • Phonecalls incoming and outgoing are reliable with correct amplification and quality to be acceptable to the non-linux person and to me as an everyday user
  • texts send and receive reliably
  • Software downloads and uninstalls with relative ease
  • voice recorder works
  • camera works, front and back
  • battery reads accurately

Things to Work Through/towards

General OS
  • When outside my usual data area, I'm unable to browse the web even though data is set accessible through cell signal. It would be important for reloading bus cards through web app, and other important lookups for logistics no matter the area
  • A lot of applications don't resize to the correct window resolution. Having this automatically fit the window would be helpful, especially for linking contacts from Evolution or Thunderbird which both have the non-native resolution concern
  • When turning off only Wifi in settings, Airplane Mode is activated and deactivates bluetooth, wifi and cellular data
  • When turning off Airplane Mode, bluetooth, wifi and cellular is reactivated all together
  • When the phone sits idle on the charger for more than 30 minutes (idk the exact time), the phone has a blinking blue light and doesn't have its screen open. Is it going into sleep or hibernate mode? I could open it once with a few presses to the power button, though I don't know enough about the feature to say any more.
Contacts, Phone & Messages Interaction
  • Importing .vcf or other contact file formats in default contacts app: Even though I imported key contacts one by one, Phone doesn't recognize numbers that don't have the exact data representation. (Example: +17731234567). I found this out after manually putting contacts in without the + sign and having all my family members and friends call me and text me while not knowing who they were half the time other than voice recognition lol
  • Messages receives an unknown number and on pressing the new message, it doesn't open the text
  • When on a phonecall, the software can't yet put the first call on "hold" and I would have to call back (I don't mind this tbh)

Comments, Suggestions and Ideas
  • Voice Recorder could automatically suggest the date and time as the name
  • Mastodon works really well on Tootle
  • The UBPorts gui is really human focused, hopefully that can be an option in later builds
  • If an application is added to Favorites, can it stay in the application window as well instead of moving entirely to the top?

Closing Notes
Mobian's almost there for my daily driver. The only things that I'd need as an everyday user are the Phone, messages, and contacts correctly recognizing each other, the data access working while out, and the window size correction of non-native applications

All in all, I'm really enjoying the work that's being put into Mobian and very appreciative and thankful for all the work! Very excited to see what's cooking up for our future of linux tech Big Grin


RE: Thorough Overview of Mobian on Pinephone as Main Driver - fdlamotte - 12-07-2020

I thought I could add my own (small) review here to share experience with the pinephone.

I've been using the phone for three weeks, and it became my main phone last week ... I switched directly to mobian because I've mostly used debian in the past 20 years and it's good to feel at home Wink A big thanks to pine64 and mobian for the great work (and making this accessible)

I'm more than happy with it as it covers my simple needs (phone, sms, browsing). I manage to get a full day of charge, which is ok, even if It's better when the phone can be charged during the day.

Here are the software I'm using : 
 - the standard phosh/contacts/gnome-calls/chatty for basic phone operation
 - qutebrowser for the web
 - gmnlm for gemini
 - kgx as terminal (I was not very keen at first, but as a mobile terminal it's rather good, I finally like the notification when a command finishes)
 - zim for notetaking (synchronized with my pc with unison)
 - vlc for audio and video files
 - nemo as file manager
 - xournal for anotating pdfs and taking handwriten notes
 - soundrecorder for recording

I alse wrote some python scripts to control my (proprietary) home automation : https://github.com/fdlamotte/LightControl

At first, I was not easy with the keyboard, I've writen a new terminal layout (it's an azerty layout, sorry, but it should be easily converted to qwerty for those interested). I attach the yaml files to the post (... well the forum doesn't let me add the files directly but I could by zipping them)

I've also tried it in convergence mode. It works well but my dock doesn't charge it fast enough (900mA max), it should be better by disabling the phone screen. I don't find phosh that good in desktop mode. I started using sway in a second terminal but it's a mess when receiving a call => you have to change terminal to answer. 

Also I don't know if it is common, but I had to add a polkit rule for modemmanager or it would ask me for root password each time the modem was accessed ...

regards,
--
FdL


RE: Thorough Overview of Mobian on Pinephone as Main Driver - gamerminstrel - 12-07-2020

Just chiming in with my two cents;
Pinephone + Mobian is about 70% ready to replace my phone as my daily driver. I've realized most of the apps I use on my Android phone are just wrappers for their individual websites (reddit, twitter, mastodon, Youtube/lbry, etc) so I can do all of that in Firefox.

As it is I already use my pinephone more than my actual phone, but it leaves me with a bit of a wishlist:

-Gnome Web Browser: Once this runs better, I really love its take on saving websites as web apps. Right now though, browsing sites with it is like trying to get the last bit of honey out of an empty jar, everything just takes forever. Also, it can't play a lot of video formats.

-Discord: The only reason I even need phone functionality is so my job can call/text me. Everyone that matters to me is happily stuck with Discord for messaging instead, so I need it too. Their website just mistakenly redirects me to the Google Play Store.

-Retroarch: Installed via Flatpak and via apt both, its not really usable. I like playing my library of old games on my phone, so this and Discord are my biggest pain points.

-Bluetooth: I can kinda use Bluetooth speakers but they disconnect after a couple minutes. Bluetooth videogame controllers will pair, but never connect.

-USB drivers: CONVERGENCE, YESSS! I hope to be able to treat this Kind of like a Nintendo Switch, where I can play my retro games handheld, then plug into my dock and then play on the big-screen. This is completely extra credit, but I love that this is even a possibility. I also have a Razer Kishi (USB-C controller for smartphones) that is detected and listed via lsusb, but I can't actually use it. My bet is because all the USB capabilities past charging are all still a work in progress.


RE: Thorough Overview of Mobian on Pinephone as Main Driver - nas - 12-07-2020

(12-07-2020, 10:47 AM)gamerminstrel Wrote: -Retroarch: Installed via Flatpak and via apt both, its not really usable. I like playing my library of old games on my phone, so this and Discord are my biggest pain points.

I tried the apt package on debian months ago but it didn't load. The current fedora one seems to work fine - but since there are no aarch64 cores available to download then it's simpler (on debian at least) to use retropie instead. An alternative could be a separate card running aosp.

Would be nice to have an optimised gaming distro with the convergence feature but not sure anyone is working on one.


RE: Thorough Overview of Mobian on Pinephone as Main Driver - NormandC - 12-07-2020

(12-07-2020, 10:47 AM)gamerminstrel Wrote: -Gnome Web Browser: Once this runs better, I really love its take on saving websites as web apps. Right now though, browsing sites with it is like trying to get the last bit of honey out of an empty jar, everything just takes forever.

LOL, I agree, but I wouldn't have put it as nicely!  Big Grin




(12-07-2020, 10:47 AM)gamerminstrel Wrote: -Discord: The only reason I even need phone functionality is so my job can call/text me. Everyone that matters to me is happily stuck with Discord for messaging instead, so I need it too. Their website just mistakenly redirects me to the Google Play Store.

I used an old OnePlus One phone with Ubuntu Touch on it for a year, it happened all the time with many websites, and it would drive me nuts.

I've read something about Firefox's user agent being set to Android. I wonder if this is something that could be changed so you get the desktop version of the website; but then it may not scale properly, I'm not sure. You'll possibly find more about this on the Mobian wiki maybe?

https://wiki.mobian-project.org/doku.php?id=start


RE: Thorough Overview of Mobian on Pinephone as Main Driver - ryo - 12-07-2020

LINE and Discord are some of the things that are missing.
Discord web app is made for desktop only, so member list can be hidden, but the channel list will always be displayed, you can't hide it.

And LINE can be used as a limited web app via Chromium only, and Chromium doesn't work.
There's no API available to make a 3rd party app, but there is a LINE Notify bot that can push notifications to you, but you can't send anything.

Another thing I can add is camera.
The camera app doesn't start at all since the first time I updated (2 weeks ago), and it never got fixed since then.
I tried Megapixel as a replacement, it can shoot pictures, but it doesn't seem to store photos anywhere?

As for SNS, there are apps for Twitter and Mastodon, but not for Parler.
I can't blame it, there happens to be no Parler API.

I don't worry about games, I have a Nintendo Switch for that (and Switch has way better games too I believe).


RE: Thorough Overview of Mobian on Pinephone as Main Driver - calinb - 12-08-2020

I can't use voice or SMS at home, because all we have is CDMA voice service here in rural Idaho (no VoLTE service) but I guess the main thing lacking in Mobian as a daily driver for me is a usable email client. LTE data actually works where I live too, so I could use my phone for email at home, if I had a capable email client.

I need IMAP (or POP3) but I can't get IMAP to work in Geary, because it can't connect to the IMAP server during setup. The mail account has always worked with other Linux desktop distros using Thunderbird and Evolution. Maybe I just need to figure out what Geary config file needs editing, but the Geary GUI configuration doesn't work for me.

Geary does work with my Gmail and MS Live accounts, but I don't use them as anything but spam buckets. It doesn't work with Yahoo mail either (though, like Gmail and MS Live, I rarely use Yahoo mail). I found some online Yahoo mail troubleshooting discussions that raised my suspicions that Yahoo is creating the problem by blocking  email clients it deems insufficiently secure.