PINE64
Mobian: 2 week as main phone - Printable Version

+- PINE64 (https://forum.pine64.org)
+-- Forum: PinePhone (https://forum.pine64.org/forumdisplay.php?fid=120)
+--- Forum: PinePhone Software (https://forum.pine64.org/forumdisplay.php?fid=121)
+---- Forum: Debian on PinePhone (https://forum.pine64.org/forumdisplay.php?fid=139)
+---- Thread: Mobian: 2 week as main phone (/showthread.php?tid=13858)

Pages: 1 2


Mobian: 2 week as main phone - steves - 05-09-2021

Howdy,
I've been using my pinephone as a daily driver for a couple of weeks to figure out what works well and what doesn't. The vast majority of this has been call in conference calls for work. Figured I'd share my experience for what I have been able to workaround and what I have not been able to workaround.

General setup:
1. Beta edition pinephone with mobian running on it. Latest stable patches.
2. Encrypted boot drive
3. Wired headset
4. mic kill switch: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2T5MQ7?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details (I had to cut a tab off, but otherwise it fits perfectly on the top of the phone. Doubt it fits with a protective case though)
4. T-Mobile via tracfone as cell provider
5. 256G SD card mounted as /home

Fallback plan in event of failure: landline (I have avoided owning a cell phone for years, so not having one work isn't a bit deal)

Things that worked very well:
1. Installation of mobian. Before the pinephone arrived I had tried a oneplus phone putting lineageos on it. Which was a royal PITA(estimated 12 hours of work to get it working). The mobian install was just a dd image onto the sd card, stick it in the phone, boot it, and follow the instructions. It was as painless as a normal linux install, though with considerably fewer questions asked of me.
2. All the linux bits worked out of the box. I was happy to be able to connect to wireless, setup ssh, and start running ansible and backing it up via rsync with no issues.
3. SMS has not given me any issues. Though as I never had it before, I hardly ever use it. So perhaps not a great tester for this.
4. Once I found the terminal (King's Cross didn't sound or look like what I normally see for a terminal), it worked better than I expected. Though I still prefer a keryboard Smile
5. basic allow established/related and deny all other inbound on firewall worked perfectly. Nothing seemed to break. (via iptables and ip6tables)

Thus far issues I've had and have worked around:
1. Issue: mute doesn't work
    fix: bought a wired headset and a hardware cutoff for the mic
2. Issue: The thing falls asleep during a call. (I think this may be related to the non worked around issue #3)
    fix: I wrote a quick and dirty application that inhibits sleep and idle.
    currently testing: sguard, but I's not sure it will handle the modem disappearing issue below.  sguard link (https://src.jayvii.de/Hobby/PinePhoneScripts/src/branch/main/sguard)
3. issue: The screen will lock during a call, and then you can't log back without ending the call due to the call window being over the lock screen.
    fix: I wrote a quick and dirty application that inhibits sleep and idle.
4. issue: megapixels would only save some .dng file that I couldn't read with the installed reader.
    fix: looks like a known issue, I dropped the latest .postprocess.sh from the megapixels git page and that fixed it. Interestingly though when I tried overwriting the existing one (thinking the next package update will fix this issue anyway) it didn't fix the issue.
5. issue: The default browser has trouble loading a variety of pages.
    fix: firefox-esr fixes this, but it doesn't have (that I can tell) a quick and easy way to add a site to the programs list. I need to create them by hand (which it a painful without copy and paste on the phone itself).

Issues I have not found a workaround for:
1. Sometimes when booting it gets stuck on startup scripts. Haven't been able to figure out why. Seems to happen ~50% of the time. I just reset it and usually it works the second time.
2. Sometimes the phone when it wakes from sleep will not see it's cell modem. Usually a reboot fixes this, but due to the above issue it can be rather aggravating.
3. Sometimes it loses it's access to the cell modem during a call for a split second. Which causes gnome-calls to consider the call ended. Interestingly though the actual call proceeds normally without issue.
4. Some sites send me to a "install our app" page, but of course, this phone can't run it. Issue being the site won't let me use it on the phone without the app. I think I can make a site work by finding the setting to disable mobile pages, but I would only want that for specific sites, not all of them.
5. (likely just me being an idiot) Couldn't figure out how to make my sd card encrypted, and mount it on the phone. gnome-disks was happy to make an encrypted volume for it on my laptop using luks, but I couldn't mount it on the phone (usually I let the os installers handle this, but that wasn't an option here)
6. Alarms don't work if the phone is asleep at the time it's suppose to go off.

If anyone's interested in the inhibit script here it is:
Code:
#!/bin/bash

gnome-session-inhibit --inhibit 'idle:suspend' zenity --info --text "Inhibiting sleep. Press ok when ready to stop this"

Just make a .desktop file for it and give it an icon and you're good.


My Thoughts on the Phone
Despite the issues, I like the phone a lot. I'm fairly new to smartphones as I've never been able to trust them from a privacy standpoint until now. Plus, I love having devices that I can understand and work well with my existing computers (being a linux phone). Some of the issues I have mentioned don't appear to be in the issues list for mobian, but I figure I'll throw this at you all before I submit anything to ensure I'm not missing something obvious.

I really appreciate the community around this, and thank all involved in making this a reality! Big Grin

edit: formatting


RE: Mobian: 2 week as main phone - Zebulon Walton - 05-09-2021

The inhibit script is pretty cool, I'll have to give that a try.

For your item #5, I have that working, I have a 256GB SD card that is encrypted and auto-mounted. On mine I did not put the entire /home directory heirarchy there, just symlinked Documents, Videos, Downloads, Music, Photos to the card. (My thought was that if the SD card failed I'd not have access to those items but otherwise the phone would operate normally.)

What you need to do is generate a key file to use for unlocking the SD card and mounting it. The key file would be stored under /root which of course would not be available until you've already unlocked the eMMC at boot time. Then the appropriate entries are made in /etc/crypttab and /etc/fstab. There are a number of tutorials out there showing how to do this, such as:

https://www.golinuxcloud.com/mount-luks-encrypted-disk-partition-linux/


RE: Mobian: 2 week as main phone - steves - 05-09-2021

Thank you! I'll give that a shot to encrypt the sd card.

Be sure to install zenity to get that script to work.


Mobian: 2 week as main phone - vongillus - 05-09-2021

Nice feedback, thank you!

For your issue #1, could it be that it's because you have your home on SD card? Because I never had such a problem. So may be sometimes the SD card is not mounted fast enough.

And for the alarm clock, there is at least one app which should work:


https://github.com/Dejvino/birdie#readme


RE: Mobian: 2 week as main phone - steves - 05-09-2021

(05-09-2021, 02:27 PM)vongillus Wrote: Nice feedback, thank you!

For your issue #1, could it be that it's because you have your home on SD card? Because I never had such a problem. So may be sometimes the SD card is not mounted fast enough.

And for the alarm clock, there is at least one app which should work:


https://github.com/Dejvino/birdie#readme

Yeah, I've been wondering about that... I'll try it out without next weekend when I try to encrypt the drive. Zebulon's point about not making it home seems a good plan, as long as I set the mount to nofail.

I'm a little leary of the birdie as it doesn't appear to be in the official mobian code repository. I do appreciate the suggestion though Smile


RE: Mobian: 2 week as main phone - kqlnut - 05-10-2021

(05-09-2021, 11:52 AM)steves Wrote: 4. Some sites send me to a "install our app" page, but of course, this phone can't run it. Issue being the site won't let me use it on the phone without the app. I think I can make a site work by finding the setting to disable mobile pages, but I would only want that for specific sites, not all of them.
6. Alarms don't work if the phone is asleep at the time it's suppose to go off.
4.) That's because the user agent is set to Android. You can use a firefox extension to change your user agent to a desktop system (or you could also do it manually, but that's not so practical). There are many extensions for this, I use User Agent-Switcher. Since extension's tool bar pop ups are not really usable on the Pinephone, I just set a desktop user agent once and then activate/deactivate the extension when needed. There probably are extensions where you can configure this per site also (best do the configuration on an external screen).
6.) Another often recommended option for this is wake-mobile.


RE: Mobian: 2 week as main phone - Avatars - 05-10-2021

I like the headset mic cutoff idea. Speaker phone works but my roomy hates the way it sounds. Plus i tried dialing into a site that only requires you to input some numbers and the speakerphone was giving the computer false input and I had to use another phone (or simply take it off speaker). I noticed also that running a timer, it would stop on reboot. So that is a useless feature as yet for me. I generally set a timer so I don't lose track of how long it's been since last time. On my 1+ the stopwatch is ALWAYS running, always. The day comes when you are forced to use 5g to communicate is the day I stop communicating.
By the way, I assume the mic cutoff is because of the speakerphone issues. I like being able to use it in speakerphone mode but I believe it may as yet have too much feedback to work correctly. whatever. it calls and texts fine so it works. Nuff said.


RE: Mobian: 2 week as main phone - steves - 05-10-2021

(05-10-2021, 07:01 AM)Avatars Wrote: I like the headset mic cutoff idea. Speaker phone works but my roomy hates the way it sounds. Plus i tried dialing into a site that only requires you to input some numbers and the speakerphone was giving the computer false input and I had to use another phone (or simply take it off speaker). I noticed also that running a timer, it would stop on reboot. So that is a useless feature as yet for me. I generally set a timer so I don't lose track of how long it's been since last time. On my 1+ the stopwatch is ALWAYS running, always. The day comes when you are forced to use 5g to communicate is the day I stop communicating.
By the way, I assume the mic cutoff is because of the speakerphone issues. I like being able to use it in speakerphone mode but I believe it may as yet have too much feedback to work correctly. whatever. it calls and texts fine so it works. Nuff said.
Yeah, that was the main reason. Though the other reason was to be less disruptive in general (I'm the only one who hears the call, and it reduces any noise from my end). When I did use it in speakerphone mode, is generated a lot of feedback.

Rarely the mic doesn't work for some reason, but unplugging and plugging the headset back in seems to fix it.


RE: Mobian: 2 week as main phone - steves - 05-16-2021

It's definitely the sd card that's preventing me from booting. I set it up to mount seperately with nofail, and if mounts only about every other boot.

Also found that adaptive brightness doesn't really work (what it does is gradually bring the brightness down to 0 regardless of the light level).

I also find it interesting that if I'm not connected to wifi, location services think I'm in a river in Chicago. Not sure if this is the location services not being able to use the gps yet or a hardware issue.


RE: Mobian: 2 week as main phone - wibble - 05-18-2021

(05-16-2021, 06:44 PM)steves Wrote: I also find it interesting that if I'm not connected to wifi, location services think I'm in a river in Chicago. Not sure if this is the location services not being able to use the gps yet or a hardware issue.
I don't think any of the distros have integrated use of assistance data for GPS, and without it getting a fix can be difficult as it needs a strong uninterrupted signal to get the initial fix. Without it geoclue tries other methods like geoip, cell tower ID and WiFi SSID lookup - I've not looked into the details and don't know what the fallback might be if it's got no network connection. With a previous ISP the geoip lookups would often put me in a different city, or in another country the ISP operated in. We really need a good bit of usability/configurability/privacy design for this!