How I use Linux Mobile as a daily driver

September 01, 2021

Linux Mobile is a catch-all term for running ordinary Linux distributions on phones, such as Pine64's PinePhone and Purism's Librem 5.

I use a PinePhone as a daily driver, running NixOS and GNOME/Phosh. I have ordered Librem 5, which I keenly await!

I chose Phosh because it's actively developed by Purism, and works with the existing active GNOME community. "The strategic advantages of of Phosh for mobile Linux" gave me confidence that their development will be sustainable.

I chose NixOS because I already use that on my desktop, laptop, router, & VPS, and like to have a uniform declarative interface to my computers. I tried a few other distributions on megi's multi-distro demo image, and there's a bunch of good alternatives.

Linux Mobile software is not perfect, and this website isn't an advocacy site. This website is my experience of using Linux Mobile as a daily driver. YMMV.

How it looks

Here are some of the programs I use on the PinePhone:

I use linuxphoneapps.org to find programs that work well on Linux mobile.

How I use Android

Android has many great apps, which I use on a Pixel phone, including:
  • Quicksy, to make encrypted audio/videos over XMPP.
  • Signal, to register an account. I do IM and video over Signal on my laptop.
  • Camera.
  • Google Maps.
  • Garmin Connect, to sync with my Garmin watch for activity tracking.

I would prefer to carry just one phone, but am happy to carry two phones occasionally.