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[Comments Needed] Is SXMO+pinephone Daily Driver?

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I have seen questions around the internet whether the pinephone is daily driver
ready. Of course, whether it is depends on your use-case. I thought it
would be worthwhile to make a thread where sxmo users can comment on what
they use their pinephones for. As such, potential pinephone buyers interested
in sxmo can see if it's a buy.

Ill go first:

I am daily driving sxmo+pinephone. I use my android phone for taking
pictures (postmarketos' megapixels app is broken temporarily) and that's
it.

I use my pinephone for:
1. Receiving/sending texts (via vim+ssh)
2. Receiving/making calls
3. Using firefox when Im out to find time and locations of businesses
4. Using dino for chatting with friends when Im out and about
5. Reading emails via aerc
6. Referencing recipes when cooking (This is amazing on the pinephone
since I can use firefox+adblock)

I currently dont use crust suspend because Ive heard stories of people
missing texts when they use crust. Is that still the case? It's fine if
the phone doesnt come out of suspend quick enough but if I never get a
notification that I got a call/text at some point, that is problematic.

Hope to hear your guys' experiences.

Cheers!
Anjan Momi
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On Thu, Mar 04, 2021 at 03:23:05AM -0500, Anjandev Momi wrote:
> I have seen questions around the internet whether the pinephone is daily driver
> ready. Of course, whether it is depends on your use-case. I thought it
> would be worthwhile to make a thread where sxmo users can comment on what
> they use their pinephones for. As such, potential pinephone buyers interested
> in sxmo can see if it's a buy.
> 
> Ill go first:
> 
> I am daily driving sxmo+pinephone. I use my android phone for taking
> pictures (postmarketos' megapixels app is broken temporarily) and that's
> it.
> 
> I use my pinephone for:
> 1. Receiving/sending texts (via vim+ssh)
> 2. Receiving/making calls
> 3. Using firefox when Im out to find time and locations of businesses
> 4. Using dino for chatting with friends when Im out and about
> 5. Reading emails via aerc
> 6. Referencing recipes when cooking (This is amazing on the pinephone
> since I can use firefox+adblock)
> 
> I currently dont use crust suspend because Ive heard stories of people
> missing texts when they use crust. Is that still the case? It's fine if
> the phone doesnt come out of suspend quick enough but if I never get a
> notification that I got a call/text at some point, that is problematic.
> 
> Hope to hear your guys' experiences.
> 
> Cheers!
> Anjan Momi
> -- 
> w:] www.momi.ca
> pgp:] https://momi.ca/publickey.txt

My phone is in bad physical shape so i've not daily driven in awhile,
but I occasionally update it and test.  Status appears to be the same.
As someone said on irc, the biggest pain appears to be bad handling of
SMS while in crust.  But I'm not usually near power, so I need to be in
crust.  Phone calls while in crust have definitely gotten better.  4G
data is rock solid.  Hotspot is very laggy, but works.

When i relied on it on a cross country drive, I kept it plugged in.  SMS
and phone were reliable, the browser is great.

Frankly the touchscreen isn't very good.  Maybe it's gotten better on
the newer ones.  It can be frustrating.  I cannot stand to use the
keyboard without my vibration patch.

Is anyone using sxmo with a dock/convergence?

Occasionally I try out the other distro's - besides being unique, sxmo
still appears to have the best combination of support.

Others have asked about the safety of having a well known user and
password and ssh access.  I heavily recommend that people turn off
tunneled plaintext passwords and set an ssh key in authorized_keys.
Then you can ssh in to muck around while typing from a real keyboard.

I guess my wishlist would be:

1. a proper lock screen.  
2. text messages while in crust.
3. an acceptable vibrate patch in the keyboard.

When my new back cover finally arrives, I will look into the text
messages.  Given that phone calls work, it's probably a pretty simple
issue in the dbus monitor loop.
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Very nice idea !

Let's try to summarise…

I use the Pinephone as my daily device. It can send and receive sms and
calls. I dont think I miss calls or texts. The device rings and notify
(with a cute worms sneeze uwu) from crust hibernation without surprise.

I still got some issues on text messages with ModemManager as:

https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/mobile-broadband/ModemManager/-/issues/328
https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/mobile-broadband/ModemManager/-/issues/274

I expect the second to be solved soon enough

As a web browser, I though it was reliable. But in fact, as I took back
my old Nexus 5X some weeks ago, I have to face the reality.

=> It is a way better experience to browse the web with the adblocked,
musl compiled, alpine version of firefox than with the android plain
vanila one. Point

One of the really important goal of my personal smartphone should be to
embed a navigation software. This still lacks at this time and I fear it
will stay the same for a long time. If someone got solution, PLEASE
share it :D

Sxmo satisfy me in regard of features a smartphone OS should brings. I
got main features (phone features) that I can stick easily to hooks or
whatever interface I want to. All of this in an alpine OS with loooots
of software packaged.

But Sxmo got at this time some issues to me.

One of my main frustration come from the virtual keyboard. It feel
really unreliable and I prefer to use ssh access to write sms. I think
it is an issue that we should focus. I got an vibrating patch too but it
feels not smooth enough. I frequently miss-click and have to backspace a
lot. The futur keyboard case will probably solves that issue but the
virtual one got to be fixed (or I have to find alternatives).

I have a bad feeling about the dmemu approach too. Those thoughts arent
mature but I feels that dmenu (in the current state) bring looooots of
limitations.

* not an interactive UI
* only one dmenu open in the same time
* slow, veeerry slow in regard of what it is doing (lets not try to
browse my Camera folder >_<)
* cant display long text entries

But in the same time, we got main menus, dial menu or some of
userscripts that rely on dmenu and it feels really good. So maybe my
solution should be to find an alternative framework that we could use
when we want to build a script with a more interactive UI. A suckless
alternative :D

I also feel that crusting and decrusting feels to hardy to do (long
press up then triple up is waaayyy too long for this basic task and we
got the same one for decrusting). I share the though that we should
rethink the buttons usage as we now can relly on lisgd to open/close
the keyboard and main menus. And a screenlock with authentication could
be a plus.

And, last thing, the display capacity feel very horrible when trying to
look at a video, or too high resolutions giff O_O Is the device that
low-tech or could we expect optimization or new drivers ?

Okay so I didnt summarize at all… Feel free to react.

Stacy
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I'll chime in too. The pinephone with sxmo is my daily driver in the
sense that I don't use any other phone and carry it with me when I go
anywhere (which is rather rare now in corona times). But, I hardly ever
use calling or texting.

The other day I did notice some missed texts that came in a few days
late, probably my modem was off and I didn't notice, I heavily use crust
too. Battery life has greatly improved recently and overall usability is
getting better.

One of the main things I actually use it for is to control my home
automation (I made a small dmenu wrapper for that) and get
notifications. And sometimes I do some lazy reddit browsing with tuir
(rtv fork). I'm more inclined to grab my laptop or desktop system for
any serious tasks.

Ciao,

--

Maarten van Gompel

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https://proycon.anaproy.nl
https://github.com/proycon

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Nice to read everyone else's take too, I have some overlap in my
painpoints. While I would love the Pinephone to be my daily driver, I
admit its still currently an auxiliary phone for me. I know over time /
eventually the Pinephone & Sxmo will win out in terms of reliability
(as FOSS software always does), but its still maturing.

Here's the main pain points for me (and things I should work on when I
get some free time):

- CRUST: TBH seems like reliability is in constant flux on pmOS,
occasionally things freeze up. It's not difficult to fix these issues
with the initcall_debug kernel param but its a pain to constantly have
this inadvertently breaking. I'm tired of the instability.

- Ramdisk: Phones are a perfect usecase for a ramdisk-style operation, to
always have a clean boot. 3GB is way more then sufficient for a suckless
stack. Alpine has diskless mode, but where is ramdisk for pmOS? Should
be that userdata & "phone firmware / software" is separate. 

- GPS & Maps: Foxtrotgps was a start which is now gone.. but yeah without
reliable walking navigation, how do i know where to walk. Should work
out of the box like it does on other phones.. Doing something suckless
around OSM tiles wouldn't be too hard I think, this looks like it gets
you 90% of the way there: https://nzjrs.github.io/osm-gps-map/

- Tethering: I'll probably take this up soon, but its something we need
out of the box on Sxmo. We should have some sort of menu for this.

Miles
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On Thu, Mar 04, 2021 at 06:08:08PM -0600, Miles Alan wrote:
> Nice to read everyone else's take too, I have some overlap in my
> painpoints. While I would love the Pinephone to be my daily driver, I
> admit its still currently an auxiliary phone for me. I know over time /
> eventually the Pinephone & Sxmo will win out in terms of reliability
> (as FOSS software always does), but its still maturing.
> 
> Here's the main pain points for me (and things I should work on when I
> get some free time):
> 
> - CRUST: TBH seems like reliability is in constant flux on pmOS,
> occasionally things freeze up. It's not difficult to fix these issues
> with the initcall_debug kernel param but its a pain to constantly have
> this inadvertently breaking. I'm tired of the instability.
> 
> - Ramdisk: Phones are a perfect usecase for a ramdisk-style operation, to
> always have a clean boot. 3GB is way more then sufficient for a suckless
> stack. Alpine has diskless mode, but where is ramdisk for pmOS? Should
> be that userdata & "phone firmware / software" is separate. 
> 
> - GPS & Maps: Foxtrotgps was a start which is now gone.. but yeah without
> reliable walking navigation, how do i know where to walk. Should work
> out of the box like it does on other phones.. Doing something suckless
> around OSM tiles wouldn't be too hard I think, this looks like it gets
> you 90% of the way there: https://nzjrs.github.io/osm-gps-map/
> 
> - Tethering: I'll probably take this up soon, but its something we need
> out of the box on Sxmo. We should have some sort of menu for this.
> 
> Miles

So, we have good conversations going on in email and irc, do we want to
set up a codimd or something to track the solutions ppl are looking into?
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On Thu, Mar 04, 2021 at 06:08:08PM -0600, Miles Alan wrote:

> - CRUST: TBH seems like reliability is in constant flux on pmOS,
> occasionally things freeze up. It's not difficult to fix these issues
> with the initcall_debug kernel param but its a pain to constantly have
> this inadvertently breaking. I'm tired of the instability.

It seems that everyone in this thread is having trouble with
crust. Someone in irc pointed me to this MR that looks to fix all the
issues we are having with crust:

https://gitlab.com/postmarketOS/pmaports/-/merge_requests/1931

Perhaps we can help test this MR to speed up its inclusion in postmarketos.

Serge E. Hallyn <serge@hallyn.com> writes:

> So, we have good conversations going on in email and irc, do we want to
> set up a codimd or something to track the solutions ppl are looking into?

Yes, it's hard to track what MR to pay attention to or what someone can
do to help an issue get fixed. A codimd would be great in my opinion.

Lets try to make it easy as possible for people to help with testing and
contributing.
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