Mobian on PinePhone: software notes

This is place for my notes and experiences of getting various bits of software running on Mobian, on a PinePhone.

There's an "official" list on the Mobian wiki.

tl;dr: if you want lots of apps, as you might get on Android or iOS, you'll be better of using Android or iOS.

Tweaks / tips

Scaling apps to fit the small, portrait screen

Using the scale-to-fit command, I've had some success. gnome-screenshot worked well.

Wi-Fi via PEAP authentication

PEAP authentication to wireless access points worked, but it was hard to see the full config screen. It was just about navigable without an external keyboard and mouse, although the onscreen keyboard meant I could not see the password entry field while I was typing.

This was a bit of a surprise, since the Mobian wiki says:

WiFi is not working reliably when there are more than one hotspot on the same SSID. The only known workaround is to reduce this to only one hotspot per SSID.

I have numerous APs with the same SSID, and I haven't noticed a problem. But perhaps "reliably" covers a range of oddities which I have not experienced.

Axolotl (Signal client)

According to the wiki, it works.

I could not install it, because it complained of a dependency issue, which I have not managed to fix.

Bitwarden

Instructions for Mobian are here.

I've used snap before, but that did not work on Mobian because there is no arm64 package for Bitwarden in snap. Oh well.

The workaround, involving the Firefox add-on, works, but it is very slow.

Oddly, the most reliable approach seems to be just opening Bitwarden in Firefox but without the add-on workaround. But it's still not a great experience.

Cawbird (Twitter client)

It works.

Element: the mirage client

The normal Linux installation instructions do not work, as there is no arm64 package. I don't know what the experience would be like anyway on a small screen.

There is, however, a client called mirage, but loading it caused a Python error, making it unusable.

Evolution (because I want PGP for email)

The default email client, Geary, works well on a small screen, but there is no option - that I have found, anyway - for GPG/PGP.

still to test

Firefox

It works, if a little slow.

lynx

It works. If you want a text-based browser, of course.

gnome-screenshot

It works, but it is only usable once scaled to fit.

Saving to the root of nextcloud works, but, trying to browse to a particular directory within nextcloud does not (the menu goes blank).

Nextcloud

I have not tried the desktop client, because the Mobian wiki makes it seem terrible.

Connecting to Nextcloud via the (Gnome?) "Online Services" settings menu worked fine, although I had to tab using an external keyboard to hit the final button to confirm the setup.

It looks as if this would work with contacts and calendar but I don't use nextcloud for those.

It does not look as if the default file manager, Portfolio, can browse via WebDAV.

nautilus (the Gnome file manager, which installs with the name "Files") can, and it works. From a UI perspective, disabling the side bar, and switching to list view rather than icon view, seems like the best approach. It's definitely usable.

Phone

It works.

Revolt (matrix / element client)

It did not work. It seems to be a wrapper for the element web service and, while that loaded, it pushed me towards installing an iOS or Android client, which will not work.

tootle (Mastodon client)

It works.


Author: neil

I'm Neil. By day, I run a law firm, decoded.legal, giving advice on Internet, telecoms, and tech law. This is my personal blog, so will be mostly about tech stuff, cycling, and other hobbies.