Playing with the Pinephone

First things first: I have to familiarize myself with the PinePhone.

What better way to do so than a little fooling around...


Day one, the arrival

Boxed Pine phone

Simple and elegant

Is it really mine

Oh, yeah!!

First play date

the dock

The supplied dock worked out of the box, but after I updated the software, it stopped working. Sometimes, the USB ports and the ethernet port will work, sometimes they will not. The HDMI port never worked again. It seems like a software issue, as I read posts on the Pine64 forum about this problem.

SSH into the phone

The dock is not working, but I can ssh into the device. And I am very comfortable using the shell as all my servers in the lab are managed via ssh.

Sending messages

Install XMPP server

Saying that they respect your privacy and actually respecting your privacy are two completely different things. So I installed my own messanger service on my server. Click on the picture to read how I did this.

Installing XMPP clients

In order to send messages between my Pine phone and the phone of missis Mees, I installed on the Android phone and Gajim on my Pine phone. But that's not the whole story...

4G internet access

4G internet access

Well, that's boring: I inserted a SIM card and I had access to the cellular-data network. No voice or SMS, but that's because it is a data-only subscription.



The GNOME user interface is nice and polished. I like it more than the user interface of Manjaro with Plasma Mobile. But, and it is a big one: I had to install a USB keyboard in order to input text!


On openSUSE GNOME, it seems that Gajim works a treat. It scale nicely, so I can reach all the buttons. The fonts of some menus are a little small, but still readable. All in all, much better than on Manjaro. Furthermore, Kaidan is not available via the default software installer. I could try to install it via the terminal, but as I want to test the Pinephone as a normal user, I stick with Gajim.


An other problem is a bug in gnome-control-center. When selecting 'Mouse and Touchpad' gnome-control-center crashes. It will not start again and dumps the core. A solution is to reset the program by entering: gsettings set org.gnome.ControlCenter last-panel '' from the terminal. One positive: after the crash, the on screen keyboard pops up and it works very well indeed. But after a system reset (i.e. you forgot to charge the phone and it shuts down), the keyboard is gone and you have to crash the control center again...


Oh boy, Gajim crashed. Or at least, that's what it looked like. But after closing the crash report, it still seemed to work just fine....