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Little "Guide" on how to install Phosh (Librem5 desktop environment)


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i'm using a Raspad tablet-like device with a aml-s905x-cc inside and i'm experimenting some mobile interface that i can use with the touchscreen, but also with mouse and keyboard. I'm simply curious about convergence desktop designs and mobile desktop environments. The obvious choice would be GNOME, but it is very heavy, both on memory and cpu usage and my board with only 2GB of ram cannot handle it if combined with other heavy programs. I knew that Librem was developing a desktop environment for their Librem 5 linux phone. Since they focus on opensource software i thought if i can install their desktop environment on my tablet to try it and.... yes, it is possible! And it is surprisingly easy to do.

So, if someone would like also to try their desktop environment, i make a "guide" on how to install it.


Like any wayland desktop environment, there is a compositor (called phoc) and a graphical shell (called phosh). On the git they state that to run phosh should run on any compositor that implement wlr-layer-shell, so maybe you could try other compositors!


First clone the git of phoc with:

git clone https://source.puri.sm/Librem5/phoc


Change the directory on the just downloaded folder:

cd phoc


Then, since they provide the file needed for debian packaging, i suggest to generate the deb package and install it instead of generating the binary directly with meson.

In this way you can uninstall the program simply with apt like any other program.


From the control file, i can see the needed dependencies, but i suggest to get directly from the build command below.

If some package is missing, the packaging tool will tell you which. Then you can simply do "sudo apt install [all the missing dependencies]"


 debhelper (>= 12),
 meson (>= 0.47.0),
 libwlroots-dev (>= 0.10.0) <!pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
# For wlroots subproject build
 libcap-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libdrm-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libegl1-mesa-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libgbm-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libgles2-mesa-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libinput-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libpixman-1-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libpng-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libsystemd-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libwayland-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libxcb1-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libxcb-composite0-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libxcb-icccm4-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libxcb-image0-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libxcb-render0-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libxcb-xfixes0-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libxcb-xinput-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 libxkbcommon-dev <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,
 wayland-protocols <pkg.phoc.embedwlroots>,


To create the debian package run:

debuild -i -us -uc -b


When the command finish, it should create a debian package inside the upper folder called "phoc_0.4.0_[architecture].deb"

You can install it with "sudo apt install /path to the file/phoc_0.4.0_[architecture].deb"


Once phoc is installed, it's time to install phosh.

Go to the previous folder with:

cd ..


Clone the phosh git with:

git clone https://source.puri.sm/Librem5/phosh


Change the directory on the just downloaded folder:

cd phosh


Dependencies should be these, but like before, i suggest to get them directly from the build command and install them as the same way as phoc:


 debhelper (>= 12),
 libhandy-0.0-dev (>= 0.0.12),


To create the debian package run:

debuild -i -us -uc -b


At the end of the compilation, you should find the package inside the upper folder and like before you can install it with "sudo apt install /path to the file/phosh_0.4.0_[architecture].deb"


That's it. Reboot and on you favourite login manager should appear the entry "Phosh" that can be started like any other desktop environment.


During the debian packaging compilation it will generate some other packages, like the debugging symbols, but they are not needed to make phosh work.

Hope someone could find this "guide" useful.

Have fun! :)


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